Grade 9 and Grade 10 at Al Manarat High School

Note: This blog is a continuation of the themes discussed in an earlier blog post (A Vision Turned to Reality, published on 15th Nov). If you haven’t read our previous blog yet, we’d recommend that you proceed to read that one first and then come back to this one, to get a better understanding of our overall journey and vision.

We can all agree that high school is an exceptional time in our teenage children’s lives. It is around this time in their lives that they undergo puberty and go through hundreds of changes in their bodies: physically, mentally, and emotionally. In other words, it is when they begin their one-way transition from being young boys and girls to becoming adult men and women. It is also around this time that they are bursting with endless energy to never miss out on anything. They are full of innocent enthusiasm to quickly grow up and experience adulthood or are simply optimistic and a tad bit anxious of learning what the future holds for them. With so much happening, it wouldn’t be wrong then, to say, that it is one of the most important phases of their lives. 

At Al Manarat High School, we deeply understand the complex intricacies of this phase of our students’ lives and commit ourselves to play the role of a ‘guiding light’ for them. As a premier Islamic school in Mississauga, we aim to fulfil our commitment to our students through our exceptionally sculpted OSSD curriculum that is deeply infused with Islam and its ever-relevant teachings. Over the course of 4 years at Al Manarat High School, our students will go through highly pertinent and up-to-date education on all the core subjects (required to earn the OSSD). The unique element here is that they will go through some of this educational material with an Islamic lens. 

In its first year of existence (2021), Grade 9 has commenced with the following course offering: English, Math, Science, Geography, French, Physical Education, Food and Nutrition, Information and Communication Technology in Business, and Sacred Arabic. The primary goal of this course offering is to garner an appreciation for a wide array of subjects that are all considered essential to the students’ higher educational foundations. In other words, students will engage in building essential knowledge in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and learn how to lead healthier lives through understanding the importance of food, nutrition, and physical education. While they accumulate all this wealth of knowledge and information, we also want them to be able to articulate well and express themselves artfully. That’s where our language courses come into play. We want our students to communicate flawlessly in both English and French and use their Sacred Arabic skills to learn and understand the message of the Holy Quran in its original language. Overall, these languages will play a significant role in their lives and enable them to become productive contributors in their communities. It is no surprise that almost all the highly successful people both today, and in the past, have had extraordinary communication skills, including our blessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 

InshaAllah in its first year of existence (2022), Grade 10 will continue to build upon all the earlier mentioned foundational concepts learnt in Grade 9. Based on our approach of ‘Beyond AP (Advanced Placements)’ we believe that our students will have a reasonable amount of spare time interspersed throughout their academic year to learn important life-skills. These skills will be taught to them through the concepts of entrepreneurial education. It will allow the students to approach and learn skills required in the real-world, beginning with personal finances: earning, spending, saving, and investing. As an integral part of the curriculum, we will have our students build entrepreneurial ventures, which they will learn to operate successfully as well as learn about exit-strategies. Our Grade 10 students will also tap into their creativity by learning about the principles of media production and good design. They will use these principles for creating marketing collateral for their entrepreneurial ventures. Other life-skills such as good kitchen skills, meal planning, personal safety, staying fit mentally and physically, as well as taking more responsibility of themselves, and their families, shall be taught to our students throughout the year. By the end of Grade 10, we believe that our students will be more than capable to take on the challenges of Grades 11 and 12, followed by university education.

Being an Islamic school, 100% of the educational activities imparted will revolve around an Islamic backdrop that will keep our students grounded in the realities of this temporary world and the permanent Hereafter. Just as they will navigate through their days at school gaining worldly knowledge, they will also start their days with the remembrance of Allah (SWT) (azkaars) in the morning assembly. They will fortunately find themselves praying the afternoon (duhr) prayers with their friends and colleagues in congregation (jama’a) every day, which is not possible in a public school or a catholic school. The religion of Islam will be a part-and-parcel of everything the students will do at school and the Islamic lenses with which they will interact with the world will allow them to appreciate everything much intentionally.

Through the writing of this blog, an attempt was made to present our vision and objectives for our high school in some details, but it is just that, an attempt. If our blog has piqued your interest and you find yourself curious to learn more about our grades 9 and 10, or would like to provide constructive feedback, we’d be delighted to have a conversation with you. Please get in touch with us through any of our several communication channels (Facebook, Instagram, Website, Phone, and Email). 

