Head of School
This year is the thirtieth
anniversary of the death of the anthropologist Margaret
Mead. Margaret Mead’s research developed much of our current
understanding of human nature. She spoke and wrote on a wide
range of subjects, including the generation gap, aging, the
nuclear family, education, the environment, race, poverty,
and women's rights. The main body of her research spanned
either side of the Second World War. It was the dropping of
the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the resulting pessimism
that pervaded the early 1950s as the world appeared locked
into a course of self-destruction, which influenced her work
in the area of the human capacity to change and choose
between possible futures. This led to her conclusion that
all aspects of human life are interconnected and that we
should "never doubt
that a small group of committed citizens can change the
world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has".
This theme, that small groups
of people can influence the outcome of a situation, has
particular relevance to all of us at OIS. As an
international school dealing with global community
challenges Ms. Mead’s research is important in that it gives
us the confidence to act and not to be overawed by the size
of the problem despite our relative lack of numbers.
Therefore I am very pleased to learn that the senior class
has decided, as their class project, to build a school in
Cambodia. Here is a concrete example of a small group of
committed young people changing the lives of generations of
children and possibly, in turn, the world. In addition to
this the Student Council is working out how the school can
decrease the size of its carbon footprint: the amount of
global warming emissions we produce through the normal
functions of running a school. A possible goal for them is
to help the school become carbon neutral, where our
generation of global warming emissions is reduced and offset
in some way. Although our school’s overall effect on the
climate is miniscule, in a time when the world is slipping
perilously close to irreversible climate change, if the
Student Council can develop this idea through to a working
project then quite possibly this will act as the catalyst
for initiating change on a larger scale. This could happen
either through its connection to other similar grassroots
projects, or as an inspiration to other students when they
go on to university and work. I hope as a school community
we can support these and other efforts, which will in turn
benefit us all in some way. –
a small group of committed
citizens changing the world.
The arrangements for the
Foundation merger with Kwansei Gakuin are continuing. I
would like to plan a second coffee meeting with parents in
November to talk about this and how in particular we will
approach the item in the Basic Merger agreement that an
education at OIS should be based on Christian principles.
Please look out for the dates in the next
In the meantime, the year is
progressing well, and I have seen some wonderful public
performances in the past week that complement all the hard
work in the classrooms, and that are a credit to the
students, teachers and parents: the varsity girls’
Volleyball victory in the Saber Cup, the UN Day assembly led
by the 4th grade and the Genkan lunchtime
concerts. Thank you for your continued support of your
child’s education with us at OIS.
MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL UPDATE
Middle and High School
The importance of
A recent report titled
Present, Engaged, and Accounted
has highlighted the need for students to be “present
and engaged” in order to learn. “Common
sense and research suggest that attending school regularly
is important to ensuring children
develop a strong foundation for subsequent learning.”
The report notes this is especially important in the early
years (elementary school), and in high-poverty areas.
Chronic absenteeism (loosely meaning missing over 10% of
classes) diminishes the educational experiences of not only
the child who is absent, but also children who attend school
regularly. Tardiness can likewise contribute negatively, as
classes are missed and disrespectful behaviour patterns are
A summary of negative effects
of excessive tardy/absenteeism is as follows:
Teachers have to do extra work to follow-up on
students, re-explain work missed and adjust lessons
when members do not turn up (especially if
presentations or tests
etc. are planned). It
is impractical for all instruction to be given
again, however, so an absent student will simply not
get the same level of instruction upon their return.
This extra work also negatively affects other
students as teachers end up having
to divert their
attention to meet the learning and social needs of
children who miss classes.
Other students have to carry the burden of group
work when a group member is absent, plus the absent
student misses out on valuable social learning
that can not be re-created by catching up when they
return. Social interaction may also be part of the
assessed learning task.
Excessive tardies not only
cause disruption to a
class when a student arrives late, but also
contributes to reinforcing disrespectful
and undisciplined behaviour that if not corrected,
can lead to future difficulties later in life. Tardy
students also miss out on announcements during SHR,
causing more work for the HR teacher to catch up
with them at a later time.
It is harder for some
students to stick to school regulations when
ignore them. High school students in particular are
role models to younger students, so should make
attempts to be worthy of this role.
Now, having written this,
it is important to make
two points. One is there
will be times where absences or tardies are unavoidable,
so parents and students should not feel bad if it
with good reason. If it develops into a habit, however,
it needs to be addressed. This leads to the second
point – oftentimes students need some
help to get out of bad
Here are some practical
tips to consider:
Parents need to discuss the issue openly with the
student and emphasize the seriousness of the habit.
Note the negative consequences that occur
if the situation is not rectified. Refer to the
attendance policy in the handbook, and go through it
together. If a student is denied credit, they may
not be able to graduate as planned.
Do not take blame for a student not making an effort
habits. As a parent,
you need to guide them into making right choices,
and helping a student take responsibility
for themselves is an
important part of growing up.
As a parent, ensure your child gets adequate sleep,
an appropriate diet, and exercise. In addition,
if they are participating in excessive out of school
activities (such as Juku/Cram School, part time
work, sports etc.), please discuss if these are
appropriate considering the absences.
