The high school program at NIS provides students with all the options they need, whether they seek admission to the world’s best universities or to pursue other pathways in search of their dreams. As a transition to the time when these young adults will function on their own, students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and are given greater independence, all under the strong support and guidance of the adults in our community. The outcome - a well-balanced focus on learning and personal development, and students who leave NIS feeling empowered as individuals, while maintaining a strong connection to their communities.
A range of well-rounded and balanced high school courses that reach beyond core knowledge and skills is offered at NIS. All subjects are connected through key and related concepts to bring broader perspectives to the learning. Inquiry is key, and students are encouraged to ask questions and pursue the answers to those questions. Students develop conceptual understandings that allow them to analyze what they learn, evaluate facts, form deeper perspectives and become creators of new ideas. Students are encouraged to develop the skills to use what they learn through knowing, feeling and doing, enabling them to apply what they know to various situations both in and out of school.
In addition to a rigorous academic challenge, students are encouraged to participate in sports teams, student government, National Honor Society (NHS), Model United Nations (MUN), NIS Habitat (Habitat for Humanity), Global Issues Network (GIN), Yearbook, drama and musical performances, and other school groups and activities.
NIS high school students are encouraged to reach towards their dreams, which requires considerable “stretching” for some. At the same time, students are well supported by our entire community. Small class sizes allow teachers to closely monitor the academic, social and personal development of each student. Teachers work in close collaboration and are also in regular contact with parents. Starting in grade 9, the guidance counselor sets out a four-year plan to ensure that every high school student is well supported in their plans to pursue a college education anywhere in the world. For students who have any difficulties, the principal and teachers work together to form a support team involving the counselor, the nurse, our “Pastoral Advocates” and others to help find the best means to support each student.
This approach to learning and development for the high school years prepares students to be successful in college or other career paths, and helps them to know how to create their own pathways towards their dreams while contributing positively to their communities.
Two Phases of the NIS High School Program
There are two phases to a student’s high school studies at NIS. The first two years of NIS high school (grades 9 & 10) is the last phase of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the final two years of high school (grades 11 & 12) is the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Curriculum details and course descriptions can be found here.
Seven, equally weighted subjects form the core of the academic program for all grade 9-10 school students. The core subjects include the following:
- English (Language A or Language B)
- Japanese (Language A or Language B)
- Individuals and Societies (history, civics, geography, culture)
- Integrated Science
- Integrated Math
- Physical and Health Education
- The Arts (art, drama, music in grade 9 only)
* Students also take a class in Design Technology and one elective course.
These courses are taught using approaches set out by the IBO Middle Years Program (MYP), and are specifically designed to prepare students for the next phase of their learning – including the IB Diploma Program.
For the last two years of their high school at NIS, students can choose to pursue just the NIS diploma, or to also attempt to obtain the additional IB Diploma through the IB Diploma Programme (DP). In both cases, students take one course from each of the following six groups –
- Language and Literature – English or Japanese
- Language Acquisition – Japanese (other courses offered as online courses)
- Individuals and Societies (history or economics)
- Sciences (biology, chemistry, physics)
- The Arts (art or drama)*
* Instead of the Arts, students can take a second course from other five groups.
Regardless of the end goal, students attend the same courses, and requirements and expectations may differ according to the path chosen by the student. In addition, students take a “Theory of Knowledge” course, and are expected to complete activities related to creativity, action and service (CAS). For full details of the IB Diploma Programme click here.
A Typical Day in the High School
All high school students spend most of the day moving between six classes with their homeroom group. In a few classes they may mix with students from the other homeroom (math, PE, Design Technology, music, art, drama) and sometimes with other high school grades (Japanese, electives). Their classes are scheduled based on an alternating Week 1/Week 2 rotating schedule, with short daily homerooms and weekly, extended homerooms. Most of the high school classrooms are held in the Raymond building, including the three science labs, with some classes in the Wing building or the Art Center. High school students share a common break and lunch with the middle school students.