As we move toward the spring I wanted to bring to your attention a number of signature programs that King’s offers. Each represents an extraordinary learning opportunity for students, and I hope you will encourage your children to engage in them.
One of our goals is to encourage independent, self-directed learning. This requires a breadth, richness and diversity of program – multiple opportunities for engagement so that our students have ample choice to define their own interests and passions, explore the world, and deepen their experience.
Here are seven non-required opportunities for engagement that I believe every student should consider doing before they graduate from King’s:
Sign up for a course from the Global Online Academy (GOA). Every student at King’s should graduate with an expanded range of academic interests that reflect their individuality and future aspirations. Since its founding in 2011, 160 students at King’s have taken over 30 different GOA courses. Rick Shaw, the dean of admissions at Stanford University, recently wrote that “GOA is special in that they allow curious young people to explore what they’re passionate about by learning with a spectacular teacher and other, equally interesting young adults.” Click here to see the rest of Mr. Shaw’s letter. Interested students should contact King’s GOA Site Director Wen Yu, or Dean of Academic Affairs Mazen Jarrar.
Take AP Capstone Seminar. No course at the school offers better preparation for the kinds of thinking and challenges that await our graduates at University and the professional world than AP Capstone. Initially developed by educators at the College Board and Cambridge University, it has been endorsed by Columbia University, Georgetown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale University, the University of California – Berkeley, Princeton University and the University of Chicago, among many others. This issue-centered course investigate a small number of questions in great depth, provides opportunities for independent research, and emphasizes the skills of critical problem solving, collaboration and public presentation. AP Capstone has been recognized for its rigor and excellence in 60 countries throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.
Each year we have many students visit King’s from Round Square schools throughout the world on short term exchanges. We also provide for our students outgoing summer exchanges. Over the past three years and during this coming summer students will attend highly regarded Round Square Schools in Singapore, South Africa, Peru, Argentina, India and Australia. Interested students should contact Salwa Manaja in our Round Square Office.
Last year for the first time, we created a summer institute for rising seniors. Led by our university counseling team, the purpose of the Summer Institute is to better prepare – and position – our students for the university process, educate students about the extraordinary range of opportunities available to graduates of a school like King’s, and help them manage what, we know, can be an overwhelming process. The Summer Institute, in which our counselors work individually with each student, allows students to get a jump start on the writing of their college applications and begin writing college essays. I know of no other school that offers a program like this to its students, and the feedback from students and families on this institute has been overwhelmingly positive. This year we will also offer an SAT component. The institute is free of charge. Last year almost 80 percent of our rising seniors attended one of two summer sessions. Hala Salah, our director of university counseling, will be sending out more information about this soon.
Designed for disadvantaged students from throughout the kingdom, SEP has served some 500 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from across Jordan since its founding in the summer of 2006. Teaching is a powerful – perhaps the most powerful – form of learning. SEP offers King’s students an extraordinary opportunity for leadership and learning. Students work alongside our faculty and serve as mentors, teachers and coaches to young students.
Hundreds of King’s students have lent a hand building homes, schools and playgrounds throughout Jordan – in Madaba, Mukhaybeh, Ghor Safi, and Ajloun – as well as in Palestine. Habitat seeks to eliminate poverty, improve living conditions for low-income families and provide opportunities for upward mobility.
Our boarding program may be the single most powerful element of our educational program, and no aspect of our program more fully embodies His Majesty’s vision for the school than its residential program. The advantages of boarding are many, and they are grounded in the best research about how young people learn and mature. In my next letter, I will outline why every student at King’s should board for at least a full year.