Welcome to New Life International School. We hope to encourage a love of learning and to inspire happy, healthy children to follow God and serve each other in love. This handbook explains our school’s basic plan, policies, and regulations.
School Policies and Procedures Curriculum: The curriculum at NLIS is English based with mostly American texts and teacher-made units. The curriculum is chosen for each class by the principal in conjunction with the teachers. We use the Japanese national textbook for the Japanese classes and 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, culture,
Art: History, crafts, paints, sculptures, drawing
Music: handbells in 3 grade, recorders in 4/5 grades
Typing, Computer Skills
Computers: The school provides one computer for every two students. The 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 we do not speak any Japanese in the classrooms. We have found that by focusing on English in the classroom, the students learn much quicker. Immersion is an amazing tool for language. Children speak Japanese in Japanese class. Japanese and English are both used in their playtime and at lunch. Our goal is to have bilingual students, so 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 ten 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 10 days are canceled due to snow, or any other emergency, only 9 days of makeup classes are necessary.
School Hours: Regular school hours are as follows, Monday through Friday:
K-2nd grade: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
3rd - 5th grade: 9:00 am to 3:15 pm
6th-9th grade 9:00 am to 3:30 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: Please see the Corona Information Page for changes to this information for the remainder of this 2020-2021 school year.
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 8:30, 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 we ask that you watch the time your child departs and arrives each day, and be aware of when and where your 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 to 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. We can provide hot school lunches when at least 20 students are willing to pay 500 yen a day for lunch. If you are interested, please let us know.
Parties, field trips, special days, and special speakers: We have 3 class parties each year, including a fall party, a Christmas party, and Valentine's party. Parent volunteers are asked to bring snacks. We also have a summer party to celebrate the end of our first term where we play water activities and relays, similar to a sports day. These events help our school's atmosphere become more exciting and are a reward for diligent work. Two field trips are also 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 with us several times a year. We have had policemen, dentists, train conductors, a ventriloquist, artists, world travelers, and many more come to speak in English and in Japanese. We welcome parents to come and share their talents and teach our students about their jobs or their interests. We learn a lot from our community and our families.
Recess: Each class will be given a playtime called “recess,” in which students will play outside in the front, the local park, or in the gym for 15 minutes each day. The students will also have physical education taught to them twice a week. There they will learn rules of cooperation with teams doing sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, and kickball, and learn about fitness and health.
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.
Clubs and extracurricular activities: We have English classes available 2 days a week. If any parents would like to teach a craft class, dance, or karate, or know of a good teacher who could teach after school, please let us know. The volunteers set the days and the fees. The school is open to club activities on any weekday.
Pro-family: We believe that the school assists the parents in raising their children, thus we are here to help you raise your child. We ask parents to support the teacher as he or she trains and disciplines your child by supporting our decisions. We also encourage parents to spend quality time with their child, 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 will be taught in each classroom daily, and a chaplain will come to the school every week to provide a small chapel service with singing, games, and a Bible story. We will pray 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, etc. All students, regardless of religion, will 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 25 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. We recognize that grades are important, but we don't want to overemphasize one grade or skill above another. We want to push our students to do their very best and celebrate their unique talents. Students’ grades will 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%. Students must make an average of 60% on their assignments and test grades to pass. Because of our school's small teacher-student ratio, teachers are keenly aware of the students' abilities and will work hard to ensure every student's success. If there is a problem, the teachers will call the parents and ask for the parent's assistance with homework. We are all invested in our students and we 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 these days.
Retaining students: We discourage teachers 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. We also reserve the right to retain older students to repeat a grade since this gives us 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 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 purposes of passing the final grade level.
Tardies: School begins at 9:00 am. Students who arrive after 9:00 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. 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. 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.
Junior high and high school students may also wear red tops.
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 4 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 home their P.E. clothes every week to wash.
Freedom in fashions: Though we require uniforms, we wish to give students 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, we encourage the biblical teaching of 1 Peter 3:3-4: 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 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 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 send very 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: We have two scheduled conferences during the year. However, should questions or problems arise, parents may contact the child’s teacher for discussion after class hours (not during class time, please). If contact with the teacher has already been made, parents may further appeal to the principal regarding dissatisfactory issues. We invite 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.)