This month, we are focusing on becoming inquirers. Here is the definition of “inquirer” according to the International Baccalaureate.

We develop our natural curiosity. We acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. We actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout our lives.


STUDENTS

Student Enrollment
As of September 30, 2011, we have 14 students in Tsukuba International Preschool, 55 students in our Primary Years Programme, and 16 students in our Middle Years Programme for a total of 85 students. The following nationalities are currently represented in our student body: Bangladesh, China, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

Information and Communication Technology
All students in Grade 2 to Grade 9 were given were given school accounts on our TIS Brain site. Students have access to Google Docs and Calendars through this site, so they can work collaboratively on projects and get input from their teachers online. The Grade 8 and 9 students were also given TIS Brain email accounts.

Student Council
We launched our student council this year by nominating the entire Grade 8/9 class (seven students) to be our school’s executive council. The students held a vote to elect the student council president and vice president, then they assigned roles to the other five members of the council. The student council meets with the principal on Fridays at lunch time to discuss various topics relating to students’ interests. Next month the other classes (Grades 1-7) will elect their representatives to the council.

Earthquake/Disaster Drill
On September 13, we held an earthquake/disaster drill. As this was our first drill for the year, we spent some time in class to talk about how to react to in-school emergencies. Students were advised to go under their desks or otherwise protect their heads in case of an earthquake. Then, if the school needs to be evacuated after an earthquake or due to a fire or other emergency, students were told to leave the building from the closest exit, without changing into their “outdoor shoes”. The drill was extremely smooth and none of the students panicked or ran. We were very proud of them for keeping their cool!

Soccer Coaches
Professional soccer coaches from Aseno Soccer Club in Moriya came to Tsukuba International School every Wednesday in September to give our students special soccer lessons. Our students love to play soccer during their recess breaks, so we decided to support their interest by hiring professional trainers to improve their performance. The coaches will continue to come once a month for the rest of the school year.


PARENTS

Parent Volunteers
Some of our most dedicated parent volunteers came to school on Sunday, September 4 to help maintain the school grounds. They cut the grass, dug out the weeds, watered the grounds, and did many other hard jobs. We are so lucky to have such a supportive team of parents!

School Tours, Open School Day, Parent Circle
We started off the year with School Tours (for prospective parents) on September 14 and Open School Day and the Parent Circle (for parents of current TIS students) on September 12. At the Parent Circle, we discussed various options for fundraising and other ways of supporting the school.

Parent Teacher Conferences
At the end of the month, we held parent-teacher conferences. This meeting gives parents a chance to meet their child’s teacher and ask questions about the child’s progress. The conferences are optional, but the majority of our parents take advantage of this important opportunity to connect with the teachers early in the school year.


TEACHERS

Professional Development of Teaching Staff
Mrs. Dianne Suzuki (Grade 1) and Mr. Jordan Breithaupt (Grade 5) attended The Networked Educator at Yokohama International School. The workshop was run by Chris Betcher and Kim Cofino.

We held our in-school workshop for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) on the same weekend. Mr. Jared Dano (Grade 6/7), Dr. Clifford Kolba (Grade 8/9), Ms. Akane Kono (Japanese), and Ms. Shaney Crawford (Principal) attended. The workshop was run by Ms. Gillian Presland of Tokyo International School.

Professional Networking

On September 26, Ms. Peggy Marsh (Grade 2, PYP Coordinator) attended a meeting of curriculum coordinators from Japan Council of International School (JCIS) Schools at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo.

On September 29, Ms. Shaney Crawford (Principal) attended a meeting for heads of International Baccalaureate schools in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan at Nagoya International School. On September 30, she attended a meeting for heads of Japan Council of International School (JCIS) Schools, also at Nagoya International School.

Team-Building
On September 15, we held our first staff dinner of the year. Two of our board members were in attendance.


SCHOOL

Donations
We received two new computers and many used computers as a part of our school drive for more IT equipment. Some of the computers were a bit slow, but we have been able to upgrade them by installing additional memory cards. Hopefully they will have many more years of service at the hands of our IT-hungry students!


COMING UP

Here is what we have in store for the future.

October

Learner Profile Focus: Principled

October 1 – Mrs. Handa, Ms. Crawford attend JCIS Business Manager’s Meeting at Nagoya International School
October 1 to 2 – Ms. Marsh, Ms. Nagakura, Mr. Okyne attend Kathy Short Workshop at Nagoya International School
October 5 – Soccer Classes
October 5 to 7 – Parent-Teacher Conferences at TIP
October 10 – School Holiday
October 11 – Open School Day, Parent Circle
October 12 – School Tours
October 13 – Staff First Aid Course
October 14 – PYP Unit 2 Begins
October 20 to 21 – PYP Authorization Visit
October 26 – Fall Festival / Volunteer Day


If you have any questions about this report, please feel free to contact us.