Blog Posts

We want our students to think

At OCSI, we want our students to think. We want our students to think critically and Biblically. So, we ask our students to…

  1. brain-1294854_640Imagine, analyze, and evaluate art, in part by applying artistic principles.
  2. Consider what it means to live Biblically.
  3. Persist in order to solve problems.
  4. Assess their writing.
  5. Think about history and current events in light the Biblical principles.
  6. Consider (a) the interconnection of language and culture and (b) the importance of humility, love, and discipline when communicating across language/culture barriers as host or guest.
  7. Solve problems by applying patterns, use sound reasoning, and critiquing the reasoning of others.
  8. Analyze how scientific conclusions can be influenced by assumptions, carefully examine claims, and weigh evidence, including Biblical evidence.
  9. Evaluate performances and creations (their own and others’) in terms of quality, purpose, worldview, and beauty.
  10. Think about strategy, synthesize key concepts, and evaluate their own motivation in matters of health, fitness, performance, and competition.
  11. Analyze alternative solutions, synthesize ideas, and evaluate their product, process, and workplace ethics (in part, by applying Biblical principles).

To help students grow as thinkers, we use a variety of strategies, including:

  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Having students share how they came up with their answers.
  • Classroom discussion.
  • Emphasizing the value of creative solutions.
  • Inviting students to solve real world problems.
  • Asking students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.

Says Michael Essenburg, superintendent: “Our world needs thinkers. Our world needs thinkers who make positive impact. I’m glad our students are growing as critical and Biblical thinkers.”
During the October 2 staff meeting, staff discussed what they want our students to think about.

What a great view!

Middle schoolers get to know each other

Middle School Happenings:

Fall can be a stressful time for students as they cope with new teachers, new classrooms and new classmates. One way we try to ease this stress is through some activities designed to help students get to know each other.

One fun event for all middle schoolers was our Friendship Friday, which was held on September 22. Most students were able to attend and could enjoy the games, the food and getting to meet new students. Although it did “rain out” part of our activities, we were able to remain flexible and move our activities inside the gym. It was certainly a lot of fun!

School is not all “fun and games,” however. September also saw our first MAP tests. Results will be sent home soon, but these tests will be quite useful for teachers to gauge where our students are at, and where we want them to be.

Coming soon will be our middle school camp. Camp will again be at Eco-Park this year from October 18-20. You should have already received some information and a permission slip for this event.

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High school students are well into the school year

High School Happenings:

High school students are well into the school year. As they analyze primary documents in history, set up experiments in science, and evaluate characters’ motivations in literature, they are learning to think critically and Biblically. As they grow in their ability to juggle tests, projects, assignments, and extracurricular activities, they are developing valuable focus and planning skills. These skills will not only help students in school, but will also also help them in life–to become functioning members of society.

During Friendship Friday, students were able to celebrate the students new to OCSI as they participated in various games and activities. This is a great time to build lasting friendships to carry them throughout this year and the years to come.

As October is here, 9th-11th graders are getting prepared to take the PSAT on Wednesday, October 11. This gives students an opportunity to prepare for the SAT and to assess where they are in their learning for their grade level.

High school camp is coming soon!  We will be going to camp at the Itoman Youth Center in southern Okinawa.  Camp is from Wednesday, October 25 – Friday, October 27.  All students need to report to school at their normal time on Wednesday, October 25,  and need to report to the cafeteria by 8:25am.  On Friday, October 27, students who live locally may be picked up from camp. Please note that if students are being picked up from camp, they must be picked up by their parents. Students will not be allowed to leave on their own or to leave with a friend.

Permission forms were sent home last week and need to be signed and returned by Thursday, October 5.  If you would like to pick up your student from camp, please be sure to also fill out the Pick Up Permission Slip.

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Focusing on increasing student understanding

OCSI Connections:

OCSI focuses on learning. We focus on increasing student understanding of God, His world, and their place in it. It’s exciting to see students grow in their understanding of things like…

  • Story sequence by identifying what part of a story doesn’t belong (kindergarten).
  • The importance of praying for others to create community (2nd grade).
  • Place value of decimals to the thousandths place (5th grade).
  • The value of reading (grades 6-8), as part of our Drop Everything and Read Program.
  • Commercial implications of chemistry in the invention of Teflon (high school).
  • How we can extrapolate principles from the Bible that are applicable today in spite of all the ways life has changed in the thousands of years since it was written (high school Bible).


It’s also exciting to see staff increasing their understanding as they participate in professional development on student safety, engaging instruction, and differentiation. It’s exciting to learn that staff are reading books like All Things Bright and BeautifulThe Advantage, Visit the Sick, Third Culture Kids, and The Bronze Bow.

We know that our parents/guardians want to increase their understanding about what is happening at OCSI. So, we provide an online handbook, send emails, post on our blog and social media, use Jupiter, post board minutes and policy, and post key dates on our calendar, including:

  • 10/9: Professional Development Day – no school for students
  • 11/3: Parent-teacher conferences – no school for students
  • 11/11: Walkathon and PTF’s Holiday Market—see you there!
  • 11/13: OCSI Holiday – no school for students


Check your understanding: Did you know that…?

  • OCSI’s chaplains (Mr. Roe and Mr. Reasoner) provide counseling to elementary and secondary students?
  • Last year’s college-bound seniors received US$1,339,116 in college scholarships and grants?
  • OCSI’s guidance counseling supports the college application process. To learn more, click here.
  • In situations away from school, parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s behavior, but continued public disregard for the school’s standards will result in administrative involvement?
  • OCSI provides a list of virtual tours for Japanese colleges?
  • PTF is starting a parenting Bible study on October 6.
  • OCSI’s website provides links to previous parent newsletters and to local churches?
  • OCSI has 5 expected student outcomes, one of which is “understanding God, His world, and their place in it”?

On behalf of the Leadership Team, I want to thank you for the privilege of assisting your with the education of your child(ren)! Please feel free to contact appropriate staff with your questions and concerns.

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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Staff on School Improvement

P.S. OCSI has its 6-year accreditation visit in March 2018. Staff are preparing for the visit by analyzing how OCSI is doing in 8 areas. Staff are using data (including data from surveys: secondary studentsparents/guardianssupport staffteaching staff) to assess current practice and to determine growth areas. September 7-8, Dr. Mohler of ACSI visited OCSI to check on our progress and gave us a good report.