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Thank You Parent Partners!

It was wonderful to see some of you at this morning's Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NIS Parent Partners, which consists of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) as well as our ‘Transitions’ group (supporting families in deciding on whether or not to bring their child to NIS) and our ‘Outreach’ group (supporting NIS in having a presence and connection to the wider community). It was truly wonderful to welcome so many . . . 

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 The Fabric that Binds Community

At the heart of every great school lies a vibrant community - a network of caring individuals united by a shared purpose. The old adage rings true: it takes a village to raise a child. This NIS village thrives on the triangular relationship between parents, teachers, and students, each playing a vital role in nurturing the growth and development of our learners. NIS was founded by parents looking to create a school for the children who needed it. It is a part of our DNA which lives on today. This week, we witnessed a shining example of our community in action during the . . . 

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Third Culture Experiences

Today was the busiest days on campus since pre-COVID. In addition to all the amazing learning going on every day, as usual, today NIS hosted a five-team high school baseball tournament (the Western Japan Athletics Association - WJAA) and an eight-team middle school basketball tournament (the East Asian International Schools Activities Conference - EAISAC).

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Transforming our Community Through Learning

The campus today was transformed as students talked with students across grades, and others who were able to go through the exhibition zones. Parents and teachers should be so proud of the accomplishments of these students, and, as a school, we know how fortunate we are to have these incredible young thinkers as a part of our learning journey. The Gr. 5 students are to be congratulated for their efforts to create such a wonderful showcase for their learning - and their impact.

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Good Luck to the Gr. 12s!

It was a special yet sad day today for our Gr. 12 students as it was their last day of classes before they enter their testing period. The student-led Secondary Assembly this morning featured the Gr. 12s, and had the Gr. 11s welcoming them onto stage to receive cards of encouragement and thanks from the students. I have a feeling . . . 

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Celebrating the Beautiful Moments

It was wonderful to see so many families celebrating under the Hanami with us this week – at least on the days when the rain kindly stayed away! The sakura cherry blossoms have such significance in Japan. They are a reminder of the precious beauty of life and of the need to celebrate the moment. Life, like the blossoms, moves on so quickly, urging us to cherish the here and now and celebrate all that is good in our lives. The sakura blossoms are all the more appropriate at NIS at this time of year as we approach the graduation of our Gr. 12s . . . 

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Engaged, Committed and Confident

As we come to the end of another successful quarter, I would like to thank everyone for so many positive community-building experiences. Last night was just one example – the International Food Fair (imagined and implemented by a student!) and the middle school musical made the campus feel alive with community spirit. Last Friday the . . .

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Looking at the IB Programme at NIS

We are very excited to be welcoming visitors from our accrediting and authorizing agencies to NIS next week! Over the past four weeks I have been able to share with you a little of each of the four deep dive projects that we have been undertaking to form the backbone of our CIS and WASC reaccreditation. Next week we will also be hosting visitors from the IB who will be....

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"Pathway 2" Accreditation: Fostering Partnerships at NIS!

Today we welcomed parents – along with your children – to school to celebrate learning in our Three-Way student, parent and teacher conferences. So what better day than today to share with you a little bit more about the third of our CIS/WASC accreditation pathway projects – ‘Fostering Strong Partnerships to Enhance Student Learning’. Last week I wrote of the the very real challenges our after school . . .

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"Pathway 2" Accreditation: Putting the Co into Co-Curricular

Last week I wrote to you about the first of the four projects that are so important for our school as we gear up for our accreditation visit from the CIS and WASC. This was the ‘DUcKS’ project in which we are looking at brain-based research on how we learn to work out how we can better teach. This weekend our MS sports teams are competing in their EAISAC volleyball tournament in Busan and we are . . .

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"Pathway 2" Accreditation: Our DuCKS!

Here at NIS, we're gearing up for our accreditation visit from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), scheduled to occur on campus from March 10-14. If you were with us last year, you'll recall that NIS was selected as one of the first schools globally to embark on the prestigious 'Pathway 2' route to accreditation. We were thrilled to pass the compliance phase last year and since then, we've been actively engaged in four key areas of school development . . . 

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Preparing for Future Paths

On a crisp winter evening this week at NIS, a group of eager Gr. 10 students and their parents gathered for an important information session. The topic at hand was to map out their last two years as a high school student. No doubt, like many parents have before, the Gr. 10 parents were probably surprised and maybe even a bit saddened (secretly?!) at the inconceivable notion that they had arrived at this juncture so quickly! Both parents and students listened attentively as . . . 

