Mustafa Jalali Hosts Teachers

Mustafa Jalili
Mustafa Jalali and Houston Educators
Photograph by Aramco ExPats

The educators began their day with a breakfast hosted by Mustafa Jalali, Vice President, Saudi Aramco Affairs. Mr. Jalali greeted the group expressing his appreciation of them coming to Saudi Arabia.

Tour of Saudi Aramco Schools

Dhahran Hills School
Book Character Parade - Dhahran Hills School
Photograph by Aramco ExPats

Wednesday morning began with a tour of the Dhahran Hills Elementary School, during the Book Character Parade, followed by a tour of the Dhahran Middle School, both part of the Saudi Aramco School system.




Dhahran Middle School
Coffee Shop Poetry Readings - Dhahran Middle School
Photograph by Aramco ExPats






Saudi Aramco Schools recognize their role in attracting and retaining an international workforce, and continue to strive for excellence. For example, under the direction of Superintendent, Brent A. Mutsch, Ed.D. and the Aramco School Board, a task force consisting of parent and staff representatives from across the four communities in which the Saudi Aramco Schools operate, developed a powerful mission and vision statement with the overall goal to be a “preeminent school system where students achieve their maximum potential in a culture of continuous improvement.” The following mission and vision statements were approved and adopted on June 9, 2003.

Mission: Saudi Aramco Schools provide each student with an excellent education in support of attracting and retaining an international workforce.

Vision: Saudi Aramco Schools will be a preeminent school system where students achieve their maximum potential in a culture of continuous improvement.

From the date these statements were adopted, the board agreed to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals over the proceeding three to five years.

Step Number 1: Continuous Improvement Planning
Continuous Improvement Planning is a process that incorporates the analysis of available data to derive quantifiable feedback on the strength of student learning and to identify areas needing improvement.

The data used in this analysis is a compilation of student achievement data as well as data gathered through parent/ teacher surveys and student surveys.

Step Number 2: Develop and Sustain Collaborative Relationships with Parents
Saudi Aramco Schools reaffirmed their commitment to both developing and sustaining a relationship with parents that is focused on collaboration and cooperation for the purpose of promoting students achieving their maximum potential.

Step Number 3: Achieve Accreditation
The accreditation process serves to provide feedback on strengths and areas for improvement. As part of the process, the performance of Saudi Aramco Schools is benchmarked against the external standards of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

A representative group of Dhahran teachers were invited to join the tour for lunch. From the Dhahran Hills School, Principal Chris Wollack along with educators Bernadette Wolan, Lauri Swanson, Carol Hudson, John Javorek, and Kate Brundage were selected to attend the luncheon. From the Dhahran Middle School, Assistant Principals Tracey Carey and Mark Finanger, Charlie Franck, Mark Stenov, Pam Snakenberg, John Snakenberg and Betsy Calabro were selected to attend the luncheon. A few of these teachers accompanied the Houston Educators on a visit to Shaybah.

Please see article, Dhahran School Teachers Visit with Houston Educators, for more information on Dhahran School Teachers selected for this tour.

Visit to Shaybah Oil Field

Teachers to Shaybah
Michelle Tillery, Marcia Looper and John Nance
John takes his "underwater camera" to Shaybah!
Photograph by Aramco ExPats

Following lunch at Salat Al-Khaleej, the delegation departed from the Saudi Aramco hanger in Dammam for Shaybah. Shaybah oilfield resides in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia.

Set in the heart of Rub Al-Khali, the biggest sand desert in the world, Shaybah rests isolated among fields of tall, rust-colored sand dunes. Shaybah is remarkable in its man-made presence, awe-inspiring in its significance to the world oil market, and strangely beautiful considering it is said to be located in one of the most “remote, desolate and inhospitable areas in Saudi Arabia.”

The largest oil development of the past twenty years, the Shaybah oilfield is capable of pumping half a million barrels of oil a day and came on stream just years ago. It is located 250 miles from the nearest township. Thirty million cubic meters of sand were moved during its construction. An airport capable of taking big jets, 500 miles of pipes, a new road across drifting sand dunes, and residential quarters for 750 workers, were all built in a little over 18 months.

Teachers at Shaybah
Houston and Dhahran Teachers "On Top of the World"
Photograph by Aramco ExPats

In 1998, Saudi Aramco completed an accelerated program to produce 500,000 barrels per day of high-value Arabian Extra Light crude oil from the remote Shaybah Field. Production from this large field, located 800 km southeast of Dhahran, came on stream under budget and a year ahead of schedule.

While at Shaybay, Houston educators enjoyed a presentation on Shaybah History and watched an informative film, Shaybah Now Energy for the Millennium, showing the development of the oilfield and its daily operations. They were then driven up a very tall sand dune to a reception area which has been created in the form of an Arabian tent overlooking the Shaybah facility. From this higher viewpoint it was possible to appreciate the peace and serenity of the spectacular red desert and the magnificent views from the top of the dune were simply stunning. During a wonderful dinner, guests watched the sunset over the sand dunes from the tent. It is said that, “as the sun sets it creates the strangest effect, as though a thin, green gauze has been draped over the dunes. For a few minutes thoughts of oil (are) far away.”