February 4, 2010
Dear High School Parents,
This is my first opportunity to wish you all a ‘Happy New Year’, or ’Kung Hei Fat Choi’ for those celebrating the lunar new year. I hope you all had wonderful holidays. Welcome back to the school community. January is always hectic and probably considered the busiest month of the school year. You will have already received your child’s report and I hope the new format was met with approval. Should you have any constructive comments relating to the reporting and assessment process or the new format, please do get back to me. It is important we have some feedback from parents, as well as from students and teachers.
It was saddening news to hear of the devastation of Haiti caused by a powerful earthquake. I know many of our community members have rallied in support of the relief effort. Here at school, the High School Student Council has been planning a number of events to raise money and these will be broadcast soon. Our Middle School has also added to this effort, already raising money from a recent film night.
February 1st was the first day of the mock examinations for our grades 10 (IGCSE) and grade 12 (IBDP). These exams provide the necessary practice for the actual exams in May/June as well as identifying gaps and the progress made so far. The mocks continue until February 9th/10th. The International Schools’ Assessment, the ISAs, will be administered to Grades 6-9 on Friday February 5th and Monday February 8th. A letter was already sent out to parents concerning these annual tests.
On the evening of February 10th, grade 10 parents are warmly invited to a ‘Course Selection’ presentation to be held in the Loft (Pauli Building) starting at 19:00. This occasion will provide an opportunity for parents (students are invited as well) to find out in more detail what the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is all about and what courses will be offered to grade 11 students next year. A similar evening will also be held for grades 8 and 9 parents on February 24th, focusing on the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the courses available to students in grades 9 and 10. Again this will be held in the Loft starting at 19:00.
Bridging the Gap for Students has been scheduled for February 11th during the day. This is referred to in a later section of this newsletter. We continue to be active on the sports and fine arts stages, with YIS strongly represented in all major events. The opportunities for our students to be involved in extracurricular activities continue to be widely available. A vast majority do take advantage of these offerings, however, for those students who have not yet managed to be part of this program, now is your chance. Do get involved in the second semester.
Until my next newsletter, my very best wishes to you all. Keep warm!
IGCSE Drama 9th Grade
By the time you have read this, a play will have been shown. It is what we call a 'showing' for the purposes of the exam. Not a public performance. It was called 'The 9th Grade are Animals' by Richard Tulloch. Sections of it were read in Dramawise, a text we use in understanding the elements of drama.
The seven students in the class were unanimous in wanting to perform the whole play. It is an hour long, I warned. No! Wait! [a popular word with teenagers] We want to do it. It will take some time, I rebuffed. No, we have time, they chorused. And so after much debate about casting, location and rehearsal, we began to block the play in December.
We were going to take over the ELC because it has an amphitheatre. Then we moved to the amphitheatre on the Tanner Roof. We ended up in The Pit. Minimalism rules!
It was a play about a new teacher and some unruly British students. The play was originally performed in Australia and called The Fourth Year are Animals. One day in 2005, I was sitting next to a visitor in the Cafeteria. Mr Tilke had brought him in to talk about writing. We got talking, as one does. So what do you do apart from visiting schools? I asked. Er...I write plays, he said. Name some, I nosily asked. It was Richard Tulloch. Later he popped into the Pit and signed my only copy of the play. 'To all the animals at YIS.'
High School Girls Basketball
In their last game of the season, 12 high school girls, including 5 seniors, played in the first ever held AISA Girls’ Basketball Tournament 2010. This newly formed organization (Association of International Schools in Asia) consists presently of 5 schools, one from China, Suzhou Singapore International School, two from Korea, Seoul International School and Korea International School, and two from Japan, Senri Osaka International School and Yokohama International School.
In this end of season tournament, Suzhou were unable to play so two additional schools were invited, Seisen International and the American School in Taichung Taiwan.
With a backdrop of great organization, players representing three countries, in front of a partisan crowd, played entertaining basketball over two days. Delighted to say, the tournament fell into the hands of our girls. The final, against Osaka, was electrifying, played in the true spirit of the game. YIS deservedly moved ahead in the second half from a close encounter in the first two quarters, and took the tournament with a 41-30 victory. Senri fought hard and were also a delight to watch as were all the players in the tournament. Congratulations YIS, in particular, to Alisa and Tamara (All Stars) and to coach Disher.
The HS girls hockey season is in full swing with 5 matches being played in the last 3 weeks. The final games of the season are this Saturday February 6th at CAJ and the tournament on Feb 13th at the YCAC. In both the Varsity and JV, the YIS teams have struggled against the ASIJ powerhouse but have had some very tight matches against CAJ. The girls have been training hard and with their twice-weekly runs to to the YCAC the teams’ fitness is improving along with their skills. This weekend we are sure to see another couple of tight games against CAJ that will be anyone’s game. It would be great to have some support on Feb 13th at YCAC for the hockey tournament. The teams will be playing 7 a-side matches so there will be a lot of action to be seen.
