Dear TIS Community,

I am extremely proud and excited to announce that Tsukuba International School is now authorized to offer the Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate.

This achievement culminates nine years of efforts of our collective school community to establish an IB World School in Tsukuba. Mr. Kano took over the school from Mr. Boyle in 2008 with a big vision for our little school. Despite the fact that we had only eight students at the time, he saw the great potential that the school had and declared that we would be an IB World School authorized to offer the Primary Years Programme and the Middle Years Programme. He also decided that we would have 16 students per class and ten classes (Grades 1 to 10), for a total of 160 students.

This dream was quickly expanded, first by Mr. Kano in 2009 when he decided to establish our preschool (Pre-Kindergarten 1 and 2, Kindergarten), and next in 2014 when we all came together as a school community to decide to aim for a high school (Grades 11 and 12) that was authorized to offer Diploma Programme, a highly-regarded and internationally recognized graduate qualification.

We became an official school organization (gakkou houjin) recognized by Ibaraki Prefecture in March 2009, which set the stage for our potential for growth by giving us an official status and creating a path for communication to take place between the school and the local authorities (the City of Tsukuba and the government of Ibaraki prefecture). As a part of that process, Mr. Kano and Mrs. Kano made an enormous financial commitment to the school which allowed for the construction of our first official school building, the West Building.

In 2011, we gained authorization for the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate. (Sadly, Mr. Kano passed away before he could enjoy this achievement, but I know that he would have been incredibly proud of all of us for taking this first major step towards his dream.) In 2014, we gained authorization for the Middle Years Programme. And now, in 2017, we have gained authorization for the Diploma Programme. This development sets the stage for us to offer to the greater Tsukuba community the chance for children to grow up in a compassionate learning community, centered in nature, that celebrates diversity, equality, and opportunity. Children can come to our school when they are three years old, and they can now stay with us until they are ready to embark on the next stage of their future, be that college or university, or whatever other endeavour they choose for themselves, equipped with international awareness, a critical mind, and a passion for knowledge.

The fact that we became officially authorized to offer the Diploma Programme just two weeks after our Verification Visit speaks volumes about just how ready we were to accept this challenge. This achievement now makes us only the sixth IB Continuum School in Japan, authorized to offer the full PYP, MYP, and DP, following in the very big footsteps of five much larger schools in considerably larger cities (Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe). The report that we received as an outcome of the Verification Visit included several commendations. This is very rare: commendations are usually reserved for truly outstanding practices that the visitors notice at a school, and a school would be lucky to get even one commendation. We received a total of seven commendations. This result is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our DP Coordinator, Mr. Peter Congreve, and his team of future DP teachers, along with the support of the MYP and PYP teams, the school administration, the students, parents, and the school board. I would like to personally thank all of you for your great contribution to our school, and would also like to express my appreciation for the way that we all came together with a vision for our school and made it happen. You believed in us, so we believed in us, and we all came together to make this happen.

May I remind you of the vision that we created for our school in 2014, when we decided as a school community to aim for the Diploma Programme?

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Tsukuba International School Vision

Tsukuba International School will become a pre-eminent IB World School in Japan offering an internationally recognized and highly valued education through its three IB programmes (PYP, MYP, DP).

The school will foster its strengths, including its world class teachers, its location in Tsukuba Science City, and its strong community spirit to achieve this goal.

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Look how far we have come since then. What was just a bunch of words on a Powerpoint slide in 2014 is now a reality. We need to remember to set high expectations for ourselves, and to DREAM BIG! In 2008, when Mr. Kano said he wanted us to become an IB World School with 160 students, many, MANY people thought he was crazy. At the time, with eight students and no school building, this seemed like an impossible dream. In 2014, when we set our new goal of offering the Diploma Programme, expanding the school to 300 students, and constructing a new school building, many, MANY people must have thought that we were all, collectively, crazy! I have learned, and I hope that you have learned, that it is never crazy to dream. It is only by dreaming that we can accomplish greatness, as individuals, and as a community.

As the head of this amazing school, with 15 grades, three authorized IB programmes, two incredible school buildings (and an annex), and 195 awesome and inspiring students who are poised to make this world a better place through our collective efforts, I would like to take this historical opportunity to remind us all to

DREAM BIG!

Yours sincerely,
Shaney Crawford
Principal
Tsukuba International School