Welcome to New Life International School. NLIS encourages a love of learning, and teachers work hard to inspire happy, healthy children to follow God and serve each other in love. This handbook explains the school’s basic plan, policies, and regulations.
School Policies and Procedures Curriculum: The curriculum at NLIS is English-based and uses American texts, Singapore math, and other teacher-made units. The Japanese national textbook is used for the Japanese classes along with various kanji workbooks.
Subjects taught at NLIS include the following:
Mathematics: Singapore Math, world-known and high level
Science and Health
Bible (chapel on Fridays)
Language Arts: English grammar, phonics, spelling, writing, reading, literature, poetry
Social Studies: community, history, geography, and culture
Japanese: trained, native Japanese teachers teach from the National textbook used in all Japanese schools
Art: History, crafts, paints, sculptures, drawing
Music: handbells in 3/4 grades, ukuleles in 5/6 grades
Physical Education in all grades from grade one twice a week
Computer Skills in all grades from grade one
Keyboarding in all grades from grade two
Computers: The school provides one computer for every student in elementary and junior high. High school students are asked to buy their own computers since some of their classwork will be done daily on their computer. All students are encouraged to use the computers for research, to play learning games, and to improve their typing and computer skills several days a week.
School language: The school language is English, thus Japanese is not used in any classroom except for Japanese class. By focusing on English in the classroom, the students learn much quicker. Immersion is an amazing tool for language. All languages are used and encouraged in their playtime and at lunch. The goal at NLIS is for the students to be bilingual since both languages are equally important.
Calendar: NLIS follows the Japanese calendar by starting the school year in early April and finishing in early March and observes all Japanese national holidays. Students will meet up to 185 class days per year. For purposes of comparison, 180 days is the minimum requirement for American schools and British schools meet a minimum of 190 days a year. A separate detailed yearly calendar is issued with exact dates of class days, and holidays each year. Important school dates can also be found on the school website.
School cancellations and make-up days: School may at times be canceled due to bad weather or emergencies. In case of heavy snow, dangerous typhoons, or other emergencies, please call NLIS to learn whether your child should go to school. If the school is canceled only one day during a given school year, the students will not have to make up that day of cancellation. However, if more than one day is canceled within the school year, the second day and all the following canceled days must be made up to six days. For example, in one year if one day is canceled, no makeup day is necessary. If two days are canceled, one day of makeup classes is necessary. And if three days are canceled, two days of makeup classes are necessary. However, if more than 6 days are canceled due to snow, or any other emergency, only 5 days of makeup classes are necessary.
*School Hours: Regular school hours are as follows, Monday through Friday:
K-2nd grade: 9:05 am to 3:00 pm
3rd - 6th grade: 9:00 am to 3:10 pm
7th-9th grade 8:50 am to 3:20 pm
In order to encourage family times together and to allow for church attendance, the school will not hold clubs, sports events, festivals, or other events on Sundays.
*Arrival and departure times: For the safety of the children, all children should only be on school grounds when faculty and staff are present to watch and protect them. As a result, children should come to the school grounds no earlier than 8:40 and they should leave the school grounds within 30 minutes of dismissal unless the parents are paying for after-school care or if the student is involved in an extra-curricular activity. If a student commutes on his or her own, the school cannot guarantee their safety so NLIS asks parents to watch the time their child departs and arrives each day, and to be aware of when and where their child is traveling. If a child is still on the school grounds 30 minutes after his or her class has dismissed, there is a fee of 300 yen per hour. The teachers need the time after school to grade papers, visit with parents, and prepare for the next day's lessons. Please inform your child's teacher if you will be late.
Lunches: Students bring their own lunches. Since each family will prepare their own child’s lunch, the school has no food rules. We believe that parents have the right to choose their children’s food every day. However, we ask parents to provide balanced meals. We suggest fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy, grain, and drink. Parents may also include candy or a dessert. The lunches are usually very simple leftovers from the night before or something from a convenience store. There are no comments about each other's lunches so there is no pressure on parents to prepare obento boxes that take hours to make.