Cambodia Project Fundraiser at School Store on February 10th
On Wednesday, February 10, the school store will have its annual fundraiser for the 11th Grade Cambodia Project. 20% of all sales that day will go to support the project. Since August 2009, the store has raised over 100,000 yen for the project through sales of old stock and other items. Let's see how much more we can raise to help a good cause. Perhaps your child needs a new PE t-shirt or sweatshirt? We have sweatshirts and t-shirts for adults, too. We also have a variety of bags - canvass tote bags, assorted bags made out of old advertising banners and rice bags, backpacks, PE bags (with logos designed by two high school students) and sport bags. There are also 12 month- and 24 month-size t-shirts for those future YIS students. The store will be open from 8:15-3:45 (closed for lunch from 11-12:30) on the 10th; I hope to see you there!
YIS Food Fair Entertainment
GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! It is your chance to have your 10 minutes of fame. The YIS Food Fair 2010 is quickly approaching. This year it will be held on Sunday, May 2nd. YIS is currently looking for entertainers: singers, bands, dancers or whatever. What can YOU offer? All YIS families can participate (yes, even Mom and Dad). The last few years have produced some excellent performances and fun surprises that have really added to the overall family spirit of the day. So if YOU'VE GOT TALENT, please email Brad Johnston at email@example.com or pop into the music studio in the basement of the Main building and get a sign up sheet.
Bridging the Gap for Students
On Thursday, February 11th, students in grades 9-12 will be engaged through our "Bridging the Gap for Students" conference. This is a Student Support Services/High School Guidance event that aims to provide a space for reflection beyond the classroom, connecting students to the outside world and the future. The theme of the conference this year is a unique one: "Work and Life Outside the Box - Passion in Everything You Do." Please click here for more information.
There are many exciting events involving the YIS Music Department. Just before publication of this newsletter, Tuesday, February 2, 20 Middle School and High School students from YIS joined over 300 other students from the Kanto Area for the annual KPASSP Jazz Festival at Yokota AFB. Both the Big Band and the student-led Jazz Combo presented wonderful concerts for all involved.
Later in the month, February 27th, over 50 students from grades 6-12 will attend the annual Solo and Ensemble Festival at Christian Academy in Japan. Students will perform solos and ensembles on woodwind, brass, percussion, piano and violin.
March 5th, the Honor Band and Orchestra including many outstanding musicians representing Kanto Plain International Schools (including YIS) will perform at Kinnick and the following week, March 12th, it's the turn of the Honor Choir featuring again, some YIS students.
Tokyo International Honor Choir (repeat announcement)
Every year high school students from all over the Kanto Plain region compete to become members of the prestigious Tokyo International Honor Choir. This year six YIS High School students passed a rigorous audition process and will represent YIS as members of this choir. The Tokyo International Honor Choir concert will be held in March 2010. Congratulations to the following students: Erika Kambayashi, Isabella Yamamoto, Marisa Jensen, Leina Saito, Alisa Yuasa-Schubert, Remi Yamazaki
Kanto Plain Association of Secondary School Principals (KPASSP) Honor Band (repeat announcement)
We are proud to announce that the following students have been accepted into the 2010 KPASSP Honor Band and Orchestra (will perform in March). Congratulations to the following students: Jain Son: Violin and Baritone Saxophone, Eddy Pearson: Percussion, Erika Trent: Violin, Tomohiro Miyawaki: Violin.
In March we will start up the Yokohama International Taiko group. This is for interested adults only. It will be held in the band room in the Kirin Building on Thursday evenings from 7:30 - 9:00. The price will be a set Y35,000 for all ten 90-minute sessions with the final session a performance. Participants will also need to buy a pair of sticks. We are looking for a maximum of 20 adults to start in March. Some people were lucky enough to attend an introductory lesson last fall and it proved to be very popular. Interested parties should email Mr. Brad Johnston at YITaiko@gmail.com
Key Parent- Teacher Conference Dates
News from the Mathematics Department
Mathematics Field Day
Here is a question to whet the appetite: what number would appear in the unit column if you found the value of 22010? (22010 means multiplying 2 x 2 x 2x 2 .......... x2, multiplying 2, 2010 times!)
These are the types of questions the students will face later on in the school year for those asked to represent the school in the annual Mathematics Contest. This year, there will be 4 categories that YIS students can compete in: Rapid Computation (Middle School), Junior (grades 6-8), Intermediate (grades 9 and 10) and Senior (grades 11-12). There has been a move away from the course-based tests, and hopefully this will make the competition more problem based rather than taking a traditional examination. News regarding this will come out nearer the date.
We are trialing the UK Mathematics Trust Olympiad contest this year, with the hope that the high school has a similar experience next year. Students under 13 (grades 5, 6 and 7) will have the chance to take the UKMT test in April/May this year. There is no pressure on the students, but hopefully they will enjoy a variety of different types of questions aimed to create mathematical thinking and promote interest in the subject. More information will follow closer to the test, which will be on April 29th. All students have a copy of the paper, and may enjoy trying the testing questions.
Here is a question from last year’s paper:
Find the angle in the shape created from an equilateral triangle and three squares:
Interested students should send their solutions to Mr. Brown.
Yokohama International School