The History and Origins of QSI
1971 - Present
Sanaa International School opened in September 1971 with four students and grew to over 200 within a few years. The school's early history is related to the founder's first assignment in Yemen. In 1966-67, Mr. James E. Gilson was employed as principal of the Yemen-American Cooperative School in Taiz, Yemen. In May of 1967, the American community was evacuated and the school ceased operations. Mr. Gilson, encouraged by the friendliness and hospitality of the people of Yemen, and interested in their culture and history as well as the development of the young republic, had a desire to return. In 1971, after discussions with key people in Sanaa, it became apparent that there was a need for an international school. Therefore, Mr. Gilson accepted a position in Saudi Arabia, hired a teaching couple to go to Yemen, and was able to financially guarantee the first year of Sanaa International School. The school grew to about 25 students in the first year making it possible for Mr. and Mrs. Gilson and their two sons, Marcus and Kevin, to move to Yemen in July 1972.
In 1974, the established Advisory Board composed of leading expatriates and Yemenis, joined by a few others in Sanaa, met and formulated the school's Articles of Organization and By-Laws. This established the school as a non-profit organization and formed a Board of Directors. Accurate accounting records have been kept throughout the school's existence. As a non-profit entity, the school has been able to receive grants, loans, and land. As early as 1972, it was foreseen that a purpose-built school should be constructed. After three years of discussions and meetings at many levels, the Yemen Government granted the school its present 35 acres (about 14 hectares) gratis for a period of fifty years. Many individuals of the Yemen Government, the American Government, the United Nations, and the German Government gave considerable assistance in time and influence to obtain land that was occupied on 22 December 1976. Construction began on 1 January 1977. A formal agreement with the Yemen Government was signed on 7 May 1977 that included the land grant. The building program and site development included the school buildings, two water wells, one residential home, a workshop, and playground development. In the fall of 1992, a new domed carpeted auditorium/sports area was put into use.
The educational program has progressed from the philosophy brought by the first teachers to a structured performance-based model first implemented in the fall of 1987 in the secondary section. By the autumn of 1989, the entire school was performance-based. Formal accreditation was granted by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools on 24 April 1987. Sanaa International School continues with a dedicated and caring staff, the most important key to the school's success.
Quality Schools International has a more recent history. In 1991, the political structure of the world began a rapid transition. Great changes took place in the former USSR and in areas formerly under its sphere of influence. Combining this recent history with experience in the school restructuring process leading to higher success in schools, QSI was launched. Mr. Duane Root and Mr. James Gilson co-founded Quality Schools International as a non-profit educational organization with a view to opportunities in education in new countries. On 13 May of 1991, Mr. Gilson traveled to Albania to have a look at a country just emerging from over 45 years of dictatorial rule. During his time there, he met some key people in the Tirana community and made a decision to begin Tirana International School. Continuing expansion has resulted in an organization that today offers excellence in education in 31 different countries.
The QSI Philosophy
Attitudes Toward Learning
We believe that more learning will occur if the student has a desire to learn, has positive feelings concerning his/her school environment, and succeeds in his/her work. A comfortable atmosphere of caring and acceptance established by the school is considered important, so that each student is encouraged to strive for excellence and to be creative. An aesthetically pleasing environment with a view to appreciation of beauty and order enhances this. Each student's possibility of success increases when he/she works at the appropriate level of difficulty and senses positive expectations from his teachers.
Functions Of Administration
To recruit teachers who have a love for children, who have positive expectations of children, and who are willing to give the time and energy necessary to meet the needs of individual students. To employ teachers who have acceptable values and who believe that their life style should be a positive influence on their students. To employ teachers directly from outside of the country, if necessary, to provide experienced and successful teachers for specific positions. To employ enough teachers to maintain reasonably small class sizes. To help teachers meet the individual needs of students by employing selected paraprofessionals. To provide spacious buildings and classrooms which are functional yet include local architectural designs with a view to blending into the local environment. To test each student in reading and mathematics upon initial enrollment to assure a proper entry level in these classes. To encourage parental support of the school with a view to enhancing the learning and the development of positive attitudes of the students.
Functions Of Teaching Staff
To continually assess the student in all areas of learning to assure appropriate learning tasks leading to challenging work, but work in which he is capable of experiencing success. To ensure that the student knows what learning tasks are expected. To provide appropriate learning experiences and allow each student sufficient time on a task to be able to experience success. To provide additional learning experiences, if mastery is the goal and if the task is not mastered after the initial teaching/learning experience. To reward students equally for mastering learning tasks regardless of the path taken to mastery. Not to give a higher reward to one who required a greater input of energy nor to one who easily and quickly attained mastery. To evaluate students in a way in which a student competes against himself rather than against a fellow student. To inspire students to help them see what they can be and what they can accomplish with a view to excellence and creativity. To provide a positive school atmosphere by working with a cooperative spirit giving support to one another and encouraging a high morale and efficiency within the staff.
