Üsküdar American Academy
Üsküdar American Academy is a private coeducational high school located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is regarded as one of the most academically rigorous institutions in Turkey.
American Academy for Girls (later called Üsküdar American Academy) was originally founded in 1876 in BahçecikTemplate:Citation needed, a town in the province of Kocaeli by Congregational missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The school was moved to Adapazar? where it remained until World War I. The site in Baglarba??, a neighbourhood on the Asian part of ?stanbul, was originally the American College for GirlsTemplate:Citation needed. ACG vacated the Baglarba?? site in 1914 and moved to Arnavutköy, a neighbourhood on the European side of Bosphorus, leaving the Baglarba?? campus empty from 1914-1921 except for the years 1914-1915 when the buildings of the school were used as an Armenian orphanage by the Americans and the years 1915-1918 when the Turkish army used the school as a barracksTemplate:Citation needed.
When Üsküdar American Academy for Girls was looking for a new location in Istanbul, it moved to the present site in Baglarba?? in the early 1920s. With its new site and in the spiritTemplate:Clarify of the new Republic of Turkey, the school became dedicated to quality educationTemplate:Clarify for girls. In 1925, the education at the school was being done in the basement of Barton Hall and in Bowker Hall. The Round House was in the same placeTemplate:Clarify as it is today. There was a wooden black building in the place of Emir Konak. There was a chapel in the place of the present gymnasium in which Sunday worship services were held for the local Christian community. During the week it was an assembly hall and classes were held in the basement. There was originally a stable on the site where Kinney Cottage stands today. The school's need for milk was met by the cows that lived in the stable. The stable was later demolished and the Practice House (Kinney Cottage) was built as a homemaking skills practicing center for the seniors. The building was named Kinney Cottage in memory of Mary Kinney who was the principal of the school when it moved from Adapazar?.
Üsküdar American Academy experienced a radical change in 1990 when it admitted boys for the first time into the Orta Prep class. With this change, "American Academy for Girls" became part of history and the school became known as "Üsküdar American Academy". With the help of USAID grants, the Sabanc? Holding, supportive parents, and the Health and Education Foundation (SEV) physical changes have also continued with the building of a gymnasium, the restoration of Bowker and Barton Halls, and the construction of Morgan Hall, the science, math and computer building. Today the school, like the affiliated American schools in ?zmir and Tarsus, as well as the American Hospital in Gaziantep, is under the governance of the Health and Education Foundation, which carries full responsibility and authority for operating the school. The school properties are also owned by SEV, while the American Board retains the operating permits.
With the passing of the 8-year mandatory education law, Üsküdar American Academy, like all foreign schools, gradually phased out the middle school, added a prep section for the lycée and now maintains only a high school program. To fill in the void left by the closing of the Orta schools, SEV has opened an elementary school that goes through the eighth grade, offering quality English instruction to supplement the Turkish curriculum. It is hoped that the tradition begun so many years ago will continue for many years to come through SEV elementary schools and Üsküdar American Academy.
The current campus of Üsküdar American Academy is situated on a hill in a residential district of Üsküdar. The campus falls in the officially recognized neighborhood (mahalle) of Selamiali (Selams?z), but the school lists its address as Ba?larba?? neighborhood.
The school campus includes 8 buildings sited on 18,000 square meters. Currently a long-term renovation program is in place to modernize the physical plant.Template:Citation needed Both Martin Hall and Bowker Hall were renovated in the early 1990s.Template:Citation needed A new gymnasium was constructed in 1991, and a new science-computer facility, Morgan Hall was opened in 1994.Template:Citation needed A 12-unit faculty apartment building was opened in 1997, and Barton Hall, a central academic building, was renovated in two phases in 1998 and 1999.Template:Citation needed Huntington Hall was renovated in 2001.Template:Citation needed Emir Konak was renovated in 2003.Template:Citation needed Martin Hall was renovated in 2004.Template:Citation needed Morgan Hall was renovated in 2005.Template:Citation needed Bowker and Barton Hall were renovated in 2008.Template:Citation needed All buildings now meet strict earthquake and safety standards.Template:Citation needed
The Üskudar American Academy Library is located on the ground floor of Martin Hall. It has two sections. The fiction section contains junior and teenage/adult fiction in English, French, German and Spanish; fiction in Turkish, as well as short stories in English and Turkish. The non-fiction library contains the remaining book collections (classified by the Dewey Decimal Classification system) in English and Turkish, with a small selection in French and German. There is an Atatürk collection. There are twelve computers for library users, all connected to the school network and internet. The Üskudar American Academy Library subscribes to a range of periodicals in English, Turkish, French and German. The library also subscribes to four English-language electronic databases.
In August 2006, the libraries of Uskudar American Academy and SEV Elementary School successfully installed a new library automation program. The program, named Destiny, is a product of the Follett Software Company.
The program of Üsküdar American Academy was created with Izmir American Collegiate Institute and Tarsus American College (the American Board Schools of SEV) and is approved by the Turkish Ministry of Education.
