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 . . .
Head of School Weekly Notes (Archives)
This week sees the first EAISAC sports tournament hosted here at NIS. Our high school boys and girls volleyball teams were busy last weekend finishing in second place in the EAISAC volleyball tournament held in Fukuoka and, this week, it is the middle school's turn to . . .
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 . . .
Thank you to all the parents who were able to join us for our Teacher-led Conferences today. It is always wonderful to partner with parents in ensuring the success and happiness of your child. We also appreciate those of you who . . .
We've had a fantastic start to the second quarter. We hit the ground running on Monday after a delightful autumn holiday with splendid weather. There was a noticeable shift in the seasons, and the next phase of the year was well underway. With our Halloween carnival . . .
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 . . .
Building a community requires the collaboration and nurturing care of many, and NIS is so grateful for the time and support that our parents give to the school and to our students. All the work behind the scenes may not be known by all, but it is . . .
We always appreciate the support and understanding of our parent community whenever we have a "Professional Development Day". While the best days on campus are always the days spent with students . . .
A heartfelt thank you to all of you who joined us for our Parent-Led Conferences on Monday. Your presence meant the world to us, and we genuinely appreciate your dedication to your child's education. When school and home unite . . .
One sign that the NIS year is truly underway is when you attend the bustling "Secondary School Club Recruitment Fair". It's a golden opportunity for students who run clubs to recruit new members, and . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
We hope this first weekly enewsletter finds you well, and filled with excitement for the new school year ahead. The first week back at school has been amazing, and it has been an absolute joy to witness the many happy, smiling faces of . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
As parents, I’m sure we all cherish the memories of school trips — the long bus rides, reaching the accommodation, sharing meals, and creating unforgettable moments. These trips leave lasting impressions even when our daily routines fade from memory. For me . . .
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 . . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
This week we were honored to welcome onto campus our two finalist candidates - selected from a large pool of interested administrators - to serve as our new Primary School Principal from August. Our two finalists, both . . .
It was so wonderful to welcome everyone back onto campus this week as we started off 2023 and the second semester. I hope you all have enjoyed the week back at school. It was especially wonderful to . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
The best part of my week is when I can get into classrooms and spend time understanding our learners and their learning journey. This week I was able to spend time in our High School PHE department on a beautiful November day. My own memories of . . . .
This week NIS was honored to host Garvey McIntosh from NASA to our school community as he gave two presentations – one first to our secondary students and then one to members of the ACCJ community – in which he took us on a journey of space travel from the seats of the MPH! McIntosh helped us explore the . . .
For the first time in three years, NIS celebrated bringing home a trophy as the Varsity Boys Volleyball team traveled to Kyoto last week to claim not only just a trophy, but the WJAA Championship! Having not had inter-school sports for such a long time due to the . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
For the first time in three years, we were finally able, today, to have a full face-to-face open house. It was a joy to welcome so many parents to campus and felt – quite literally – just like ‘old times’. Pre-covid NIS really enjoyed its identity as a community school and today we were back in that same spirit with . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
If you are a Secondary parent you probably enjoyed pictures of the retreats these past few days as our Gr. 6-12 students have been enjoying hiking, rafting, and many other outdoor adventures in the beautiful Japan Alps. These days away from campus are much more than just a fun trip. The retreats are . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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....
A special big thank you to our PTA and other parent supporters who this week helped organize one of the most unique events in NIS history, and one that won’t happen again for many years – our ‘Touch a Truck’ event. There is nothing more exciting than . . .
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 . . .
The school was in celebration spirit today as we celebrated our graduating grade 12 students, the Class of 2022 – the 55th class of students to graduate in the history of NIS. While the big day is tomorrow – when the students will . . .
Today was a day of sharing, fun, collaboration and connection. The Secondary School had a day away from academics to build friendships, connection, and identity. With activities ranging from . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
The Sakura cherry blossom season in Japan is – for many of us – a favorite time of the year. On one level it is the sign of spring, with warmer weather and sunshine after the cold winter. On the other hand, it is also the inviting opportunity for friendship, to gather under the blossoms to celebrate their beauty. For me there is always a deeper, third level in that . . .
With the burst of the Sakura cherry blossoms this week, the NIS campus officially opened Quarter 4 with a buzz of excitement and cheer!
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
I am sad – but at the same time delighted – to announce that our Whole School Principal, Aubrey Curran, who has been leading our school as Principal for five years, has just been appointed to the Head of School position at Yoyogi International School in Tokyo for the next school year. We congratulate . . .
A massive thank you to all our families for your support in keeping your children home and safe today as we work to reset our community defenses against omicron! We know that many families needed to change plans in order to be home to supervise children at short notice, and we are extremely grateful for that. From all accounts . . .
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 . . .
