During their high school years, young people develop cognitive skills that allow them to reason and think abstractly. Although, as learners, they still need to understand the purpose and relevance of instructional activities, they require fewer concrete examples to understand complex thoughts.
At Toobaa Academy, we have prepared our students to succeed in high school. None of our girls have developed cognitive barriers because of academic failure or lack or self-confidence since our educational philosophy in both elementary and middle school has never allowed for imposing censure during the learning process, nor have we discouraged any enthusiasm for pursuing specific subjects of interest.
Instead, we have preserved their self-esteem and nurtured learning for learning’s sake in the spirit of John C. Holt. At the same time, we do encourage academic excellence by offering rigorous AP and Honors courses. Our girls are well-prepared to take REGENTS, SAT, ACT examinations and prepare applications to send to top colleges, and they each receive counseling about career opportunities.
We also give our girls opportunities to learn foreign languages other than English and Arabic (such as Russian, Japanese and Spanish) to broaden their understanding of the world, and we encourage them to participate in competitive sports so that they will have a well-balanced educational experience.
During their high school years, our girls experience the spiritual benefits of fasting – not only during the Holy month of Ramadhan, but also on Mondays and Thursdays and on the 13th, 14th, 15th of each month. Fasting is ideal for teenage girls as it curbs sensual desires, which are heightened during this phase of their physical growth. It also helps them to resist peer pressure and the influence of social media and other distracting influences.
We also encourage our students to practice the Qiyamul Layl (prayers at night) because of its tremendous benefits to their spiritual development. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said: “You should pray Qiyam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” [At-Tirmithi and Ahmad].
It is through the devotional acts of fasting and night praying that our students begin to build a strong connection to the Creator. We present Mary as the ideal role model for our girls. She is the embodiment of ‘the perfect woman’ and the personification of piety and beauty. Mary had the ability to communicate with the Creator at a very personal and spiritual level; to fast regularly; to preserve her chastity; and to be patient. Most importantly, she was chosen to be the virgin mother of Jesus, the Messiah.
In High School, our students are given the opportunity to spend time away from home and the distractions from city life at our Spiritual Retreats in Virginia. It is here that they can spend time alone in nature and contemplate the spiritual world. They enjoy the experience of bonding with horses; looking up at the sky and seeing the moon, and stars; smelling the fresh air; and listening to the beautiful sounds of the creatures that share our world. When our girls graduate, they will not only take the knowledge they have gained and the memories they have gathered in Toobaa Academy, but they also will be well prepared to make a profound difference in society and bring about positive changes to our expanding world.