Areas Of Learning
Mastery of basic skills is considered a vital part of education, essential for success in studies of other subjects as well as in most situations in life. A broad and varied program of physical education, fine arts, and other activities is also considered important to enhance the interest and education of the students. Area objectives include: To provide learning situation leading to mastery of appropriate topics in English and mathematics. To provide quality instruction in science and cultural studies. To offer quality programs of instruction in physical education, music, and art to all students. To provide classes in Intensive English as appropriate. To offer local and foreign languages as appropriate. To offer selected courses in national studies as appropriate, with a view to the needs of particular nationalities and to academic adjustment upon repatriation. To offer courses in computer literacy to all students. To offer varied activities and electives which are not part of the regular academic program. To involve students in field trips and activities related to their classes, but away from school. To provide the appropriate materials, resources, and equipment for all areas.
For a useful and meaningful life we encourage the development of personal qualities leading to acceptable values and harmonious relationships. Area objectives include: To encourage an understanding of one's self with a view to developing acceptable values such as patience, kindness, unselfishness, honesty, and consideration for others. To provide a positive and secure atmosphere, treating the students honestly and fairly. To encourage each student to feel good about himself and to help him promote similar feelings in fellow students. To provide guidance in problem solving and decision making situations. To develop a sense of responsibility and to encourage leadership.
An understanding and acceptance of the different cultures represented in the school are considered important. We believe emphasis should be placed on gaining an appreciation and knowledge of the region and the local country in particular. Area objectives include: To encourage each student to recognize in a positive way his own nationality. To provide an atmosphere of cultural acceptance and understanding with a view to building healthy international relationships. To integrate into the curriculum studies of the local region and the country itself.
We believe it is essential to have an awareness of the value of protecting and improving our environment. Area objectives include: To develop an awareness of environmental concerns such as overpopulation, pollution, waste of natural resources, destruction of wildlife and natural areas, and personal health. To promote a concern for the protection of the environment. To provide activities and projects for students which involve them in improving the environment.
The QSI Mission Statement
Virtually every five year old comes to school eager to learn. The mission of Quality Schools International (QSI) is to keep this urge to learn alive in every child in QSI schools. Our schools are established to provide in the English language a quality education for students in the cities we serve. These students are the children of parents of many nationalities who have come to a foreign country, usually for a limited stay of a year or more. Some students are permanent residents, citizens of the host country.
Our schools follow a logical model of education which measures success by the accomplishments and attitudes of our students. We believe that all of our students can succeed, that their successes encourage them to continue in a pattern of success, and that it is the schools' responsibility to provide the conditions for success. These conditions include i) developing clear statements in measurable terms of what the student will do to demonstrate mastery of learning, ii) providing the time and resources needed for each student to attain mastery, and iii) ensuring that students engage in learning at a level which is challenging and yet a level for which each student has the prerequisite skills necessary for success.
We believe in providing an aesthetically pleasing physical surrounding under the charge of a caring staff who believe their students will be successful, and who use time with the students as a resource for learning rather than as a boundary condition to determine when a unit of learning begins and ends. We believe in providing resources such as books, learning materials, and educational technology. In the world today children need to become proficient in the use of computers and related technology as tools to accomplish a myriad of tasks.
Finally we believe in working with parents to encourage our students to adopt qualities of living which lead to success long after formal schooling has ended. These include universally accepted "success orientations" of trustworthiness, kindness/politeness, responsibility, independent endeavor, concern for others, group interaction, and aesthetic appreciation.
Headquarters and Regional Offices
In order to serve and support QSI schools around the globe, QSI maintains numerous offices and administrative regions. Below you can find a list of where these offices are located and their general responsibilities.
QSI World Headquarters moved into its current location in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2003. The following offices are housed there:
- Director of Operations
- Director of Recruiting
- Personnel Coordinator
- Executive Secretary
- Public Relations Coordinator
- Finance Manager
- Technology Coordinators
QSI Regional Supervisors are located in regional locations. Regional supervisors provide guidance and support to designated QSI schools. Specific regions are divided as follows:
- Central Asia
- Caucasus, Balkans, & Turkmenistan
- China/East Asia
- Africa/The Americas
QSS (Quality Schools Services) is located in Wilder, Idaho, USA. QSS provides services for ordering, collection, and shipping of school materials to all QSI schools. The following offices are housed there:
- Vice President
- Shipping Manager
- Shipping Assistants
QSI Resource is located in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The resource department monitors QSI materials and supply orders, coordinates curriculum development, coordinates standardized testing of QSI students, and monitors the Online High School program. Offices include:
- Curriculum Coordinator
- Assistant Curriculum Coordinator
- QSI Accountants
QSI works through Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) toward the accreditation of its schools. Currently, QSI has 24 accredited schools, 4 candidate schools toward accreditation, and 2 registered schools toward accreditation. QSI’s vision is that all its schools will eventually reach full accreditation. All QSI schools are involved in some aspect of preparedness toward accreditation at any given time.
Accreditation provides an external mark of excellence understood by colleges and schools worldwide.
The face of standardized testing has changed and QSI has not been left behind. Following the trend in US education institutions, QSI has adopted the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) computerized adaptive test as its means to provide both initial placement and educational progress data.