The Clarion learning experience is powerful because it is child-centered, challenging, interesting, engaging, and applied. We unlock and foster the student's own inner motivation to learn. We continually support children in their journey to becoming mature and joyful independent learners. This school-wide ethos drives us to create a learning environment that employs instructional practices that are proven to be efficient, highly effective, and have a positive impact on supporting a student's development. Students are seen as partners with their teachers in developing and guiding their growth. Critical to this partnership is the meaningful personal relationships between the child and teacher, underpinned by an open and ongoing process of dialogue and reflection. Teachers learn from their students as they continually observe each child's development and adapt the learning experiences to best meet the needs of each child.
Our educational approach is influenced by the Clarion Ecosystem. Our ecosystem consists of 4 Cs:
  • Conceptual Learning
  • Character of Learners
  • Competence Development
  • Culture of Learning

Conceptual Learning

Academic Standards, Learning Frameworks and Assessment Frameworks ensure a solid foundation for current and future learning.


NY State Standards - Common Core
New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) are internationally-benchmarked and evidence-based standards. These rigorous standards serve as a consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do.

Core Learning Framework

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Fountas Pinnell Literacy Continuum

A comprehensive, sequential, research-based program of learning for high-impact literacy instruction is provided. Rigorous and articulated interventions support Fountas Pinnell Literacy through the use of leveled assessments. An organic progression of learning for the processes of reading and writing, including sequences, continua, books, levels, lessons, methods, principles, and strategies, is offered by this literacy continuum, which supports children in reading flexibly and joyfully and writing clearly and skillfully.

Orton Gillingham Structured Literacy Approach

Orton Gillingham is a structured literacy approach that introduces the skills of breaking reading and spelling into basic steps, sequentially structured, involving letters and sounds, and then building on these fundamental skills over time. It leads to a systematic development of reading comprehension by helping students understand rules and patterns in reading.

My Math

A research-based, fully articulated sequential development of mathematical concepts and skills is provided, with a strong focus on learning through student investigation, practice, and practical application to real-world situations.

Illustrative Math

Illustrative Math is a problem-based core curriculum built on the principle that all students are capable learners of grade-level mathematics. Students learn math by doing math. They are encouraged to use their current understanding of math, their lived experiences, and the world around them as resources for problem solving. By starting with what students already know, teachers invite all students to contribute to mathematical learning, centering student thinking, and being responsive as students develop conceptual understanding.

Building Blocks of Science

The program offers a developmentally appropriate exploration of scientific concepts and knowledge, coupled with learning the scientific method, with a strong focus on exploration through hands-on activity. Teachers are alert to individual interests and frequently extend activities to incorporate those interests. Topics are often integrated with the transdisciplinary Units of Inquiry.

Amplify Science

Amplify Science is a K-8 science curriculum that blends hands-on investigation, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to scientifically reason, problem-solve, and critically debate on the phenomena of the world around them. Each unit in the program engages students in relevant, real-world problems, and through collaborative discussions, students are encouraged to develop models and explanations to arrive at solutions.

The Units of Inquiry are overarching social study themes experienced through problem-based student inquiry. At Clarion, students engage in the process of inquiry through a transdisciplinary study every term. Supported by a wide array of resources and drawing on various subject disciplines, children build understanding through research, field trips, a wide array of hands-on, project-based activities, and ongoing reflection and expression of learning. Every Unit of Inquiry leads to a culmination where students showcase their acquisition and application of knowledge, skills, and understanding.

This program is a planned sequential K-12 standards-based program of curricula and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for active living, physical fitness, sportsmanship, self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, and comprehensive features standards and grade-level outcomes for physical education. The program meets the needs of all students and is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

At Clarion, we believe that Arabic and Islamic education are essential components of a well-rounded education for our students. As such, we offer a comprehensive Arabic language and Islamic studies curriculum that is fully aligned with the UAE National Curriculum and tailored to meet the needs of our diverse student body.

Our Arabic language program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to become proficient in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Arabic. From Grade 1 onwards, our Arab National students take Arabic as a first language, while non-Arab students are required to study Arabic as an additional language. We use a range of innovative teaching strategies and materials to make learning Arabic engaging, meaningful, and fun for all our students.

