DEARBORN — It’s open enrollment season at Great Revelations Academy, a non-profit Islamic academic institution that offers Arabic and Islamic classes on top of the core subjects to students of different grade levels.
The two-story, 75,000 square foot school, which is located at 6400 Miller Road, next to the Bint Jebail Cultural Center, will be enrolling students from pre-K to ninth grade every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.
A committee working for the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization came up with the plan and ultimately founded the first Al-Mabarrat school of the west in the fall of 2015.
The school is equipped with 24 classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, a prayer hall, science lab, computer lab, gym, cafeteria, kitchen, nurse’s office, a playground and a community events hall.
Fouad Baydoun, one of the institution’s founders, told The AANews that the committee decided to establish the academy to teach Arab American children Arabic and the insights of the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, the founder of the humanitarian organization.
Principal Sheila Bazzi-Charara added that “[the school] follows the same philosophy, mission and vision of Sayed Fadlallah.”
The academy is an approved recipient of khums, an Islamic income tax, which is 20 percent of the remaining yearly income, after all costs have been paid.
Great Revelations has received sanction to collect money for charity and use it to run the academy.
Bazzi-Charara said that due to these generous donors, the tuition is at an affordable rate: $4,000 a year.
Baydoun emphasized that the organization has been granted 501c3 tax exemption status as a non-profit organization.
Bazzi-Charara said all the Great Revelations educators are deemed highly qualified by state standards and the teacher-student ratio is small. She said the average class size is about 15 students per teacher.
With that in mind, in only two years, students at Great Revelations have “excelled and exceeded” state goals, she said.
“There are growth targets that the state sets for students by grade level,” she said, adding that in the first year, more than 80 percent of the student body exceeded state standards, which is now the national standard.
“Right now, I’m projecting to exceed over 80 and Inshallah (God-willing) we’ll get over 90 now,” she said.
If assessment data shows some students at risk, Bazzi-Charara said tutoring is available based on their needs.
The academy offers the same subjects as any other school, but at a rigorous level and with the addition of Islamic studies and Arabic to the core curriculum. Both are taught daily.
Not only is the curriculum higher end, but the instructional practices are in line with what some may look at as advanced. -Prinicpal Sheila Bazzi-Charara
“Not only is the curriculum a higher end curriculum, but the instructional practices that I’ve trained the teachers on are in line with what some may look at as advanced,” she said. “When we have students who are coming in at higher levels, we group them by levels of ability and the teachers differentiate based on the students’ levels.”
Bazzi-Charara added that technology plays a vital role in the education system.
“[Students] associate everything that they are learning in math and science or social studies into the technology,” she said. “So, for example, they’ll create PowerPoint presentations or create a blog or create a website and associate it with whatever their unit is.”
The school also offers both physical education and art classes, as well as afterschool clubs that further students’ development and adds to their distinction.
“The clubs are designed around and tailored to what the students and parents are interested in,” Bazzi-Charara said. “So, we’ve had athletics clubs, we’ve had art club… we’ve had Quran recitation… that happens in sessions.”
One club runs for 10 weeks and then the second takes its place, as part of a cycle.
The academy also plans on securing busing for any students in need of transportation from Dearborn or Dearborn Heights.
“This year, the transportation we have is for about 13 students,” Bazzi-Charara said. “We have a van, but we’re going to be securing a bus so more of the Dearborn Heights students can attend.”
The academy also houses a hall that accommodates up to 2,000 attendees and a parking lot that fits more than 600 vehicles. There are entrances off of both Miller Road and Haggerty Street.
Baydoun said the space is available for any community events. People can reserve it for memorial services, Ashura programs, Ramadan events, fundraising dinners and more.
Bazzi-Charara added that for the time it’s reserved, it becomes theirs, but that the school also hosts its own events.
On June 18, the academy will be holding its Al-Mabarrat Fundraising Ramadan dinner.
For more information about Great Revelations Academy, call: 313-558-4000.