Academic Benefits of Language Learning at Noor International Academy

A focus on culture and foreign language learning elevates Noor International Academy to an ‘academic powerhouse.’ Learn how students succeed here.

Educators know the academic benefits of learning a language at a young age. Young students who learn a second language build a foundation for lifelong success. At Noor International Academy (NIA) in Sterling Heights, all students learn to read and write in Arabic and English.

Students benefit academically at this preK-6 school — and it shows.

“Noor is an academic powerhouse,” says Dr. Ali Bazzi, president and superintendent of schools with Hamadeh Educational Services. NIA is one of four schools in the group, and each is a charter public school.

What Do Students Learn at Noor International Academy

“All of our charter schools follow the Michigan Department of Education’s Common Core standards. We are no different from traditional public schools when it comes to these standards,” Bazzi says. “But how we do that — there’s where we become innovators.”

How does Noor International Academy support academic success?

At NIA, small class sizes and small groups help students succeed. Paraprofessionals in each classroom work individually with students or in small groups to support learning. “Every classroom has a smart board, every student has a Chromebook. We’re utilizing Google Classrooms,” he says. 

Every child has a planner and learns how to use it. At the end of each day, teachers guide the students to review what they’ve learned. They also note in their planners any upcoming assignments. 

Students benefit from taking responsibility for their learning, says Bazzi. 

“What happens when they are 12 or 15 and don’t know how to organize their day?” he says. He remembers learning how to compose a letter and address an envelope in third grade. He is proud that students at NIA are learning similar skills.

“These are responsibilities, I think, if we can embed early on, helps them long term.”

Students can attend NIA’s after school Academic Competency Program with certified teachers who are skilled at helping students get up to speed in English and math. 

What is the academic benefit of language learning at NIA?

Learning a new language is a hallmark of academic programming at NIA. “We’re following best practices. Research shows that kids learning music, learning another language early on, it sparks something in the brain. Whether it’s creativity, problem solving or looking at things differently,” Bazzi says. 

Many students who attend NIA already have a background in Arabic. Continuing language learning in the classroom solidifies what they learned at home — which is a benefit to the entire family.

Cultural Festivities at Noor International Academy
Photo Credit: Noor International Academy

“The dinner conversation is going to be a mix of both,” says Bazzi. When Arabic is spoken at home and students learn more about the language, parents and students support each other.

“Ultimately, parents are going to help their students read. Students are going to help their parents. The students are learning a foreign language and learning about the culture,” he says.

When students learn in two different languages, it’s a “recipe for success,” says Bazzi.

How does learning about international cultures help each student?

In addition to high academic performance, students at NIA prepare to succeed in a global economy. Cultural and language proficiency gives them a competitive edge. Former students have gone on to represent their cultures in high-level international organizations, says Bazzi.

Because students at NIA are learning about international cultures, they’re developing a stronger sense of belonging.

“Cultural anthropologists will tell you that linguistics is so important to one’s culture and who you are. So we want to make sure students understand it early on,” Bazzi says.

How does NIA help families find the right educational fit?

Charter schools in Michigan like NIA offer parents and families choices to find the right educational fit for their child. 

“If my daughter wants to go to a charter school or if my son wants to go to a traditional public school and they feel that’s where they best fit, let’s do it,” says Bazzi. He invites parents to see for themselves what charter schools have to offer. 

What makes NIA stand out, he says, is the care and respect that educators extend to every child in the school.

Hamadeh Educational Services Support to Noor International Academy

“The No. 1 sentence that every parent has heard — and I know they believe it because of our retention — is that we treat their children like our own. That’s our No. 1 model,” says Bazzi, inviting parents to be involved in their child’s education. 

“Education doesn’t stop when the bell rings. And we know that children feel that this is their second home and that they can feel comfortable. They can be themselves.”

Noor International Academy is a PK-6 charter public school located in Sterling Heights. NIA is authorized by Central Michigan University. Learn more at The Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Metro Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.

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