Üsküdar American Academy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Üsküdar American Academy
Established 1876; 139 years ago (1876)
Type Private coeducational
Principal Eric Trujillo
Students 552
Grades Prep, 9–12
Location Istanbul, Turkey
Campus 0.78 km2 (0.30 sq mi) (Urban)
Colors ‹See Tfm›    ‹See Tfm›    
Website www.uaa.k12.tr

Üsküdar American Academy is a private coeducational high school located in Üsküdar borough, Istanbul, Turkey. It is regarded[by whom?] 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 Bahçecik[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 Adapazarı where it remained until World War I. The site in Baglarbaşı, a neighbourhood on the Asian part of İstanbul, was originally the American College for Girls[citation needed]. ACG vacated the Baglarbaşı site in 1914 and moved to Arnavutköy, a neighbourhood on the European side of Bosphorus, leaving the Baglarbaşı 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 barracks.[1]

When Üsküdar American Academy for Girls was looking for a new location in Istanbul, it moved to the present site in Baglarbaşı in the early 1920s. With its new site and in the spirit[clarification needed] of the new Republic of Turkey, the school became dedicated to quality education[clarification needed] 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 place[clarification needed] 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 Adapazarı.

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 Sabancı 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 İzmir 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 English instruction to supplement the Turkish curriculum.


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 (Selamsız),[2] but the school lists its address as Bağlarbaşı neighborhood.[3]

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.[citation needed] Both Martin Hall and Bowker Hall were renovated in the early 1990s.[citation needed] A new gymnasium was constructed in 1991, and a new science-computer facility, Morgan Hall was opened in 1994.[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.[citation needed] Huntington Hall was renovated in 2001.[citation needed] Emir Konak was renovated in 2003.[citation needed] Martin Hall was renovated in 2004.[citation needed] Morgan Hall was renovated in 2005.[citation needed] Bowker and Barton Hall were renovated in 2008.[citation needed] All buildings now meet strict earthquake and safety standards.[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. 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.

Teaching environment[edit]

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 an 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.

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.


The program of Üsküdar American Academy was created with İzmir 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 Anlatım) and Turkish Literature (Türk Edebiyatı).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.uaa.k12.tr/icerik.asp?id=327&dil=en
  2. ^ İstanbul Büyük Şehir Belediyesi. İstanbul Şehir Rehberi. URL: http://sehirrehberi.ibb.gov.tr/map.aspx 25 December 2010.
  3. ^ Üsküdar American Academy. Address/Phone. URL: http://www.uaa.k12.tr/ViewPage/78105E2E-A0DD-4E07-89C7-9528B3814D6A.aspx 25 December 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°01′29″N 29°01′56″E / 41.024589°N 29.032354°E / 41.024589; 29.032354