The program attempts to balance the needs of students in their preparation for the Turkish university entrance exam and the requirements of an academic program that takes into consideration good educational pedagogy. Even though some topics may be in an order different from the official Turkish Ministry of Education curriculum, by the end of Grade 12 students have minimally covered this syllabus. In order to provide a quality education to our very capable students, some topics are added to that of the Turkish Ministry of Education. Currently our students begin study in their diploma areas in Grade 11. This allows students to develop a good background in all academic areas in Grades 9 and 10, in addition to exploring their own interests and strengths, before embarking on their diploma concentration. To change diploma areas in Grade 12, the student must first successfully be promoted to Grade 12 with at most 1 failure. Once they are in Grade 12 they can request to change diploma areas. They are responsible for the Grade 11 diploma area courses for their new diploma area. They will take exams for these courses at the beginning of the second semester of their 12th grade year. In addition they may take one “sorumluluk” exam if they have a failure from previous grades. If this failure is in their previous diploma area, then they do not need to take the exam. The grades that they receive on these exams become the course grades for the Grade 11 courses. The previous diploma area courses are removed from their transcripts if they do not help their GPA. If the student is not successful on these diploma area exams, he/she may enter the exams again in June. Following the June exams, the students will repeat the 12th grade if he/she has a total of 3 or more failures.
It is important that the prospective teacher understands the nature of the school, its history, unique culture and the pedagogical demands made on those who work here.
Established in 1876 by American missionaries, Üsküdar American Academy is one of the oldest schools in the region. Today the school is governed by a Turkish non-profit trust, The Health and Education Foundation and it provides a high quality English language, college preparatory program of studies to Turkish students.
In many respects Üsküdar American Academy is neither an American nor an international school. The limited international component of the school involves its long affiliation with American missionaries, the practice of employing a foreign Director and teachers, and the main language of instruction being English. Otherwise the school is very much a Turkish institution and this manifests itself in many ways.
The Turkish educational system is highly centralized. The Ministry of Education regulates all matters from curriculum issues to textbook selection and requires the approval of routine activities such as guest speakers and field trips. While the foreign teacher is generally removed and “protected” from the bureaucracy, one is, nevertheless, always accountable for enforcing and upholding both the letter and the spirit of the Turkish educational system.
Turkish society is generally hierarchical and authoritarian in nature. Students are conditioned from an early age to respect authority and conform to laws and institutional procedures. For example, students wear uniforms to school and are expected to stand when answering questions. Students are used to, and are more comfortable with, traditional teacher directed learning. In a curious sense, Turkish students are more “at ease” with formality than with friendliness and casualness.
Once the new teacher has grasped the basic characteristics of Turkish Education, there lies just beneath the surface of “cultural differences” a rich vein of opportunity and potential. Education is valued in this society. Teachers are respected. Students come to school prepared to learn. Given our very homogeneous population most students are “on task” and they expect much from their teachers.
The teaching environment at Üsküdar American Academy is very demanding both personally and professionally. Teachers need to possess qualities such as sensitivity, tolerance, and flexibility. Further, they need to have sound teaching skills, which will be challenged on a daily basis. If the prospective candidate understands these special attributes of the school, then he or she could be a valued addition to the faculty.
In September 1998 a primary school was opened on the school’s campus. This addition to the school was a result of legislation passed by the Turkish government to extend mandatory primary education to 8th grade. Foreign teachers are hired to teach English / E.S.L. to the upper elementary classes.
Student Association Clubs
Art Branch’s purpose this year is to become more active in culture and art. Art history will be introduced to club members. To broaden our knowledge of art, trips will be organized to current exhibitions. Members will produce art works, and share ideas and critiques. Projects will be selected by club members and advisors; these could include workshops and seminars with that the famous artists.
Atatürk Club aims to identify and present Atatürk’s principles correctly, to attend intellectual activities, and to preserve the values of the Turkish for future generations. The members desire to become leaders, celebrating Atatürk’s ideals through cultural events.
The Culture Branch’s explores the literature, art, and culture from Turkey as well as other countries. Our priority is to offer students opportunities to know and become interested in their own culture while also helping them to understand different cultures. Activities will include seminars and workshops with professional writers and illustrators, trips, and the organization of Culture Day.
"I think anyone can do theater. Even actors. And theater can be done everywhere. Even in a theater.” -Augusto Boal. This philosophy is reflected in the Drama Branch, a combined effort of English Drama and Turkish Drama clubs, which works to remind the student body of the power and virtues of theater.Another goal this year is to expand the performances of English and Turkish Drama, to make dramatic efforts part of the school community. Auditions will be held, casts selected, and performances perfected. While English Drama will be participating in an International Schools Theatre Festival (ISTA) in London, Turkish Drama will perform in surrounding schools.
Journalism Club allows students to exhibit creativity. Serce, a literary magazine, celebrates student writing and design, and is published three times a year. In addition, opportunities for layout and magazine design are offered to club members.