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More Than Just a Color

Seeing everyone proudly sporting jeans and our vibrant green school colors fills me with immense pride and a sense of unity. Today the gym and halls are alive with excitement as the girls’ basketball team started day 1 of their final tournament of the season, while the boys’ team left yesterday for their own tournament in Kobe. Beyond the spirited representation and the collective support for our teams (thank you especially to all our younger ELC and Primary student fans!), this display of . . . 

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Anticipation and Excitement

It was so nice to have school hallways buzzing with excitement after a long three weeks of holiday! In addition to students being excited to meet up with classmates again, there were lots of smiles of anticipation as we welcomed a number of new students into our NIS community . . . 

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The Importance of Sharing our Cultures

With only one more week until the start of the winter holiday season, things are getting very festive at NIS! A big thank you to the parents who decorated the lobby with signs of the season (you can see a ‘Happy Hanukkah’ celebration and Christmas tree and wreaths!). The students have been celebrating (with parents of course!) at our Arts nights as well. Last week we were inspired by our grades 1-2 and this past Tuesday we were . . .

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The Art and Science of Teaching

Today we welcomed final year students from a local university into our Primary school. These students are all training as Primary School teachers ready to enter the Japanese education system next year. This was a visit to look at an international, IB education and to consider the similarities and differences between the . . . 

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Authentic Learning

This years Walkathon raised an incredible 4.5 million yen for charitable organizations in the Nagoya area and on Tuesday night our Grade 10s flawlessly showcased their language skills, people skills and event management skills in hosting the funds distribution ceremony for the ACCJ. This important event is . . . 

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Interconnected and Integral Experiences

Today marks the conclusion of a truly fantastic quarter, and it's a challenge to encompass the multitude of experiences since those scorching August days when we commenced this academic year. We've had retreats, excursions, sports competitions, and sports days. We've witnessed remarkable arts events, gathered in assemblies, listened to inspiring guest speakers, and enjoyed potluck gatherings organized by the PTA. Moreover, our students have . . .

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Nurturing Leadership

What makes a good leader? What are the different levels of leadership? What are the key ingredients to a successful team? How do organizations nurture leadership? What are some of the pitfalls of a failing team? These are just some of the . . .

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Full Week of Connections and Community!

As we come to the end of our first full week of the 2023-2024 school year, there is much to celebrate. Our ELC students are going strong, learning the routines of being a part of a school community and it has been wonderful welcoming families to Community Time each day. Our Elementary students are now well into their first Units of Inquiry and the hallways and walls are starting to come alive with visible learning. Our community gathered for a fantastic "Welcome Pot-Luck" dinner last Friday to welcome all our families and staff as a part of the NIS community (thank you PTA!). And our entire secondary school are . . .

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Inquire Inspire Impact!

As this is the last Friday newsletter of the year, and we bid farewell to another remarkable year at NIS, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the staff, parents, and, most importantly, the students who have made this journey truly memorable. It has been an extraordinary year filled with . . .

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That Time of Year!

No matter how many school years I see come and go, this time of year, with the buzz of celebrating accomplishments and the thrill of impending transitions, is always an exhilarating part of each school year. ‘Graduation’ usually . . . 

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Seizing the Day

What a day it has been! On behalf of everyone at NIS, I would like to express our gratitude to all our parents and caregivers for your understanding and adaptability as we made the tough decision to close early today due to the approaching typhoon. We simply couldn't bear the thought of missing out on this special day entirely, yet we also wanted to prioritize the safety of all our students. Today marked the final day for our graduating seniors . . .

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Thank YOU!

I extend a huge thanks to everyone in the NIS community for their engagement and dedication to the Walkathon held last weekend. For many years, NIS has been collaborating with our friends at the American Chamber of Commerce Japan (ACCJ) to co-sponsor this event. However, this year . . .

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Learning From Each Other, Regardless of Age

There was a beautiful moment in the Commons today. We often celebrate international schools like NIS for their focus on international mindedness, critical and creative thinking and holistic education. All this is true. Another advantage which we do not celebrate often enough is the multi-age environment, and the ability – on a single campus – for children from as young as three, to young adults of 18 to work and learn from and with each other. This is a benefit that . . . .

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Nurturing Passion and Ideas!