What a week it has been as we have pulled together to keep kids learning and connected through this sixth wave of COVID and the omicron infection. Certainly, NIS, like Japan and the rest of the world, is learning to adapt and change to . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
The best part of my week is always when I get into classrooms to experience the learning with our students. This is the front end of what we do; it is where the mission is being delivered in real time – and it’s exciting! While clubs, activities and all the other wonderful things that happen outside of classrooms are . . .
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 . . .
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?
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 . . .
Today we were pleased to welcome representatives from Aichi Medical University who came for a tour of some classrooms (particularly our high school science classes) and a discussion about possible pathways for our graduates into medical fields in Japan. It struck me as . . .
What a wonderful end to the week we have seen in the MYP. There is much debate in education of the respective roles of product and process. The debate is age-old - which is more important? On the one hand . . .
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 . . .
Thank you to all of you – our NIS community – for a terrific first quarter of fun and learning at NIS. Today was a celebration of everything our students have achieved as we shared in assemblies in both the primary and secondary schools throughout the day. Of all the wonderful things happening in the assemblies today, I wish to . . .
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.
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 . . .
Thank you to all who were able to join us online and support our Parent Information Day yesterday. Even though online, it was great to see the partnership with our parents buzzing once again in the sessions – a partnership so fundamental to our school. While you can . . .
Did you ever wonder what NIS teachers do on Wednesday afternoons when the students leave early? The answer is A LOT of really good and exciting collaborative work to make the learning deeper and better for students! One of the difficulties of the . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
No matter how many years I’ve been an international educator, this day - the last day of school, with all of the thoughts...
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 . . .
Following a very successful graduation day for the class of 2021 on Saturday, on Monday, it was then turn for the Gr. 5 and Gr. 10 students to celebrate their success in completing the PYP and MYP programs. In two separate events . . .
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 . . .
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 . . . .
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 . . .
This week in the MYP it has been “Project Week” – a ‘week without walls’ of student action, engagement and impact both on and off campus. Our secondary students have been . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
One of my favorite parts of the week is the times I spend in discussion with students. Too often though, school ends up being something we do 'to' children as opposed to being something we do WITH children, and here at NIS, we strive to . . . .
At NIS everyone is a learner, including the staff. In fact, one way of thinking of an NIS teacher is as the ‘lead learner’ in the classroom. At NIS, just as we want learning to be meaningful, relevant and engaging for our students, so too do we strive to create a professional learning culture which meets the needs of our diverse staff. Today was the launch of the . . .
This week, our Grade 5 students were busy with their pop-up art exhibition in the East Building's new Kawanabe Room. Making learning relevant and engaging is a cornerstone of a curriculum that . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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!)
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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.
This week, I have really enjoyed being interviewed by students and reminded of the power and importance of student voice in our school. First was the student ...
Today we reached the end of the first quarter of the school year and I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone in the NIS community for all that we have achieved.
We are fortunate that...
As our parents and students know, at the beginning of the school year NIS started with a focus on getting accustomed to our safety norms and procedures as we work to keep school open and ...
While we are so delighted and grateful to be back on campus with students, we are so sad that we cannot welcome parents on-site as we would like to. Of course, for specific prearranged appointments, parents are...
It was great to spend time talking to parents during our parent start of year meetings on Tuesday. Thank you to all those who were able to attend (online of course!). We discussed three core issues. First . . .
This week I was pleased to learn that NIS – like most schools in Japan – are in the lucky group of international schools that opened with full on-campus learning this year. Only a quarter of international schools globally . . .
A highlight of the week was definitely our clubs fair held for our secondary students on Wednesday. This fair was an important part of our preparations for . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
It has been a busy week here at NIS. Although a large number of staff have been working from campus throughout the online learning phase, next week will be the first time we will gather our whole staff team back on campus since early March. Our planning for bringing students to campus . . .
It was a delight to see Mr. OK interview one of our student artists about her design process for this year’s Walkathon T-shirt. It seems like such a long time ago that the Raymond entrance area was . . .
While we all know we would prefer to be living in a world where online learning was not needed, we should never forget the positive opportunities which online learning can bring. Today was “Meet the Workers Day”, and in celebration of the “International Day of the Worker”, we held . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
It is the end of week five of “NIS Online”, and while we have been enjoying the digital conversations and the opportunities to get creative, it has been a tough week for staff here at school. The sakura blossoms this year . . . .
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 ...
Though we went into Spring Break hopeful that we might be able to convene on campus upon return, thanks to the hard work and creativity of our teachers, the support of our parents, and the dedication of our students we were able to resume ‘NIS Online’ and . . . .
The end of the third quarter has been a strange day on campus. Usually we would be having a big assembly and waving goodbye to the students, wishing the best on their well-earned break - but today this all happened online! I am so grateful to . . .
