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The American International School of Kuwait (AIS) is a private, independent , co-educational day school serving students from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. English is the primary language of instruction although all students study Arabic or Arabic as a Foreign Language. It is an International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) World School that is fully authorized for the IB Diploma (IBD), Middle Years (MYP) and Primary Years (PYP) programmes. The school is modeled on the three divisions typical of American schooling: Elementary, Middle and High School. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) and International School Services (ISS). Its graduates have attended prestigious English language universities around the world. In a given year, AIS graduates attend 40-50 universities worldwide.
The school opened in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated from occupying Iraqi forces. Dr. Kamil Al Rayes, the founder,sought to create a school of high caliber with a disciplined, yet relaxed atmosphere that would provide opportunities for local and expatriate children to gain access to the world's best universities. During the first year twenty-five teachers and 300 students dealt with shortages of textbooks and classroom supplies, an inadequate library and a skeleton curriculum. The school developed rapidly. In October of 1994 it became fully accredited and in the ensuing years dedicated professionals worked hard to develop what has become an excellent university preparatory school with 1600 students.
Dr. Kamil Al Rayes passed away in 1995 and on the occasion of his untimely passing his daughter, Mrs. Samera Al Rayes, became the Director. She has prepared for this role by obtaining a Masters Degree in education and she is currently working on a doctoral degree through Lehigh University. She and her brothers, Dr. Samer, Col. Zaher and Dr. Badri, act as the governing Board of the school. Each of the four Board Members is involved in the operation of the school with the educational side of the organization being managed by professional staff. Although the school has grown into a large operation it sustains a very open and friendly atmosphere in which staff members have easy access to the members of the Board.
The school relocated from Surra to its present location in Salmiya, Kuwait City in 1995. The campus, sheltered by a brick wall from the wind and weather, has middle and high school buildings that open onto an interior court in the Arabic style and three elementary buildings that surround an open play area. A 1200 seat auditorium, an indoor gymnasium and a sheltered outdoor gymnasium form another part of the complex. The roof of these structures holds a third storey soccer field and running track.
Visitors frequently remark on the economical use of space. The campus is only three to four acres in area, but it contains libraries, three art rooms, two music rooms, two drama rooms, a black box theatre, computer labs and design technology rooms, and a full range of science labs. There is a separate shaded play area for kindergarten, the interior court is equipped for tennis and basketball, a large shaded open air canteen serves lunch, and there is a good size strength-training room as well as a large aerobics room adjacent to the gymnasium. All of this, in addition to sufficient classrooms to house 1600 students, makes it a very busy campus. Efficient scheduling and a strong sense of community, nevertheless, give the campus a friendly, but purposeful air.
Approximately one half of AIS students are Kuwaiti, while another twenty-five percent are Arabic first-language speakers from the Middle East. The remaining quarter is from North and South America, the United Kingdom, Northern and Central Europe, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Korea, among other nationalities. The ethnic diversity of the student body provides a stimulating environment in which we attempt to live the IB Learner Profile. Students of all nationalities study Arabic either as a first or foreign language. This satisfies a government requirement, as well as contributes to additive bilingualism, which is a critical part of our mission. Muslim students are required by the Kuwait Ministry of Education to study religion.