Encourage your child to get help with organizational
if they are taking
excessive lengths of time to complete homework. It
is not good for students to be consistently studying
into the morning hours, and then coming to school
tired and inattentive, or ending not coming at all.
This type of behaviour will only make the situation
worse. If a student feels they are getting too much
homework, ask them to discuss this with their
teachers. Organized students will plan for “crunch”
times, plus if there is going to be a deadline
conflict, they must approach the teacher early (NOT
just before it is due), so something can be worked
Help students with good study habits. Trying to do
homework with the TV on is not effective.
Procrastinating (putting things off) will not get it
done. Time should be planned, including
short breaks to stretch and get refreshed. Studying
late at night is not efficient.
Book flights early, and respect school days. Being
overseas poses difficulties, especially with prices
rising during holidays, but it is important to
keeping in mind the very
beginning and end of school terms are very important
to help students settle in and complete
Overall, I think OIS has a very
good student attendance record, and encourage this to
Hedy N. Chang and
Present, Engaged, and Accounted For - The Critical
Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL UPDATE
Elementary School Principal
I look forward to seeing all of
you at our Parent-Teacher conferences next week on November
6 and 7. Please “catch me in the hallways” or drop by the
elementary office to share your pride in your child’s
achievements this term!
OIS Celebrates United Nations
The anniversary of the founding
of the United Nations on October 24, 1945 has been
celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. It has
traditionally been marked throughout the world by meetings,
discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of
Last Friday, October 24, the
Elementary School held its second student assembly of the
year to recognize this important day as well as to highlight
the IB Learner Profile attribute of
At our previous assembly,
students presented ways to understand and help needy
children in the Osaka area. This time, students focused on
the role of the United Nations and the ways that the UN
helps those less fortunate around the world. Using a
“Newscast” format the grade four class led the assembly and
shared information they had learned about the UN during
their Unit of Inquiry:
How people share
responsibilities working toward a common goal.
Students gave “news reports” and “interviews” highlighting
the work of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights.
Grade one/two students from the Japanese beginners class
shared their newly acquired Japanese language skills. Guest
speaker Ms. Kaori Tsuda, a representative of JICA (Japan
International Cooperation Agency), spoke about her
experiences working for four years as geologist in Malawi,
Africa. Her presentation highlighted the similarities and
differences of school children in Malawi and Japan. The
entire elementary student body, with several student
soloists, stirred our emotions as they capped the assembly
singing We Are The
Adding to the effectiveness of
the celebration was the participation of so many students,
parents and teachers who wore national costumes, national
colours or brought memorabilia from their home countries or
countries they have lived in or visited. The room was a
kaleidoscope of colourful costumes, surrounded by flags of
the 17 nationalities that make up the elementary student
population. It was a visual reminder of our diversity and
re-enforced the concept of being “internationally-minded.”
Two visiting Australian teachers who attended the assembly
commented on the positive school spirit and student
proficiency they felt and observed. We have much to
celebrate at OIS.
Early-to-Bed Students Shine in
At the beginning of each school
year, parents are often eager to learn ways in which they
can help their child’s achievement at school. The almost
unanimous attendance at our Back To School Night confirms
parents’ commitment to their child’s success. One suggestion
is almost always mentioned by teachers – ensure that your
child has adequate sleep. Many studies world-wide have
identified this important factor and a recent study in Japan
reported last month in the Daily Yomiuri confirms this
important fact. Professor Yasuko Kamikawa of Toyama
University found two very significant results:
- Children who went to bed
earlier scored better on academic achievement tests,
- Children watching TV and
playing electronic games for more than three hours per day
were found to forget school items, were less alert during
classes and got lower test scores.
Dr. Kamikawa’s advice (and
ours): “Sleep guidance, especially for third and fourth
graders, can help them grow mentally and physically and
improve their academic skills. Parents should not think that
it’s sufficient for children to have the same amount of
sleep as adults do.”
SABER SPORTS UPDATE
Important Upcoming Dates :
HS Boys/Girls Basketball
Great Wall Shootout @ ISB, Beijing
Tennis Tournament, Chiba
thanks to everyone in the school community who was involved
in the HS Volleyball Saber Cup Tournament this past weekend.
The event was a great success and that was down to the
efforts of so many in our relatively small community.
I am as
always really grateful to our homestay families without whom
we would not be able to host our guests from overseas -
thank you for opening your homes to the students from Seoul
want to mention the SIS PA -
and OIS PTA volunteers
- who catered lunch for coaches
and officials during the tournament and then laid on the
banquet dinner for 100 guests and players on Saturday night.
The food was delicious and as always it was great to see
such a team effort with at least 30 parents from both school
communities working hard together.
PTA who held a bake sale and are donating money to our
tournament charity World Vision; the JV Volleyball members
who scored; the Sports Council who really do so much not
only on tournament days but also in the build up; and the
faculty here at school for their co-operation and support of
the athletic programme. Thank you to you all!!
volleyball itself was also hugely exciting and indeed we
could not have scripted the dramatic finale late Saturday
afternoon. After two tough days our own Osaka team found
themselves in the championship game with the team from
Sacred Heart in Tokyo. After twice falling behind we came
back to send the game into a 5th set, and a monster effort
aided by the excellent support saw us win by 3 sets to 2.