Yesterday the Gr. 10s finally closed up their "Personal Project" with a final round of exhibiting. The MYP Personal Project is not just an ordinary school project – it's an exciting opportunity for students to unleash their creativity, explore their interests, and develop their skills in a way that is personally meaningful to them. Through the Personal Project, students embark on a journey of . . .

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Celebrating the Learning!

Thank you to all parents who were able to adjust their schedules to attend our "Celebration of Learning" on campus this week. From TED-Ed talks to Personal Projects, PYP Exhibitions to Student-Led Conferences, this celebration lies at the heart of why schools exist. Schools are not merely places to learn, but . . . 

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What do you Do?

My favorite part of any day is the time spent with students. This morning I was visited by some of our younger learners in the ELC who are researching community and they had a very simple question for me about my role at NIS: ‘How do you help?’. It really got me thinking. Of course, I have a job description, but that is not what this young child was asking. They were not asking me . . . 

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Welcoming our New Primary School Principal!

This week we were happy to welcome Travis Peterson, currently Elementary Principal at Korea International School in Seoul, to share in a week of learning at NIS. Travis will join NIS from August as our new Primary School Principal after we sadly say farewell in June to Holly Johnson who, after many dedicated years serving our students, is leaving to take up a new Principalship in a school in Europe next school year. We are so grateful to her for the incredible work she has done and will miss her greatly . . .

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Falling Blossoms and Masks!

It has been a wonderful week here at NIS, a week of milestones for sure. The warmer weather brought the beautiful cherry blossoms out to bloom, heralding the start of spring for not only us here in Nakashidami but for all of Japan. On campus, the sakura always signal the start of Quarter 4 and the wonderful tradition of for the Gr. 12s to take a group photo in caps and gowns under the blossoms. Both are poignant reminders of the importance of the moment and the time our students spend here at NIS - the growing, blooming, maturing, and then the sad farewells . . .

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Amazing End to Quarter 3!

Quarter three concluded today with a crescendo of activity, the likes of which the school has not seen since the golden pre-covid days of early 2020. Within the past two weeks we’ve hosted a seven team soccer tournament, a 4th grade sleepover, a 1st grade movie night, a 3rd grade cultural celebration, a staff-student soccer match, a Grade 11 College Night, International Women’s Day, Women in Science Week and much, much more. Then, last night . . . 

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NIS Women in Science

A huge congratulations to our student leaders who spearheaded our International Women’s Day activities this week. The flood of purple that came into school on Wednesday, supported by classroom dialogue, activities, engagements and fun – all in pursuit of greater equity – was inspiring to see. Our students wrote . . .

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Student-Led Action for Gender Equity

Every Wednesday afternoon our staff gather to share updates as a group before spending time in department meetings, learning sessions or collaboration time depending on the week. This week, we were so very fortunate to hear a presentation by some of the Gr. 6 students who have been leading our school community's recognition of International Women's Day next Wednesday. It was such a special moment to see them up on stage, a bit . . .

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Celebrating Cultural Identity Through Linguistic Diversity

Our language acquisition teachers have a wonderful strategy with our multilingual learners. They ask students to draw a self portrait body outline and then fill in the outline to show how their languages inform their identity. Is English the language of the head, the hands, the heart, or the feet? What about their mother’s language? Or their father’s language? Their host culture language? Other languages? When you look at these you . . . 

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Pathway 2 Accreditation with CIS and WASC

This week we received the excellent news that NIS passed our "Preparatory Evaluation" and were accepted into the prestigious "Pathway 2" accreditation process with the CIS and WASC. The CIS process (used jointly by both agencies) is widely recognized as the gold standard in international school accreditation, one that carefully examines many details of a school though the drivers of student learning, well-being, international-mindedness, and the school’s own "Guiding Statements". Through these drivers, the school’s policies and . . .

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Kind Language at NIS

If you are following NIS on twitter (and we hope you are!) then you will have noticed a hashtag trending right now - #NISkindlanguage. Our elementary students - through pictures, poems, videos and more - are exploring a fundamental concept that the language we use to interact with our world will also shape the experiences we have within our world. One of the advantages of . . . 

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Dolphin Pathways

This week provided time to reflect on the many pathways our students take, and how the collaborative process to help our students choose those pathways is so important - and rewarding - as a community. The Gr. 10s spent time this week at . . . 

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 Celebrations in our Community (and Welcome New Principal!)

If you were fortunate to have been able to come into the front entrance area this week you could not have missed the colorful Lunar New Year decorations that were put up on display by a group of parents to celebrate together with everyone in our community. We are so proud of the many nationalities, languages, cultures and beliefs that make up our school community and this is such a wonderful way to share with everyone - and it was . . . 

