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The student body may be small, but at Iqra Academy, based at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts in West Springfield, the school’s first ever commencement will be an event to remember.
With just one student in the graduating class, Hannah Omary of Broad Brook, Conn., academy Principal Evette Abdul-Rahim said she expects the event to be the first of many to come for the three-year-old school that teaches secular subjects along with Islam.
“We’ll have some speakers and some refreshments,” Abdul-Rahim said of the graduation ceremony, which takes place at the school’s banquet room building on June 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
“People are welcome to attend the graduation program.”
The academy uses a self-paced framework for its students in grades six through 12.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade are grouped by grade, but older students are able to set their own pace based on their own educational needs.
“We want to show parents and the community that students can work in an accelerated pace and be accepted to college,” Abdul-Rahim said. “They can take high school courses while they’re taking college courses, which is a beautiful benefit to the program.”
Abdul-Rahim said Omary came to the academy about a year and a half ago, as a sophomore.
“We don’t have many Islamic schools (here) and we are the only one servicing high school students,” Abdul-Rahim said.
Omary, who had been homeschooled, said likes the academy whose name is taken from the Koran and means “Read!”
“Everyone here is easy going and down to earth,” said Omary, adding the academy help her accelerate her learning abilities.
Her plans are to attend an area community college while she decides what she wants to study.
Using curriculum approved by the Massachusetts Department of Education, academy students are required to meet the same mandates as public school children.
“They have to take a certain amount of courses in English, social studies, math and science,” Abdul-Rahim said. “Once they reach their credits, which are approved, they can take some electives; we give them options.”
The school’s 56 students are taught by 10 instructors, plus full-time and part-time volunteers. The student ratio is about one teacher for every eight students.
“It gives them an opportunity to have some attention,” Abdul-Rahim said. “If children have any issues, we can work with them. Socially, it’s a good atmosphere for them.”
The academy students are taught conflict resolution and team building methods, in addition to secular academic subjects and the Islamic faith.
Published: Monday, June 06, 2011, 11:51 AM