American Community School of Abu Dhabi

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{{Infobox School | name = American Community School of Abu Dhabi | image = | streetaddress = | region = Khalidiyah | city = Abu Dhabi | country = United Arab Emirates | superintendent = Dr. Robin Heslip | custodian = | grades = KG1-12 | enrollment = 1100 | medium = English | conference = Middle East South Asia Conference (MESAC) | motto = V-I-P-E-R-S Vipers!! Let's go! | accreditation = Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
International Baccalaureate Organization | mascot = Sandy the Sand Viper | team_name = Sand Vipers | nickname = ACS | school_colours = Green and White | founded = 1972 | status = Open | | coordinates = 24°27′49″N 54°20′32″E / 24.463723°N 54.342102°E / 24.463723; 54.342102 | homepage =

The American Community School of Abu Dhabi is a school operating in the United Arab Emirates that was founded in 1972. Instruction is co-educational, in English and based on the American educational system. ACS offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma , as well as a rigorous college preparatory American based diploma. ACS is affiliated with the Office of Overseas Schools, United States Department of State.

The school is accredited by Middle States Association (MSA) and is a non-profit licensed by the UAE's Ministry of Education. The school is run by a Superintendent and governed by an eleven-person Board of Trustees.

ACS offers the IB Diploma and is certified by the International Baccalaureate Organization. It is also an associate member of both the North East South Asian Association of Overseas Schools (NESA) as well as the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and Middle East South Asia Conference (MESAC).

Campus & Facilities[edit]

The US curriculum school was founded in 1972 on a campus near the Japan Oil Company off Sheikh Zayed the First Road, by the US diplomatic mission and representatives of major oil companies. In 1975 the campus moved to its current location on Sultan bin Zayed Street - a site donated by President Sheikh Khalifa and further extended by him in 1989. This allowed ACS to add a high school and more extra-curricular offerings, including media centres, a theatre, a dance studio and multipurpose rooms.

The school is a facility consisting of several classrooms equipped with computers. Buildings include two libraries, a cafeteria and snack bar, music rooms, science labs, IT centers, a TV production studio, two indoor gymnasiums and two fields. The outdoor facilities include a soccer, football and softball field and a swimming pool. Cramer Field located behind the school gym is constructed of Astroturf, an artificial grass. Because of its capacity, ACS hosts several athletic tournaments, particularly those of the Middle East South Asia Conference (MESAC).


The school has several instructional programs divided by age group. The initial level is the elementary school program from Kindergarten to grade 5. The middle school program consists of grades 6 to 8. The Middle School offers core subjects and two to four (depending on grade level) electives that the students choose.

The high school consists of grades 9 to 12. Starting in 2007, ACS started to offer the IB Diploma program consisting of a wide variety of International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. Students are also given a wide range of elective courses to choose from. To graduate from ACS, students must have at least 25 credits at the end of four years. Along with the general requirement of 25 credits, students are required to obtain a certain amount of credits in particular areas of study; 10 hours of community service are also required of ACS high school students each year. Community service at ACS is extensive, and consists of a wide range of stunted -driven and organized efforts, as well as a number of established organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF).

iTap Program[edit]

In 2012, the ACS adopted the iTap (individual technology access program). In this program, students bring their own personal computers to school and the ACS actively monitors these computers. iTap also installs Lanschool, which is a program that can record every keystroke a student makes and allows teachers to view student's computer screens in real time.


The student body consists of approximately 1100 students. About 57% of the students are from the US, 10% from Canada, and 3% from the UAE itself. The rest of the students are from 60 other nations.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the chief executive of Mubadala.

Makram El-Zyr, the corporate vice president of development of Rotana Hotels.

Sohail Jashanmal, an artist and founder of the art show Green Abu Dhabi.

Famous Visitors[edit]

In 1975, Santa Claus arrived at ACS by a helicopter; coming down to the school campus. Soon after the event, a popular celebration was created known as "Breakfast With Santa" starting at the beginning of each December, every year. Breakfast with Santa has been a tradition at ACS ever since. 1976 Astronauts Vance Brand, Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. 1982 Alex Haley, author of Roots, visits ACS – one of many authors who have met with pupils. 1983 Mohammed Ali


Even though ACS is regarded as one of the top private schools in Abu Dhabi, an article published by The National in October 2009 highlighted the fact that tighter background checks on foreign teachers are necessary as details emerged about the case of a former ACS teacher jailed in the U.S. for trying to coerce pupils into having sex.

Richard Neal Willetts, a former drama teacher at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi, was arrested in New York by the FBI for enticement of minors.[1] Willets was an active employee at the school in the years 2006-2007, and was allowed to chaperone a school trip to Mussandam, Oman.[2]

Sports and Activities[edit]

Extra curricular activities include music, art, drama, choir, robotics, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, badminton, swimming, cross country, track & field, golf, fitness training, digital photography, multimedia, Model United Nations, debate & forensics, academic games, audio production, and a wide variety of other activities based upon student interests [3]

ACS is a member of MESAC, a regional conference allowing its students to meet and compete against students from other MESAC schools, in both athletic and non-athletic events. The school was formerly a member of the Eastern Mediterranean Activities Conference (EMAC).

ACS has also hosted The MS Arts Invitational, featuring band, drama, choir and art.



KG 1: 42,800 dirhams a year. KG 2 to Grade 5: 64,700 dirhams a year. Grade 6-8: 64,800 dirhams a year. Grade 9-12: 78,300 dirhams a year.

(2016-17)Tuition levels pending approval by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).

KG 1: 44,500 dirhams a year. KG 2 to Grade 5: 67,300 dirhams a year. Grade 6-8: 67,400 dirhams a year. Grade 9-12: 81,400 dirhams a year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Youssef, Marten (4 October 2009). "How educator's secret went undetected". The National. UAE. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Youssef, Marten (4 October 2009). "How educator's secret went undetected". The National. UAE. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  3. ^ International Schools in Abu Dhabi

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°13′6″N 55°15′35″E / 25.21833°N 55.25972°E / 25.21833; 55.25972