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A Wonderful Holiday to All!

As the semester wound to a wonderful close this week I couldn’t help but feel full of joy and gratitude to everyone in the NIS community. The last few weeks have been filled with so many events – the ELC showcase and Elementary Arts Nights, the Grade 5 Café, the MYP Arts Nights, and then, yesterday, the ELC performance and the NIS Winter Carnival. It is times like this when we . . . 

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Committed to Accountability and School Improvement

Any good school holds itself open to thorough and rigorous external evaluation. At NIS, in addition to being accountable to the Aichi Prefecture Private Schools Division, we are also jointly accredited by both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and this week we hosted two evaluation officers who were visiting to conduct an in-depth examination of our school. They examined our . . . 

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JCIS Collaboration

Last Saturday a team from NIS travelled to the British School in Tokyo for a JCIS (Japan Council of International Schools) forum on Diversity Equity Justice and Inclusion (DEIJ). JCIS is a group of 29 quality international schools, from Okinawa to Hokkaido, all of whom share in a commitment to providing quality education for the internationally minded community of Japan. Over the past few years . . .

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Feeling Like NIS!

It was great to see many of the students in their ‘jeans and greens’ today – an end of quarter tradition to celebrate our school spirit. It is a fitting end to a great quarter of learning. It has felt like being back to old times in so many ways – students safely removing masks outdoors, sports teams traveling . . .

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28 Heads Better Than 1!

This week the Heads of School from the 28 Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS) met in Yokohama. NIS is the only member of JCIS from the Chubu region and we’ve been honored to hold the presidency of JCISl in recent years. The group includes . . . 

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Community Future Thinking

This week NIS held four ‘Future Cafés’. A huge thank you to the more than 100 community members – parents, students, staff, and board members – who came to collaborate together to imagine and create a future for NIS. Strategic Planning only happens once in each ‘generation’ of schooling. The last time NIS did this was when our current Gr. 12 students were in Kindergarten. It is a time to step back from our day-to-day experience and ask the big questions that . . . 

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Amazing Learning & Student Life!

We are now a month into the school year, and how wonderful it is to see learning really taking root across the school. If you have not yet subscribed to the @NagoyaIS twitter account then I strongly recommend you do so! Although this has been a short week, you would have seen some amazing things happening before your eyes. In MYP . . . 

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Knowing Ourselves and Our Learners

DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) is central to the mission of the school and to the concept of international mindedness which, as a CIS-accredited and IB-authorized school, we embrace. Although the term may be new to some parents and community members, the concept – to create a community in which our diversity is a source of our strength – is core to our shared humanity and who we are as a school. Last year an exploratory committee of staff, working with . . . 

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First Full Week Done!

We have reached the end of the first full week of the 2022-23 school year and it is so good to be back! It is wonderful to have our students in and also have a more open campus to see parents each day. It was wonderful to welcome so many parents to our Gr. 12 College Information night last night. We have . . .

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Welcome Back to NIS!

What a joy it has been to welcome our learners back to campus this week – first with our many new students and their families for our Orientation Day on Wednesday, and then with all students and staff yesterday and today. During the summer holiday, the school is a strange and empty place, and it needs to come alive with the voices of young people like it did this week! After the long and difficult COVID years we start with a sense of optimism. Of course, the future . . . 

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Farewells & Celebrations

And as another year winds to a close, today was a day of celebration. We celebrated the students for the inquiry, inspiration, impact and inclusivity they bring to our lives every day. We celebrated them for enjoying their successes and learning from their challenges. We celebrated them for their humor, their compassion, their insight and their joy. We said our sad farewells to the students and staff moving on. We shared excitement for the future pathways ahead....

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Beginning of the Busy Ending

At this time of year there are always so many things to write about as the year comes to a close. And, as we moved into our Level 2 COVID response level, with much more free access to campus, the past week has been alive with community events. We held the graduation for the Class of 2022 on Saturday, the culminating celebrations for the PYP and MYP on the following Monday and Tuesday, and . . .

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A Team of Trust

There is an old saying – ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. And it really is so true. None of us can do it alone. To grow and thrive, a child needs the adults in their life to work together, listen to them, listen to one another, and support them in their path to independence as a confident, capable and caring adult. It was therefore wonderful to welcome some of our ‘villagers’ in the Elementary school community onto campus today . . . 