Similarly, our Islamic studies program provides students with a deep understanding of Islamic beliefs, values, and practices. We teach our students to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Islam and to apply its teachings to their daily lives. Our Islamic studies curriculum is taught in both Arabic and English, ensuring that all our students can engage with the material and gain a thorough understanding of this important subject.

We are committed to providing our students with a high-quality education that prepares them to succeed in today's globalized world. By emphasizing Arabic and Islamic education, we ensure that our students are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and values they need to be responsible and engaged global citizens.

Assessment Framework

Powerful assessment and record-keeping strategies are embedded in each academic program and learning framework, ensuring teachers understand each child’s growth and level of attainment. This ongoing assessment leads to the collection, analysis, and application of valid and reliable data that inform planning, selection, and use of instructional strategies, which may be used for personalized learning. The Clarion assessment process maintains a balance between external standardized tests and internal tests that consider each child's progress from their individual starting points and attainment of knowledge and skills over time. The types of tests are classified as initial, diagnostic, interim, and summative.

Student conferences are a significant part of the final assessments, showcasing student attainment and progress over the academic year. Following the principles of universal design for learning, our program attempts to remove barriers to demonstrative learning by having students showcase progress in knowledge, skills, and understanding through a variety of means. These could include composing songs and poetry, creating posters and films, scripting dialogues and drama, constructing with recyclable materials, and writing essays on their projects.

The Clarion Student Portfolio is a collection of significant student work created throughout the academic year, compiled in both digital and paper formats on the SeeSaw platform. This collection provides a clear understanding of a student's development, as seen through the lens of their own work. Teachers and students work together to select work and associated assessment documents for inclusion in the portfolio. Students periodically review their portfolio, independently and with the support of teachers, parents, and peers, to reflect on their growth and progress, and to set goals for future learning. The portfolio is an important vehicle for celebrating the child’s growth.

Our student-led conferences are meetings with students and their families during which our students share their portfolio of physical work and discuss their progress with their family members. This process builds students' sense of responsibility and helps to build their accountability to meet their learning targets.

Reflective Learning is one of the most powerful factors that impact learning. Students strengthen their own capacity to learn as they become more reflective about the teaching and learning process. Reflective learning is metacognitive in nature, enabling students to describe:

  • what is intended to be learned
  • where they have reached in their learning
  • the learning process
  • their future learning trajectory
  • the learning culture within the classroom

Responsive Advisory Meetings provide a space and structure for middle-school adolescent students to address seven key purposes with their teachers:

  • support academic readiness
  • extend learning through themes
  • reflect & recalibrate
  • strengthen advisor-advisee relationships
  • develop communication and social skills development
  • build student to student affiliation
  • energize and re-engage

Clarion students work with their teachers to record their learning journeys using a wide variety of media and techniques. These "records" provide many opportunities for students to reflect on their journeys with peers, teachers, and parents in both, academic and social emotional domains. This reflection process drives a deep level of understanding and ownership of the learning experience.

An external standardized test is used to objectively monitor individual student growth and attainment, with benchmarking both locally and internationally. This helps to provide quality assurance of a school's academic program as well as highlight areas of support for individual children. The test is conducted three times per year in Math, Literacy, and Science, and is administered to all students in Grade 2 and above.

The Cognitive Abilities Test provides insight into a student's potential. Teachers use this information to ensure they are setting goals and providing instruction so that students achieve or exceed the level matching their potential. This diagnostic test is conducted at the beginning of each school year.


Character of Learners

The development of learning rigor and the current role played by schools are no longer enough. For children to continually adapt and succeed in a dynamic world, they need to be self-directed and life-long learners across all contexts. Clarion focuses on developing these critical mindsets, skills and values.


The school day is filled with opportunities for students to develop the resilience and perseverance to succeed and accomplish goals even in the face of adversity and failure. Teachers design a safe environment and plan activity, so children can experience failure and the subsequent success of persisting; trying it again, adjusting strategies, experimenting and achieving.

Children are continually prompted to find-out, investigate, experiment, observe and try things. This support and opportunity allow the child’s curiosity to flourish, to grow like a plant when provided just the right amount of water and nutrients. Often when realizing a child’s keen interest in something, the teacher follows up with supporting activities, incorporating those interests into core learning.

