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Jay Pritzker Academy is dedicated to educating academically talented and motivated students from families in rural Cambodia, to maximize their potential and their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country

Jay Pritzker Academy (JPA) is a Pre-K - 13 co-ed day school, located approximately 16 kms (10 miles) from Siem Reap, Cambodia. JPA provides a challenging college-preparatory curriculum taught by inspired and inspiring teachers. Our English-medium curriculum is based on the successful and highly regarded Providence St. Mel approach to research based instruction. Currently, 462 girls and boys from surrounding villages attend JPA. We have a faculty of over 80 ex-pat and Cambodian teachers and aides delivering our English medium and Cambodian National curricula.

CAMBODIAN NEW YEAR BREAK

Friday, 5th April 2019

Jay Pritzker Academy staff and students are celebrating Cambodian New Year.


MODEL UNITED NATIONS - PHNOM PENH

Monday, 1st April 2019

The JPA MUN Club has just returned from Phnom Penh, where they attended the Northbridge International School of Cambodia Model United Nations (NISCMUN) conference, along with schools from around Asia.


Sokh Visal - Best Delegate

Chanminea - Best Delegate

MUN Coordinator, Mr. McBride, said, “NISCMUN was an excellent opportunity for our delegation to build on their experience from attending UNISMUN Hanoi, in February. There are sure signs that our Grade 9 and 10 students are well on their way to becoming accomplished delegates. Chanminea ’22 was awarded best speaker in General Assembly 6 (GA6), and Sokh Visal ’21 was awarded best delegate in the Security Council, which is generally reserved for the strongest delegates from each school. Sovannarath ’22 and Monika ’22 were also mentioned as standout delegates in their assemblies. My own personal standout student was Sotheara ’22 who was our only student attending her first conference. She was an active participant in her room and even made a couple of speeches. The next MUN conference won’t be until November so that leaves plenty of time for MUN Club members to expand their knowledge by reading as much as they can.”

Thank you to Mr. McBride and Mr. Terrazas, and congratulations to the members of the JPA MUN Club for representing yourselves so well.


EllenSopheakroSrey On Sampoas

Coding projects

Monday, 25th March 2019

“Yes!” Alisa, a Grade 10 student, jumped up and did a little dance. It had not been easy to get all those jumper cables wired up correctly, but the LED display connected to her Raspberry Pi computer board had finally lit up and now she could start working on the software part of her project.

This year, Grade 10 coding class is all about hands-on exploring of how computer hardware and software really work together and interact at a deep level. Students set up and configure their own Linux operating systems on a Raspberry Pi computer, they use its input/output interface to control LEDs and add buttons to control their setup. Further basic challenges involve setting up several types of displays and creating software for these with JAVA and Python coding languages.


Srey On and KeopagnapechSeyheing

Technology teacher, Mr. Engelen said, “Coding classes in Grades 7, 8 and 9 have prepared the students in Grade 10 for this interactive course. The goal is to prepare them for the AP Computer Science A course in Grade 11. The benefits of using robotics, Raspberry Pi computers, and electronics such as LEDs give students a deeper understanding of hardware and software.”


Seiha, Phirom and Rachna

At the moment, more complicated projects are underway, some extending the Raspberry Pi’s with Arduinos, a programmable circuit board. Seyheing ’21 is making a weather station using an add-on sensor array mounted to the Raspberry Pi, called a SenseHat board. A SenseHat board has inbuilt primary sensors to measure temperature, humidity and pressure and the ability to output data to software.

Rachna ’21, Sothea ’21 and Phirom ’21 are working on a face recognition system using a Raspberry Pi and its camera. Their project proposal states: ‘We will have a Raspberry Pi attached to a camera module. The camera detects faces and can match them with the names of people that are in our database. We can add a motor and a locking mechanism that will only unlock doors for the faces that it recognizes. There are many other projects, like an FM broadcast experiment by Keopagnapech ’21 and Srey On ’21.

