Originally Posted by TallyHo
ASD is the oldest American school in Dubai and has an established academic reputation, not to mention a lovely brand new campus (quite possibly the nicest school campus in Dubai). ASD, despite its name, serves both American and Canadian students.
It is expensive compared to the other American schools, but it's well worth the tuition money. Why? Of all the American curriculum schools, it's the only actual non-profit school and functions more like a private school in the US. It's exempt from having to comply with the meddlesome local educational authorities, which is a nice advantage, and all monies from the tuition goes right back into the school.
All the other American curriculum schools are owned by some company, usually GEMS, and as a result they are considered for-profit schools, which means at the end of the day the owners need to make a profit, even if it means cutting back on resources and salaries. ASD doesn't face that pressure and has a very established roster of teachers and administrators rather than the revolving door rosters of teachers at most other international schools in Dubai.
As for an international curriculum vs an American curriculum - most of the international schools in Dubai tend to follow the UK curriculum, and to be honest, you're better off placing your children in the curriculum standard of the country they expect to move on to after you leave Dubai (back to the US? Stay in the US curriculum). On the high school level you do have a choice versus a traditional AP-based curriculum or the IB curriculum, but your children are years away from having to make that decision.
In terms of a diverse, international feel, every school in Dubai is going to have that. While ASD will be dominated by US and Canadian families, many of those families are actually dual-citizenship with another country, such as Lebanese-American, Indian-Canadian, and so forth. Dubai American Academy is more "international" on paper, but at the end of the day I don't think it makes much of a difference.
Ultimately, if you have a place at ASD, take it. In general, there's only two American curriculum schools in Dubai I'd be comfortable with - ASD and the for-profit Dubai American Academy. There's several other American curriculum schools that have opened up in the past few years but which aren't quite proven - yet.