Parties, field trips, special days, and special speakers: NLIS has 3 class parties each year, including a summer party, a Christmas party, and an end-of-the-year party. Some parent volunteers are asked to bring snacks for the Christmas party. These events help the school's atmosphere become more exciting and are a reward for diligent work.
Two field trips are taken so the students can explore their community. Please look at our school website on the calendar for a detailed list of special days and activities.
Special speakers come and share their talents several times a year. Policemen, dentists, train conductors, a ventriloquist, artists, world travelers, and many more have come to speak in either English or in Japanese. Parents are welcome and encouraged to come and share their talents and teach the students about their jobs or their interests. The students learn a lot from the community and families.
Recess and Physical Education: Each class will be given a playtime called “recess,” in which students play outside in the front, the local park, or in the gym for 30 minutes each day. The students also have 30 to 45 minutes of physical education twice a week. They learn rules of cooperation with teams doing sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, and kickball, and learn about fitness and health through various exercises.
Transportation: Students may walk, ride bicycles, take a bus or train, or parents may drive the student directly to the school by car. Students may choose any type of bicycle that they wish to use but must wear a helmet at all times going to and from school. NLIS is only 800 meters from Kofu station and there are a number of students who take the train or bus and walk together to and from school.
Clubs and extracurricular activities: ESL (English as a second language), JSL (Japanese as a second language), and Eiken classes are available after school. Please see Aiko Veale for more information about our after-school classes.
Pro-family: New Life International School's policy is that the school assists the parents in raising their children, thus the teachers and staff are here to help you raise your child. Parents are asked to help the teacher as he or she trains and disciplines your child by supporting our decisions. NLIS encourages parents to spend quality time with their children, teach them morals and social skills at home, and communicate freely and frequently with the child about his or her feelings and experiences at school and with friends.
Christian teaching: Bible is taught in each classroom daily, and a chaplain comes to the school every Friday to provide a small chapel service with singing, games, and a Bible story. Prayer is said in the mornings and before lunch each day. Students are not required to follow the Christian religion, but they must agree to take part in the chapel singing, prayers, and Bible teaching. All students, regardless of religion, feel accepted in our school.
Use of heaters and air-conditioners: Students focus better when they are comfortable and not stressed from heat or cold. Therefore, each classroom will be heated in cold months and cooled in hot months. The average temperature setting for cold months will be 20 degrees. The average temperature setting for hot months will be 26 degrees.
Grades: Students will be issued grade cards 4 times a year to let parents know how each student is progressing. Parents will be asked to read the grade cards, sign them, and send them back to the teacher. Please see "What is a Christian, Western-Style Education" on our website. NLIS recognizes that grades are important, but doesn't overemphasize one grade or skill above another. NLIS teachers push the students to do their very best and celebrate their unique talents. Students’ grades come from daily work, both written and verbal, projects, and portfolios, as well as tests. No single test should make up more than 20% of a student’s semester grade. A passing grade is considered 60% and students must make an average of 60% on their assignments and test grades to pass. Because of the school's small teacher-student ratio, teachers are keenly aware of each student's abilities and work hard to ensure every student's success. If there is a problem, the teachers call the parents and ask for the parent's assistance with homework. The teachers are all invested in the students and want them to succeed. There are two days scheduled each year, one in June and one in October for parent/teacher conference days. Parents are asked to come to the school to meet with their child's teacher and discuss the child's achievements on these days.
Retaining students: Teachers are discouraged from retaining students because research shows that students who repeat a year of classes usually do not improve, and students who continue onto the next grade level do as well as those who were retained. It may be possible for a child to fail a school year yet to be allowed to promote to the next class. However, the child’s failure will remain in his/her permanent school record and cannot be erased. In the case of very young students who are developmentally slow, they may need to repeat a grade level. NLIS reserves the right to retain older students to repeat a grade since this gives some leverage to encourage students who might otherwise feel no need to attend or pass their classes.