Strange noises continually emanate from the far end of the classroom. This is where the World Robotics Olympiad mat is situated. Students are building and programming Lego Mindstorms robots to complete missions set for the next World Robotics Olympiad. They need to play sounds, sense colors, lift and maneuver items and have the robot make the correct decisions depending on the layout of the mat.


Students work on their own projects but share techniques and ideas, frequently coming together to evaluate each other’s progress. Each week they keep a journal of their work, questions and thoughts about what they have done or seen.

Rachna ’20 recently wrote in his reflective journal, “We got together with other groups and observed their accomplishments. We saw the many different types of displays used and how they were coded. The use of line segments was exciting. It was how it was coded that I found most interesting. The Python code used hexadecimal numbers to address the different parts of the display. It is similar to code I have seen previously. Many strings of these codes were put together to manually display a simple letter like “A” on the display. Because of this, I’ve been trying to make similar custom fonts on my own LCD display.”

Kimheat ’20 said, “Coding class is so rewarding. We are challenged to work on our own ideas and to take them from the virtual world into the physical world. It is so exciting.”

Keep up the good work Grade 10 and good luck with computer science next year.

AP CHEMISTRY CLASSES

Monday, 18th March 2019

Students in grades 11 and 12 are preparing for the annual Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. The tests are the culmination of year-long AP courses where students tackle college-level work. JPA students will be taking AP exams in physics, chemistry, computer science, macro and microeconomics and calculus.

AP Chemistry class has been working hard all year and recently, studied a unit on acid-base equilibria.


AP Chemistry teacher, Ms. Linton, said, “Acid and base equilibrium is one of my favorite units in AP Chemistry. At this point in the year the students have mastered the fundamentals of chemistry and are able to tackle more complex problems independently. This unit is a great opportunity for them to apply what they’ve learned about solution stoichiometry and chemical equilibria to a familiar problem. In my experience, students find this quite frustrating to start with. They have studied ‘acids and bases’ nearly every year since primary school, so there are a lot of preconceptions to overwrite. We’re lucky in JPA to have access to a lot of really great equipment, and this pH investigation challenges the students to work carefully to a high degree of precision – it’s certainly not easy to get right the first time, so multiple trials are required. This is a great lesson in patience, diligence and teamwork - as well as acid base equilibria.”

AP Chemistry students, Sreymach, Soka, Sokhoeun and Sreyrath, reflected on their experiment.


“We recently conducted a lab to investigate the pH of strong and weak acids and bases at different concentrations. In calculating the pH of strong acids or bases, we assume that all of the ions dissociate. As for weak acids and bases, only a small amount of molecules dissociate. So, the actual pH is likely to differ from our calculated value. The experiment challenged our previous understanding of the strength of acids and bases as we try to analyze sources of errors to account for the deviation.

“In our group, we alternated between preparing solutions, calculating expected pH, and taking data readings. We obtained different concentrations of a monoprotic acid (hydrochloric acid), a diprotic acid (sulfuric acid), a strong base (sodium hydroxide), a weak acid (acetic acid), and a weak base (sodium acetate).


“While conducting the tests, we became concerned that our predicted and measured pH values were very different. We checked and re-checked our accuracy when we prepared and diluted the solutions. We also double checked our calculations. We could find no anomalies in our preparation or math, so we checked the equipment and found that our pH probe was faulty. We replaced it and our readings were suddenly in-line with our predictions. These predictions had helped us to identify misleading results due to the fault in our testing equipment and without them, we would have reported wildly inaccurate results. Learning to analyze sources of error between the expected and calculated values is frustrating at times, but it ultimately strengthens our understanding of this important topic.

“A big thank you to Ms. Linton, our AP Chemistry teacher, for giving us the opportunity to conduct our weekly experiments and for preparing us for our upcoming AP exams.”