The aim of the Memoranda Branch is to prepare, design, and publish the annual memoranda. Responsibilities include the taking and collecting of all class, clubs’, branches’, and school teams’ photos, the copywriting, graduation photos, senior write-ups, and personal and class fun pages. The priority is to produce a unique memoranda which represents our school at its best.
The Üsküdar American Academy music club organizes diverse events throughout the year. Instrumental lessons, including guitar, strings, winds, percussion, and piano, are taught by experienced teachers from music academies. These lessons culminate in a series of performances. Vocal lessons are also offered; opportunities to perform include the yearly musical. In addition, club members should learn to play at least one musical instrument and to understand basic music theory.
The fundamental element of learning is curiosity. Curiosity leads people to ask questions, research, and discover the unknown. In Science Branch, our goals are to provide answers, to experiment, to experience field-trips to museums, and to listen to guest speakers. Basically, we want to learn what we don't know and have fun while doing so.
- Social affairs
Social Affairs branch aims to visit students to locations, which have been read about in geography and history books. Opportunities to travel, to see new places, to understand how Turkey grew rich on its earlier civilizations, to explore and enhance cultural experience, and to have fun are inherent in our annual trips.
- Social service
Social Service Club balances projects, which are both moral and financial. This year we aim to increase the number of events in which our members assist people in need, spend time with the less fortunate, help schools, and to make some financial contribution to schools in eastern Turkey. In addition, we hope to expand our activities to an international level by helping an African school to finance its well production. Finally, the club works to build strong relationships with Istanbul schools’ Social Service Clubs to become more effective contributors. Finally, keeping the student body informed of our mission thus increasing their understanding and sympathy is crucial to our success.
Sports promote school spirit, sportsmanship, health, and positive competition. Team sports offer opportunities to develop lifelong friendships. Organizing local and international sports events and providing enjoyment for sport are our goals. To accomplish this, we hope to create a new logo for the sports department, design T-shirts, provide a new dashboard in the gym and refresh it frequently, listen to ideas and suggestions from the school community, work at sports events, organize game trips, and have fun.
The mission of Uskudar American Academy is to contribute to the growth of individuals who combine self-confidence with a firm sense of personal and social responsibilityTemplate:Citation needed. The aim is to enable the students to be strong bilinguals, well-educated adults, lifelong learners, and efficient communicators, who have developed skills, accountability, and attitudes for leading a fulfilling life and for serving their country and humanityTemplate:Citation needed. In pursuit of Uskudar American Academy's mission, the institutions goal is to provide excellence in holistic education so that each student.
- Practices a clear commitment to the ideals of Atatürk.
- Achieves the fullest possible realization of his/her individual potential.
- Develops mind, body, and spirit to live as a well-balanced individual who can pursue higher education and lifelong learning.
- Learns critical thinking, social and communication skills.
- Shows commitment to justice, human rights, ethical behavior, tolerance, and self-discipline.
- Is committed to bilingual and multicultural interaction for the appreciation of diversity of perspectives and cultures.
- Adapts creatively and innovatively to life and work using scientific inquiry, literary and artistic approaches, information technology, and the social sciences.
- Embodies responsibility, initiative and follow through, honesty and generosity, effective teamwork, and democratic leadership.
- Participates fully in democratic processes and philanthropic organizations as part of lifelong service to humanity.
The elementary objectives of academics at the Uskudar American Academy is mastery of Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes. The program of Üsküdar American Academy was created with ?zmir American Collegiate Institute and Tarsus American College (the American Board Schools of SEV) and approved in 2002 by the Turkish Ministry of Education. The first class will graduate from the Prep English plus 4 year high school program in 2007.
In the fall of 2005, beginning with the Class of 2009, some modifications were made in the Grade 9 program to reflect some recent changes made in the Turkish national curriculum. One change took effect immediately. Beginning with the Class of 2009, Turkish Language and Literature will be divided into two courses: Turkish Language Arts (Dil ve Anlat?m) and Turkish Literature (Türk Edebiyat?). More changes will be made for the 2006-2007 school year pending approval by the Turkish Ministry of Education. It is not intended to change the basic philosophy on which the school program is based.
The Prep and English programs at Uskudar American Academy are known for their excellenceTemplate:Peacock term Template:Citation needed. Courses in the language arts (comprehension of written texts, processed written essays, fluent and correct spoken English, logical thinking and organization of ideas, analysis of literature, research leading to papers or presentations, and vocabulary development) are offered with the goal of preparing Turkish students to have the ability to become independent and original thinkers. Uskudar American Academy has also been applaudedTemplate:Peacock term for its extensiveTemplate:Weasel-inline stress in the mathematics and natural sciences fieldsTemplate:Citation needed.
- TIMUN Turkish International Model United Nations, Uskudar American Academy's Model United Nations Conference
- Tarsus American College in Mersin
- American Collegiate Institute in ?zmir
- List of high schools in Turkey
- Ritmiquaa Percussion Group
- Robert College in Istanbul
- Koç School in Istanbul