George Washington Academy Association has been at work bridging cultures and creating opportunities through education since 1994 where it existed as an Association Etrangère à But Non-Lucratif. It was created under the name Global Coopération Universitaire, and the name was changed to Global Education in December 2001. Through innovative new projects and by partnering with businesses, associations and individuals who share our values, new educational opportunities have been provided to a generation of Moroccans and North Americans.
Historically, the George Washington Academy Association helped to bring the Internet to Morocco by co-sponsoring the First Internet Days in Morocco conference. It hosted the Semester at Sea visits to Morocco from 1995-2010. Four annual scholarships were created in 1996 which enabled thirteen Moroccan students to participate in the program. Both SHRH King Mohammed VI and HRH Prince Moulay Rachid have visited Semester at Sea ships and met with students.
The George Washington Academy opened its GWA Casablanca campus in 1998, with the objective to serve the Casablanca metropolitan area, equipping minds and building character in a K-12 American school environment. In 2014, the Association’s name was changed to George Washington Academy to reflect it’s largest ongoing project.
GWA PK-12 Casablanca Campus
GWA opened in 1998 with 52 students; today we have more than 880 students from 39 nationalities taught in our purpose-built campus by a majority of North American instructional staff. GWA received full accreditation by Middles States Association in 2009. We were fully re-accredited in 2016. We are the largest American School in Morocco and one of the largest in North Africa. To date, we have more than 350 graduates who have been accepted to more than 170 universities worldwide.
George Washington Academy is a not-for profit institution that is recognized by both the Moroccan and United States governments as an American school.
GWA was founded by Jack Rusenko, an American who loved Morocco and its people. His bold vision was to start a private school that would provide not only a well-rounded education but also a school focused on values and respecting beliefs. It was through his vision that GWA was begun with its unique focus on excellence, tri-lingual instruction and character development. George Washington Academy opened its doors in September of 1998 with classes from preschool through 4th grade, plus a combined 7th/8th grade class. After starting the first year in a villa, the school moved to a new school building in the neighborhood of the sports complexes near Anfa airport. In September of 2005, GWA moved to our new five-hectare purpose-built facility, which is located just outside of Casablanca’s city limits. The first two phases of construction have been completed and include: two classroom wings with more than sixty classrooms, two science labs, an Art room, a multi-purpose auditorium/cafeteria, temporary administrative offices, a library; computer labs and teacher housing for foreign-hired staff. Sports facilities in this first phase were fully completed including: a six lane 400m track, a full-length soccer field, outside basketball courts and locker room/shower facilities. When subsequent construction phases are completed, the school will include an 800 m2 (8600 ft2) library, multiple computer labs, more sports facilities and administrative offices.
1998 – 1999
GWA rented a large villa in the Oasis neighborhood of Casablanca which was modified by Mr. Ahmed Jamai to be able to serve as a school building. There were a total of 99 students in 6 classes (K3, K4, K5, 1st -2nd grade, 3rd -5th grade and 7th -8th grade). Global I.E. USA (Global Involvement Through Education is a United States non-profit organization 501(c)(3).) raised the necessary startup capital and donated it to GWA.
1999 – 2000
GWA rented a newly remodeled school building in the Cité l’A.I.A neighborhood of Casablanca and increased its size to 196 students in 12 classes (K3, 2-K4’s, 2-K5’s, 2-1st grades, 2nd grade, 3rd -4th grade, 5th grade, 6th -7th grade and 8th -9th grade).
2000 – 2001
Several new administrative positions were added as well as additional buildings for PE and a computer lab. There were 288 students in 15 classes (an additional 2nd grade and a 9th-10th grade were added). There was one graduate who completed a modified self study program.
2001 – 2002
An Upper School Principal and Human Resources Director were added to the staff. There were 330 students in 15 classes (additional classes were added as well as an 11th grade). The K-3 class was dropped due to lack of space. There was one graduate who completed modified self study programs.
2002 – 2003
An additional villa across the street from the main building was rented for the Upper School and administration. An Information Technology Director was added to the staff. There were 409 students in 17 classes (additional classes were added as well as a 12th grade). GWA saw its first class graduate with 9 students. Money was raised from GWA parents and Global I.E. USA to purchase land for a purpose-built facility. 5.1 hectares of land were purchased in September, 2002.
