the north face base camp duffel Curriculum approved for American Muslim school
NORTH ANDOVER The school committee unanimously approved the curriculum of the proposed American Muslim Preparatory Academy at its meeting Thursday night, a major development in the high school’s plans to open in North Andover.
All five committee members voted in favor of the plan, which had been presented to them by Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson at the Feb. 26 meeting. According to Massachusetts state law, any private school must have its curriculum approved by the town school committee.
Members of the group behind the high school were in attendance for Thursday, including Taymullah Abdur Rahman, who identified himself before the committee as the principal of the American Muslim Preparatory Academy.
Prior to the start of the meeting, Abdur Rahman said he was “very excited” about possibly opening the high school in town.
“This (North Andover) is a great place, and from what I understand, their school system is a little overcrowded right now,” he said. “Maybe we bring some of those student to our school. We’re looking to attract all kinds of students. Everyone is welcome.”
A teacher at the Islamic Academy for Peace in Methuen, Abdur Rahman highlighted some of the school’s plans before the committee.
The committee listened intently to Abdur Rahman’s pitch without much discussion. Member David Torrisi expressed his concern over the fact the school has not found a location within town to operate yet. Abdur Rahman said the group had “debated” on finding a space before seeking approval, but ultimately decided to present its curriculum first.
“We’re still in the process of looking,” Abdur Rahman said. “We’ve been working with some real estate agents to find a space.”
The group had been working with Hutchinson to create a curriculum similar to those within the North Andover Public Schools system. Along with himself, Hutchinson said North Andover High School Principal Carla Scuzzarella had reviewed the curriculum.
After voting for the plan, Torrisi mentioned the committee had received “some questions” from residents concerning the school. He recommended to Abdur Rahman that he and the rest of the group return once they know for sure they will be working in town.
“Once you have a location,
I suggest you guys come back and check in,” Torrisi said. “There can be lots of misconceptions out there, so I think it would be good just to keep people informed.”
According to its curriculum, students at the American Muslim Preparatory Academy would need 135 credits to graduate, taking classes ranging from trigonometry and computer technology, to religious studies and Quranic Arabic. Abdur Rahman also mentioned working with Northern Essex Community College to give students the opportunity to take college level courses.
Since news of the school became public, Abdur Rahman said he has received “tremendous” feedback from local residents on the project. He said the Merrimack Valley boasts a large Muslim population, including individuals from Turkey, Morocco and Pakistan.
While he admits a lot of work remains to be done, Abdur Rahman said he believes the American Muslim Preparatory Academy will sufficiently serve the growing Muslim population in the area and Greater Boston.
“There is a need for a kind of American approach to Islamic education that hasn’t been available at this point,” Abdur Rahman said. “So many people have been receptive to this idea, and we know we can do this.”
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