In the fall of 2008, the Muslim American Society (MAS) chapter decided to have a Quran memorization program for students who wanted to devote at least four hours a day for that purpose. MAS rented a small office space that was 2500 square feet. The school was called Al Noor Islamic Academy. It was a DBA of MAS Houston Incorporated. The sole purpose of the school was to help students recite correctly and memorize the Holy Quran. The program started with 10 students and then the number increased to 14. Mr. Fady Qaddoura was the main administrator for the school and Dr. Main Alqudah, who has a Ph.D. in Islamic law and the Imam of the MAS Katy Center at that time, led the effort successfully with a few assistants.
The following academic year, 2009-2010, there was a need to expand MAS work in town. Mr. Qaddoura had to supervise other activities in Houston as well. There was a need also to hire a professional educator with a background in education. In the spring of 2009, Dr. Hamed Ghazali joined the school and brought with him a new change. The school curriculum was modified to include all other academic subjects such as Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Physical Education, and Art. After Dr. Ghazali’s changes, the school’s name was changed to Houston Quran Academy (HQA). Since the school was not accredited at that time, Dr. Ghazali worked out another plan to have all the students enroll in an accredited K-12 program while pursuing their studies at HQA. Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA), a charter public school, was the ideal choice for the program. The school leadership discussed the program with the TXVA principal to make sure the program would be done in the correct way. The program was advertised in the local area and soon enrollment reached its full capacity, 40 students.
Certified English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education teachers were hired in addition to the Quran staff. Ms. Shamima Khalid was hired to help as the Assistant Principal; an expanded schedule was made to accommodate the new change, and soon a real school started to appear. The TXVA curriculum was not easy to handle since it was a new curriculum, but with the good experience of our certified teachers, all students at HQA scored highly in their Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test (STAAR’s predecessor). In addition, the students made outstanding achievements in the area of the memorization of the Holy Quran. Ghazali also proposed a new change to Dr. Main, the main person behind the Quran program, to require students to test students in their understanding of the surahs before they are tested in memorization. This new change added depth and another dimension to the Quran memorization program.
The results of all the new modifications, the success gained in academics, and the understanding and memorization of the Holy Quran were remarkable. As a result, the program gained acceptance, acknowledgement, and admiration from a good number of community members. With the popularity of the program, a need to have a bigger space was apparent. A search committee was formed to find a new location for the school. Finally, it was decided to move HQA to MAS Katy Center, which is located on a 10-acre piece of land. Luckily, MAS Katy Center bought two semi-modular buildings (about 7500 square feet each) for temporary use until the main facilities are built. In addition, the Center had a small house that could be used as a daycare building. The Center also had lots of outdoor sports facilities. No doubt, HQA leadership saw that as a great opportunity compared to the tiny small building the school had before.
Though there was a fear that the new location at MAS Katy Center would be too far for the school stakeholders, the distance did not seem to matter that much to parents, as they continued to come in more numbers than before. The enrollment grew from 40 students at the old location, to 100 students at the new location in the first academic year (2010-2011) at the school started at MAS Katy Center, to current day’s 350+ enrollment.
In addition to acquiring the physical facilities, additional teachers, and continued outstanding achievements, HQA has always dedicated itself to accreditation, which is a detailed process that examines all the aspects of how professional the work of the school is. This process is done every five years, and in 2022 HQA renewed its third accreditation with Cognia. The first two were completed with SACS (Cognia’s predecessor) in 2012 and again in 2017. The accreditation committee has always been very impressed by our high academic achievements and our performance in general.