Founding Principal, Hamilton International School
Director, American School of Doha
What is the competitive advantage of a new school like Hamilton?
TERRY SENIOR We are part of the International Schools Partnership. We went through the process of employing staff and getting our name out there before we were able to enroll. At present, our enrollment is at 236, which is a good start. We are a premium school; therefore, our fees are in a higher bracket, but with that, you get outstanding facilities, and incredible teaching and learning. My main emphasis was to ensure that outstanding teachers are willing to come onboard at Hamilton. I had a lot of interviews until I was able to handpick the right teachers. We have many afterschool activities run by our teachers, including martial arts, swimming, basketball, tennis, gym, dance, cooking, science experiments, and ballet. In our facilities, we have 80 standard classrooms, nine science laboratories, three libraries, three music rooms, two full-size examination centers, and two cafeterias. We also want to ensure that our communication with parents is second to none, as parents are eager to know what is happening in the classroom.
What is the role of your institution in Qatar?
THOMAS L. HAWKINS The American School of Doha was founded in 1988. It was founded by the US embassy in partnership with Qatari partners and the business sector. At that time, some of the American companies were bringing in more people. Since 1988, they have maintained a board of trustees that is still headed by the US embassy. Because of that, we are considered a community school in Doha. We are a not-for-profit school that serves the American expatriate community in Doha. We have about 80 different nationalities, but most of our children and teaching staff are American. When you add Canadians, about 80% of our teaching staff is from North American and about 50% of our student population is North American. We cater to those expats looking for an American education. There are far fewer American schools than British schools in Qatar. The growth in the education market has led to the need for international schools and curriculum. We have grown to 2,250 students, from a starting number of about 80. We have expanded several times. We do not anticipate growing anymore. We are currently operating at maximum capacity.
What is your contribution to creating a developed and modern society in Qatar?
TS What is really important is to teach students about social awareness. By being in an international school, the students are exposed to a whole variety of different nationalities and cultures. Developing students’ open-mindedness supports them in an international environment. We are a part of the global village and all our students travel, so having an international outlook and mindset is important. An important premise behind that is caring for each other. For example, we raise money for cancer patients. We are working on becoming a waste-neutral school. All this comes under the umbrella of caring. When our students leave our school, they will be important decision makers in the future, so creating that awareness of a better future for themselves and for others is important.
How are you ensuring that Qataris of the future are ready for a diversified economy?
TLH One of our distinguishing features is our adherence to school values and teaching kids about our core values. We also ensure kids have access to the STEM curriculum, along with the arts, at a young age. We have a robotics program for elementary school sponsored by one of our corporate sponsors, Chevron-Phillips. We also have a full after-school activities program, which is one of the distinguishing features of American schools. As an educational institution, we believe academics, arts, athletics, and activities are all part of a child’s development. We want our students to get into the schools that are the best fit for them, to get a get a great tertiary education, and to go on and make an impact in the world. Approximately 12% of our kids are Qatari. We have great partnerships with local businesses and organizations. We give our kids amazing opportunities to be successful in academics, athletics, and activities. We are the only school that offers both the IB and AP programs.