Al-Hamra Academy on South Street has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. It is the first Islamic school in New England to have that distinction.

Sadia Khan, principal and a founder, said being accredited means a lot to students, staff and the Muslim community of more than 2,000 in Central Massachusetts.

“Now we are recognized as any other public or private school in the area,” Mrs. Khan said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It means a lot in that sense for students because this will give them more credibility to get transferred to other schools.”

Mrs. Khan and others started the school in 1994 in Northboro in cramped quarters on two floors of an office building at 203 Southwest Cutoff (Route 20). The school began with 19 pupils in kindergarten through Grade 3, but quickly outgrew the space. In 2003, the school moved to the former Knights of Columbus hall at 435 South St. in Shrewsbury.

Al-Hamra now has more than 152 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. They are from Shrewsbury, Worcester, Northboro, Westboro, Boylston, Grafton, Sterling, Marlboro, Hudson, Chelmsford, Milford and Newton.

Mrs. Khan said there are seven Islamic schools in New England, with five in Massachusetts, including the prekindergarten through eighth grade Alhuda Academy at 243 East Mountain St. in the Worcester Islamic Center. Al-Hamra was the second Islamic school in New England when it opened. The first was the Sister Clara Muhammed Academy in Boston. (MORE)


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