Attendance: Students must attend 90% of their classes in order to pass their school year. This includes all absences, excused or not excused, as well as doctor’s visits and long-term illnesses. Since NLIS meets about 185 days, students may be absent for a maximum of 19 days. A student who transfers from another school should provide grades and proof of attendance from his previous school. Those attendance numbers and grades will be calculated as part of the year’s attendance and grades for NLIS for the purpose of passing the final grade level.
Tardies: School begins at 8:50 am for 7-9 grades, 9:00 am for 3-6 grades, and 9:05 for K-2. Students who arrive after their class starting time are considered tardy to class. Students who are tardy to class 5 times in a 6-week period may have to stay after school or stay inside for recess to make up the lost time.
Standardized tests: We use curriculum-based measurement standardized testing. It is done throughout the year in grades K through 8. Most are done on the computer and are not timed. These tests are norm-referenced, thus we are able to see how our students compare to American students. We are able to chart each child's academic growth through the year in reading comprehension, fluency, and math skills. Parents will see these results on Parent/Teacher Conference Days.
Grade 9 will take a practice PRESAT test online.
Grade 10 will take the PRESAT test.
Grade 11 will take the SAT test. Most universities in America use this test when considering an application.
Uniform: In order to keep clothes competition down and to help us feel unified, we ask the students to wear only black, navy, white, beige, or gray tops and bottoms. Dresses, skirts, jackets, and sweaters should all follow the uniform colors. No blue jeans, please. The uniform should be followed Monday through Thursday of every week.
Shirts: Shirts must have no logos, designs, ribbons, ruffles, etc., but be a solid color. Shirts may be either button-up or polo style. No t-shirts, please, except during physical education classes and on Fridays. Junior high and high school students may also wear red tops.
Dresses, skirts, and shorts: Girls may wear dresses, skirts, and pants, but all must be in the school colors, and skirts and shorts must not be shorter than 15 centimeters above the top of the kneecap, and underwear cannot show. Dark leggings are allowed.
Badges: Every child must wear the school badge to school to help the community identify the child as part of our school. It should be pinned onto the shirt above the front left pocket, or in that position if there is no pocket. Children will receive one school badge free of charge. If parents want more badges they may purchase a badge for 200 yen.
Shoes: Students are free to wear any kind of shoes, boots, sandals, etc., as long as they are safe and useful for school. Students are also asked to bring one pair of indoor shoes to be kept at school for use in case of rainy weather.
Fridays: Fridays are "free days". Students may wear any color clothes they desire as long as they are respectable.
Physical Education Uniform: All children from Grade 5 must wear separate clothes for physical education classes. These should also be in the school colors. A time and a place will be given for the students to change. Students should take the P.E. clothes home every week to wash.
Freedom in fashions: Though NLIS requires uniform colors, students are given freedom in their hair and body fashion; therefore, things such as perms, dyed hair, nail polish, etc. are left to the parents’ choice as long as they are not so extreme as to distract from learning. Girls may wear lipgloss and small, post earrings. However, the biblical teaching of 1 Peter 3:3-4 is encouraged: Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (NIV)
Forbidden fashions: Students shall not wear any clothing or fashion that distracts them or others from learning, that appears immoral, or that is unsafe. By immoral, we mean something likely to cause sexual temptation or encourage sin according to Christian teachings. By distracting, we mean something so noticeable or shocking as to distract students from focusing their eyes and ears on learning in the classroom. We take a broad view of fashion and do not assume that anything that looks different or is non-traditional is immoral or distractive. Please be patient with other parents and children who may have different personal or cultural tastes. Different is not bad, especially in an international environment. However, in line with our policy regarding learning, morality, and safety, the following clothing and fashions are forbidden at school or even on the way to and from school:
Brightly colored hair (green, pink, yellow, etc.) or distractive face paint. (Face paint may be worn during parties with the teacher’s permission.)