MODEL UNITED NATIONS - HANOI

Monday, 11th March 2019

Recently, seven JPA students flew to Hanoi, Vietnam, to attend the United Nations International School of Hanoi Model United Nations Conference (UNISMUN) along with students from 20 schools across Asia. All students performed well in a challenging conference where the standard of debate was exceptional.



Ms. LaneVichhekaEllenSampoasSovannarathSokh VisalSrey OnChanmineaMr. McBride

MUN teacher McBride, said, “UNISMUN was a superbly run and well-organized conference and the caliber of the delegates was high. Our students conducted themselves well and the conference was a fantastic learning experience for them. They came away from the conference inspired to work hard to emulate the senior delegates at the conference. I was proud of the fact that they made themselves heard in rooms of 50-60 delegates many of whom were undoubtedly on their way to leading international universities.”



Sokh Visal ’21, said, “I had an amazing experience in the UNISMUN. There were many passionate delegates who were not afraid to speak out and try to make amendments to resolutions. I was representing Bolivia in the crisis council. When the issue of Chinese involvement in Africa arose I was very excited as I am very interested in Chinese expansion. Throughout the debate, I formed a friendship with the delegate of China and we cooperated in writing resolutions and sending directives. However, I had to disagree with him later when the delegate of the US threatened to impose sanctions on Bolivia. We agreed to keep the ties between China and Bolivia strong.”


Srey On ’21 said, “The UNISMUN was the best that I have attended. Firstly, it was well organized, the campus was beautiful, and the facilities were first-rate. Next, my committee was awesome. This was the first time in my experience of MUN that I was part of such a large committee consisting of more than fifty delegates. I did well and managed to make a few speeches and Points of Information (POI). Many of the other experienced delegates were extremely supportive and welcomed my contributions during the lobbying. Looking back, I was amazed at the quality and level of detail included in the resolutions. The superior class of delegates made this MUN experience unforgettable.”

Vichheka ’21 reflected, “Sampoas ’21 and I were in the Human Rights Council. I focused on the rights of indigenous people. We debated six resolutions, and four of them passed. Some of the debates were heated, and although my group’s resolution didn’t pass, we still felt that we had done a great job. Strangely, the delegate of DPRK (North Korea) continually brought up the great power of his supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, which was not on topic – I think he was influenced by the fact that US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un were meeting in Hanoi at the same time, just down the road.”

“Beside the conference, we were able to walk around and explore Hanoi. It was fascinating to see their community, culture and way of life. I enjoyed visiting the museum of women, where female Vietnamese heroes, traditions, and customs were displayed. Many people in Cambodia think that there is a vast difference between Vietnamese and Khmer culture. From what I saw, our cultures don’t seem to be that different. I really enjoyed the experience of both the UNISMUN and Hanoi.”


Thanks to Mr. McBride for organizing and preparing the students for the UNISMUN, and congratulations to the students for doing so well.

FIELD TRIPS

Monday, 4th March 2019

Recently, Kindergarten and Grade 3 students have enjoyed field trips celebrating Cambodian art and culture right on our doorstep.

Kindergarten students took their annual trip to the Angkor Silk Farm in nearby Puok. Following their science unit focusing on life cycles, the staff at the silk farm showed the kindergartners all the different stages of the life of a silkworm. They then got to see how the silk is woven to make beautiful, traditional clothing.


Grade 3 students went to Artisans Angkor in Siem Reap, a workshop where artisans of traditional Cambodian art practice their craft and learn how to market and make a living from it. They saw numerous artisans working with many media, such as wood, stone, ceramic and paint. The artisans kindly allowed the students to try their hands at sculpting and other crafts. They then attended a pottery class at the Angkor Pottery Center where they learned to use a potters wheel to create their own piece of pottery. Everyone selected their favorite piece to be fired in the kiln and kept as a memory of the day.





Thanks to the artisans of Siem Reap for keeping Cambodian arts alive.