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A Golden Holiday (for Some!)

As we approach the “Golden Week” holiday period, we wish everyone in our school community a wonderful and relaxing time with family. Whatever your plans, we very much hope that you can enjoy the beautiful Japanese spring and special times creating memories with your children and family. As you enjoy Golden Week, please spare wishes of good results for our Grade 12 students whose IBDP examinations began today. The IBDP exams are scheduled for . . .

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A Time to Celebrate

This week has been one to celebrate for many reasons. First of all, it was so wonderful that we were able to begin welcoming parents back to campus. So many of us wish to get back to ‘normal,’ but at the same time, we need to follow the local health department regulations, which with strict contact tracing in effect, means that to reduce the chance of school campus closure, we must remain cautious. However, from this week . . .

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Good Luck Class of 2022!

Today was the last day of class for our Seniors – the Grade 12s, our Class of 2022. Of course, the school year is far from over. After two years of hard work, many of them are now preparing to take the challenging IB examinations over the next month, and then, we will celebrate their graduation at the on May 28. But today was their last regular school day and . . .

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End of Quarter Three!

The last day of the quarter always has a special feel to it. It is our day to wear ‘jeans & greens’ and it has been terrific seeing all the NIS “spirit-wear” at school today making today a bright and sunny day in spite of the weather! Thank you to the PTA and parents for encouraging our Dolphin Spirit! Also, we’ve had our end-of-year assemblies celebrating the . . .

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Students Leading Change

This week was a week of celebration for our community, but especially for our student groups who are passionate about leading our school to a more environmentally sustainable future. Before this year, although there was a great deal of student action to raise awareness – as well as some . . .

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Ukraine Peace Space

As we think about those suffering because of conflict in Ukraine and all those around the world impacted by war,  our counselor and principals have set up a reflective space in the school's lobby this week. It is a space where students and staff can think about peace, our shared humanity, and our responsibility to one another. There are quotes from . . .

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Trying to Comprehend

As we come to the end of this week, our thoughts are with all those involved in the current conflict in Ukraine. It is always a tragedy when any part of the world reaches the point of armed conflict and the inevitable human loss, misery, and suffering this creates. Of course, this also poses challenges for international students and families. Our NIS community includes students and families . . .

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Guidance for Future Paths

Last night our Gr. 10 students and their parents enjoyed two hours of imagining the possible two years ahead in grades 11 and 12. So many options and choices! Which science course should I take? Which Math course is right for me? Should I take more than two courses from one block and then not take any courses from another block – or is it better to be more balanced? What should my . . .

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Nurturing Positive Outcomes

Thank you all for your support as we have moved to Level 4. We will send an update later this evening so please watch for another email. With the current wave of infections in Japan, we may need to move your child’s learning online on short notice, so it is important that parents check for emails each evening and morning.

In other news this week, I really appreciated the work of the Primary team . . .

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Students playing in the snow on the playground

A big thank you to everyone for getting today up and running! It was such a beautiful start to the day with the snow all around campus (although I know that actually getting to campus was easier said than done!) I am grateful to . . .

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Happy Holidays to All!

The excitement was in the air all day today. Starting with the ELC showcase (again, more parents on campus!), then two outstanding Secondary assemblies celebrating the arts, learning, sports and responsible action in all grades - and then our two final Elementary assemblies. The excitement and festivities . . .

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Parents sitting in the new East Building MPH

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Grade 10s, their teachers, and parents gathered in the Commons for their concert – what a great evening it was. Music, laughter, and good conversation. Drinks and snacks were for sale at the back of the room. Like so many other events, I was able to sit back and enjoy the performance through the eyes of the parents who had come to celebrate their children that evening. Yet, this was not a night like any other. Of course, we were not unaware of the news of the new coronavirus . . .

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Student Leading an Eco Committee Meeting

A question that has come up a few times over the past week has been 'what makes NIS unique'? To those who have been asking the question – thank you! After all, in many ways, a school is a school – we all teach roughly the same subjects, and we all hope to help learners be ready to be healthy, active, and contributing members of the adult world. What makes one school different from another? And why does it matter?

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Small Steps, Big Smiles

This week has seen us begin to enjoy some of the possible changes now that we are in our Level 2 COVID response. The changes are not dramatic – we intend to exit the pandemic in the same safe and cautious way that we have navigated it so far. But the changes we are starting to make are significant and will have an important impact on our student and community learning and well-being. At the moment, the changes are modest. But still powerful. For example, this week . . .