Bags, jewelry, or clothing with a bad message: bad language, offensive pictures, evil or immoral themes in pictures or words, or pro-alcohol, pro-tobacco, or pro-drug messages.
Hats inside the classroom.
Rolling up, unbuttoning, or loosening of clothes so that the stomach, back, shoulders, mid-chest, or upper thighs can be seen.
Showing part of underpants or bras.
“Sagging,” i.e., wearing pants below their intended level so underwear shows.
Earrings on boys since these are so controversial for males. For safety purposes girls’ earrings must be small (e.g., small studs or very small hoops) so that they cannot be easily pulled off.
Other clothes or fashions that the teacher deems distractive, immoral, or unsafe.
We request that parents not allow their children to bring expensive jewelry or clothes to school. We will not take responsibility if such items are damaged, lost, or stolen.
School Rules for Student Behavior
Students should take a positive view of school in the following ways.
1. Follow the instructions of all teachers and school leaders.
2. Do all homework and complete all class assignments with a positive attitude.
3. Attend classes every day and come to school and to class events on time.
4. Follow NLIS dress regulations.
5. Love and show respect to all classmates, teachers, and school staff.
Parent-teacher conferences: There are two scheduled conferences, an open house in May, and four observation days for parents. However, if questions or problems arise at any time, parents are asked to contact the child’s teacher for discussion after class hours. If contact with the teacher has been made, but the problem is not solved, parents may further appeal to the principal regarding dissatisfactory issues. NLIS invites parent-teacher dialogue to build a stronger school.
Open door policy: All parents may come and observe the classes at any time. If you would like to volunteer on a regular basis, please talk with your teacher. We love our parents to come and get involved by helping in the classes.
Students must not do the following:
Cheat on schoolwork: Cheating on tests, copying others’ homework, or having someone else do that homework, turning in a written essay or research paper that is copied word for word from books or other sources without the teacher’s approval.
Make unnecessary noise, play with toys, computer games, etc., or perform other behaviors that discourage learning in the class.
Use bad words or vulgar language (including talk about sex or very rude things) in any language.
Break the school clothing regulations or wear clothing or other body fashion that disrupts learning, appears immoral, or is unsafe.
Use cell phones or computers without the school’s permission. All cell phones must be put on manner mode and may not be used during class at any time. NLIS will not be responsible for the loss or damage of any cell phone brought from home. Teachers may confiscate a cell phone if wrongly used, but they will be returned after school.
Damage things that belong to other students, teachers, or the school. Example: draw pictures on the wall, break a student’s pen, hurt someone’s clothes, etc.
Harass and bully: gossiping, teasing, making bad gestures, touching, hitting, pushing, kicking, taking items from a child, sending bad computer messages, telling lies about a child, etc. We will not allow one student to lead others to refuse to play with or communicate with another child or lead others to reject a child in any way. Also, no jokes or insults about race, religion, culture, family, etc. Please see NLIS's bullying policy below.
Be involved in sexually related behaviors, including talking about or writing notes about sex, carrying or looking at pornography, or drawing pictures that contain naked bodies or are sexually suggestive. Also no sexual harassment: teasing about sex or the body, sexual jokes, inappropriate touching, pointing, talking, or sexually suggestive actions, etc. Students may also not take part in kissing, holding hands, etc. at school or on the way to school.
Take anything without the owner’s permission, including borrowing paper, pens, or other items.
Smoke or carry cigarettes, even near the school.
Take part in any illegal activity, including under-aged participation with alcohol or illegal use of drugs, possession of drugs, or smoking cigarettes. Also attempting to encourage others to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs, or encouraging others to break the law in any way.
Commit violence: Attacking, hitting, or kicking a teacher or student. Carry or use weapons.
