WASHINGTON -- First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania of Jordan visited Excel Academy, an all-girls’ Washington D.C. charter school, where they met with students ranging from elementary school to 8th grade.
They were accompanied by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a major proponent of charter schools such as Excel Academy, which are publicly funded but privately operated. The visit came as the Trump administration has sought to highlight alternative forms of education.
Students from the girls’ school greeted the three women with flowers and hugs prior to an introductory roundtable.
Excel Academy Public Charter School principal Dana Bogle thanked Trump, Queen Rania, and DeVos for their presence, saying that she was excited to share the school’s mission with them in “making sure that our girls have the confidence, the life skills” in order to “get into college-preparatory high schools that’ll set them up for success in life.”
Queen Rania, who has a history of advocacy in education, asked about the students’ community involvement and funding for special needs programs within the school.
Following this meeting, Trump, Queen Rania, and DeVos visited an 8th grade art class where students created still-life watercolor paintings of daffodils positioned in the center of the room.
“Wow that is so beautiful!” Trump said, looking over the shoulder of an art students.
For the last stop of the visit, the three women visited a science class where 5th graders strapped on goggles in preparation to dissect owl pellets.
Science teacher Gregory Dwyre challenged his students to “create a whole skeleton based off what you find inside of your pellets” before engaging with Trump and Queen Rania about the students’ curriculum.
In a statement afterward, Trump called Excel Academy an “exceptional example of a school preparing young women both academically and personally so that they may succeed in a global community.”
President Donald Trump and Queen Rania’s husband, King Abdullah II, met at the White House Wednesday.