Three players were selected to the All Star Team - Mayu Yao
(SIS 12), Sachi Yoshida (SIS 12) and Mana Sasaki (SIS 12).
The Sportsmanship Award went to Marist Brothers.
with the exception of the tennis team who go to Chiba next
week, we have completed the fall season and in turn the
winter season and HS Basketball has started this week. Many
many thanks to Ms. Hirai, Mr. Mori, Mr. Sagara, Mr. Stenger,
Mr. Entwistle and Mr. Shiffman, for their time, energy and
expertise over the past 2 months. And good luck to Coaches
Heimer, Ray, Schell and Adams in the months ahead.
full check on all scores and the latest week by week
schedules for all our teams visit
this year our students will have the choice of taking the
ACT and/or the SAT. The American College test is similar to
the SAT in that it is a college entrance exam for U.S.
colleges and universities. Almost all colleges and
universities in the U.S. accept both the SAT and the ACT.
The ACT consists of four curriculum based, multiple choice
tests in English, mathematics, reading, science and an
optional 30- minute Writing Test. Some students perform
better on the ACT than the SAT and now we can offer both
tests. We will be offering the ACT two times a year. This
year the ACT will be offered Saturday, December 13 and in
the spring, Saturday, April 4. Students can register online
I recommend current 11th graders choose one of
the exams in the spring time or the ACT and one of the SAT
exams to see which one they perform better on, for example,
the ACT in April or one of the SAT exams in May and June or
the ACT in April and the SAT in June.
This year no American
university tours made it through Osaka or the Kansai area.
However, I was able to travel with two OIS seniors to the
CIS college tour in early September at St. Mary's
International School in Tokyo and six OIS seniors to the
Kanto Plains International College Fair, Oct 20 at ASIJ.
Traveling to Tokyo for college fairs, while inconvenient and
expensive, are very valuable for students. Living so far
away from colleges/universities in North America, Europe and
Australia makes it difficult for applicants to make an
impression. College fairs and tours are sometimes our
student's only way to meet with and impress
college/university representatives. Many of the
representatives are those international admissions
representatives who will be reading our student's
applications. If students have made careful and thoughtful
decisions about the schools they wish to apply to, attending
college fairs to meet with representatives can be very
rewarding in terms of admission and scholarship. I would
like to take more students with me in the future. I highly
encourage 9th -11th grade students to
consider not only attending these large college fairs but
also attending the college visits at OIS. Our students who
have regularly attended college/university visits have done
very well with admission and scholarships later. Please take
the time now, they may not be back in the future.
Attention! How It Works and How to Work It.
Dr. Ron Shumsky, Clinical
Psychologist and Child Neuropsychologist. Bluff Medical
Clinic Yokohama, Private Practice Tokyo.
For Parents and Educators
Do you have children who have
been diagnosed ADHD or who exhibit similar behavior? Would
you like to learn strategies to use at home? Would you like
to understand more about attention and how it develops or
does not develop in children? If you would like to learn
more about attention and attention issues you are cordially
invited to attend an OIS/PTA sponsored presentation by Dr.
This presentation starts with a
brief introduction about attention deficit disorder, also
called ADHD. It then gets beyond that, addressing specific
aspects of attention and how attention is supposed to work,
plus problems that emerge when attention isn't working.
After that, the main part of the presentation addresses
specific strategies for operating attention -- tools
children can use to attend better at home and school.
Baby sitting will be provided
for a small fee by high school students. The money they
raise will go towards their senior service trip. Please let
us know if you’ll require baby sitting services.
Date and Time:Tuesday,
November 25 from 6:30 p.m.– 8:00 p.m.
Theater. The counseling department can provide directions.
Please email or contact Patrick
Stenger if you would like to attend.
INFORMED, CARING, CREATIVE
INDIVIDUALS CONTRIBUTING TO THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY
Community Serivice Coordinator
One Saturday evening each
month, a few OIS & SIS students join with children from
Sannoh Children's Center to make onigiri and offer support
to Osaka's homeless. Our students learn valuable
interpersonal skills and compassion. They also get to make
friends in the wider community.
If you would like to join us on
Saturday, 08 November, please phone Lyn Melville-Rea, OIS
community service coordinator, on (090)9612-8364.
We can meet at Kita Senri
Station (taxi stand) at 5:30 pm or Dobutsuen Mae Station,
exit 8, around 6:50 pm.
SAT I & II
Tests @ OIS
- No School
Deadline for Dec. 6 SAT I & II Tests
Parent Teacher Conferences
- ES No
Performing Arts Festival in Kyoto
Lost & Found
K-Gr. 2 SET LUNCH MENU –
/ Japanese Wheat Noodle with Deep Fried Bean Curd
Rice with Chinese-style Barbecued Pork
with Chicken & Egg Topping
with Meat Sauce
Beef and Egg