Threaten to harm another student or teacher in any way—physically, socially, or emotionally.
NLIS bullying policy: No child may be bullied, teased, or insulted no matter how different that child may dress, talk, act, or think. A child may not be bullied no matter the child’s religion, race, culture, language background, family, or anything else that makes the child seem different. We do not accept the support of bullies for any reason from a child or parent, and all bullying will be dealt with firmly. If you feel that your child is being bullied, please contact us immediately.
Christian discipline: The following was taken from the school handbook of the Christian Academy of Japan in Tokyo. It is appropriate, so we have adopted this stance regarding our punishment and discipline policy:
Because of sin in our lives, there are times when the law of love and mutual respect is broken, school rules violated, and disputes arise among students, teachers, staff, and parents. We all have sinful inclinations, but what must be different about those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ is the way we deal with sin and its effects. The Bible is our guide for dealing with sin. The Biblical process for dealing with sin includes Admonition in love ("Did you have permission to take that from John’s locker?"), Confession of wrong (“I'm sorry. It was wrong of me to do that."), Restitution (“I'll put it back right now."), and Reconciliation (“I forgive you; let's be friends."). When we follow this pattern, we can grow toward Christian maturity through our mistakes.
Consequences for doing wrong: Whenever you've done something wrong there are consequences. We follow these guidelines when a student makes a wrong choice: Because we're looking for growth and change, the consequences of doing wrong should correct or repair the harm that has been done. Reconciliation requires personal confession, apology, and forgiveness. Abuse of property may require restitution. (For example, if you make a mess, you may have to spend extra time at school cleaning; if you've wasted time in class or been frequently tardy, you may have to skip recess; if you abuse a privilege, you may lose that privilege for a while.) If doing wrong seems to be a habit or a pattern, or if the deed seems especially willful or serious, we will contact parents by telephone. We may request a conference with parents to discuss the problem and possible solutions. We encourage proactive communication between parents and teachers.
In addition to this process of admonition, confession, restitution, and reconciliation, each teacher might also have his or her own system of rewards, warnings, and punishments to train the children. A teacher might find it necessary to punish a child to strengthen the child’s sense of sorrow and willingness to change. Since punishment is culturally sensitive, the following punishments are traditional in America and are approved to be used for all children of NLIS who break rules.
Natural consequences (e.g., A student cleans up a mess that he has made.)
Restitution (e.g., A student pays for or replaces something broken or taken.)
Removal of privileges (e.g., A student is required to sit alone during lunch.)
Confiscation of property (e.g., The teacher takes away a child’s cell phone, toy, cigarettes, weapon, etc.)
The student will be removed from other children (primarily for purposes of concentrating on the lesson.)
The student will write a letter of apology.
Detention (otherwise known as staying after school). If detention is a problem for parents, we can set up a system of contacting parents, or we can postpone detention till the next day.
Parent conference (when a student has a very serious problem or a repeated problem that cannot be easily solved.)
Approved Disciplinary Measures
NLIS approves the use of "pulling tags" in the classroom with clear rules and consequences discussed, written, and explained to the students and the parents.
The process is as follows:
1. The first tag pulled is a warning.
2. The second tag requires the student to write a letter of apology.*
3. The third tag requires the student to eat alone at lunch.
4. The fourth tag requires a meeting with the head of school and possibly a parent.
*The letter of apology is a handwritten note from the student acknowledging that he or she understands that they have disrupted learning and that they will try to not do it again. The teachers keep the note until the end of the year. If the child doesn't have many, the teacher will tear them up and dispose of them. If the child has a lot, the teacher may show the parent to discuss ways to help the student improve his or her behavior.
Other forms of disciplinary measurements may include student detention, disciplinary or behavioral probation, and suspension of student attendance. These would be used in cases such as repeated fighting, stealing, or cheating. Corporal punishment shall never be used; however, reasonable physical restraint to protect persons and property shall be permitted.