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Osaka International School

 

The Educator       

 

                                                                                                              Nov. 28, 2008

 


HEAD’S UPDATE

John Searle    

Head of School   

I would like to thank everyone who was able to make it to the latest coffee meetings. The purpose of these meetings is just to keep open lines of communication with parents, so that we can discuss upcoming events at school, which have a bearing upon the education of our students. We also have the PAC group which allows parents to contact other parents directly to raise issues concerning the school and I hope that the combination of these two avenues allows parents to feel they have a means to be heard. Of course my door is always open to visitors. At the meetings I brought parents up to date on a number of developments and I outline some of them below.

The road in front of the school will be open in April for through traffic. This will significantly increase the volume of traffic. In October the Mayor of Mino visited the school and at that time we raised the issue of road safety with him in relation to the anticipated flow of traffic. We have received preliminary notification that 3 sets of traffic lights will be installed in the vicinity of the school to allow students to cross safely. There will be an increase in bus services past the school and we have been discussing with the company about where the stops should be. Finally at this time we are awaiting a police report to add their recommendations to these measures.

Our contract with our present catering service expires in April and I have asked the Business Office to gather tenders for alternative caterers. It is important that all aspects of the school tie in closely to our mission statement – “informed, caring, creative individuals contributing to a global community” – and this should include the catering services as well. Apart from offering a nutritionally balanced menu, the company who receives the contract from us needs also to be considering the sourcing of their food; is our food free from harmful chemicals? Is it possible for our canteen to offer Fairtrade food for example so that we can directly support farmers? Also the catering company needs to be flexible. We have a wide range of catering needs at school, from lunches, sit-down dinners, and meetings to breakfasts for visiting teams. We need to be working with a company who will at least explore meeting our needs in all these respects.

As I reported in an earlier Educator, the Student Council has embarked on a project to reduce the amount of energy we are using and it will be interesting to see what develops as they explore the idea of ‘sustainable schools’ where we attempt to lessen our impact on the environment.

The merger talks with Kwansei Gakuin are proceeding well. Our latest meeting agenda was centered on ‘an education based on Christian principles’, as Kwansei Gakuin is an educational institution with these principles. The presentation we made outlined how we are already offering an education based on many Christian principles – and to illustrate this we presented the documents that have been developed over the past 18 years, demonstrating the school’s philosophy and purpose. Words such as respect, empathy, ethical, compassion, courage and forethought, appear frequently and already match very closely with Kwansei Gakuin’s mission and philosophy without the need for change.

In addition the late winter and holiday period is the time when teachers will make decisions about their futures. A major part of my job as Head is to hire and retain the best possible faculty for the school. We have teachers who are considering moving next year, which is natural for an international school with an ambitious and talented faculty. As openings become more definite we will be searching for replacements who are interested in working at OIS because they understand its unique nature, who are or have the potential to be the very best in their field, and who have a broad sense of the responsibility of teaching in a small school thereby adding significantly to the school life.

The unifying thread through all of this is that all that we do in the school needs to relate to our mission statement. All discussions about change should therefore relate to how will the changes make us better able to develop our mission statement.

I would like to congratulate all students and their families on a successful first trimester. The beginning of a new trimester brings opportunities to improve in those areas which did not go so well. I hope we will all look for opportunities to go that little bit extra.


MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL UPDATE

Gwyn Underwood

Middle and High School Principal

Self-Control

OIS’s Student Learning Results (SLRs) identifies ethical, respectful and caring as three values we plan for our students to learn while they are at OIS. One attribute of these values is well known to us all – and that is self-control. Perhaps one of the hardest of skills to master, it is similarly one of the most important. So how can we as a school teach this? One perspective I have heard is – not very easily at all! That is – not without parents help and reinforcing at home. In fact, it is more accurate to say self control is learnt largely at home from birth. Thus schools are the ones who need to be offering parents help with an attribute that has been largely developed by the time the children reach school.

We can contribute to continued learning of self-control, however, just as I, and you I would imagine, could continually do with assessing how we react to situations that test our self-control even as adults (anybody else eat just a tad too much thanksgiving turkey?!).

Here are some tips for preventing problems and helping children develop self control 1:

·       Distract children from potential problems (provide options to alternative activities)

·       Remind children of rules (calmly explaining the need for these)

·       Help children solve problems and make choices (step by step for younger children, more detail for older)

·       Call time-out (not a punishment, but to allow for cooling off) [Effective for adults too!

·       Ignore inappropriate behaviour (when it is simply to gain attention and actions are not safety-threatening. Address the reason why the child is seeking the attention)

·       Notice good behaviour (one of the most effective discipline methods)

·       Help children see consequences (help them consider how their actions and words affect others).

These may seem basic, but are really applicable to all ages when a lack of self-control is evident. We would like to offer our support to you teaching these skills at home – and we appreciate your support as we do the same at school. Good school-home collaboration will enable this learning to occur in a consistent and effective manner.

