Tsukuba International School Report – February 2017


Personal Project Presentation
The Grade 10 students presented the Personal Projects to the school community on February 23. The Personal Project is a passion project that students complete at the end of their Grade 10 year (the final year of the Middle Years Programme).

This year’s topics:

  • Japon/France, 2 culture totalement differentes mais si proche
  • Cosplay: Bringing People Together
  • Generating Bioenergy from Leaves
  • The Fairness of the Court System in Japan
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Great Female Minds in Academia, Forgotten by History
  • Japan and the Greater East Asia War
  • Horses and Humans: A History of Co-existing

Kindergarten SAT: Light and Dark Showcase
The kindergarten held a “Light and Dark Showcase” where they played and experimented with light and dark with their parents on Friday, February 3.

Field Trips
Grade 2 – Cheese Factory on February 6
Grade 3 – Tsukuba Expo Centre and Solar Farm on February 14
Grade 2 – NIED, Geology Museum on February 21

International Schools Assessment
On February 20 to 22, we administered the International Schools Assessment tests to all students in Grade 3 to Grade 10. This series of tests on language (English), math, and science give us a way to collect valuable data on how our students are performing relative to other schools and countries, to evaluate our school programmes and practices, and to monitor and track student progress. The results of these tests are used to help us improve teaching and learning at TIS. Parents are also given a copy of their children’s results. We will distribute them when they are delivered to us. If you have any questions about these tests, please speak with Mr. Congreve.

Kanji Proficiency Test
On February 10, we administered the Kanji Proficiency Test to 26 PYP students and 55 MYP students. The Kanji Proficiency Test is aligned with the Japanese school grades (Grade 1 is level 10, Grade 2 is level 9, etc.), so our students took the test that matched their level of ability. We also took this opportunity to set up our assembly room for the first time as an exam room in preparation for holding high school exams there in the future.

Testing out Snack Time for MYP Students
The student council reported that MYP students would like to have a snack time because many students travel long distances to school in the morning and they start to get hungry around morning recess time (10am). We decided to have a trial period where we tested out the idea of having snacks at morning recess. Students were asked to follow the normal school policies of bringing healthy snacks and taking home any garbage created by the snacks. Reports from students and teachers indicate that few problems arose from the snack time, so it is likely that this will become a regular practice.

100th Day
We celebrated the 100th day of school on February 16 with various fun events, such as dressing up as if we were 100 years old, bringing in 100 of something to class, or (for the younger students) practising counting up to 100.


PYP Exhibition Meeting
We held our PYP Exhibition Meeting for parents of students in Grade 5 on Thursday, February 16 from 6:00 pm. All 11 families from Grade 5 were present at the meeting. The students and teacher gave a detailed explanation of what the exhibition is and how parents can help throughout the journey.

Diploma Programme Information Session
An information session was held for parents of students currently in Grade 9 to discuss our plans for the Diploma Programme. (Please note that we have not yet received authorization for the Diploma Programme, and that there is no guarantee that we will receive authorization.) The Grade 9 class would be starting the DP in August 2018. Discussions centered around the nature of the program, the requirements for graduation, and the options that students and parents need to consider in order to connect the DP to the students’ lives beyond high school. All Grade 9 students were in attendance, and several parents from other grades also joined in the evening.

Open School Day, Parent Circle
We held our Open School Day and Parent Circle (for parents of current TIS students) on Monday, February 13 in the afternoon.


In-school workshop on “Creating Inclusive Classrooms”
The entire teaching staff participated in a whole-school workshop on “Creating Inclusive Classrooms” on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. The central focus of this workshop was the idea that there are many different students in each classroom, each with different needs, and teachers need to employ many different strategies to be able to ensure that all students can access the content and come to an understanding of the driving concepts of the lessons. This workshop focused on strategies for differentiation, modification, and adaptation of lessons and assessments. The importance of designing meaningful and appropriate assessments was a particular emphasis over the two days.

IB Workshop on Diploma Programme History
Mr. Dano and Mr. Eguiguren attended a DP History workshop in Hong Kong from February 3 to 5.

Teaching English in the Mainstream Classroom
Six teachers are participating in a course that helps all teachers become good language teachers, regardless of the grade or subject that they teach. The fundamental concept of this course revolves around identifying the genres of language that are important for a particular lesson or unit and developing ways for teachers to scaffold the students’ learning so that they can master that genre. The course runs for nine sessions in total and it met four times (February 1, 6, 15, 22) this month. It is being led by Ms. Suzuki.