2003 – 2004
Two additional villas across the street from the main building were rented for the Kindergarten and Middle School. There were 450 students in 20 classes (additional classes were added to some grades). There were 4 graduates from High School. A full time Building Project Manager was added and a building permit was obtained for the permanent site. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in February 2004.
2004 – 2005
There were 505 students in 21 classes (an additional 6th grade class was added). Several additional administrative positions were added and the library expanded to a total of 17,000 books. Construction was underway for the permanent campus. There were 7 graduates from High School.
2005 – 2006
The first school buildings on the new campus were completed in September 2005. Classes were first held in the new campus on September 21, 2005. The new facilities included 35 classrooms, a multipurpose building with a 45 foot long stage, an industrial kitchen for food service, temporary administrative offices which will later serve as Industrial Arts and Home Economics areas, a library and computer lab. Also completed were 18 apartments in 3 buildings for foreign-hired staff and their families. Enrollment reached 516 students. GWA was accepted as a candidate for accreditation. There were 8 graduates from High School.
2006 – 2007
With enrollment reaching an all time high of 570, our new facilities were near capacity. Staff increased allowing us to improve course offerings for our Upper School students. Completion of a 400 meter track and soccer field were the main focus for grounds improvement for the year. The new parent organization “Better Together” helped parents and staff members work together more effectively. George Washington Academy developed curricular standards in all major content areas and improved its philosophy of education in anticipation of the accreditation process with Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Mr. Andy Dias, the GWA Director for its first nine years, left at the end of the school year. There were 20 graduates from High School.
Enrollment continued to climb to a new high of 597 students. The facilities were increasingly cramped and were at maximum capacity. Dr. Eric Crane started his tenure as GWA’s second Director. There were 28 graduates from High School.
A major fundraising effort was undertaken which raised over $2 million for the new High School wing, which was operational in September, 2008. The 646 students were more easily accommodated with the addition of the new academic wing. A full time Director of Recruiting was added to the staff. Jack Rusenko stepped down as the Chair of the School Board. The final accreditation visit from Middle States was held in April, 2009. They recommended GWA for full accreditation with no stipulations. There were 31 graduates from High School.
GWA started the year with 687 students from 31 different countries. A Director of Curriculum and Instruction was added to the staff. Deborah MacArthur started her tenure as GWA’s second Chair of the School Board. The full Elementary playground was completed and in service for the opening of the school year. 30 students graduated. We proudly obtained the full accreditation from Middle States on December 1st, 2009.
With Accreditation complete, GWA begins a new era of internal excellence in academics, leadership, and teacher recruiting. High School Seniors begin the highly regarded Capstone program. GWA establishes the After School Programs for all ages providing additional sports, arts, music, crafts and homework clubs. The Parents’ Association, Better Together, coordinates a significant campus improvement by providing a sun shield for students to stay healthy and comfortable in front of GWA.
With the hiring of David Welling as Head of School, GWA begins to establish itself as the leader in educational excellence in the region. GWA enrollment is at its highest level with 691 students from 36 countries. GWA graduates its largest class of 45 students from eight countries. GWA is formally included in the American-Moroccan Bilateral Agreement as one of the five recognized American Schools in Morocco. Professional Development Days were calendared for all instructional staff. Business Leaders Roundtable was started as a way to connect education with the corporate world. Student Leadership programs like Collegiate School and (MUN) Model United Nations began to take root. A New logo was created, with enhanced branding.
David Welling continues as Head of School with Scott Douglass as Chief of Operations. Enrollment continues to be healthy with strong trends within the academic administration and signs of a school that is gaining positive momentum in academics, athletics and the arts. An 18 month process for self study and reaccreditation with MSA using the (EbD) Excellence by Design instrument and protocols begins. A master site plan complete with Gym, Swimming Pool and an added cafeteria is drafted to show the model when completed. Graduating classes averaging 45 students each year, qualifying for university and college scholarship money exceeding $1.6M per year. GWA continues to establish itself as the regional leader in PK-12 education. Implementation of the MSA strategic action plans begins in the fall of 2016. The Library Media Tech Center project launches in August 2016 in order to complete the front of the campus. This LMTC comes equipped with an elevator which provides full wheelchair access to every educational space on campus. The governing board adds new members and increases capacity.