Last month, King’s Academy launched the first online version of its Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), the school’s long-running community outreach program, which usually takes place during the summer break. The program identifies talented students from around the country in grades six through eight who, for three consecutive summers, spend two weeks at King’s to develop their skills in English and information technology.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of last summer’s installment of the program, the school decided to find an alternative way to connect with its SEP students. Accessibility was a major consideration, according to SEP Director Salwa Manaja, as around 80 percent of SEP students live outside of Amman in towns and cities around the country, and many lack regular access to laptops or smartphones, or do not have stable internet connections.
Despite these challenges, the online SEP pilot project launched in November with 30 eighth grade students — who had already participated in one summer of SEP — joining 10 students and five teachers from King’s for lessons in English and math twice a week on Zoom and Google Classrooms. Each King’s student was responsible for guiding five to eight SEP students through the lesson material and assisting them with homework.
Although the online version cannot offer many aspects of the summer program, such as boarding, sports and other in-person activities, Manaja believes SEP Online has provided a welcome opportunity for the SEP students to connect with each other and their volunteer teachers as well as immerse themselves in an interesting educational program.
“Our aim was to connect with the kids, create this channel and get them comfortable with online technologies,” says Manaja, who expects the online program to resume in the spring semester. “It was a really good pilot project.”