The authentic and affordable American school promises a rigorous and high quality American education for children, and the Hamiltons love it for that!
Being Americans on work assignment in Singapore, it’s important for the Hamiltons that their children attend a school that can help them seamlessly transition back to any US school in the future. But above all, the couple wants their children to enjoy learning in school. That’s why they decided to enrol all three of their children at XCL American Academy (XAA), and though it’s only been a few months, the family of five absolutely love the school!
Hello Mr and Mrs Hamilton – can you share a little bit about your children attending XCL American Academy?
We have three children attending XAA. Our oldest, Reid, is in Grade 2; Graham is in KG1; and our youngest, Tessa, is in Nursery.
Can you tell us more about what you’re looking for in a school and why you chose to enrol your children at XAA?
The two most critical factors for us were academics and student life. Being Americans on work assignment here, we were looking for a school that could help pave the path for re-entry into the American-based school system someday. At the same time, it was important to us that our kids enjoy school during our time in Singapore. We also factored in family logistics, as we have multiple children attending school. Attending a school where all our kids start and end their school day at the same time was a necessity as well.
After meeting and discussing the school’s mission, vision, and future plans with XAA’s leadership team, we felt happy to go ahead with the admissions process as a founding family. XAA may be a new school, but we can see that nothing was compromised by that fact. Our kids started their academic year in a specially designed, dedicated XAA wing in its sister school XCL World Academy (XWA). There are age-appropriate classes supported by fully qualified teachers and teaching apprentices. The curriculum is also carefully designed with numerous specialist courses, extracurricular activities, and meaningful celebrations. It’s an American curriculum based on AERO and Common Core standards, including various subjects that are taught in US-based schools, an Everyday Math program developed by the University of Chicago, and the Pioneer Spirit character development program that’s based on Second Step. Aside from these, XAA uses a unique PioneerTown program to teach students business and operational processes. It’s pretty impressive as we can see this exposes them to the ‘start-up’ mindset and entrepreneurship from a young age.
The school day starts and ends at the same time for all grade levels, which is exactly what we needed! Having all three of our kids on the same campus is great, and we love the fact that they can share their schooling experiences together.
Sounds amazing! Can we safely say that the school has lived up to your expectations?
Absolutely! The school always has the best interest of its students in mind; all operations are consistently and thoughtfully planned out towards that goal. There’s great communication between the different teams within the school, which facilitates a very valued parent-school partnership. Our children are learning, happy, and regularly asking if it’s Monday yet so they can head back to school!
How did the school make your kids feel welcomed?
The XAA community is like a family for its students. Teachers value their students individually, so students, in turn, are encouraged to do the same with each other. Within a week or two of the first day of school, Graham had become so close with an XWA student he met on the school shuttle bus that he invited him to his birthday party. The older upper elementary girls always have a hug for our Tessa, greeting her by name as well. There truly is no limit to the friendships our children make at XAA.
That’s really good to hear! Can you share some examples of how your kids are enjoying XAA with us?
We definitely noticed that whatever they learned in school resonates with the kids, often even igniting new passion in them. For example, one of our kids struggled in art class in his previous school as this isn’t something that comes naturally to him. He was always filled with tears and frustration every week when there was art class. We’re pleasantly surprised when XAA’s Art teacher went the extra mile to help him rediscover art. He even sent her a special message of gratitude on Thanksgiving Day! Oh, and they even sing songs from their Mandarin classes in the shower!
That’s so wonderful. What about facilities-wise – how have your children benefited from them?
The current ‘temporary’ campus is already so well done that we think our kids will be completely amazed when the new, purpose-designed XAA building is completed this August! XAA has done a fantastic job in providing everything our kids need. We can’t wait for the new building to be completed, which will be our kids’ permanent school ‘home’.
Does the school have a community for parents?
Parent engagement is a huge focus at XAA. There are regular opportunities for parents to participate at all grade levels. Being a founding family, we’re in a unique position to develop the school community together. Last fall alone, we were able to attend a field trip with Reid, visit our preschool kids’ classes as mystery readers, participate in multiple holiday events on campus, and help establish the Parent Teacher Organization at XAA.
And are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from XAA?
The school has found an outstanding balance between enough communication to keep parents aware of their children’s school life, while not overwhelming them with a backlog of messages. We receive regular photos, videos, and messages about our kids from their teachers. Their academic progress is displayed through the parent app, and discussed during meetings with teachers, Parent-Teacher and Student-Led Conferences. We also receive parent-focused emails from the Superintendent with whole-school announcements. In addition, we can find out about school happenings via their social media platforms! The team at XWA is also a vital link in establishing excellent communication with the families at XAA as the school grows.
Would you recommend XAA to other parents who are looking for an international school in Singapore?
Most definitely! The school is committed to its families, always focusing on “what really matters”, which drives it in everything it does. Although XAA is genuinely an American school to its core and all-encompassing at a highly competitive price point, it is very diverse and welcomes students from all over the world. We feel very fortunate to have it as an international school option while living in Singapore. Each day brings us closer to the educational goal we set for our children while overseas and more.
Last but not least, any advice for parents who are still looking for a school?
Have a set of must-have elements in your school wish list, then focus your decision on achieving those. Research, and research more so you can see beyond any isolated elements. Most importantly, don’t settle for anything less than that special welcoming feeling! A school’s people and culture are factors that can provide the best fit for your child.
Thank you for sharing with us, Mr and Mrs Hamilton!
The Hamilton Family from the US with children Reid (Grade 2), Graham (KG1) and Tessa (Nursery), January 2023