Developmentally appropriate risk taking is critical to learning. Children are supported in acting and thinking in ways where the outcome or the effect of their effort may not immediately (or at times ever), achieve the desired result. Children are helped to understand that such experiences provide powerful opportunities for learning and are a necessary part of growth and development. Children are recognized and celebrated for trying something even when immediate gain is not guaranteed.

Leading a caring, responsible, self-fulfilling and productive life requires that we take care of our spirit, our mind and our body. Teachers frequently visit this topic as part of daily classroom life and through topic study. Good nutrition, the proper amount of exercise and recreation, healthy relationships, mental and physical relaxation, intellectual stimulation and accessing health care in a timely fashion are critical understandings to promote your child’s well-being.


Students are supported in the act of wondering and posing ever more powerful questions. In turn, they develop deep insights, the ability to evaluate information, and to come to understandings and judgments about a wide array of academic and daily living situations. This learning allows them to become sophisticated, effective, and principled "action takers."

Clarion students become highly adept in all areas of communication through active learning. Communication is best learned as students are expected to collaborate and convey their thoughts, ideas and learnings. Our teachers recognize that students need to be active communicators in all learning environments. Communication is seen not only as the ability to speak, read, write and listen, but as a critical tool in reflecting on learning and building greater meaning and understanding.

Children are guided towards becoming more sophisticated in their social skills, allowing them to learn and accomplish goals. The ability to collaborate with others and be productive is essential, especially in challenging circumstances. By providing frequent opportunities to work together and guidance in developing the necessary skills and attitudes for productive collaboration, students become comfortable and confident in working with others. They learn how to navigate difficult situations and lead their groups towards achieving their goals.

Students are encouraged to develop their own ideas and create things based on their own thinking. They learn to understand that creation is an act which requires them acting on their thinking by responding to their explorations, experiences, interests, needs, information, reflections and learnings. Teachers understand that creativity is nurtured by providing children with ample opportunities to “create”; an understanding which requires teachers to also plan for intentional but open-ended activities that support such creativity. Teachers also recognize that creation is not necessarily about making something new to the world; it is more often about making something new to the individual. It is in the act of creation that all knowledge, skills and dispositions come together and are given life. The desire and act of creating moves the child to higher levels of understanding.


In the "Responsive Classroom," students spend a great deal of time reflecting on their own behavior and feelings, as well as those of others. They learn how to understand the conditions and feelings of others, and they use that information to help them relate to, work with, and support each other.

Children learn to appreciate and be thankful for what they have, and they are exposed to and reflect upon those who are less fortunate. These values are developed through Units of Exploration, fieldwork, daily class meetings, community service, and many other daily activities. Modeling by staff is critical to this learning.

Integrity is infused into the classroom culture through both explicit and implicit instruction. In addition, Moral Education is delivered as part of Ministerial requirements. Expressions of integrity are valued and recognized. Examples of integrity are reviewed through both historical and current events.

Students taking responsibility for their behavior and their learning is critical to the classroom being a safe and productive learning environment. Students become responsible as a consequence of ongoing discussion in the class. Children are guided to identify, analyze, and agree on sets of expectations that all children must demonstrate. Teachers watch, interact, and give feedback to students individually, in small groups, and with the whole class to reflect on their 'demonstrations' of responsibility. Becoming responsible is a process developed over days and years and through many opportunities to practice, get feedback, reflect, and re-engage.


Competency Development

For powerful learning to occur, it needs to be applied – “learning by doing”. By applying the design thinking process to challenging activities and projects, students come to a deep understanding of what they are learning and to how to use these learnings to problem solve, create and communicate.

On a daily basis, we connect learning to the environment in which we live. Students gain more meaning when they can learn in and through the real world in their immediate surroundings. They learn global concepts and principles better when they can personally experience examples of those concepts and principles at work in their immediate environment. For instance, mathematics on the streets and in the grocery store; science on the canals and the metro; design and art in buildings; community service at the local fire station and in the hospital.