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The Importance of Including People to Build Our Community

This week we have seen a very important coming together of the community in support of choosing our next Director of Business and Operations. The Director of Business and Operations role encompasses oversight and leadership of school finances as well as human resources, facilities, technology, infrastructure, and wider operations. We are incredibly grateful to our . . .

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Wellness day students with balloons

Walking around the school these days gives a real feel for the buzz of activity that is happening outside the classrooms. Indeed, learning that occurs inside the classroom is only a part of the learning that takes place here. And much of the buzz of activity is definitely student-led.

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Student-led Eco Committee Meeting

Lots of good things happened at school this week. One of these was the meeting today of our new Eco-Committee. This is a whole-school committee, driven by students with staff support, working towards our school achieving a ‘Green Flag’ status from the Foundation for Environmental Education. This foundation, based in Denmark, works with . . .

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Well-Being Wall for All

There is always something new to see each time you walk the campus of NIS. This week, appearing on the wall in the Secondary section of the Raymond Building, is a new well-being wall entitled ‘take what you need, leave what you can’. The wall is . . .

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First Online NIS PTA Meeting of the Year

Part of getting back to school and kicking off the year has always been the pleasure of the first PTA Executive Board Meeting and feeling the great sense of excitement and potential for the year to come. Even though our inaugural PTA meeting on Wednesday was still online, it was so good to see everyone - and it was especially nice to see many of the executive members who were serving for the first time. It has been a tough time for all of us throughout the pandemic, but I can honestly say that . . .

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Up and Running!

The end of the first full week of school is here and the school year feels truly underway! In addition to getting to know new friends, teachers and routines this week, we’ve also started on some important projects for the year. Our Grade 10s have begun their journey through the MYP Personal Project, the PTA are gearing up for our "Welcome Parent Tea" tonight (online at 6pm - please join! - https://meet.google.com/zpf-bvbc-yxa) and staff have begun work on our major educational and wellbeing work for the year . . .

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Welcome Back to School!

It has been wonderful to welcome so many new students and families along with our returning students on campus at NIS this week to mark the start of the school’s 58th school year. Schools can be empty and lonely places over the summer – and we’ve been overjoyed to fill the classrooms and corridors with the laughter and cheer of our students once again! On Wednesday, new students (and their families!) were introduced to the NIS community for the first time as students on campus. Then, on Thursday . . .

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First Board Meeting for NIS PTA Leaders

This week we were able to have the first meeting of the new NIS PTA Executive Board. A huge welcome to Melissa, our new President, and her entire team – we are very excited about the year ahead! One of the most challenging things with COVID this year has been . . .

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Gr. 12 students say farwell to all studnets on the field on their last day at NIS before graduation

It seems incredible that we are almost at the end of the year. One group of students who, in particular, deserve immense credit and recognition are our current grade 12 students. When they embarked on the start of their two-year-long coursework in grade 11, they could not have imagined that for one full quarter they would be working online, or that through most of their courses they would need to navigate the complexities of living and studying in a world with COVID. How proud we can all be of them that tomorrow they will graduate! Their coursework and . . .

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Walking for the Community

Every year as we approach this time in May, the school ramps up for the annual NIS-ACCJ Chubu Walkathon, scheduled this year for this Sunday. In its usual form, it is a wonderful outdoor, family-friendly charity festival with the dual purpose of coming together as a broad and diverse community while raising money for local charities that work to make Chubu a great place to be. Whether it is a short-term assignment or our forever home, giving back to this community where we work, live, and raise our families benefits all of us. It also fits perfectly with our learning as we consider our place in the world and how we want to impact our community. Today . . . .

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Feeling Safe AND Silly!

It has been good to welcome students back to campus this week after what was, I hope, a relaxing "Golden Week" break for all families. Of course, this week, Aichi entered the State of Emergency, and here on campus, we went back to doubling down on our COVID protocols. I never cease to be impressed - and thankful - for how everyone has stepped up, again . . .

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students demonstrating on Earth Day

On Thursday of this week, we – along with millions of others around the world - celebrated Earth Day, a call to action for all those who live on this planet. Many challenges are facing the generation of the future. The pandemic is, of course, the immediate challenge, but the pandemic in many ways is an overlay of some already unstoppable forces. These require us all –especially the . . . 