Day two of online learning at NIS is a wrap and we have come to a close on a busy week! The feedback we’ve received has been so positive…
A special thank you to everyone in our NIS community for your support as we begin online learning next Thursday. I am especially thankful to the students and staff for . . .
I’m very grateful to our parents, staff and students for helping our students understand the emerging situation with the COVID-19 virus . . .
A very exciting day today at NIS as our Global Issues Network (GIN) students took the lead by hosting students from international schools across Japan . . .
As we enter the mid-winter break, I wish to thank you all - everyone - for all that you do to make NIS a special community for everyone . . .
To be an inquiring, inspiring and impacting community school, NIS relies on the dedication and support of parents, staff, students and friends . . .
This week, over 60 NIS students submitted Walkathon T-shirt designs for consideration for the 2020 event’s official shirt design . . .
At NIS, we understand that our goals as a community are achieved only when we are in partnership with our wider community . . .
I trust everyone in the NIS community had a wonderful holiday season. The school is back and running and full of excitement . . .
The wonderful performances, art display, and parent participation by both the ELC and the Gr. 5 was a fitting end of a busy semester . . .
Last night we had our fourth “Community Parent Meeting”, and this time it was held downtown in the hope of making it easier for parents living closer in to town . . .
Yesterday was a day of artistic creativity. In the morning, the Gr. 10s gave their pitches to a panel of judges for community art . . .
A big thank you to the parents who came out to share their thoughts and ideas in the first of our parent ‘Community Meetings’ . . .
The annual ACCJ/NIS Walkathon is a terrific community event - a day of good food, friendship (and some walking!) in the park every Spring . . .
It was terrific week for parent partnerships at NIS. Thank you to the many families who came out to campus on Monday . . .
Welcome back to all our families after what was, we hope, a wonderful week spending time with your children. This first week of the second quarter has been a busy...
• Our thoughts this week have been with the victims of the recent typhoon Hagibis which included a minute of silence to pay our respects . . .
NIS is grateful to be a member of the Japan Council of International Schools, a network of 27 schools across Japan . . .
Last Friday, while school was on holiday, a number of our committed students were busy participating in the global movement for climate action . . .
Two events on Wednesday this week provided a great example of how NIS strives to live our mission to inspire and empower...
The annual start of the year retreats in Secondary have finished and, if like me you’ve been following the hashtags ..
Welcome back! What a great start to the year it has been. The long summer of preparations all made sense when the corridors and classrooms...
All of us here at NIS are excited to welcome students and families for a wonderful year together. Over the summer we’ve been busily preparing for the school year ahead . . .
As the last full week of the 2018-19 academic year closes up, the school is a frenzy of activity. With concerts, sports days, closing assemblies, marches and celebrations . . .
As the year comes towards a close I was very grateful to see so many parents come out to spend time reviewing our partnership with parents . . .
Today saw the first of our two-day graduation celebrations as we honor our amazing students in the Class of 2019. Following the Graduation March of Pride in which our graduates paraded around the school . . .
It was wonderful to see so many students and parents at the Walkathon on Sunday. Besides being a beautiful day weather-wise, the event provided a great chance to interact and make connections with many . . .
The arrival of spring heralds different things in different cultures, and here in Japan it often feels like new beginnings for many things, as the school year starts in April in Japanese schools . . .
It was wonderful to see many images of the secondary students on their trips throughout the region, and to see them reflect on their Interdisciplinary Units today . . .
On behalf of all of us here at NIS, I wish all of our families a wonderful Golden Week. This year, Golden Week is particularly special, with the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30 . . .
Today saw a true “celebration of learning” at NIS. In addition to the Student Led Conferences in most grades, the day also saw the concurrent events of . . .
While students in an international school such as NIS have incredible benefits in terms of the richness of learning which is not possible in a national system in any country . . .
A huge thank you to the PTA for organizing such a wonderful parent excursion to Asuke-Korenkei yesterday . . .
This has been a week of many highlights - some of which are big and obvious . . .
On Saturday last weekend our school was filled with educators from across Japan as we discussed how to embrace translanguaging in our school culture. Translanguaging is the process whereby . . .
As a part of the CIS/WASC accreditation process, the school engages in a comprehensive ‘Self-Study’ in which we analyze ourselves against international standards . . .
Walking around campus this week it has been great to see so many Inquire-Inspire-Impact t-shirts being worn, especially today with the HS girls volleyball team off on their first tournament of the season . . .
NIS secondary students returned this afternoon – tired but happy – from the start of year retreats in Nagano. I hope parents have been following on twitter to . . .
A school without kids in is a very strange place indeed and so it was wonderful for us to welcome back our nearly 500 NIS students this week for the start of the new school year.