Doshisha International School, Kyoto DISK INQUIRER

Doshisha International School, Kyoto
Oct - Nov 2014
From the Desk of the Principal
Robert Hagenbucher
Its hard to believe its already October and we are just on the heels of the Fall break. In the
following pages you will see many of the programs and activities DISK teachers and
students have been involved in. Camp has concluded for Elementary School and the
Secondary School trip will be be in November. We continue to expand our Web presence with
the development of class websites, our aim is to provide students and parents with
comprehensive curricular and scheduling information down to the class level.
We feel very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of educators join our team this school
year. As we wrap up our first MAP testing session and teachers have begun to look carefully
at the results in order to provide a program that closely matches individual needs. Teachers
are just beginning to understand the information the MAP program provides and will be
sharing this information during parent conference week.
It seems like every week that goes by we are welcoming new students to DISK! We are
excited to see the school grow and in turn are planning how best meet the needs of our
growing population. This year’s grade nine students are taking part in surveys and
discussion regarding future Diploma Program offerings that meet their needs and desires;
we expect a parent meeting to follow soon. The IB Middle Years Program is now being
examined by Department Heads with some areas taking on the new program; MYP, The
Next Chapter. As the year progresses we expect to see this program grow with an eye on
MYP candidacy in the coming year!
Thanks to the Parent Network! We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated group of
parents supporting the school. Whether it is supporting new families, helping with the
Diamondback Café, or representing DISK at Doshisha events, the Network association is a
vital part of our school’s success.
Diploma Program at DISK October 2014
Scott Bailey DP Coordinator
This fall we are excited to be running the full Diploma Program at DISK, in both grades 11 and
12. Our DP students are currently taking English Literature, Japanese (both as a first and as a
second language), World History, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, and Visual Arts.
The grade 12 cohort will spend much of the rest of the year preparing for their IB Exams, which
will take place in May 2015. Between now and then, they are also busy fulfilling service
requirements, doing internal assessments for their courses, and preparing extended essay. They
are also preparing their university applications and finishing taking the standardized exams that
they will need to finish for their university applications.
Our grade 11 cohort are excited to be learning about their new courses, and are busy adjusting to
the demands of the DP program.
We are also excited to welcome 3 new teachers to our DP program this year—Mr. Loch is
teaching Physics, Mr. Versluys is teaching Biology, and Ms. Nishimoto is teaching Japanese
Literature. They are bringing some exciting creative energy to their DP classes, and we are very
excited to have them here.
Message from the PYP Coordinator
Suzan Loafman
What is Happening in Elementary?
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year and the fourth year of DISK. We are excited about the
various educational opportunities for the 2014-2015 academic school year; it looks to be an
exciting, enjoyable and learning-filled year!
As an IB-PYP school, the elementary team will be focusing on the development of the whole
child, using a framework that can meet a child’s academic, social, physical, emotional and
cultural needs. Our elementary program is inquiry based and lends itself to being integrated
across the disciplines. Students take ownership of their learning and develop skills and attitudes
to help prepare them for life in a global world.
One of the goals of the elementary team this year is to ensure there are more educational
excursions and guest speakers being a part of the units of inquiry and also across the
disciplines. If you know anyone or locations that you feel would be a great learning opportunity
for DISK students, please let us know.
October and November look to be very busy:
October 2nd and 3rd – Elementary Camp
October 6th - New Google class websites
October 7th – ½ Day for Students
October 8th to 10th – Fall Break
October 15th – PSAT Testing
October 25th – Elementary Sports Day
October 28th to 30th – Open Classes
October 31st – Halloween Party
November 13 and 14 – Secondary Camp
November 17th to 21st - Culture Week
November 28th - Christmas Tree Lighting Service
Neighborhood Garbage Collection
Paul Bosley
As part of our service program, DISK students and staff strive to act locally and build a strong
community with our neighbors. On Friday, September 19th, all grades armed themselves with
trash bags, gloves, and tongs, and spent 6th period scouring the neighborhood for litter. The event
was a big success. Students felt proud to be able to lend a helping hand and various neighbors
expressed their thanks. Pictures from the event are displayed on the service bulletin board in the
Support School Visit
On Thursday, September 25th, grades 6-10 visited the neighboring Minamiyamashiro Special
Needs school to support them in their school festival performance practice. Various homerooms
shared their talents by playing music, singing, and even cheerleading. DISK students will be
happy to hear that the good luck poster they made was much appreciated. The next visit will be
for a book reading in November.