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Showcasing our Learning

I hope you have enjoyed conversations this week with your children about their learning. We truly miss our big on-campus community events where we can welcome parents here to share and celebrate learning together. However, we are finding virtual and hybrid ways to connect and engage and appreciate our parents and students for their support in making these connections within our community. This week's . . .

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boys playing inclusive soccer

One of the things I enjoy is thinking about the message I get to write to the community at the end of each week. I usually go back over the school's and my Twitter feed to review the fun, insightful, and exciting stories from our community in the past week. This week, going back over the tweets I shared, was the rehearsal for the MS musical, a student-devised piece of NIS 'going back to the 80s.' There was also one capturing the fantastic moment where a group of High Schoolers all decided to change their game to include their friend in a wheelchair. There was . . . .

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graduating students taking group photo in front of Sakura Cherry Blossoms

Sakura cherry blossoms have such incredible significance beyond their beauty. The idea that something so beautiful can appear as if from nowhere and then, almost as quickly, be gone again, teaches us the value of appreciating all that life has to offer, of seizing the opportunities that come our way and of enjoying the moment we are in, always understanding that this is but a moment in time. This is very much a part of parenting as well. Parents will know how, like the blossoms . . .

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Gr. 12 students talking with Gr. 8 students about Clubs

Today spring has definitely sprung and we have enjoyed a beautiful day of sunshine to celebrate the end of the quarter. In the last week we’ve had so many special events – the talent show, the IB art exhibition and the Grade 3 Book Shop to name just a few. Today we had . . .

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Students observing moment of silence

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which claimed close to 16,000 lives and continues to affect so many communities to this day. At NIS, we remember the day well – feeling the edge of the . . .

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Students speaking at 2021 Kyoto UN Youth Congress

This was another week in which we could celebrate the achievements of some of our amazing students. This past weekend, Mina and Steven, two of the members of our Model United Nations Club, attended the Kyoto Congress Youth Forum which is a precursor to the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held this weekend. Not only were they . . .

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Two high school students leading elementary classroom discussion

The days in which the teacher is the only one doing the teaching are long gone. Of course, great schools need great teachers, and that will never change. But there is something very powerful about learning from peers – not only for those doing the learning but also for . . .

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Back on Campus

How wonderful it was to end the week with two full days on campus. As I walked around the school, I saw all the things that make campus-based schooling so relevant and important. Dance, music, sports, kids chatting, playing, hanging out. Just the ability to . . .

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A Challenging Start

Thank you to all the parents who joined my Head of School Coffee today. It was good to connect, hear your concerns and your words of encouragement for staff. I’m always reassured in knowing that the way we get through this is by listening, discussing concerns people have, and then working together to support our students. “Challenging” is the word I hear and use most frequently these days. All of us are . . .

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A Team Effort to Keep Our Community Safe; NIS will remain Online until Jan. 28

As we wrap up our first week back to school in a new semester and new year, I wish to express how impressed I am with the flexibility and understanding shown by our entire community. Though we always knew pivoting to online learning was a distinct possibility - perhaps even a certainty - we kept feeling extremely lucky week after week during our first semester. This week was a test on the . . .

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Closing Semester One with Hope

We’ve made it to the end of the semester and the end of 2020. It has been a year that has changed the world for generations to come and in ways that we still do not yet fully know or understand. Ironically, this pandemic, which is a massive global issue, has also made our world much smaller as it finds us looking to family, friends, and community, centering in on the human connections that define us. Not only . . .

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MYP Artists Shine on Stage

We had an excellent day of performance art in full display on the stage in the MPH today. As we wind down the first half of the school year, the MYP students had the opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve been working hard on all semester. Grade 10 students found it a perfect opportunity to practice some of their performances that will be assessed later in the year, thanks to the stage setup, lights, and seating in the MPH. They warmed up the stage for the Grade 6 and Grade 9 students, who . . .

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Library display with autumn theme

It has been another busy week at NIS. On Wednesday, we enjoyed our online PTA meeting planning with parents around the events and semester ahead. One of the things that became clear was that even though our students enjoy many of the experiences they would have enjoyed pre-pandemic - lessons, sports, events, and activities - one of the most significant differences is that we simply don't get to welcome our parents to campus. This is tough for all of us as we try to partner around your children's success and happiness. Of course . . . (Click "Read More" for a "Head of School Coffee Morning" sign-up!)

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NIS teachers meeting in groups in the Multi-Purpose Hall for professional development day

It goes without saying that to be an effective teacher, you need to be a good student. What sets NIS apart from other schools is the deliberate and regular efforts to improve our own skills in the classroom. This past week, we dedicated Monday and Tuesday to the professional development of our teaching staff. Over the two days . . .