A Vision Turned to Reality

Everything starts with a vision, followed by a defined mission, that is generally coupled with a vivid imagination. But what comes even before all that is the intention to simply act, or in our case, the act of ‘teaching’. Having gained the knowledge and education of the Islamic deen, our Founder and President Mrs. Nasreen Ali thought that the best way to act on her newly gained knowledge was to pay it forward. She did so by teaching the deen to the adults and the children of her community. She wanted to illuminate and enlighten the young hearts and minds with the miracles of the Quran and imbue the true awe of our Creator, Allah (SWT).

One thing led to another and that simple act of teaching others in the community propelled our Founder on a lifelong journey of teaching and learning, that would successfully be undertaken through the banner of Al Manarat Islamic School in Mississauga, ON. Over the years, she had realized that to truly retain the Islamic identity of her community who are navigating through their mundane daily lives, a few concrete steps were needed in the right direction.

With Allah (SWT)’s blessings and guidance, her gradual but impactful teaching turned into significant positive achievements for the community. The Al Manarat Heights Islamic School began inculcating an Islamic education and Islamic values to the younger generation alongside the conventional Ontario provincial education. The goal was to educate them in the worldly sciences but also keeping them steadfast on the deen, by forging a strong dual identity as proud Muslim-Canadians.

However, being as it was, Al Manarat Heights Islamic School could only support the community’s needs till Grade 8 and had to bid adieu to their cherished grade 8 students at the end of every Academic Year. While it was desired that these children had attained a solid footing as Muslim-Canadians when they graduated out; the overall endeavor seemed a bit insufficient, and it simply felt that we were letting these children and their parents down. It was felt that after having achieved so much in both, Islamic etiquettes as well as the conventional education, these young children were being pushed into an uncertain abyss of public schools, catholic schools, etc. The ambiguity of whether these children would be wrongly influenced by their peers at such a tender age or if they would remain steadfast on their Islamic foundations learnt at Al Manarat, was just getting too burdensome to shoulder.

This lingering afterthought pushed our senior leadership and other stakeholders to come up with alternatives to this post-grade 8 situation. After a long couple of years of fruitful discussions and deliberations with the local community: the parents, and the teachers alike, we are now ecstatic to extend Al Manarat’s vision into a full-fledged high school in Mississauga, starting from this Academic year of 2021-22. While it is probably a highly intuitive decision to start a high school that catered to our current grade 8 student population, it was also the hardest decision taken by our Founder and senior leadership team. Just as everything else under the Al Manarat Islamic Schools umbrella, our high school was also expected to be unlike any other Islamic high school in the province of Ontario. This expectation in and of itself created a tremendous challenge for our senior leadership to rise to the occasion and conquer them.

In response to the daunting challenge at hand, our senior leadership team envisioned that the Al Manarat Islamic High School will serve the dual purposes of: (i) building upon the Islamic foundations in our students (attained through their younger years at Al Manarat Heights or other Islamic schools) and (ii) molding them into highly talented, exceptional, caring, and contributing members of the society. We have designed a state-of-the-art curriculum for our high school students that takes them through four years of exceptional and out-of-the-box educational experiences. This curriculum is designed taking cues from the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). While he was sent down to earth as a mercy to all of mankind, he was also the greatest leader and the humblest human being to have ever existed. As Muslims, we aspire to emulate his character and that is truly the basis of our high school curriculum. At the end of their 4 years at Al Manarat High School, we envision our students to have sound academic knowledge, social astuteness, Islamic morality and values, a great sense of practicality and reason, and a true spirit of kindness for others. While these are all well-intentioned and innovative concepts being used to create an extraordinary Islamic high school, these are not devoid of flaws and limitations. However, as Muslims, we believe that actions are judged by their intentions and our intentions are to work progressively year after year until we achieve excellence.

To achieve these lofty objectives, we have already began investing in a qualified teaching faculty that will enable our students at each step and guide them in the right direction. We have spent a lot of time and effort in developing our course curriculum that has now passed inspections by the Ontario provincial educational officers with exceptionally positive commentary. We have also procured a separate new wing in the current school premises, with the necessary infrastructure and minor renovations are currently underway to bring it up to par with industry standards.

Over the next several weeks, our current and prospective students and their parents will have ample opportunities to interact with our senior management and teaching staff, to explore the course curriculum, or to simply get answers to questions on any of the aforementioned concepts, before making informed and educated decisions regarding their children’s educational future. Inquiries into our high school can be made through all our communication channels and our team is ready to engage in conversations.

Alhumdulillah, we are proud of our journey thus far, and are inshaAllah extremely hopeful of a bright future ahead where we see our students take on the world as leaders of their local communities of Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, and others, as well as innovators and contributors in their broader societies.