Principal Newsletter – Term 2

WASC
March 25, 2019
We’ve moved
April 19, 2019

Principal Newsletter – Term 2

Dear Horizon Parents,

We had an extremely busy but fruitful term. I am proud to see that our students are happy being at school and making great progress in all areas. Our dedicated teachers work hard to collaborate, plan and conduct lessons that are engaging, meaningful, and fun for our students. As I walk around the hallways of our school, I am always impressed with the quality learning happening in each classroom.

As always, our parents were super supportive whenever we needed help. I would like to thank students and staff for their great effort, and parents for their unconditional support throughout the term.

The long journey to our new campus is nearly over and everyone here has been working hard to have our new home as ready as possible to welcome all Horizon stakeholders in April of 2019. With our new campus will come a number of changes that you should all be aware of. These changes will be detailed below.

One thing I would like to emphasize is that the 3rd term will be our our trial term at the new campus which means if the need arises we may adjust our routines or procedures for the next academic year (even the 3rd term if necessary). We know this term will be very challenging for us and we need everyone to be more flexible as we do this transition.

Please enjoy your long break and we are looking forward to welcome you all at our new home in April!

Sincerely,

Mr. Chuck

  • Parent Orientation

We would like to invite all of our parents, especially the new parents, on April 4th to get more info about the new campus procedures and changes below, and ask any questions they have.

  • ELC at 9:30 am
  • Primary at 11:00 am
  • Secondary at 1:00 pm
  • Volunteers Needed

We will try our best in April to establish our routines and procedures especially arrival and dismissal related ones in order to establish positive relationships with our neighbors. We plan to have staff/volunteers at key points around the new campus to guide students, from 8:00 to 8:40 in the morning and  15:20 to 16:40 in the afternoon. If you would like to help us, please fill out this volunteer sign up form. We will meet with the volunteers at 11 am on Saturday, April 6th  to go over our expectations.

  • Daycare

Some of our parents have asked us to provide daycare service after school hours. Before we make any decision we need to see how many of our parents would like to utilize this service if offered. Please fill out this form  to let us know of your interest. Please keep in mind, If offered, the service is mainly to supervise kids play in a safe and secure environment, and an extra fee will be charged for it.

  • Drop off/Pick-up

Drop-off Locations and Procedures: Click the link for more details

Throughout the construction of our new campus, the City of Yokohama has requested that we actively work to minimize any disruptions to the daily lives of our neighbors. At this stage, one of the main concerns coming from the city is our drop-off and pick-up times and locations.

We kindly request our parents to follow the suggested rules and procedures below to help build a friendly, constructive and cooperative relationship with our neighbors:

  • We strongly suggest that all of our students and families use public transportation to get to the new campus.
  • If you are dropping off/picking up your child(ren) by car, parents are requested to avoid the use of any roads marked in red in the map above. It is vitally important for our parents to know that this is a promise we made to Yokohama City and our new neighbors so that we do not change the peaceful environment of the Port Side Area – particularly related to traffic. Of course, if there is an emergency situation with your child, you will be able to come directly to the school by car.
  • In order to make drop-off and pick-up easier for parents, we have made an agreement with Bay Quarter shopping mall to allow for free 10-minute entry into their parking lot. This parking lot will now serve as our main pick-up and drop-off area. From this area, dropped off students can easily go up to the 3rd floor and walk to the new campus by themselves. We kindly ask ELC parents to park their cars in this parking lot and take their children to and from the school. The special parking price for Horizon parents is 200 yen/30 min (regular price: 300 yen/30min). Discount tickets can be purchased in advance from the school office.  

  • Even though the city or neighbors have no specific requests for the areas marked in green, we still suggest our parents not to use them to drop off or pick up for security reasons. If you prefer to use those areas, please be aware that the school will not take any responsibility for incidents such as theft, accidents or parking violations.

  • In addition to Bay-Quarter, you may still use other parking lots around the school and we suggest the ‘Yokohamashi Portside Chika Parking Lot’ as an alternative.

Before the 3rd trimester begins, please have a tour around the campus and do a trial drop off and pick up with your kid/s.