1 Helping children learn self-control” 1998, Brochure by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (www.naeyc.org)

Curriculum articulation

The teachers were busy last Tuesday during our in-service day focusing on articulating our curriculum. This is an important exercise that schools do periodically to ensure we have an aligned curriculum that provides a clear scope and sequence of learning throughout the grades. This is an ongoing process, and I would like to thank the teachers for all their hard work.

End trimester, end of the calendar year…

The completion of the fall trimester last week brings end trimester reports. I encourage parents to go over these carefully with students, discussing areas of concern and how to improve; and complementing on areas of improvement and strengths. Please contact subject teachers if you have any questions or concerns that should be addressed.

It is a long haul this school period with 3 more weeks of school before our Christmas break, so I encourage students and parents to be particularly careful to get a good nights sleep, and ensure diet and exercise needs are keep prioritised to ensure healthy bodies as the winter chill kicks in.


ELEMENTARY SCHOOL UPDATE

Rod Adam    

Elementary School Principal  

DOES VIOLENCE BEGET VIOLENCE?

With the holiday season approaching, it is important to address the issue of violent toys and games, also called “action or fantasy figures or games.”  The sales of these toys and games have increased dramatically in the last few years and they have become ever more graphic and extreme. Violent characters are cross-promoted by TV cartoons, movies and computer games. These fierce creatures are also featured on everything from comic books and T-shirts to lunch boxes and bed-sheets. The underlying message seems to be that all opponents must be destroyed.

It has been documented that youngsters display aggressive, anti-social behavior after watching violence. At OIS we see children role-playing these actions during the unstructured parts of the school day – at recess, in the cafeteria, walking to and from classes, waiting in the genkan after school. Teachers regularly report children practicing ‘self-defense’ moves such as high kicks and karate chops during class time, much the same way as adults might practice a golf swing during a private moment at work. Unfortunately, the difference is the child’s moves  are frequently inflicted on unprovoking classmates. . . 

Play prepares children for adulthood.  As dolls teach parenting and team sports teach cooperation and conciliation, violent games teach harming others. Teachers and parents must serve as anti-violence models and help our children explore alternatives to the ever-increasing violent environment they face every day. Please buy toys and games that are creative, peaceful and reward cooperation. (See the attached chart for some ideas.) Let’s give our children the good gifts of peace, love, and friendship this holiday season.

DEAR SANTA . . .

Toys and play are essential components of children’s lives. They allow exploration and experimentation which helps children develop physical, intellectual, and social skills. Toys are for fun as well as for learning. Consequently, parents should select toys that appeal to their children, reflect their children’s interests and abilities, and allow them to have enjoyable experiences. As children grow, their physical and intellectual capabilities develop. To assist children’s development, toys should be carefully selected to challenge their skills, engage their interests, and stimulate their imaginations. Some examples are:

AGE / SPECIFIC DEVELOPING SKILLS / RECOMMENDED
4-6 / social skills / board games, card games, dominoes
basic academic skills (count, read) / outdoor (eg. ball, skipping rope, scooter)
adjustment to structured activity / creative computer games (eg. Kid Pix)
development of roles / play sets, dress-up clothes

6-9 / rhythm, music appreciation / musical instruments, CDs
academic skills / digital camera
realism / pets (eg. fish, guinea pig, hamster)
diminished egocentrism / puppets, construction toys

9-12 / competitive sports / electronic toys (eg. iPod shuffle/nano)
maturation in all areas / science equipment (eg. microscope), craft kits (eg. sewing, model making), writing tools (eg. Elements of Style book)


EVALUATION FOLLOW-UP

Earlier this month we received the PYP Evaluation Report from the IB regional office in Singapore. I am pleased to report that the evaluating team confirmed our own self-study and that we were commended by the committee “for the fact that the programme shows satisfactory development against all the standards and that no matters to be addressed have been identified. We would like to congratulate the staff at Osaka International School for your achievements to date and on your professional commitment to the philosophy of the PYP and the IB mission.”  We were granted the maximum evaluation term of five years.

Along with commendations were recommendations from the visiting team and from our previous self-study. Part of the November 25th teacher in-service day was devoted to developing our action-plan and reviewing our Programme of Inquiry. This will guide our development and growth over the next five-year term.

SABER SPORTS UPDATE

Simon Parker

Athletic Director

For everything sports related and to see how the HS Basketball teams do in Beijing, log onto the sports website at www.senri.ed/sportsweb


END OF TRIMESTER REPORTS

Caroline Rennie

Director of Academic Affairs

End of trimester reports will be distributed today (28th Nov). As opposed to the narrative mid-trimester reports, please note these are designed to offer descriptive summative feedback for the trimester.

In the MYP and DP programmes we use IB levels of achievement which do look rather impersonal, but give specific and accurate levels of achievement attained in the key areas of each subject. The time it takes to generate these multiple achievement levels means it is unfeasible to do narrative comments (like progress reports) and descriptors at the same time. As with any report, you are encouraged to contact your child's teachers for more information if you require it.

So, what should you do when you get the reports? In addition to getting feedback on how your child is performing, we recommend you take time to discuss the levels with your child. By looking at the descriptors for the levels attained in each criterion, you can get a good feel for areas your child is doing well in, and areas they could work on to ensure they improve over the next trimester.

