/Parent Newsletter

Bible study goes well, Holiday Market help needed

PTF Connections:

We had a wonderful time for Bible study with Mr. Roe this Thursday.  I found out many parents wonder what their kids study in Bible class—we got the answers at the Bible class with Mr. Roe.

PTF also has a Friday Bible study where we learn about parenting from a Biblical perspective.  We are going to study about how to discipline our children and how to help them when they’re angry.  If you are interested in, check it out on Friday afternoon from 1:30-3:00.

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If you have children in elementary, you will notice a PTF flyer in your Friday folder this weekend.  We would like more Holiday Market vendors, so we would like to open our booths to OCSI parents and teachers.  If you want to join us, please contact ptf@ocsi.org.  We will give you more details and we are happy to work with you on November 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We also need your creative hands to decorate the gym for Holiday Market and to make crafts on October 19, October 26, November 2, and November 9 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.  It’s going to be a fun time to get to know parents and make crafts. Let’s work together to make it happen to let all children smile on Holiday Market Day! If you have any questions, email ptf@ocsi.org.

Please visit our Facebook page and share it with your friends!

Yumi Horii, PTF director
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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October 6th, 2017|

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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October 3rd, 2017|

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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October 3rd, 2017|

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
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon


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.

September 28th, 2017|

Elementary is off to a great start

Elementary Connections:

reader-310398_640What a great start to the school year! One of our goals for our elementary students here at OCSI is to understand God, His world, and their place in it. I’ve already seen our students grow in their understanding of things like…

  • How God made each child unique through the song “I Am Special” (pre-K).
  • Story sequence by identifying what part of a story doesn’t belong (kindergarten).
  • God as Creator of this world and worthy of praise (1st grade).
  • The joy of reading to others during Daily 5 (2nd grade).
  • The importance of praying for others to create community (2nd grade).
  • How our individual gifts and talents help us work together and help one another (2nd grade).
  • Steps of the writing process, starting with brainstorming (3rd grade).
  • The impact of Jesus’ short life here on Earth through the book Who Is This Man (5th grade).
  • Place value of decimals to the thousandths place (5th grade).

As students grow in their understanding of the world God has made for us, I hope it will encourage them to keep reading and learning. Parents, you can support your child at home by reading to them and by encouraging them to ask questions and learn more about topics they’re interested in. Need some ideas?

Thanks for helping us get off to a great start!

Megan Roe, elementary principal
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon

Megan Roe


September 7th, 2017|

Welcome to PTF

PTF Connections:

Welcome to PTF PTF (Parent Teacher Fellowship) is a great way for parents to get involved in their child’s education at OCSI. The purpose of PTF is to support teachers, strengthen our school community, and connect with other parents. There are many opportunities for service throughout the year in the classroom, at Holiday Market, and during Teacher Appreciation Week. We invite and encourage every family to become an active part of the PTF.

We are going to have a PTF information meeting on Friday, September 8, at 2:15 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Even if you think you can only help once during the school year, please come to the meeting! All parents are welcome to attend. We will get to know each other and talk about our plans for the year.

We will also start the weekly English Bible study for parents from October 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the PTF room. This is a great opportunity to improve your English skills and to learn about and discuss Biblical parenting values.  All parents are invited to join.

Please check our Facebook page for updates.  If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please email ptf@ocsi.org.

Yumi Horii, PTF director
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
OCSI • Calendar • Contact • Handbook • Prayer • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Twitter Typhoon

August 31st, 2017|

Middle schoolers excited to be back at school

Middle School Happenings:

Well, for many the summer was w-a-y too short. Still, most students were excited and glad to be back at school! These first couple of days saw friends reunited, many new faces (both students and a few teachers, as well), and getting used to different schedules. While we did have a few confused or temporarily misplaced students, we were able to avoid any major issues as we kicked off the 2017-2018 school year.

Students have received many papers to be signed. These should have already been turned in. Teachers will be in contact if there is anything missing.

Here are a few upcoming events to be aware of:

  • Open House – This is a great time to meet your child’s teachers. Please join us on the evening of September 1, 2017, at 7 p.m.
  • MAP Testing – This is the replacement to the Terra Nova tests. MAP tests will begin in September. There is nothing to prepare for, but please ensure students get enough rest and a good breakfast.
  • Friendship Friday – September 22nd – This is an after school event (3:00-6:00) that all middle school students are highly encouraged to attend. It is a great chance to get to know new students and to begin new friendships. More information will be sent out soon.
August 30th, 2017|

High schoolers are in the swing of things

High School Happenings:

With the beginning of school, all the high school students are back in the swing of things. On the first day of school the National Honor Society students welcomed new students and helped direct them to their classes. There was excitement in the air as students greeted old friends and made new friends. Students are already steadily working on projects and various assignments. The 2017-2018 school year is off to a great start!

We would like to welcome the following teachers to high school:

  • Mrs. Angela Doerkson: 9th & 10th grade English
  • Dr. Deena Vardhini: biology, chemistry, and marine biology
  • Ms. Brynn Childers: 11th & 12th grade social studies and dean of students.

