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New Initiatives Drive Changes with Cory Carson, Head of School at Global Jaya School

Cory Carson, the Head of Global Jaya School
New Initiatives Drive Changes with Cory Carson, Head of School at Global Jaya School

“At Global Jaya School, we define learning as the lasting growth, change and development of knowledge, skills, understanding, and behaviour.”

As an institution, we have thought long and hard about what it means to be a learner, and one of the critical elements of it is engagement with the students, faculty, and parents. When implementing a new initiative to drive change, it is crucial to recognise the collaborative effort, support, and partnerships involved,” elucidated Cory Carson, the Head of Global Jaya School (GJS).

Who is Cory Carson? Tell us an exciting story few people know about you.

I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true: I’m a husband, a father, and finally, an educator.

Before moving overseas, a group of friends planned and completed a 500-kilometre canoe trip in northern Canada on the famed Nahanni River. It was the makings of a true adventure, a single-propeller airplane, remote drop-off location, portages, whirlpools, waterfalls, canyons and wildlife, including plenty of bears and moose. We carried in everything we needed to survive for the two weeks of paddling and carried out any waste. It was a fantastic trip – and we survived to talk about it.

While born in Canada, I consciously chose to work overseas in international schools for the past 26 years. If I had to pick one, I would say golf is my hobby.

My responsibility at GJS is as Head of School, collaborating with our faculty, students, parents and community and driving our school forward positively.

You’ve been around the world – Qatar, Turkey, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Canada – why did you decide to give Indonesia, especially Global Jaya School (GJS), a chance?

When I was looking to depart from my previous position, one of my key factors was remaining as head of the school. I had interviews with schools worldwide, including with the leadership of GJS. I was drawn by the sense of community and warmth exuding when you come onto our campus. It starts with the students, continues to the teachers, and then extends to the parents. It has been extremely positive and refreshing.

Indonesia has 17,000 islands and stretches 5,000 kilometres; the cultural diversity and opportunity to grow and learn sat personally right. I have a wife and two sons; thus, we look at the impact it brings on us as a family. GJS is the best opportunity for us to move forward. Time has flown by since our arrival in August 2019!

Global Jaya School
“Global Jaya School is the best opportunity for us to move forward” – Cory Carson
Briefly tell us about GJS.

GJS was founded in 1995. We are a 3 Programme IB World School offering the continuum of the Primary Years Programmes (PYP) for Kindergarten-Year Six, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for Years Seven-Ten, and the Diploma Programme (DP) for Years Eleven and Twelve. GJS has a solid international pedigree, and our teachers and administrators are active and engaged in global communities as workshop leaders, curriculum reviewers, examiners and accreditation officers.

An IB Continuum education holistically develops our learners, forming habits and values such as cooperation, collaboration, research, and more when children are four years old. All of these aspects contribute to the person they grow into becoming. We also value our strong grounding and reverence for the host country, Indonesia. Together, international mindedness, values, engagement, and activity leadership create a balance between the local and global contexts.

GJS is an IB World School, adopting and continuously supporting the IB Learner Profile as the school’s School-wide Learner Outcomes. Why embrace this, and does this approach set GJS aside from other IB World Schools?

The founders of GJS, through our mission and vision, established the guiding principles for education at GJS. We transitioned to being an authorised IB World School in 2004-2006 as we recognised that our vision and mission and that supported by the IB, through their curriculum framework and programme and practices, aligned in terms of values, qualities, and aspirations. The Schoolwide Learner Outcomes are these character attributes nurtured into our students and graduates.

We’ve adopted the 10 IB learner profile attributes: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective. It’s a way to leverage and encourage students to be positive, productive, contributing citizens who can fulfil their own needs and aspirations while supporting those that may not be as fortunate as they are.

It starts with students being inquiry-driven – asking questions and being encouraged to investigate and find information. We have kindergarten kids performing fearlessly on stage in front of the whole school – that’s risk-taking! One of our 17-year-old students has been serving as a UN representative, working on a campaign supporting women’s empowerment. She will be heading to Washington, D.C., for an upcoming congress related to her efforts. This is but one example of the power of inquiry, empowerment, and advocacy demonstrated by members of our student body.

GJS values the mother tongue. What significance can this bring to a child?

Students at GJS come from Asia, North America, and Europe, with at least 95 per cent speaking English, Indonesian, and Korean and the other five per cent covering other languages. Our PYP is a dual language programme focused on Bahasa Indonesia and English; meanwhile, the MYP and DP support English, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish language development. We recognise that while English may be the predominant language of instruction, the home language is vital. Sometimes, it requires a partnership between parents and the school to develop it further. For example, if we had an Arabic-speaking student, we wouldn’t be offering Arabic as a class. However, we could support further independent study through the IB DP self-study programme.

What do you notice the most in students after they leave GJS into the “real world”?

I can’t say this enough: our kids are typically well-behaved, good kids. My sons, for example, first enrolled here in a foreign land where they didn’t speak the language and were not fully aware of local customs. I am thankful as they were quickly befriended and folded into the community through their participation in school activities and sports.

Every morning I greet the kids as they come in. The other day, a kindergarten girl skipped down the hallway near me, so I said, “Good morning! Happy Tuesday!” She said, “Happy Tuesday! I love School!” That kind of spontaneity fuels me every day.

Our graduates have developed their toolkit, supporting their becoming capable, independent, critical thinkers whilst engaging with others and finding the middle ground when collaborating or seeking solutions. That’s a recipe for success.

Please complete this sentence: Students at GJS are enriched with….

Skills, attitude, and knowledge are fostered in a caring and supportive environment that allows growth and development in academia, artesania, athletics, and service, developing students into the most complete versions of themselves they can be. Enrichment means values are added. GJS education isn’t merely about grades – though important – we recognise that a well-rounded education completes people if only they’re given the opportunity to explore passions, engage in something new, and take risks.

What’s next for you and Global Jaya School?

A new cycle of accreditation and authorisation is coming up in April. Our reflective and analytical work of the past year, and engagement with our faculty, students and parents, align with the visitation. The result of the process is the feedback that supports our continued efforts in advancing student achievement and school improvement, which will be detailed in a revitalised strategic plan that drives our change efforts for the coming five-year period. Our focus will directly impact educational programmes, community, infrastructure development on the campus, and sustainability efforts. I am quite proud of our Student Green School Committee, which is leading the push for GJS to become certified as a green school, both nationally and internationally.

The world is slowly healing – we can resume activities that students were very fond of in pre-pandemic days because it enhances their education beyond what goes on in a classroom. So, Week Without Walls, international travel, and participation in local, regional, national and global conferences, congresses, and competitions will be welcome additions back onto the GJS academic calendar.

How can our readers get in touch with you and Global Jaya School?

Visit our website, it details programme-specific information, accreditation information, exam profiles and results, provides additional information on organisations like our Parents Association and Alumni Association, and admissions details. Visiting us on campus and getting a chance to see our students and facilities and learn about why this might be the right school for you and your children is always encouraged. Finally, I always welcome direct contact via my e-mail, [email protected] or via our admissions officer, Ibu Kania at [email protected].

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