International Baccalaureate Keeps Growing


The IB has a global reach


I recently read the 2017 International Baccalaureate (IB) yearbook and some statistics really jumped out at me. Heading into its 50th anniversary year in 2018, the IB is growing 11% a year. As of last September, there were 4,541 schools in 152 countries offering at least one of the four IB curricular programs. The IB infrastructure is challenged with this ever-increasing number of schools. I think the growth of the IB reflects the growth of the global economy and more parents want to give their children the skills and attitudes that aid their entry to this new workplace. More schools see the IB as a way to improve student learning and bring a higher level of rigor to their school.

In looking at the range of the over 4,500 schools world-wide, almost half of the schools are state (government) schools from the Americas region (47%), and surprisingly to me, there are more government schools (56%) than private schools (44%). The region with the most schools is Americas with 61% of the schools. The Osaka International School of Kwansei Gakuin is in the Asia-Pacific region which has 16% of the IB schools.

The IB offers four curricular programs, the Primary Years (elementary), Middle Years (middle/high school), Diploma (grades 11-12) and Career (grades 11-12). The most popular is the Diploma Programme, with 52% of the 5,889 programmes authorized by the IB.

OIS was the first school in the Japan/Taiwan/Korea region to offer the three main programmes (PYP/MYP/DP). We remain fully committed to the IB and feel it is the best curriculum out there for our students. We are looking forward to the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the IB.


Chinese Mandarin Lessons at OIS


The word for “he”, “she” and “it” in Chinese Mandarin is “ta”. The characters or kanji are different characters, but the pronunciation is the same. Chinese use more words to give context to the listener to help them understand.  I learned this while sitting in the Mandarin class today after school. Ms. Irene Pan, a former OIS parent, and native of Taiwan teaches Chinese Mandarin on Mondays and Tuesdays after school. The classes are available to all OIS students.

There is a growing interest from our students and parents in learning Chinese. Some have Chinese heritage, but mostly I think, parents feel that it is becoming more important to speak the language due to the growing world influence of China. Being in East Asia, I really see the growth of China in the global economy and there are more Chinese working in or visiting Japan. Expatriate families are looking to help their children improve their career prospects by giving them an important world language. I don’t see it replacing English anytime soon, but before this century is out, Chinese may be just as common as English.

OIS students also have access to the Senri International School Mandarin teacher, Mrs. Kari Nakajima. She is also Taiwanese and teaches classes during the school day and after school. OIS high school with unscheduled periods during the day can take classes with SIS students if it fits their schedule. One OIS student is taking a class with her after school for high school credit.

As an IB World School, we support mother tongue and second and third language development. We support languages in a tiered system. For example, students with one or both Chinese parents who want to maintain their mother tongue would get first priority for support. Tier 2 are students who either lived in China and want to maintain the language or have an ethnic background. Tier 3 students have an interest in Chinese. Depending on the tier, classes may be free of charge, during the day and for a graduation credit, or after school with families paying a fee to the instructor.

We are trying to build our mother tongue program to support more languages in our community. Please see the appropriate principal if you are interested in enrolling your child in a Mandarin Chinese class.


SOIS Shines at World Scholar’s Cup Global Round

Happy SOIS students in Hanoi, Vietnam

30 SOIS students traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam this summer to participate in the World Scholar’s Cup Global Round. The goals of World Scholar’s Cup to motivate students of all backgrounds to discover new strengths and practice new skills and to inspire a global community of future scholars and leaders. The event is a celebration of learning centered around 4 academic events, including debate, knowledge bowl, collaborative writing, and a challenge test. Included in between these are social events to get students to make connections with others. More than 3000 students from over 50 countries were in Hanoi. All of the students had to qualify for the round through local events.


All of the SOIS students did well, making many friends and learning much about themselves and the topics of this year’s event. Several students placed very high in the standings, considering the over 1,000 teams in the two divisions. Grade 9 Emily Yoo finished 44th overall in the junior division.  The team of Tyus Sheriff (4th overall), Skye Inada (30th place) and Minami Matsushima (43rd place) won third place in the senior division. SIS English teacher Steve Sheriff won the Coach of the Year prize for his efforts in building the program at our school. Congratulations to all the students and teacher involved in the program!


IMG_0422 (1)
Students also experience the culture of the country. 


A delegation of 15 SOIS students qualified for the Tournament of Champions, the ultimate World Scholar’s Cup event in November at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Students ages 11 to 18 are eligible to participate in WSC. OIS will begin organizing teams for the spring and summer events in the new year. Stay tuned for details.


Hard work pays off! 



SOIS Triathletes Successful in Suita


OIS grade 12 student Leola Hara won the women’s competition

The SOIS Running/Triathalon team participated in the Suita City Mayor’s Cup Triathalon on Saturday, September 3. The race included a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer stationary bike ride and a 5.6 run in the beautiful Kita Senri park, located near our school. OIS senior Leola Hara (pictured above) won the women’s category and will be able to keep the Mayor’s Cup for one year.

All OIS middle school and high school students are invited to join team. The team has practices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students participate when they can and are eligible to participate in any of the events. The schedule for this fall season is as follows:

Rinku Bayside 10km/5km run – Sunday, September 24, 2017 (park located near Kansai International Airport)

Nagai Stadium Run –  10km, Sunday, October 1 (home of Cerezo Osaka J-League professional soccer team)

Katsuoji Long Run – 9:00 AM Saturday, October 14 (a non-competitive run to the famous temple in the Minoh hills)

AISA Cross Country Race – October 20-21 (High school race in Seoul, South Korea)


For more information about the club, please see coaches Tara Cheney or Hisashi Munemasa. Go Sabers!








Class of 2017 Finishes In Style


International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) students receive their exams results on July 6 (IB Results Day). Many have conditional offers from universities and their admission depends on reaching a specified score on the exams. IB Results Day sometimes can determine their future path. The OIS class of 2017 scores from the May 2017 were outstanding, with an average score of 33.3 compared to a world average score of 30. A student needs 24 points to pass the exam out of a possible 45 points. Of the close to 150,000 students sitting the over 500,000 exams, only 200 students had a perfect score of 45.

The OIS class of 2017 scores from the May 2017 were outstanding, with an average score of 33.3 compared to a world average score of 30. A student needs 24 points to pass the exam out of a possible 45 points. Of the 159,400 students sitting the over 500,000 exams, only 218 students reached a perfect score of 45. In fact, only 5% of IB candidates score 40 or above. Kai Junge, Airi Wakasa and Corrine Watanabe scored over 40 points, which is 16% of this year’s class. Kai scored perfect 7s in his higher level science and mathematics course, a first for OIS. All OIS students taking the full diploma programme scored 25 or above.

Most of the students this month are off to their universities to begin the next step of their academic career. The students weighed the offers this summer, some after receiving their IB scores. Students will be matriculating in the following universities next year:

North America: Pennsylvania State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Luther College (Iowa), Emily Carr University of Art & Design (Vancouver, Canada), Savannah College of Art and Design, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of the Pacific (California), University of California- Santa Barbara, Chapman University (California) and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Eurasia / UK: London College of Fashion – University of the Arts, University of Cambridge, University of East Anglia and Nottingham Trent University, Holland IES and Institute of Economics & Finance (Mongolia) and Disciple Training School, Youth With A Mission, Herrnhut, Germany.

Japan: Kwansei Gakuin University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Temple University, Osaka University, Keio University and International Christian University.

Congratulations to the Diploma Programme teachers, Counselor Melissa Lemug and especially, to our graduates of the Class of 2017!