King’s unveils exciting new course on water issues

King’s Academy students will have the option of choosing an exciting new course next year, Global H2O: Focus on Jordan. Offered as an interdisciplinary AP Capstone Seminar, students taking this course will explore the environmental, social and economic issues associated with the struggle to acquire clean water in Jordan and around the world.

As Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, the course is highly relevant and timely for students living and studying in Jordan, and indeed for students from around the world, as access to clean water is an issue shared by all.

“We want our curriculum to be relevant to the local context, to be current, to address local problems,” says King’s Academy’s Head of School Peter Nilsson, who believes that the course aligns with the school’s mission in a multitude of ways. “We want our students engaged in solving real-world problems. What could be more important to them in Jordan than water problems?”

The course was first offered at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts as Global H2O: American Currents, designed by science teacher Andy Harcourt. The course was described by Deerfield Magazine as a “multidimensional, multiyear deep-dive into the challenges we face as water becomes an every-diminishing resource.”

“The theme of global water security is the thread that ties the course together and provides a focal point for student engagement,” explains Harcourt. “As the course progresses, students have the opportunity to delve deeply into their own areas of interest. The most important issues that face humanity have no simple answers, and students learn to engage these kinds of topics, gaining confidence in their readiness for college.”

King’s Academy invited Harcourt to reimagine the course for the King’s Academy curriculum. Harcourt will also be joining King’s as a faculty member next year to teach the multi-disciplinary course in collaboration with other King’s faculty, whom he will mentor and prepare to lead the course upon his return to Deerfield.

The close affiliation between Deerfield and King’s Academy stretches back 16 years, to the founding of King’s in 2006 by His Majesty King Abdullah II, inspired by his experience as a Deerfield student. In the years since, the two schools have generated countless collaborations and exchanges of knowledge, expertise, students and faculty. In fact, two of King’s former heads of school have served or currently serve as Deerfield heads of school, and Nilsson, King’s current head of school, previously served as director of research, innovation, and outreach at Deerfield.

The Global H2O: Focus on Jordan course builds on that tradition of exchanging excellence, says Nilsson. Additionally, both Deerfield and King’s were among a handful of the world’s top schools invited by the College Board to offer the innovative AP Capstone program when it was first launched in 2013.

“This course came into being 10 years ago as my response to a request by the College Board for a proposal for a new kind of course that had 21st century academic skills at the core,” says Harcourt. “Those skills are critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity and have been identified by college faculty as the most important for success in college and beyond.”

Through the Global H2O: Focus on Jordan course, students will examine current crises in water security by means of investigative case studies, and will learn to evaluate sources and multiple perspectives, synthesize ideas, collaborate effectively, craft and communicate evidence-based arguments, and present to an audience.

“At Deerfield, students connected with water issues starting at the local level, including field trips, expanding to the regional level, and ultimately moving to analysis at the global level,” says Harcourt. “I plan to do the same at King's and as I structure the course, I welcome input from current faculty and students as to specific Jordanian water issues that resonate strongly with the community.”

The course will count for credit under the Department of History, Religion and Society and is open to 11th and 12th graders, and 10th graders with their teacher’s permission. Read the course description here: INT 752: Capstone Seminar: Global H2O: Focus on Jordan.

  • AP Capstone
  • Course
  • Environment
  • Global H2O
  • Water