We had the chance to speak to Darin Carney, XCL American Academy’s Founding Superintendent, who shared his views on education and what the school can offer families in Singapore.
Education is one of the most valuable and powerful tools we can give our children. It equips them with knowledge and soft skills, as well as empowers them to bring about positive change in the world. Education takes on an even more important role today in preparing our children for a rapidly changing world.
Darin Carney, XCL American Academy (XAA)’s Founding Superintendent, recently shared his views on this with us. Read on to see what he has to say about the roles schools play in future-proofing our children, and what XAA is doing to ensure its students thrive in tomorrow’s world.
What are your views on education and the role schools play today?
I believe that all schools need to prepare children for the future. We, especially our children, will be seeing more rapid economic and social changes than ever before. They have to be ready for jobs that have yet to be created, technologies that have not yet been invented, as well as more severe environmental problems that will soon arise.
How is XCL American Academy (XAA) preparing its students for this fast-changing world?
XAA adopts an educational approach that develops academic abilities alongside critical human skills. What I’m referring to is the pioneering spirit, critical thinking, creativity, leadership, empathy, teamwork, grit, adaptivity, self-motivation, and digital proficiency. We, as a school, believe that a balanced approach to education – equal focus on both academic and soft skills – is key to raising the next generation of pioneers, innovators, and changemakers.
XAA enables self-directed learning, facilitates student agency, and fosters innovation and creativity. All these help children to grow into pioneers and thrive in our ever-changing world. Self-directed learning and collaboration projects teach students to become agile, adaptable, organised, and creative. It also develops a deep sense of empathy, thoughtfulness, social justice, leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. Most importantly, self-directed learning allows students to discover their learning styles and pursue new interests. This develops a genuine joy of learning in them, which will eventually help them succeed academically.
Tell us more about the curriculum XAA offers.
Although XAA offers an American curriculum, it has been designed to prepare students to study, work, and live in any other part of the world, not just in the United States. The programme is academically rigorous and aligned with American curriculum standards. A holistic approach towards character development and experiential learning complements it.
XAA follows the AERO and Common Core standards issued by the US Department of Education. In addition, we adopt internationally recognised curriculum programmes, such as Everyday Math by the University of Chicago, Inspired Science, and a balanced approach to literacy with materials from Scholastic.
For character development, we have designed the Pioneer Spirit programme based on acclaimed Second Steps framework. This allows us to look into the social-emotional needs of our students. The Pioneer Spirit programme is embedded into the daily school life of all students from Nursery to Grade 8 to promote positive behaviour, global awareness, tolerance of others, and – above all else – kindness and empathy in our students.
Finally, PioneerTown is our experiential learning programme and our curriculum’s standout feature. This programme focuses on entrepreneurship, where students participate in role-playing in a large-scale simulation of a town. They take on different responsibilities in a self-contained economy, learning essential concepts like economics, negotiation, innovation, leadership, sales, commerce, and many others.
Through our carefully selected curriculum, we believe that our students will develop the mindset and experiences they need to be agents of their own success in tomorrow’s world.
A positive school environment and community are vital for a student’s development. What are these like at XAA?
At XAA, we’re committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community of students, families, and staff. We take pride in our diverse backgrounds and aspire to live by our core values. To ensure the best learning experience and outcome for our students, we strive to build strong relationships with our families. We do this by creating multiple opportunities for the entire community to celebrate, meet new friends, and grow together as one big family.
One of our families recently told me that the XAA community is “like a family for its students”. They said, “Teachers value their students individually. So students, in turn, are encouraged to do the same with each other. There’s truly no limit to the friendships our children make at XAA.” I’m genuinely touched and proud that we’ve built a solid and happy community where everyone feels heard, valued, and supported in a short period of time.
We also noticed that XAA is heavily invested in the design of the new school campus. Can you share with us what families can expect from it?
Great news: a new, purpose-built campus dedicated to XAA is slated to open in August 2023!
Our vision is to create a high-quality and more fee-accessible school that could inspire the next generation of global pioneers. We’re committed to providing our students with the best educational experiences taught by high-quality educators. These are the things that really matter to our students and families.
Our first cohort started in a specially-designed XAA wing at our sister school, XCL World Academy. Our students are provided with world-class classrooms, learning centres, and sports facilities, such as a 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool, a heated indoor swimming pool for young learners, a multi-use sports field, two libraries, and a 750-seat auditorium.
The new campus will feature a three-storey library, a Pioneer Zone, a multipurpose gym, and specialist classrooms equipped with the latest educational technology.
Sounds amazing! We can’t wait to see the new campus!
We can’t wait to see our new campus too! We’re excited to grow our diverse and inclusive community. Families who are interested to join us are encouraged to contact our friendly Admissions Team, and we’ll be very happy to meet you in person to share more about our school and unique learning opportunities for your children.
Thanks for sharing, Darin!
This post is in partnership with XCL American Academy.