So much is going on, I don't know where to start!
The morning started with a few of us walking the hill outside our hotel a couple times for some exercise. It was about 8:00 and still breezy enough. We plan on doing it at least every other day....
Our first stop was to the Amman International Baccalaureate School to have an informational meeting with the vice president.
It is a K4-12 school funded by the royal family. It educates about 1,000 students. 4 year old students starting school will receive instruction 55% of the time in Arabic and the rest in English. Many of the students come to the school knowing more English - because parents are preparing them for school. By middle school, the students are receiving instruction 60% of the time in English. By 11th and 12th grade, the students are weaned off Arabic.
99% of the graduates leave Jordan for college. About 1/3 head to North America, 1/3 head to the UK and another 1/3 to other areas. However, 80-90% come back to Jordan after graduating college. Many go into business, politics and society. It often depends on family and what is expected.
The school has innovating ideas - very different than other schools in Jordan BECAUSE of the funding source. I was impressed by their CAS program - Creativity Action Service where all students are required to do community services. Another cool thing they have is the 1st recylcing center where the kids are involved in the process. They have technology resources and obviously, it is strictly an IB school. There are only about 6 in the whole country.
From K4-5, the students learn math with the Hindi number system. In middle school, they switch to a more western math curriculum. In 4 grade, students start French classes which continue to grade 11.
More on education to come. We were fortunate to experience such a well developed, established school, but we hope to see more of the majority - private and government (public) schools.
After lunch (another shawarma sandwich for me), we had to go to the US Embassy. It was very daunting to go through the security process. The first stop, the guard noticed my ELMO on the back of my backpack (yes, he is traveling EVERYWHERE with me!):
He asked if it was a duck (or at least I thought that is what he said) and I said, "No, it's Elmo!" and he laughed and said, "Elmo can't go to the Embassy!" And I responded, "Well, then you have to hold him!" Don't worry everyone, Elmo got in and was able to hear the security briefing with the rest of us.
At one point, we had to enter a room by ourselves (scary for me who needs a buddy at all times..), and give our cell phones and cameras to them. Well, I forgot I had my FLIP video camera in my backpack, so as it went through the scanner, they announced I had something in my backpack. My stomach dropped because I had no idea what it could be! Then I remembered that it was the video camera, quick told them and went on my way.
At the Embassy, we were debriefed by a man from Kohler, WI! He told us all about being safe and what to do in case something were to happen. No worries, it is very rare for things to happen, but it is good to be prepared.
I will write more about the night time later. We have to leave the University and head back to our hotel for lunch and to get ready for a meeting.