IRVING, Texas, May 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — When students from 17 different countries obtained diplomas at Manara Academy District’s recent graduation ceremony, Dr. Ehap Sabri was bursting with pride. As one of the charter school’s original founders in 2008, Sabri recalled meeting with parents and friends at his home to write a charter for a school they envisioned would embrace diversity, emphasize moral character, and prioritize hands-on learning. From the school’s humble beginnings that included leasing a church in Coppel, TX for 150 students to its two campuses today in Irving and Arlington, Sabri and the founders have watched their vision unfold after more than a decade of progress.
“Fifteen years ago, we saw a need for a school that would address gaps and failings we observed in several public schools,” Sabri explained. “For example, there were numerous discipline and behavioral problems interfering with learning and students were struggling in essential subjects like math, so we wanted to stress ethics that would help guide student behavior and decision-making.”
Along with stressing the importance of discipline, the founders wanted to provide a hands-on learning experience for students rather than an endless cycle of lectures and testing. Over the years, classes have revolved around “projects,” and students travel off campus for “field studies” rather than field trips. From challenging teachers to find ways to make math more interesting or introducing interactive robots in classrooms, Manara continually strives to keep students engaged.
One example of hands-on success occurred recently when Manara Academy District students placed first in the nation in the Paper Missions Math Challenge. Paper, the nation’s leading Educational Support System, challenged students to complete as many math practice sessions as possible during the months of March and April. Manara’s students competed among much larger school districts across the country for the honor.
Sabri noted that when school goals or academic achievements are reached, teachers are rewarded monetarily with district incentives that are “unheard of” in Texas.
“We expect accountability from our teachers and also offer incentives for them to go above and beyond expectations,” Sabri explained. “Our reward program with stipends was unlike anything else in the state when we founded the school.”
Manara Academy District is also distinctive state-wide for the number of foreign languages offered to students, which includes English as well as Arabic, French and Spanish. The diverse student body celebrates cultures from around the world and multilingual students are common.
“We are proud to have so many multilingual students,” said Sabri. “Learning about different cultures and speaking more than one language helps our students prepare for a global economy.”
Community outreach is also an important part of the school’s culture as students are continually learning about how to be good citizens. Students routinely participated in community events with local charities and organizations until the pandemic curtailed their activities. A 5K run that was canceled during COVID is now back on the calendar and students are encouraged to examine ways they can add value to the community.
“Volunteering is just one part of the school’s culture that centers around the mantra ‘Experience the B.L.U.E.,’ which stands for Believe, Lead, Unite, and Excel,” explained Sabri. “The overall vision is for children to become lifelong, enthusiastic learners, for teachers to become role models for students, and for parents to become role models for children. Likewise, senior-level students are expected to be positive role models for their younger peers.”
Experience the B.L.U.E. appears to be a blueprint for success, as Manara Academy District announced earlier this year that its campuses at Irving Elementary, Manara Leadership Academy, and Arlington STEM collectively achieved a Superior “A” rating from Charter FIRST and a District Rating of “B” from the Texas Education Association (TEA). Charter FIRST awarded Manara Academy District an “A” in School Progress, which is due in part to spiking enrollment figures and a diverse, inclusive, and international student population.
“Our teachers, staff, and students have all worked very diligently to achieve these ratings,” said Denise Sudan, Manara Academy District Superintendent. “But we also recognize that without the vision, contributions, guidance, and persistence of Dr. Ehap Sabri and our founders, we would not have been able to grow and celebrate our achievements. With the leadership of our founders, we believe Manara Academy District will continue to thrive.”
About Manara Academy District
With the district office located at 8113 Ridgepoint Drive, Suite 202 in Irving, Manara Academy District is a top-rated, public charter school district with three campuses: Arlington STEM Academy, Irving Elementary and Learning Academy in Irving. As one of the most diverse schools in Texas, the district has a Superior “A” rating from Charter FIRST and a “B” rating from the Texas Education Association. The Superintendent is Denise Sudan and Board Members are Dr. Ehap Sabri, Sadak Shaikh, Dr. Ali Shaqlaih, Jaszeer Mohammed, Brandy Schott, and Dr. Amr Abu-Suleiman. For more information about enrollment, career opportunities, or school programs, visit www.manaraacademy.org
ABOUT DR. EHAP SABRI
Dr. Ehap Sabri is a management consulting leader, an entrepreneur, a college professor, and author of five books on supply chain management and strategy development. He is also an avid marathon runner and lives in Irving with his wife and two daughters.
SOURCE Manara Academy District