Last week, THINK Global School (TGS) students once again began arriving in a new country for the start of the school year, the ninth such time since TGS opened its doors in 2010 and began offering open-minded teens an education based in the world, not the classroom. For the first time since THINK Global School’s inception, however, students weren’t all flying to the same location. That’s because this summer marked the launch of THINK Global School’s second cohort, providing more students than ever the chance to live and learn firsthand in the world, and in doing so address the challenges that face it.
Referred to as Changemaker Cohort 2 (CM2) and led by Principal Russell Cailey, this freshly launched cohort includes 30 students who hail from 21 countries, all of them new to THINK Global School this year. Accompanying them are nine additional full-time staff members, including a school counselor and six educators, who will ensure they are nurtured mentally, physically, and emotionally as they live and learn around the world.
Changemaker Cohort 2 students arrive in Gaborone, Botswana to start their TGS experience
Regarding the launch of CM2, Head of School Jamie Steckart had this to say: “THINK Global School is committed to setting the trend for innovative approaches to education, and never before has the need to develop creative, adaptable and globally minded students been so critical for the challenges facing our world. As a result of this need, we’re proud to launch this second cohort of students. Through the incredible vision of our founder, Joann McPike, it is an honor as head of school to lead a school committed to excellence with one of the most professional team of educators and staff ever assembled.”
This year our CM2 Cohort will travel to Botswana, India, Japan, and Spain, retracing the journey undertaken by our Changemaker 1 (CM1) students during the 2017-18 school year. Next year, CM2 students will continue following in the footsteps of our CM1 students again by living and learning in China, Oman, Costa Rica, and Greece, and then again the following year by completing their TGS journey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Peru, Australia, and Italy. With each school year ending in a European country, students from both cohorts will have the opportunity to intersect and get to know one another, finding common threads through their shared travel experiences and module work.
A Curriculum for Change
At THINK Global School, high school students retake control of their learning through the challenging Changemaker Curriculum, which connects them to the world through a combination of place- and project-based learning. Upon arrival in a new country, students select one teacher-led module to focus on as well as 2-3 independent academic projects of their own choosing. Each multidisciplinary, teacher-led module focuses on a different social, environmental, cultural, or economic topic specific to the current location, allowing students to engage in subjects during their time in country that they are passionate about.
In India, students might choose to focus on gaining insight into the sustainability issues linked to the country’s population density and distribution, or they might instead prefer to focus on helping economically empower those living in rural villages through e-commerce. Likewise, in Japan they might choose to study the consequences of overfishing and the rise of conscious consumerism, or instead choose to focus on how nuclear energy has affected Japan, and how it will affect the future of the world.
Students take a plaster cast during conservation studies in Botswana (2017). Image Credit: Angie Tenebrini
Many of these modules are research based, and the addition of a second cohort allows us to maintain a presence in our host countries on a consistent basis while allowing newer students to continue the findings of their peers. During our Conservation & Storytelling module, students collect data on animal tracks, predominant species, and vegetation in Northern Botswana, the results of which are then submitted to a long-term conservation study sponsored by the Botswanan government. This process was begun in 2017 by our CM1 students and is being continued by the CM2 cohort this July and August. These repeated visits will ensure that we’re not just the occasional visitor, but an active and engaged member in 12 international communities.
Regarding the second cohort, TGS’s Marketing Director Lee Carlton said, “Through the launch of our second cohort, it’s encouraging to know that we’ll be further ingrained in the amazing countries that we call home. The launch of the Changemaker Curriculum last year really put us at the forefront of project-based learning and innovative education, and I love the fact that more students than ever will now have the opportunity to meet the amazing guest speakers, professionals, and other local experts around the world who make a THINK Global School education so fulfilling.”
Apply today for the 2019-20 school year
If you know a teen who is curious about the world, exhibits strong leadership skills, and enjoys challenging academics, we encourage them to apply for the 2019-20 school year. Visit our admissions page to learn more about what we look for in a candidate: https://thinkglobalschool.org/admissions/who-should-apply/