  • New Daily Schedule:

For our new campus, we will be changing the schedule for all divisions in the school. We will be keeping the current starting and finishing times, but the lengths of classes will be altered. Periods throughout the day will increase to 45 minutes from 40 minutes. This has allowed us to align the Primary and Secondary timetables.

This schedule change has allowed us to not only align the Primary and Secondary timetables to allow for common break times, but it has also allowed us to provide more in-depth instruction for all subjects. This common timetable will help to maintain the community feeling of our school and will help allow us to utilize our new facilities to the fullest – especially the Rooftop Playground, Gymnasium, and Cafeteria.

The ELC will continue to have a slightly different schedule to meet the needs of our youngest students.

Individual class timetables, outlining when subjects will be taught, will be sent in the near future to all classes.

*The schedules may be revised if the need arises.

  • New Bus Schedule

We will now load up our buses two at a time before they depart. This will be done in front of the school. New bus information, routes, and stops can be found below:

You can see the new bus stops and payment information from the following link: https://goo.gl/b5tA7W

You can check the bus stops on Google Maps using the links on the school website: http://www.horizon.ac.jp/admission/school-bus/

  • New Classroom Names

Starting from the 3rd term, classes will be named A (instead of Red) and B (instead of Gray), ex. Grade 1A and Grade 1B. There are no differences between these classes. Students in an ‘A’ class are not an advanced class, nor do they receive any special treatment.

We rebalance the classes at the start of every year to change the atmosphere and to allow students to build new relationships with their peer group. This rebalancing is done by all staff who teach those particular students and, like all things, is always done with the students’ best interests in mind.

  • Farewell

It is with great sadness we say goodbye to Ms. Caroline (Counselor), Ms. Koboyashi (JAL) and Mr. Bill (secondary math). They have submitted their resignations and we couldn’t say no because they had valid family/personal related reasons. Unfortunately they will not be with us in the third trimester. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank them for their service and wish them the best of luck in their careers. They will be surely missed!

  • New Staff and Planning Coordinator:

Starting in Term 3, we will have some new faces and some returning faces joining the Horizon family.

Mr. Kubatov will be returning to us to take up the position of Planning Coordinator at the school. He will also have some Maths lessons for Secondary which is a position he will be very comfortable with considering his previous role at our school. Welcome back to Horizon Mr. Kubatov and the Kubatov family!

New teachers joining us are our new Special Education teacher/Counsellor, Mr. Thomas Wingert. Mr. Wingert’s main duties will be helping students with social emotional and academic support in order to give all of our students equal opportunities to succeed. We believe he will be an excellent addition to our school.

Also joining us is a new Japanese teacher Mr. Takahito Maeda. Mr. Maeda has several years of both Japanese and Arts teaching and we expect him to be an excellent asset in supporting these two subjects at our school. Welcome aboard Mr. Maeda!

Please give them a warm welcome when you see them.

  • New Lunch Options:

We will have a new school lunch provider starting in April, Cezars Kitchen (https://www.cezarskitchen.com). We believe that this will supply students and staff with a more balanced diet, as well as more tasty options than our previous lunches. Details are below:

  • The meals will be served fresh and hot (not bento style) by Cezars Kitchen staff at the school.
  • Eating utensils will be provided by the school for those who eat the lunch provided by Cezars Kitchen
  • There is a vegetarian menu option and all meals are religious friendly (Halal, kosher, etc.)
  • There will usually be 4 different dishes for order on a daily basis. You may check their sample menu here and if you would like to order lunch please fill out this form by April 1st. The invoice will be sent to you before third term starts.
  • The company has a by-term ordering system (Spring, Autumn, and Winter) so parents have to commit by term rather than daily or monthly. For the following Spring term, there will be 50 school days. The total price for this Spring term is as follows:
    • ELC/Kindergarten: 550 yen (tax included) /daily x 50 days = 27,500 yen
    • Primary: 600 yen (tax included) / daily x 50 days = 30,000 yen
    • Secondary: 650 yen (tax included) / daily x 50 days = 32,500 yen
  • Parents are to make the payment to the school through bank transfer once they receive an invoice for lunch.
  • There is no refund once the term begins and no daily cancellation system throughout the term.
  • New Shoe Policy and Uniforms:

There are new uniforms available for all students. Students can continue to wear their usual school and PE uniforms for another year. More information on the new uniform and uniform company will be forthcoming sometime in Term 3.