Welcome Our New Teachers
Mark Krabousanos Grade 4/5 Teacher
Hello everyone! My name is Mark Krabousanos. I am the new Grade 4/5 homeroom teacher at
DISK. I am originally from the United States. I have been teaching in Kyoto for the past six years
and am pleased to join the DISK team.
In Grade 4/5 we have been spending the first few months getting to know more about ourselves
and each other. Our UOI is under the theme of Who We Are and focuses on setting goals to help
ourselves and others. We have been exploring new places and ideas (MOMAK trip & Yoga class)
and familiar places (KidZania) to help us with our inquiries and apply our new learning.
Please visit our class webpage to learn more about our learning.
Google Sites Link:
Or visit the DISK main site under information and forms.
Gregory Laidler
Hello, my name is Gregory Laidler. I am originally from Preston, Lancashire in England. I am 40
years old. I have been married for 15 years to Satoko a Japanese native from Miyazaki. We have
two children, Mida (9) and Koju (7). My wife and I taught in Hiroshima for five years before we
moved to Kyoto recently. We now live in Hosono. I am very happy to be working for Doshisha
Univeristy at DISK.
At DISK, I am the homeroom teacher for grade 8 and teach design and physical education from
grade 6 to 10. I studied information technology at university and have a professional player coach
background in sport.
I love technology, sport and travel, and enjoy an active lifestyle.
Jesse Versluys Science Teacher
I grew up in Ontario, Canada and studied Zoology and Wildlife Management in University. Since
then, I have taught Science in Japan, India, and China, and am happy to be back in Japan once
again. I am interested in gardening, fishing, cycling, cooking, and playing bass guitar. I would
also like to work on my Japanese!
Jun Nishimoto 西元淳子
After living abroad more than a decade, studying and teaching, I moved back to my home
country. I have been renewing my "Japanese-ness" and enjoying learning it so far. Kyoto is such
a lovely place to do so. I have many hobbies. I enjoy outdoor activities, cycling, running, and
hiking, as well as indoor activities like reading and listening to music. Please stop me anytime for
chatting about music, cats, and Hiroshima Carp.
Sherryl Mannerheim
On Friday, October 3, the Art Department was fortunate to have a visit from SAIC - School of the
Arts Institute, Chicago, which is ranked No 2 in the USA. The Assistant Director of Graduate
Admissions, Ms. Becky Borowicz gave students in grade 8 -12, an informative PowerPoint
presentation outlining the myriad of courses available for prospective art students. To name a few
- architectural design, fine arts, fashion, multi-media, including animation and film. The school
has an illustrious alumni including and to name just a few: Claes Oldenburg, Tatsu Aoki, Geant
Wood, Jeff Koons, Georgia O'Keefe, Elizabeth Murray, Orson Wells, Walt Disney and Mark
Tobey. Ms. Mannerheim has also had numerous past art students from around the world who
have been granted full scholarships to SAIC. If it is your aim to go to art school please see Ms.
Mannerheim for more information about reaching how to reach your goal.
Upper School News
Freya Vaughn
We at DISK are so proud of how much has happened this 2014-2015 school year, and we are
only greeting October!