Seisen Librarians visited TIS
Ms. Woollard and Ms. Crawford visited Seisen International School in November 2016 to learn more about how to develop our library to support the needs of the IB Diploma Programme. On February 7, 2017, two librarians from Seisen International School visited our school to help us continue that conversation. The two visitors were also interested in our library programmes and the software that we have recently introduced to catalogue our collection.

Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA) Conference
Mr Woollard attended a three day international conference on teaching students with special educational needs from February 9 to 11 at Yokohama International School.

PYP Network Meeting
The PYP East Asia Network consists of PYP Coordinators from IB PYP schools in Japan and Korea. They hold two meetings per year, one in Japan and one in Korea. These meetings offer coordinators a chance to share their success stories and discuss solutions to issues that their schools face. Mr. Woollard attended the most recent PYP Network Meeting on February 16 at Tokyo International School.

Physics Job-Alike
Mr. Congreve attended a DP Physics job-alike on February 17 at Yokohama International School.


Our school counsellors held counselling sessions on February 13 and 24.


Board Meeting
A meeting of the board of directors was held on Saturday, February 18. Five deans, one auditor, and ten trustees were in attendance. A report was given on our operational plans for 2016-17, and the plans and budget for 2017-18 were presented. The two-year terms of our board members is up in March, so we also discussed the composition of the board and reported on the members who would be leaving, and those who would be joining from the next fiscal year. This meeting was followed by a workshop for board members to contribute to our new school mission statement.


School Mission Statement Workshop
The whole school came together on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18 to talk about our school and work towards drafting a new mission statement. Ms. Alana Steward from Tohoku International School came to our school to lead us through this process. On Friday, we had a special schedule that called for a staggered schedule of early dismissal of students in order to hold all of the meetings during school time. The first meeting was with parents from 11 am. Grade 8 to 10.5 students then had their workshop from 12:30. The teachers workshop started from 2:15. Finally, the school’s Senior Leadership Team met to discuss the results of the first day of workshops. On the following day, board members participated in a workshop from 11:00 am to 12 noon. Here are some of the words that came out of these sessions. (Words in a larger font were mentioned more times.)

Who we are

From 1:00 pm, a group of five staff members and one board member reviewed all of the contributions of each of the teams and worked to synthesize the elements into a coherent mission statement for the school. The draft was then sent out to staff, parents (the ones who participated in the workshop), and board members for further comment. At a staff meeting on Thursday, February 23, the staff unanimously agreed to adopt the following new mission statement for Tsukuba International School.

This process was extremely affirming for our school community. It was very encouraging to hear how our various stakeholders see our school, and to note the ways that we all agree on the basic mission of our school.

Progress on Diploma Programme Preparations
We held a meeting for parents of students in Grade 9 (as above). In addition, the deadline for the “Application for Authorization” is due on March 12, so Mr. Congreve and Ms. Crawford have been meeting regularly and assembling the information necessary for submitting the application on time.


Kamigo High School
Kamigo High School was closed by the prefecture in March 2011. Since then, the buildings and grounds have not been used. The high school and the grounds originally belonged to the prefecture, but they were sold to Tsukuba City. The City is now trying to decide what to do with the building and school grounds. Ms. Crawford and Ms. Kitazawa attended a meeting about collecting ideas for the use of the school and its grounds.

University of Tsukuba
Three University of Tsukuba students visited the Grade 9 science class on February 15 to learn more about science education.

Information Session
We held our School Information Session (for prospective parents) on February 8. Seven families were in attendance.


Here is what we have in store for the future.


Tuesday, March 7 ~ Wednesday, March 8 – MYP Overnight Trips
Thursday, March 9 – Grade 4 Special School Trip to Kabuki
Tuesday, March 14 – Grade 1 Special School Trip to Kidzania
Thursday, March 16 @ 4:30pm – Grade 4 Play
Friday, March 17 – Life Celebration Event
Monday, March 20 – National Holiday – School Holiday
Friday, March 24 – Term 2 Ends
Friday, March 31 – Professional Development Day – School Holiday

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

Categories: Monthly Reports