One immediate change that will be in place will be shoes for students. Information will be below:

ELC and Grades 1 and 2 Students:

  • Will need one pair of indoor shoes which will also be used in the gymnasium for their PSPE periods. These shoes should be white and have no scuff soles to not leave marks on the floor. These shoes will be kept in the Shoebox Room at the entrance to the new campus to change into when they enter the school. Students may be required to purchase a specific type of shoe. The school will deliver more details about this in a few days. We apologize for the inconvenience but please do not buy any indoor shoes until a further notice.
  • A pair of recess shoes to change into when they use the backyard playground. The playground has real grass and soil so after rainy days there will be mud, dirt, and dust that we don’t want to have brought into the classrooms and hallways.

ELC, G1, G2 Outdoor Recess Shoe Examples:

  • Any shoes are fine for this, expect these shoes to get dirty.
  • All shoes should be labeled with the student’s name on them. This can be done on the back, sides, or on the tongue of the shoes.

Grade 3-12 Students:

  • Students will enter the school as normal with their outdoor shoes and will change their shoes to indoor shoes in their classrooms. Indoor shoes should be white and have no scuff soles to not leave marks on the gymnasium floor so that students can use these shoes to play in the gym during recess times.
  • Secondary Students are required to use gym shoes (for their PE classes and ASPs in the gym as indoor shoes will not be very safe for heavy activities) that leave no marks on the gymnasium floor.
  • We are in contact with a few companies (Mizuno, Asics) and the decision will be made in a few days about where to buy indoor and gym shoes from. So please do not purchase indoor or gym shoes until a further notice.
  • The 2019-2020 School Calendar

The August part of the calendar is set and we are still working on it to finalize the other months. The full calendar will be shared with you by April 12th.

  • New Essential Agreements and Student Agency:

A large part of the PYP system is what we call Student Agency. Student Agency is an integral part of building a fully responsible person who takes pride in their education and can do multiple tasks independently without the aid of continuous adult supervision. They make the right choices not because we have rules in place but because it is the right way to behave and treat others. We at Horizon want to encourage this and do so through Essential Agreements. These agreements are designed with students so that they take ownership of their learning and behaviour. We will have these for our new cafeteria, playgrounds, and the gymnasium. Please continue to support and encourage your children to be better people each and every day!

  • Middle Years Programme (MYP) – Service as Action

New to our school this year is service learning, or service as action. Service as action is one of the key elements of IB philosophy in both the MYP and DP. Service as action opportunities are built into the school calendar and provide students with the chance to become “actors” in the “real world” beyond school. Action within HJIS involves students showing our Community Qualities within our local and global communities. These qualities are: understanding, respect, and cooperation.

Service as action occurs as a result of student inquiry, which is triggered through their academic and personal interests. Service gives students a personal insight into the complexities of their communities, and helps to build more confidence and responsibility.

Success in service learning is not necessarily defined through the accomplishment of goals. It is defined through growth as individuals and groups within our local and global communities. Learning how to ‘fail’ is sometimes a vital element in service, and is used as a springboard into reflection and growth, rather than discouragement. Another vitally important part of service learning is that through their action, students will further develop and enhance their organization, communication, collaboration, creative thinking, critical thinking, and reflection skills.

As the year comes to an end, please take a look at some of the service learning opportunities that have been developed by our students during our International Culture Festival (ICF) and Celebration of Learning (CoL) events.

Parents, in order to emphasize the vital part that you play within our learning community, we may ask for your help in developing connections within our local and global communities. If you have any experience working with or for NGOs, NPOs, social services, or similar charity organizations please feel free to contact Mr. Chris at chepburn@horizon.ac.jp to get a head start on developing these connections.

For further information on Service as Action at HJIS, please refer to the Service as Action Cycle below, as well as the Service as Action Handbook.

Service as Action Cycle

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