About - Jay Pritzker Academy

Our Vision

JPA’s vision lies in providing the highest standard of education possible to our students so that they will graduate and successfully continue their education in respected tertiary institutions gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to the development of their country.

Central to our vision is a challenging college-preparatory curriculum taught by professional and dedicated teachers in an environment that promotes exceptional teaching and learning.

Core values of honesty, integrity, perseverance, accountability, leadership and service are integral to our vision.

Jay Pritzker Academy students on the field during Rock the Test at JPA campus, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Jay-Pritzker-Academy-Siem-Reap-Cambodia.

Our History

Jay Pritzker Academy main building, 2008 at JPA campus, Siem Reap, Cambodia

In the Beginning

In 2005, with 17 years of experience in urban education in the U.S., Daniel and Karen Pritzker decided to launch a model school in a high-need area overseas. Siem Reap, Cambodia, was an ideal location to provide an exceptional education to promising and motivated Cambodian children from rural villages to prepare for entry into respected universities in the region and abroad.

By November 2006, teachers had been hired, a kitchen built at a children’s center, facilities upgraded, and classrooms rented in five local schools. Students from these schools enrolled in an intensive half-day English program. Demand was extremely high. By 2007, JPA was educating and providing healthy meals to over three hundred students per day.

Plans proceeded for a purpose-built, co-ed day school. In December 2007, a site was selected near Tachet, a rural village of subsistence farmers, about 16km outside Siem Reap. A Cambodia-based contractor was appointed to design and build the campus in collaboration with JPA’s management team. Site preparation began in January 2008 and the school was opened in September 2008. Full-time education in a world-class facility began.

Jay Pritzker Academy main building entrance, 2008 and 2020 at JPA campus, Siem Reap, Cambodia

In 2008-2009, 150 students were enrolled from Kindergarten through grade eight. JPA was now following a best-practice, comprehensive international curriculum based on a model of high accountability for students and teachers. With little background in English language and with basic prior learning, students studied at an accelerated rate to achieve age-appropriate grade levels and by 2011 were studying on-par with their peers in the best college-preparatory schools worldwide.

Jay Pritzker Academy, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Grade 10 science students in the JPA science laboratory.

2011-2012 was the first year operating as a Pre-K – 12 school, with 421 students all studying at, or above, their age appropriate grade level. JPA opened a new high school wing with generously proportioned, well-resourced classrooms and two state of the art science laboratories to support the academy’s focus on STEM subjects. Negligible attrition, an attendance rate of over 99.5%, and approximately 600 applications for 60 available places attested to JPA’s importance in the community.

2013-2014 also saw our first graduates enroll in US, Thai, and Cambodian universities. The off-the-charts intrinsic motivation of our students combined with the new era of MOOC and other online learning developments encouraged us to experiment with new ways of approaching higher education and personalized learning. Students prepared for university classes by enrolling in online courses and we looked at ways to offer increasingly rigorous high school courses.

In 2014-2015, seniors enrolled in JPA’s first Advanced Placement (AP) course: AP Calculus AB. We continue to expand our AP curriculum to ensure that our graduates are prepared to excel in respected universities all over the world.

By 2018, our AP classes had expanded to include a wide range of subjects from micro and macroeconomics to comparative government, computer science, chemistry, physics and calculus.

Jay Pritzker Academy main building entrance, 2020 at JPA campus, Siem Reap, Cambodia

JPA students are working hard to improve their lives for themselves, their families, and their country. With our graduates now studying at colleges such as Lafayette, PA, NYU, Abu Dhabi and Yale-NUS in Singapore, they are well placed to forge a better future for themselves, their families, and their country. It is our mission to broaden their world and offer opportunities to help them achieve their goals and realize their dreams through a superlative education.