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Nine Elementary students gathered around a poster writing about "making connections"

One of the best parts of the job as Head of School is the opportunity to spend time with kids and teachers in classrooms learning together – and this week, I’ve had the chance to see some incredible teaching and some remarkable learning. It is sometimes hard to get a sense of how the NIS (IB) framework comes alive for parents. This is especially so during COVID when access to campus is limited. I encourage you to talk to your children about their learning and have them explain to you what they learned and how they learned. This week, for example . . .

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Sharing Our Teaching and Learning

Collaboration, connection, and support...these abound around our school on a daily basis, but sometimes it is worth calling out for recognition. Because when we share our knowledge or our talents, it isn't just a nice thing to do, but it is essential in shaping how we learn now and retain what we are learning well into the future. A wonderful example of this is . . .

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Teacher online for Three Way Conferences

Thank you to all of our parents for your enthusiasm for the Three-Way Conferences held on Tuesday. We always say that our partnership with parents is essential as we work together to support your children's growth. And though we encourage parents to reach out to teachers any time they feel the need to, these conference days are a very important part of the school calendar when together we can sit – student, parent, and teacher – to reflect on progress and learning. This year we were online, and it was . . .

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From Walkathon to Halloween

While many things in 2020 are not the way they used to be (!), this has been a week in which I have been very grateful and proud of our staff and students. We were able to keep some of the important annual traditions alive – again, making us thankful to be learning face-to-face at this time, unlike so many children around the world.

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Back at The Place We Call 'School'

How great it has been to start off the year, face-to-face, with our returning and new students, families and staff – and with our brand new building! The long period of online learning has taught us many things. One is to be proud of the resilience, determination and autonomy of our young learners and staff who were able to keep the learning going throughout. But the other is . . .

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Ready to Inquire, Inspire and Impact!

It was such an amazing joy to welcome our new students to campus today. Around this same time 52 years ago, a gathering of NIS students cut a ribbon and entered the original Raymond Building at NIS for the very first time full of hopes and dreams – and some nervous fears, I’m sure – about the year that awaited them in their new school.

Today, half a century later . . .

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End of a Week, End of a Year . . . and WHAT a Year!

2020 was a year we at NIS have all been thinking about for a long time – especially here in Japan with the promise of the Olympics and of course our own NIS ‘2020 Vision Project’, there was so much hope and optimism as the dawn broke on Jan 1. Who could have imagined the craziness that would start off the year of 2020; our school, families and lives turned upside down by COVID-19. In many ways, though, this still has been an exceptional year. Not only . . .

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Importance of Physical Space

It is hard to believe that we only have one final week remaining of what has been quite an exceptional school year. A highlight this week was of course the Graduation ceremony of our grade 12 students who were able to come to campus, face-to-face one last time to celebrate and share their memories of school. At the other end of the school, our ELC preschool students are busy decorating and painting the fairy house (or is it a butterfly house!?). In the middle school . . .

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Thanks, Congratulations and Farewells

I would like to thank you all – our community pulled together and we managed to being our students back this week – with a little over 80% of students coming in on their designated days. I can’t tell you how much better, real and human our school feels now that the campus is once again ringing to the tune of students voices and laughter. Our students have been great – following the guidelines and looking after each other with care. They have been creative to find solutions for . . .

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Celebrating NIS Arts Online!

I am so impressed with how virtual interpretations of our students' artistic endeavors are having a #NISimpact this week. As I walk the halls, they remind me that although the students haven't been here, they are still creating and NISinspiring us with their talents! Thanks to our art department, the hall displays will be ready in time to welcome back students for the last three weeks of school. The Primary students have been . . .

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Finding Connections

It was a pleasure to share in our parent coffee morning today. I always value hearing from parents directly about the challenges of supporting your children and families through COVID-19 and online learning. Today we discussed again some of the common themes families are facing . . .

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It Takes a Team

As we close out on another week of NIS Online I’m reminded of how far we have come from those first uncertain few days of trying to build our systems, schedules and methods and get up to speed as a community with online learning. I’m incredibly proud of what has taken shape here . . .

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The Learning Continues

I thank our entire community for your patience and understanding this week; a week in which we made the difficult decision to continue to offer online learning. I know that while this decision had the support of the large majority of the community, a strong minority take a different and equally valid view. I understand these ...

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