We learn in a powerful, engaging, and motivating manner. Students develop a deep understanding and the ability to apply and share what they are learning. The learning is active and built around wondering, questioning, finding out, experimenting, analyzing, constructing understanding, reflecting, sharing, and applying knowledge. The teacher's role is to guide and inspire learning, not deliver it.

A cornerstone of all learning is students being engaged in their learning. Teachers ensure that learning activities provide opportunities for students to move, touch, discuss, experiment, think independently, question, and share; to be actively engaged in their learning.

Students are guided to create tangible expressions of their learning. Often, they incorporate design-based practices and at other times their creations are spontaneous and impulsive. The critical factor is that children become comfortable in applying acquired knowledge and skill using a wide range of strategies and media as they become inspired to share, reflect upon and record their experiences, their feelings and their learning.

Methodically planning the creation of a product (art, app, writing, sculpture, musical composition, skit, speech, etc.), students learn the power of setting an objective, creating a plan of action and following through with execution and review. The principles involved are reflected at:

Students are continually supported in reflecting on all their experiences, their efforts, and their acts of creation. They use this activity to deepen their learning, appreciate their learning, and guide them in their future learning. Little meaningful learning occurs without meaningful reflection. Reflection occurs through frequent whole-class meetings, small group meetings, one-on-one teacher-student and student-student meetings, and students independently thinking about and expressing their thoughts in writing and with a wide range of media and expressive forms.


Culture of Learning

The capacity to ensure that children develop through and between each of the domains of learning requires a powerful ecosystem. We have built a comprehensive and dynamic culture of learning; an environment where everyone is learning with and from each other; children, parents, teachers and administrators. This ecosystem is supported by having 2 qualified educators in each classroom.

Powerful learning is filled with life, with sharing with others, with excitement and humor and fun as well as hard work and disappointment. At school we learn as a “Community of Learners”, helping and supporting one another to achieve and celebrate our accomplishments during our learning journeys.

At Clarion, there is an understanding that we are co-learning with our students and work alongside them as partners in the learning process. It takes a unique educator who not only has a strong insight into child development, but is both experienced and appreciative of this way of learning. Children, even very young children, are recognized as fully functioning learners with well-formed ideas and interests.

Teachers support and expect children to be active learners by asking questions and following their interests. By allowing and encouraging their sense of wonder, teachers help children drive their own activities, leading to a better understanding of themselves and their world.

A set of educational practices which places the child at the center of the learning ecosystem. Teachers develop close personal relationships with each child through focused observation, ongoing discussions, and continual review of the child’s work. The teacher guides the class in creating an emotionally supportive and motivating learning environment that is relevant, challenging, engaging, and tuned to the interests of the children. Students develop into independent learners who take responsibility for and have pride in their learning and their role as a productive member of the learning community. The responsible and independent level of the children allows the teachers the freedom to craft support that meets individual student needs.

Curriculum-related “out of school expeditions” and travel help the children develop deeper understanding of the themes explored in school. The activity helps children to regularly apply their knowledge and develop the Clarion Character of Learners. The trips are exciting, interesting and motivating, and help children connect their learning to the “real world”.

Good learning happens in a 'just' environment. A 'just' environment develops when children take the moral principles they are developing and learn to consistently put them into practice as they meet the challenges of working with each other on a daily basis. The teacher guides this process through an ongoing cycle of the children reflecting upon upcoming challenges, considering the response of the class to challenges it has encountered, and using the knowledge gained from those encounters to build ever more sophisticated and effective ways of collaborating with each other in mutually beneficial and fair ways

Our teachers are skilled facilitators with a unique set of talents and qualities that enable them to effectively support learning in our classrooms. They possess deep knowledge of their subject matter, as well as strong communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. They understand that every student has their own unique learning style and pace, and they tailor their instructional practices using evidence to personalize learning opportunities for each child. They create a positive and inclusive learning environment where students feel comfortable and supported, and they use a variety of teaching methods and technologies to engage and motivate students. In addition to their teaching skills, our skilled facilitators also possess strong leadership qualities, working collaboratively to improve the overall quality of education at Clarion.

Our teacher coaching transpires during real-world and real-time teaching. Our teacher coach helps our teachers to adjust their performance based on the situation and their experiences. Our mentorship model emphasizes the role of the mentor in helping our teachers create a picture of the future and the path to get there.

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