Sunday, May 29, 2011

King’s Academy to launch Arabic Year

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King’s Academy to launch Arabic Year

Madaba, Jordan, March 31, 2011—A one-year program for high school students offering intensive Arabic studies, experiential learning and Middle Eastern cultural immersion will be offered at King’s Academy beginning in 2012, Headmaster John Austin announced today.

The program, called Arabic Year at King’s Academy (AY), is designed for American and international students in grades 10 through 12 who wish to learn Arabic and explore the history, politics and culture of a vital part of the world. Students enrolled in AY will live at and be part of King’s Academy, an American-style boarding school in Jordan modeled after Deer¬eld Academy.

“We are incredibly excited about the launch of this program, said King’s Academy Headmaster Dr. John Austin. “It will deepen our mission, it will advance our aspiration to be a 21st century boarding school and it will strengthen our commitment to cultural exchange and global engagement. Most importantly, it will provide interested young men and women an unprecedented opportunity to study Arabic and explore the culture and traditions of the region.”

“This is a critically important moment in the history of the Middle East,” Austin added. “Because of Jordan’s unusual position in the region, we are uniquely placed to provide adventurous young men and women with a powerful and, we hope, transformative educational experience here in Jordan, but one that has all of the advantages of the best residential, boarding schools in the West.”

The curriculum for AY includes intensive language courses and traditional high school courses that will allow students to transition back to their home schools seamlessly following their year at King’s Academy. AY students will live on the King’s Academy campus, situated just 30 minutes away from the Jordanian capital Amman, and nestled among olive groves and farmland on the road leading to the historic town of Madaba.

King’s Academy is uniquely situated to provide intensive Arabic as a Second Language (ASL) instruction to high school students along with cultural immersion opportunities and experiential learning ¬eld trips to sites such as the Nabatean city of Petra, the biblical Dead Sea region, the Roman ruins at Jerash, the Crusader Castle at Karak, the Red Sea at Aqaba and the desert canyons of Wadi Rum, once home to Lawrence of Arabia.

In conjunction with their Arabic classes, students will have opportunities to continue their standard high school coursework or select from among targeted elective classes such as The Modern Middle East and Arabic Literatures in English. Afternoon co-curricular activities include a wide range of offerings such as tennis, squash, soccer, swimming, basketball, drama club, horseback riding, track, scuba diving instruction, movie club, cycling, community service, Model United Nations and the student newspaper and literary magazine.

AY students will be housed in comfortable and secure single gender dormitories in the company of Jordanian and Arab students conversing in colloquial Arabic. They will observe evening study hours, adhere to evening curfews and follow all the other rules associated with residential life at King’s Academy.

Boarding faculty are King’s Academy teachers, hailing from Jordan, the United States and various other countries in the Middle East and the West. Many of these teachers live in apartments that form an extension of the student dormitories. Here they are available "24/7," assisting students whenever the need arises on issues ranging from homework assignments to personal problems. They live with the students, they eat together with them in the dining hall and they participate with them in extracurricular activities in the afternoons, evenings and weekends.

AY will offer various levels of classical and colloquial Arabic courses at King’s Academy, enabling students to develop the skills to communicate regionally and locally. Students will always have full access to King’s Academy’s AP courses as well as to regular honors and standard-level courses.
Weekends and spring break will feature immersion opportunities with Jordanian families in Amman, as well as visits to sites, shops and homes country towns and rural villages, in addition to the various experiential trips mentioned above.

Running AY at King’s is Faculty Member Stephen Morison, Jr., who has worked for School Year Abroad (SYA) in China, where he taught English literature and co-supervised student trips to the Chinese provinces of Tibet, Sichuan, Fujian, Guizhou and Yunnan. Mr. Morison is a 15-year veteran of the classroom, having taught at boarding schools in the United States, China and Morocco.

Students or families interested in learning more about Arabic Year should contact the King’s Academy Of¬fice of Admissions at or call +962 6 430 0230. Application material for the inaugural Arabic Year at King’s Academy will be available in September 2011.

King’s Academy
King’s Academy is a private, not-for-profit, co-educational boarding and day high school (grades 9 to 12) that opened its doors in August 2007 in Madaba, Jordan. The school, which integrates the New England boarding school experience in the historical and intellectual context of the Middle East, follows an English-language, Advanced Placement curriculum. The dynamic curriculum includes an integrated co-curricular program of athletics, activities and community service, and students live in a nurturing residential environment that allows them to flourish personally and intellectually. King’s Academy is situated 30 minutes from Amman on a 144-acre (575-dunum) site and is comprised of 33 buildings and state-of-the-art facilities.

King’s graduated its first group of seniors in June 2010. In 2010-2011, King’s students numbered 425 and hailed from Jordan and 23 other countries.

by Vera Azar
Director of Communications and Publications, King's Academy