Founded in 1952, our school has quite an extensive history as was chronicled so nicely by local writer for Destination Jeddah magazine Bassma Al Toaimi:
“The American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) has come a long way since it was founded in 1952. It all started in 1945, when King Abdul Aziz received a DC-3 aircraft as a gift from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This gift led to the development of a civil aviation, the beginning of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and a signed contract with Trans World Airlines (TWA) to manage the the development of the Saudi airline. The signing of the contract brought with it many American and European job opportunities and led to the arrival of many expatriates entering the city (of Jeddah). The lack of a formal American curriculum school in Jeddah was an issue TWA employees faced because they needed schools for their children. Parents then formed the Parents Cooperative School (PCS, founded in 1952), in which they volunteered to teach students using a home school curriculum. When the expatriate community kept expanding, the school noticed rapid growth, and therefore went from a villa to a mini school campus on the TWA compound (by the old Jeddah Airport #2 in 1959 and built a new facility in Al-Ruwais District in 1968. With Raytheon’s help a north campus began in 1976 and was appropriately named North Campus School (NCS).
By 1985 the school changed their name to SAUDIA - Saudi Arabian International School (SAUDIA – SAIS) when Saudi Arabian Airlines took control from TWA of the school and by the year 2000-2001 it had its first 12th grade graduation. Our school became the first international school in Jeddah that had a diploma program. The school changed its name to the American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) in 2004, after Saudia officially announced that they would no longer continue their sponsorship of the school due to their need to focus solely on the airline business. AISJ started in 1952 with just 40 students in a house, and now has over 1,230 students.”
—Al Toaimi, Bassma. “60 Years and Counting." Destination Jeddah Mag., 03 Dec. 2012.
Our AISJ school is what it is today because of our belief in and commitment to building and maintaining a caring partnership between the hard-working, ambitious and determined staff, parents, Board and alumni. We recently celebrated our 64th anniversary and continue to grow each year with an expected 2016-17 enrollment of 1250 students. Several new classrooms and a new multi-purpose building have been added in recent years to accommodate this growth but we are at capacity and short of rooms. We plan to move to a new campus located 4 KM north of the current AISJ (formerly NCS) in 2018. The new campus will have a capacity of 1750.
Our Mission Statement was one of the products of a year-long strategic planning effort in 2015-16 that included efforts of over 120 school community members. The Board of Trustees approved our Strategic Plan in May of 2016 which includes our new Mission Statement:
“Our mission is to inspire and facilitate learners through an authentic American education in order to nurture their passion for knowledge, so they may pursue their dreams and become successful global citizens.”
AISJ is known as a school that has a positive, safe and caring environment where students enjoy coming to school. Academics are important but with a focus on academic performance, our students enjoy and have fun while learning. The relationship we build with our students extends beyond the years they are actively enrolled at the school. We keep in touch with our graduates and our alumni are extremely important assets to our school because they represent the past and future of AISJ. In 2014, we formally launched an alumni program with the hiring of an Alumni and PR Coordinator, Lyra Hardy, former AISJ (PCS/NCS) student. Our AISJ Alumni Facebook Page is active and joins together thousands of Alumni located around the world.
One of the many projects for the Alumni Association is the AISJ Stories Project, in which students, staff, and alumni will be able to record and share personal stories and experiences they had with the school. Many benefits come along with this project, including getting back in touch with your circle of friends and teachers from school, and reliving your experiences. The association also plans to provide AISJ students with scholarships, financial support to the school, and highlight distinguished alumna/alumnus at an annual commencement and on an “Alumni Wall of Fame” to be located in our new school.
We work tirelessly to ensure that students graduate from our school knowing that they have been well prepared to face life as they move to colleges and universities around the world to pursue their dreams and become successful global citizens. AISJ alumni create a platform from which they can support and inspire other AISJ students and alumni.