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.


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.”


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.


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.


Monday, 25th February 2019

Grade 10 students, Rachna, Srey Touch and Seiha, have been selected to represent Cambodia in the 2019 South East Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) for three weeks in April at Northern Illinois University, Illinois.

SeihaSrey TouchRachna

SEAYLP brings together 60 high school students from countries in Southeast Asia. Participants focus on leadership, youth development, networking and cooperation between different nations. The students will be staying with US families near the university. They will enjoy field trips to see community service projects in action and discuss ways in which they can cooperate to replicate similar projects back in Cambodia.

Our students were selected from a huge amount of applicants and given their places based on leadership potential, academic achievement and a strong interest in working to serve their communities.

Srey Touch said, “SEAYLP offers a great opportunity to work with students from all across Southeast Asia as well as students from the US. I’m grateful that I have this opportunity to go abroad and learn more about other countries.

“When I knew that I made the shortlist, I was really happy and excited. I practiced lots of interview questions every weekend. The day before the final interview, I read over my application several times and practiced by asking myself questions about the application while recording my voice. Listening to the recordings helped me to improve my responses.

“When my final interview came around, the interviewer asked me, ‘What would I take away from the program?’ I felt I was well prepared for this question. I talked about how I’d like to empower women and girls in my community and my country. I think my interview must have gone well as a few weeks later Rachna, Seiha and I received our acceptance letters.”

2018 ParticipantsImage: https://www.niu.edu/cseas/programs/seaylp.shtml

We are confident that Rachna, Seiha and Srey Touch will be great ambassadors for their school and their country.


Monday, 11th February 2019

Pre-Kindergarten Students Ready to Head Home with their Activity Packs

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are loving our new activity packs which they take home as part of our efforts to respond to parents’ request for help in supporting their child’s education.

Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Long, reported that parents often ask how they can help their children at home. She said, “I realized that many of our students’ families were unsure of how to go about this.” Ms. Long began researching and came across UK Teach First Innovation Award winner, Eve Keogh’s Boromi Boxes and used the idea to create our activity packs. The activity packs include resources such as toy farm animals, building blocks or game boards and instructions for parents based on particular learning goals set by teachers. The activity packs were so popular in Ms. Long’s class that her kindergarten colleague, Ms. Band organized a weekly rota allowing all the children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten to borrow the packs. She checks each pack when it is returned and makes sure it is ready for the next child.

Ms. Long was pleased to see the parents embrace the opportunity to work with their children. She said, “The feedback we have received from parents has been incredibly positive. Children are so proud to teach their siblings how to use the packs. One student was so excited about the Animals Around the World pack that the next day she taught the whole class what she had learned about narwhals.” The activity packs have proved to be a great way for teachers and parents to join together helping children at school and at home.

Thanks to Ms. Long, Ms. Band and the Kindergarten team for finding yet another way to support the children in early years.