We are excited to have them and they are a wonderful addition to the high school faculty.

High school has the following events on the horizon:

  • Open House – September 1st at 7:00 pm in the cafeteria
  • Friendship Friday – September 22nd at 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. (permission slips will go out soon)
  • PSAT Testing – October 11th during the school day
August 30th, 2017|

Help us get off to a good start!

OCSI Connections:

On behalf of the Leadership Team, I want to thank you for the privilege of assisting you with the education of your child(ren). And we invite you to help us get off to a good start. Five key ways you can do this are:
  1. Keep Each Other Safe LogoBy continuing to encourage your child(ren) to focus on learning, to respect others, to speak the truth in love, and to keep others safe.
  2. By reviewing our safety-related policies, for example: TyphoonBullying PolicyChild Protection PolicyBehavior Management (Elementary and Kindergarten), Behavior Management (Secondary), and Grievances, Whistleblowing, and Complaints Policy.
  3. By submitting all forms by August 11, including summer packet forms and (for 5th and 9th graders) tuberculosis forms.
  4. By contacting appropriate staff with your questions and concerns. Please contact teachers about attendance, the principals about curriculum and policies, the business manager about finances, and the chaplains about personal counseling.
  5. By praying for OCSI. Try using our prayer guide and/or our monthly prayer letters.

Did you know that…?

  • The new road on the back side of campus is under construction during August? (You can still enter from Route 6 by Sera-en, but you cannot go further up the road.)
  • Criteria for developing our school calendar include having 180 days, addressing Japanese and US holidays, and staying in sync with DoDDs schools?
  • Students and parents can use Naviance for applying to colleges?
  • OCSI is having its 6-year accreditation visit in the spring of 2018?
  • We are welcoming new staff? photo row 1: Angela Doerksen (HS English), Deena Vardhini (HS science), Mattie Daniel (grade 4), and Morgan Rusnak (K5); row 2: Tyler Maskiewicz (HS science), Jerry Doerksen (grade 5), Brynn Childers (HS social studies), and Julie Woolery (elementary literacy).
2017-08 New Staff
Key dates:
  • 8/22: Classes begin
  • 8/22-25: K3 and K4 half-day classes
  • 9/1: Open House for grades 1-12 (not for kindergarten)
  • 9/4: Labor Day – no school
  • 9/9: ACT testing
  • 9/18: Professional Development Day – no school for students
  • 9/22: Progress reports, Kindergarten Family Sports Day, Friendship Friday for secondary

Thanks again for the privilege of assisting you with the education of your child(ren).

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon


P.S. Be sure to check out OCSI’s Instagram account to see more photos!

2017-08 Instagram

August 9th, 2017|

Looking forward to school year 2017-2018

OCSI Connections:

We’re looking forward to assisting you with the education of your child(ren). As we do this, we are guided by our philosophy of education. So that we can continue working together effectively, I want to review that philosophy with you:

  • The purpose of Christian education is equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him.
  • Parents are responsible for their children’s education. Okinawa Christian School International partners with parents by providing Christian education.
  • Students are God’s image bearers scarred by sin, can learn, and are responsible for their learning. We value student diversity seen in learning styles, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Staff (the living curriculum) are Christians who model Biblical thinking and living, build Christ-centered community, focus on OCSI’s mission, empower others, use best practice, and grow professionally.
  • Our program addresses the whole person, is communicated in English, and uses an American-style approach. It is Biblically based, recognizes all truth is God’s truth, emphasizes sharing the Gospel and discipleship, and encourages Biblical thinking and living.

2017 Annual Report0906

Did you know that…?

  • OCSI started in 1957 and used to be located in Urasoe, before moving to Yomitan in 1996?
  • You can contact the business manager with your questions about finance?
  • OCSI values Christ-centered community, focus on mission, and empowering others?
  • We are welcoming new staff? Morgan Rusnak (K5), Mattie Daniel (grade 4), Jerry Doerksen (grade 5), Julie Woolery (literacy), Tyler Maskiewicz (science), Angela Doerksen (HS English), and Brynn Childers (HS social studies)
  • Increased tuition helps OCSI provide new social studies texts, upgrade the gym, and improve technology?
  • The Guidance Office provides information for high school students to develop a 4-year plan
  • The Summer Packet is being mailed out? Forms should be submitted to the office by Friday, August 11.

2017 Annual Report0344

Important dates:

  • 8/4: All students entering grade 5 and grade 9 must submit a satisfactory tuberculosis screening (skin test or x-ray), unless they submitted a satisfactory tuberculosis screening when entering grade 4 or grade 8
  • 8/11: Summer Packet forms should be submitted to the office.
  • 8/18: K3-K5 Orientation, New ES Family Orientation, Grade 6 and New MS Student Orientation, Grade 9 and New HS Student Orientation
  • 8:22: School begins
  • 9/1: Open house for grades 1-12

Thank you for the privilege of assisting you with the education of your child(ren). 

Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
OCSI • Calendar • Contact • Handbook • Prayer • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Twitter • Typhoon


July 21st, 2017|