Over the past weeks and months, it feels like the entire world has been scrambling to find ways to “keep going” and “stay safe” at the same time. OCSI is no different and we have surely felt the pressure to balance our students’ academic, socio-emotional, physical, and safety needs as we make decisions. Today, I am thankful for modern technology, enthusiastic teachers, flexible students, and caring parents who have enabled our students to thrive during Online School.
I’ve been checking in with teachers, parents, and students and I am so encouraged by how the OCSI community is persevering through this challenging time. It will surely be a school year our children remember well, and maybe even tell their children and grandchildren about.
Learning may look a little different this month, but one thing is sure… OCSI students are learning!
4th and 5th grade artists recreated famous works of art through the Getty Museum Photo Challenge.
Students of all ages made hypotheses, performed science experiments, and reported and reflected on their findings.
Kindergarten authors wrote about their favorite pets.
High school mathematicians solved equations and learned new skills.
7th grade digital tools students created “I am” videos to creatively express their values, preferences, and future ambitions.
2nd grade Japanese students created origami dogs.
5th grade authors wrote creative stories in response to a picture.
High School computer scientists learned how to use a modeling program called Fusion360 to create parametric, stackable strawberry planters that can be 3D printed.
1st grade authors wrote acrostic poems.
Elementary athletes worked on their balance skills.
Pre-K artists created art from loose parts they found outside.
Students reviewed topics, heard lectures, and played games with their teachers and classmates through online portals.
All of us here at OCSI are focused on planning for students to come back to school and how to best support students and families through this crisis. In the meantime, let’s give our kids a break! For those who are thriving and surviving with the routine, that is great news. For those who are struggling, let’s focus on helping them do what they can and finish the year well… it will be okay!
As a parent, my thoughts are all over the place: “it’s too much, it’s not enough, my kids need to go out and play, it’s not safe to play there, I’m not doing enough, I’m doing too much”, and the list goes on. For all of us that are trying to balance being a parent, an employee, and supervise our children’s education at home… hang in there! Focus on setting reasonable expectations for yourself (and your children) and take time to unplug and be renewed.
Across the globe, our schools, students, families, and educators are under enormous pressure right now. Thank you for joining together in prayer for the OCSI community as we do our best to work together and allow the students to finish the school year well. Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint”.
Collaboration means “working together to produce something”. In real life, we do this all the time. At our jobs, in our family, with our friends. In fact, when you look at research regarding the “7 Skills Employers Look For”, they’re almost exclusively soft skills. Collaboration and teamwork is such an important skill for an OCSI Learner and so vital to their future success.
Some examples of how OCSI students have collaborated recently include:
High School History students worked in stations to learn about the different aspects of the Byzantine Empire. Some students are assembling mosaics and comparing different art styles.
Middle School Literacy students worked in groups to write stories for wordless picture books. They recorded the dialogue and made a video of the book. 2nd and 3rd grade Literacy students watched the videos and gave feedback about the story and recording.
High School Science students collaborated to complete science labs.
Pre-K students collaborated to build a structure with big blocks during learning center time.
High School Bible students collaborated by completing a peer review on heresy papers.
Middle School Math students paired up proportions so that they are equivalent.
This has been an exciting year for technology integration at OCSI! For the first time, each student in grades 4-12 has their own Chromebook and we have a new Elementary computer lab for grades K-3. The goal of the 1:1 Chromebook Program and new computer lab has been for students to gain the 21st Century skills they need to GROW, SERVE, and CREATE! Here are some examples of what that looks like in the classroom..
Grade 4 Historians used Chromebooks to create graphic organizers as they did research for their American History biographies.
Grade 7 Historians created fake social media accounts after researching historical figures.
Elementary students are using SeeSaw to share their new knowledge and skills with families..
High School Writers share online assignments with one another, using pictures of themselves to build a community of learning and empathy.
Grade 3 Writers used Google Docs to write, revise, and share their opinion about ways we can improve our school with the administration.
MIddle and High School Life Groups discussed topics such as staying safe online, cyber bullying, hate speech, and other digital citizenship topics.
High School Artists collaborated with the Computer Science teacher to use a laser engraver to create a unique stamp from their artwork.
Grade 5 Scientists created models of the solar system using PixelArt.
At Okinawa Christian School International we know what a privilege it is to care for your children each day. We know that each and every child was created uniquely and in God’s image and we desire to make this school a place where children feel welcome, loved, cared for, and supported. As a member of the Child Safety and Protection Network (CSPN), we are always working to ensure that the students feel safe and that our staff and faculty are well-trained. Already this year all of our teachers and staff have received CPR and First Aid training from the on-base fire department as well as training on Child Safety and Reporting from TELL Japan. Last month, we also completed a school-wide fire and earthquake drill in which all students and staff were evacuated and accounted for in under six minutes.
This month during elementary classes and secondary life groups, we took the time to train our students on what it means to be a mandated reporter. Being a mandated reporter is an important job; it means that students have a responsibility to tell an adult if they suspect or know that another student is unsafe. On our website there is a reporting form that all students and parents can use to report unsafe behaviors. Each and every report is examined by a member of the OCSI Child Safety Team, comprised of several teachers, administrators, and the chaplain. We would like to encourage all parents to please check out the Child Protection policies and reporting form on the OCSI website; click on Resources → Downloads→ Parents Quick Links.
Thank you for partnering with us to help keep kids safe!
Consider the hopes, dreams, and expectations you have for your child. What hopes, dreams, and expectations do they have for themselves? At OCSI, we have a vision for our students and we desire to partner with parents to help us make this vision a reality in each and every one of your children’s futures.
OCSI Vision Statement
“Students achieve the expected student outcomes; use their learning to serve God and others; are prepared for college, career, and citizenship; follow Jesus and participate in the local church”.
Over the last week, I spent time in various classrooms and I saw so many ways the students here at OCSI are working toward this vision
2nd grade scientists observed the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
4th grader writers created their own personalized writing notebooks.
5th grade musicians worked together to create music with cups and basketballs.
7th grade writers learned what it meant to narrate a story from different perspectives.
8th grade mathematicians evaluated multiple ways to solve an equation.
High school Bible students examined at the cultural context of an Old Testament event.
High school scientists measured water and made conversions.
The teachers and principals here at OCSI are dedicated to helping teachers and families support our learners to achieve this vision. If your family or child would benefit from additional support such as college and career guidance or assistance finding a local church to attend, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Want to know more about your child’s principal?
Sarah Turner- Elementary Principal (PK-5)
Ms. Turner is a Third Culture Kid, who was born in Florida but grew up in Tokyo, Japan. Before becoming the Elementary Principal this year, she taught 1st grade at OCSI for 7 years. Her favorite part of teaching is to read aloud picture books, so she’s excited to read to all the elementary classes in an effort to teach important social emotional skills such as kindness and respect through the lens of picture books.
Brynn Childers- Secondary Principal (6-12)
Ms. Childers is excited to begin her third year at OCSI. She hears over and over again, “Your students are so nice,” and she knows that’s true. She is reminded daily that we have great students and that we also have an amazing staff that love kids and want to do all they can to help them succeed. She is humbled to be part of such a great team.