To do this, it helps to compare descriptors of levels above and below the level your child attained.
These are available either from your child, as most classes will give students a hard copy of the descriptors, or go to our OIS community only website, and click on the links to the descriptors. You will need to log into the site first, as these descriptors are copyright, and not for public usage.

http://www.senri.ed.jp/ois/community/index.htm
User name: oiscommunity@senri.ed.jp
Password: balanced globals
A reminder these levels of achievement are not designed to be used numerically (for example, a Level 4 from 8 is not 50 %!). Rather they indicate the level the student has achieved.

They are also not designed to be converted to a traditional letter grade such as a “B” etc. They are not an average of the levels obtained throughout the trimester, but rather the level your child is at now. Please note students in SIS classes such as Kokugo receive a letter grade as SIS do not use MYP criteria.


ALL SCHOOL ARTS CELEBRATION instead of ASP

Nakae Osako

On Be Half of ASAC Organizing Team

It has been just 10 years since we started using the name “All School Production” here. The production that year was a drama production, but during the next nine years we had 7 musicals, 2 operas and 1 operetta. In the meantime, All School Production has been more likely to be considered as a musical for all schools.

Last term while we were studying the events of the coming school year, those concerned reviewed and discussed the All School Production. We have decided to change the traditional focus from a collaboration producing one piece to a series of events which celebrate the artistic endeavor of more students by providing more forms of opportunity for presentation/performance. This was approved by the administrators of OIS/SIS, and there remains an intention for ASP every second year.

In the calendar this year you see All School Events tentatively listed on February 12-14, 2009. The name of all school events this school year instead of ASP is going to be “All School Arts Celebration”, indicating that there will be no musical like other years, and that various forms of arts are to be involved.

The performances and displays planned at this stage are OIS/SIS Middle/High schools drama production, chamber music, instrumental ensembles, choral ensembles, OIS elementary school musical and ES music demonstration classes, and ES/MS/HS visual arts displays. Details will be announced later.


SUMMER PROGRAMS

Fumie Onodera

Counseling Center Secretary

If you want information on overseas summer programs, please contact Fumie Onodera, Counseling Center Secretary. Popular programs close application in February or March. Early research is recommended.

Phone: 072-727-5061 (direct), e-mail: fonodera@senri.ed.jp


KOBE CITY MARATHON

Hiroshi Baba

Triathlon & Running Coach

Date: Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009

Venue: Koyo Junior High School near the Rokko Liner "Island Centre" station in Rokko Island

8:00 - Registration

10:00 - 1.3km (Gr.5)

10:10 - 1.3km (Gr.6)

10:20 - Pair 1.3km (Gr.1-4 and Parent)

10:40 - 3km (Gr.7)

11:00 - 3km (Gr.8-9)

11:20 - 5km (16 yrs. and over)

11:30 - 10km (16 yrs. and over)

Fees:

Gr.5-9: 500 yen

Pair/Gr.10-12: 1500yen

Adults:2000yen

Deadline to enter: Dec. 4

Details (only in Japanese):

<http://www.kobe-taikyo.com/kobecity-marason/kobecity -marason.html>

We will have a lunch together to promote mutual friendship at Canadian Academy after the race.


CALENDAR

DECEMBER 2
PTA Meeting @ 3F Conference Room, 8:45 am
DECEMBER 4
ES G1/2 Open House
ES Winter Concert @ Theatre, 2:00 pm
DECEMBER 9
Holiday Concert, @ Maple Hall, 6:30 pm
 - High School Chorus
 - High School String Ensemble
- Wind Ensemble


K-Gr. 2 SET LUNCH MENU – CAFETERIA
MON., December 1
Rice Bowl with Chicken & Egg Topping
TUE., December 2
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
WED., December 3
Fried Salmon with Almond
THURS., December 4
Meat au Gratin
FRI., December 5
Chinese Noodle Soup
MON., December 8
Pork Cutle
TUE., December 9
Stir-fried Rice with Chinese-style Barbecued Pork
WED., December 10
Kitsune Udon / Japanese Wheat Noodle with Deep Fried Bean Curd
THURS., December 11
Omelet Containing Fried Rice
FRI., December 12
Fried Chicken


IMPORTANT NUMBERS
John Searle, Head
072-727-5080
jsearle@senri.ed.jp

Gwyn Underwood, MS/HS Principal
072-727-5050
gunderwood@senri.ed.jp

Rod Adam, ES Principal
072-727-5050
radam@senri.ed.jp

Patrick Stenger, Counselor
072-727-5061
pstenger@senri.ed.jp

Mike McGill, Admissions Director
072-727-5070
mmcgill@senri.ed.jp

Jim Schell, Business Manager
072-727-5084
jschell@senri.ed.jp

Peter Heimer, IBDP Coordinator
072-727-5290
pheimer@senri.ed.jp

Natsuko Hasegawa, School Nurse
072-727-5050
nhasegawa@senri.ed.jp

Student Attendance
072-727-2305  

 

 

       

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