One of NIA’s major academic programs is the Weekend Islamic School (WIS). Every Saturday morning, 150 students (ranging from ages 5-18), 18 volunteer teachers and 12 teacher’s aides meet for sessions. The school is divided into 10 classes; each carefully selected to meet the students’ academic level and age group.
The Education Council’s approach to achieve success within our community is to create a structured educational program, establish positive alternatives and provide a wholesome environment for the youth. The council is working towards standardizing the curriculum for all classes as well as striving to enhance ongoing Teachers Training Sessions.
The National Islamic Association in conjunction with other Muslim Communities has developed a comprehensive vision for our youths that incorporates all relevant dimensions of their personal development and role in society. At the heart of the vision statement is the need to nurture “Conscientious, Practicing Muslims.” The Weekend Islamic School, jointly with the parents and the community at large, has a critical role to play in this process, which is to invest in the foundational religious education of our children.
The National Islamic Association, Inc. has similarly defined the characteristics that a student who graduates from the WIS should possess. By equipping the graduate with core knowledge and analytical tools, the intended outcomes are:
- To develop a sense of identity with his/her beliefs and values to better meet social challenges.
- To provide the intellectual framework and controlled judgment to enable him/her to make considered and informed choices consistent with Islamic spiritual and moral norms.
Role of the Weekend Islamic School
It is a tradition that started very early on, because of the special emphasis placed on acquiring knowledge. The aim of the WIS Program is to provide basic knowledge of Islam to children and youths. This will enable them to practice Islam from an early age. Additionally, this program will assist the participants in their character, attitudes and human decorum.
The WIS Program is divided into different parts with each part subdivided into phases. Participants are required to cover fully, all aspects of the preceding phase before they move on to the other phase and fulfill the requirements of the preceding part before moving on to the next. Throughout the program participants, with encouragement at home, can develop model characteristics and personalities thus gaining confidence in themselves and pride for Islam.
While Islamic education should and, in most cases, does begin at home, it is formally and systematically conducted through the WIS. Thus, the WIS plays a major role in developing the Islamic identity of our children.
All courses taught in the Weekend Islamic School will be based on the Qur’an and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sws) and His Companions. Admission is open to all Muslims who are five years of age or older.
The process of admission involves filling out an enrollment form, an emergency card, and paying the appropriate fees. Parents and students are also required to read the Weekend Islamic School Handbook and sign the Tripartite Partnership Agreement. Prospective students will then be assessed and placed in an appropriate class.The Administrator has the right to refuse admission to any applicant, but will explain the reasons for his/her decision. The Administrator also has the ultimate authority of deciding the class in which the student should be placed.