Head of School Weekly Notes (Archives)

Post

Parents Impacting our School Community

At NIS, we understand that our goals as a community are achieved only when we are in partnership with our wider community. Indeed, it is our parent community that sets NIS apart  — an amazing group of families, friends and businesses continually working together toward helping our school deliver the mission to our students. NIS parents play an important role in making our community as supportive and nurturing as possible, and this has a huge impact on the learning.

Involvement from our "Parent Partners" is an important part of that collaborative effort. This week, for example . . .

Read More about Parents Impacting our School Community
Welcome Back!

I trust everyone in the NIS community had a wonderful holiday season. The school is back and running and full of excitement. We all look forward to a successful second semester - indeed, an exciting time to be at NIS! With our raffle starting up soon, in support of the building project, which is progressing daily, it is so gratifying to see the community come together and support the school as we grow and improve. We are so close to being able to complete the project - thank you, everyone for helping us to get closer! I look forward to working with parents, teachers, staff and, of course, the students to keep supporting this magical place to inquire, inspire and impact!

Read More about Welcome Back!
ELC and Gr. 5 Students Perform to End the Semester!

The wonderful performances, art display, and parent participation by both the ELC and the Gr. 5 was a fitting end of a busy semester here at NIS! These past few weeks have been full of celebrations and activities of many kinds, and it is a joy to see the energy and excitement on the faces of our students as they shined on stage and shared their artwork. It is an honor and privilege to be able to serve such a diverse group of students, and on behalf of everyone here at NIS, I wish to thank you all for helping to support and make our school a special place for each of our students this year. I hope that everyone can enjoy a peaceful and restful holiday season with friends and family, and I wish everyone a wonderful year ahead in 2020!  

- Matthew Parr, Head of School

Read More about ELC and Gr. 5 Students Perform to End the Semester!
Parent Voice Guides NIS

Last night we had our fourth “Community Parent Meeting”, and this time it was held downtown in the hope of making it easier for parents living closer in to town. These meetings have been so valuable in gaining a better insight into the values and concerns our parents have for NIS. We are so fortunate to have so many parents who are able to come together and look at the school with a set of critical eyes as we begin to move forward with future planning and look at what is important about our school community to keep, and what are things we can possibly consider changing.

Although it is difficult to summarize all of the discussions, some similar themes are coming out. Parents appreciate our inclusive and inviting culture, our teachers and staff, the IB curriculum, our many programs, and our diverse community that we are able to serve. Topics for improvement that have come up include the need for more course offerings (particularly languages); a desire for more (or more improved) after school activities and clubs; the need for improved or streamlined communication from school to home; a desire for more ways - either through feedback or reporting - to monitor student progress; the desire for enhanced campus security; a look at school culture in relation to discipline or moral “values” within a multicultural environment; and the need to continue monitoring and finding more ways to improve busing.

Please consider joining the last meeting, to be held on Monday evening, Dec. 9 from 6 pm. Japanese translation will be available for this last meeting. Food will be available from Cezars Kitchen and the sign-up deadline has been extended to Monday morning. The sign-up is here: https://forms.gle/NC1rxMFtDYTSX34w6

We hope to see more families sign-up and help the school in this way as we plan for the future!

- M. Parr,  Head of School

Read More about Parent Voice Guides NIS
Living the Mission With @NIS_Arts

Yesterday was a day of artistic creativity. In the morning, the Gr. 10s gave their pitches to a panel of judges for community art – ideas for engaging and impactful art to enhance our campus. As you walk around campus today you will see the results of this project in past years and, based on the ideas being generated, this year is looking like it will yield some significant enhancements and additions to our campus. Then, in the evening, we held a festival of music, art and drama for the Gr. 6s and 7s. While pushing the boundaries in creativity and exploring themes of identity and community aligned to our mission (identity, community) our students created meaningful – and fun – provocations for audiences. The arts are very much alive at NIS and I am so grateful to the staff in this department for the amazing work they do to help nurture it in our students!

- M. Parr, Head of School

Read More about Living the Mission With @NIS_Arts
Discussions With Parents at Community Meetings

A big thank you to the parents who came out to share their thoughts and ideas in the first of our parent ‘Community Meetings’ - discussion evenings that started this week. The first of our discussions in the series had a focus for speakers of Chinese (Monday) and Korean (Tuesday). We will follow up with events for speakers of Portuguese next Friday (Nov 29) at NIS, a session downtown that will hopefully be helpful for some working parents on Dec 5 (Thur), and a session with Japanese translation at NIS by Mr. OK on Dec 9 (Mon). Sign-up form is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rqua3sl5zcYaRITuvteLyF22LbLEXyIC7fqejocoH_g/edit

These events are an exciting opportunity for the school to learn many of our parent perspectives. This is an important first step as . . .

Read More about Discussions With Parents at Community Meetings
Parent Teacher Conferences and Partnering with Parents

It was terrific week for parent partnerships at NIS. Thank you to the many families who came out to campus on Monday to be a part of our "Three-Way Conferences". The triangle between parents, school and your child is one that brings strength to learning and well-being and it is the foundation of any good school. I hope you were able to enjoy discussing the progress of your child together with staff and as a family. Also, on Wednesday . . . .

Read More about Parent Teacher Conferences and Partnering with Parents
End of Quarter One!

Our thoughts this week have been with the victims of the recent typhoon Hagibis which included a minute of silence to pay our respects which was held both in our staff meeting as well as in the Secondary School assembly yesterday. We are honored to be a part of such a resilient and caring country. If NIS families have been directly affected, and if we can support your children in any way, please reach out to us.    It is hard to believe that one quarter of the school year has already passed – yet with so many exciting events in the past week, there is certainly a feeling of celebration and accomplishment. We had . . .

Read More about End of Quarter One!
International Schools in Japan Collaborating to Improve

NIS is grateful to be a member of the Japan Council of International Schools, a network of 27 schools across Japan, of which I am honored to be leading again this year. We are so fortunate to be in Japan, where all of our member schools embrace the improvement of international education through collaboration and sharing. Here in Tokyo for the past few days . . .

Read More about International Schools in Japan Collaborating to Improve
NIS Mission Coming Alive

Last Friday, while school was on holiday, a number of our committed students were busy participating in the global movement for climate action by joining protests, alongside young people across the globe, for attention to the climate crisis. I am very proud of our students for taking the initiative to be a part of something bigger and to connect for impact on a global scale.

Of course impact also begins, on a much smaller level . . .

 

Read More about NIS Mission Coming Alive
Partnering with Parents

As the year comes towards a close I was very grateful to see so many parents come out to spend time reviewing our partnership with parents and reflecting on how we might better work together to support learning and student well-being at NIS . . .

Read More about Partnering with Parents
Graduation Weekend

Today saw the first of our two-day graduation celebrations as we honor our amazing students in the Class of 2019. Following the Graduation March of Pride in which our graduates paraded around the school . . .

Read More about Graduation Weekend