There is a positive feeling both towards socializing, but also in approaches to learning, goal
setting and group and individual reflection. Concepts such as trust, faith, and harmony are
tough. Through the homeroom and elective times, we have been roleplaying, looking at artistic
intention, and considering current events and issues in order to increase our emotion intelligence
and deepen our engagement with the learner profile. We've had a great many school tours, day
visits, and new students. These challenge us to be aware, helpful, and inviting. They encourage
open communication and trust building. We really appreciate what our new students add, and
look forward to growing together as a DISK learning team.
The Diamondback Cafe is up and thriving thanks to Kaisei, Kenji, and Josh and supported by the
SOC students, Ms. Denise and Ms. Loafmann. You may see our store or its catering branch when
you come for events at the school.
The Sakura Medal reading program is in its third year at DISK. There are some excellent looking
titles in every category in both English and Japanese. The two departments are working closer
than ever and it is wonderful to provide this opportunity to challenge students to read current
books in both languages. Students will have the option of participating in many Sakura-related
activities such as art contests, book trailers, book reports, and voting to name a few. Parents,
teachers, and members of the administration are invited to join us in reading!
We have had two very
inspirational visitors already
this year. One was a
University of California at
Irvine representative who also
covered university options in
general as well as the UC
system. Just this past week
we hosted a presenter from
School of the Art Institute
of Chicago. Both talks were
utterly inspirational and
clearly got DISK thinking
about the world of options
available to them in a few
short years.
The upper school's overnighter to Doshisha's retreat center at Lake Biwa has been rescheduled for
November 13-14. We hope to study the lake itself and weather permitting actually get out on it
as we compete in dragon boat races. Students will also be planning and cooking their own
dinners. We can always be assured that the next day's breakfast is a delicious, huge and varied
Lastly, to support a deepening in our understanding and engagement with global issues, we are
introducing two new opportunities. Grades 6-8 will be joining GIN, Global Issues Network,
where more than 500 schools worldwide work together to find solutions to global problems. We
have been invited to participate in the ImaGINation conference in Singapore in March.
Grades 9-12 will be joining MUN or Model United Nations and will be working on four
topics: Fracking, Palestinian Statehood, Modern Slavery and Plastic Pollution in Oceans in
general and then be considering them from an individually assigned country's perspective in
preparation for the conference to be held February 25-27 in Kansai.
Student's Perspective Emily Grade12
TEDxKyoto Reflection
Last weekend, on September 28, Ms. Vaughn’s prospective and current Theory of Knowledge
students under the supervision of Mr. Bosley and the lady herself, departed on a wonderful
daylong adventure to the annual TEDxKyoto event (along with two of our lovely parents). For
those who are unfamiliar with TED, it is a nonprofit organization devoted to the spreading of
ideas. The “x” means that a team of local knowledge seekers independently organizes the event,
with accreditation from the TED organization.
This year’s theme was “onkochishin”, or, “examine the past; discover the future”. Since three is a
magical number, the three most memorable images that continue to playback in my mind are Ms.
Vaughn flying by the means of acro-yoga in front of an audience of friendly strangers; a BMX
world champion dancing around quite gracefully on a miniature bike; a modern Kabuki actor
whipping his long fluffy mane at helpless audience members (including my own mother). As for
the actual speakers, they were mostly all individuals with much to share. The three talks that I
found to be the most relevant to myself were the positive statistics of the Japan optimist who
enthusiastically conveyed to the audience the fantastic future that awaits us despite the general
negativity felt by most; the heart warming footage of Japanese school children nurtured in an
architectural masterpiece that emphasizes creativity, individuality, and community en plein air;
and finally, the eight minute long electric guitar performance by Miss Kumi Adachi. Overall, I
enjoyed the day to the fullest, especially the gorging on endless platters of snacks and appetizers
during breaks and the dinner time after-party. If any parents or students are even minutely
interested in any of the above activities, please go! Talk to Ms. Vaughn, or anybody else that
went, and they’ll be sure to give you a mind blowing description of their experience. Even so, this
event is too large for words, and I am generally finding my own account to be highly inadequate.
Hence, I beseech you; talk to Ms. Vaughn next September, buy a ticket, and go!