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SOE Students Learn about Education Systems from Local to Global in Washington, DC

Kappa Delta Pi Washington DC Trip May 2019

June 12, 2019

This past May, eleven members of Kappa Delta Pi International Society in Education boarded trains at 30th Street Station and headed off to the nation’s capital on an educational journey that would take them from a local high school to a foreign embassy.

The trip began with a visit to School Without Walls High School, a nationally ranked magnet school, where they talked to administrators about student life and the school’s affiliation with a local university. School Without Walls is as magnet school that serves approximately 585 students in grades 9-12. US News and World report ranks the school among the top high schools in the nation.

Referred to colloquially as “Walls,” the school is modeled after the Parkway program from the School District of Philadelphia. The school aims to create a learning environment that offer an alternative to conventional programs. At Walls, students are encouraged to use the city as their classroom. Through a partnership with a local university, students can take college level courses in their junior year of high school and graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree.

After leaving Walls, students traveled to the German Embassy. There they met with representatives who talked about Germany’s education system and discussed issues including standardized testing and the application process. Students also asked questions about extracurricular activities. In Germany, students attend elementary school until the fourth grade. After that, students are separated by their academic abilities and the wishes of their families and attend one of three types of schools; Realschule, which prepares students for vocational schools; Gymnasium, which prepares students for college; and Hauptschule, which teaches a mix of vocational and traditional education subjects, but at a slower pace.

The trip ended at Drexel’s DC Center where students met with officials from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the US Department of Education. Students discussed educational policy issues with Maureen McLaughlin, who is a senior advisor to the Secretary of Education and Director of International Affairs. Students discussed current topics in education including school choice and PISA rankings.

Before returning to Philly, students enjoyed dinner and photos on the DC Center’s rooftop terrace overlooking DC and the White House.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education. Membership is open to any school of education student who meets the admissions criteria. To learn more, please visit: