/Parent Newsletter

OCSI Elementary Connections: August

Welcome back to OCSI for our 2016-2017 school year!  We are so excited to have all our families back here to begin what will be a wonderful adventure in learning!  I will be sending out a monthly memo this year to let you know of all the activities taking place each month and let you know about school events.  You will find a calendar of events for the month, specific details of major events, and thoughts regarding your child’s education.  Please note that we have changed our school handbook to an electronic version. You can locate all information about our student handbook, and it can be read in English or Japanese.

We are eager to start working with your child and look forward to meeting you at our Open House this Friday on August 26th (6:00- 7:00 PM for grades 1-5)This is a time to meet your child’s teacher and to learn about our new math program:

  • 6:00 – Start in cafeteria with Mr. Jernberg.
  • 6:20 – Meet with your child’s teacher.
  • 6:40 – Meet with specialists or second teacher.
  • Students who attend must stay with parents.

Please keep the following dates in mind (for further information, please check our school calendar):

  • 8/26: Open House 6:00- 7:00 PM (grades 1-5)
  • 9/8: Welcome new families!  Coffee and cookies from 6:00-7:00PM, sponsored by PTF!
  • 9/15: Math Night (6:00-7:00PM): You can learn even more about our math program.

Thank you for part of our school community. I’m looking forward to see you on Friday at Open House. 

Sincerely,
Brad Jernberg, elementary principal
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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August 22nd, 2016|

School starts tomorrow!

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We are excited! Why? Because school start tomorrow. Because we’ll get to see your child(ren). Because we’ll get to help you equip your child(ren) to walk with God and impact the world for Him.

We want tomorrow to go well. You can help. Five key things to keep in mind are:

  1. How to drop your student off.
  2. Making sure your child(ren) have their supplies (kindergarten, grades 1-12).
  3. That classes for grades 1-12 start at 8:25.
  4. That kindergarten orientation begins at 9:00 and ends at 10:30.
  5. That classes for grades 1-12 finish at 3:00.

See you tomorrow!

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

August 17th, 2016|

OCSI Connections: July

Check out the new benches woodshop students made using materials purchased with Walkathon/Bazaar funds!

Check out the new benches woodshop students made using materials purchased with Walkathon/Bazaar funds!

Like you, I love my children. My two daughters are grown and married now, and when they were younger, I sent them to school because I wanted them to…
  • Understand God, His world, and their place in it.
  • Think critically and Biblically.
  • Collaborate with and respect others.
  • Communicate truthfully and effectively.
  • Use their learning to serve God and others.
 
I’m grateful for the education my daughters received, and I count it a privilege to work to provide you the kind of education I wanted for my daughters. Here at OCSI our mission is to equip your child(ren) to walk with God and impact the world for Him. To carry out our mission, we provide a program that…
  • Addresses the whole person.
  • Is communicated in English.
  • Uses an American-style approach.
  • Is Biblically based.
  • Encourages Biblical thinking and living.
 

Thank you for the privilege of assisting you with the education of you child(ren). We are looking forward to seeing them on Thursday, August 18!

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. Check out our updated online handbook.

July 29th, 2016|

Parent Update: June

Community Growth Impact HS

When you think of OCSI, what 3 words come to mind? I think of…

  1. Community: We are a community. We are connected to each other, we care about each other, and we work together. I enjoy being part of the OCSI community. How about you? 
  2. Growth: We want our students to grow. We want them to learn to better communicate, collaborate, think, and create. We want them to better understand God, His world, and their place in it. 
  3. Impact: We want our students to make a positive impact. How? By using their learning to serve God and others. By serving as role models. By building Christ-centered community.

Thanks for being part of our community! We look forward to serving you again next year.

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. If you know of a family that would enjoy being part of the OCSI community, please encourage them to visit our website and/or to contact us (098-958-3000).

June 24th, 2016|

Parent Update: May

I’m excited about how students have grown this year! They’ve increased their understanding of God, His world, and their place in it. They’ve developed and demonstrated their thinking, communication, and collaboration skills in a variety of ways, including writing essays, doing science labs, and giving group presentations. And they’ve created artwork, given performances like the Christmas Program and Fine Arts Showcase, and completed service projects.

I’m also excited also about this year’s annual report. You can read about how students, staff, and OCSI as an organization have grown. You can see photos, watch videos, see parent survey results, and more! There are articles by Mr. Jernberg, Mrs. Calvin, Mr. Jerome, Mrs. Kennedy, and me. Check it out!

Finally, I’m excited about being part of a supportive community. Thank you, parents, for supporting your children and OCSI staff. Thank you for being involved in a range of activities, including sports events, Walkathon and Bazaar fundraisers, Field Day, Holiday Market, and more. We invite your continued support through school activities, PTF, prayer, and gifts.

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. Be sure to check out our annual report.

May 27th, 2016|

Parent Update: April

Kindergarteners enjoy watching Field Day!

Kindergarteners enjoy watching Field Day!

Good things continue to happen at OCSI:

  • This year’s student-led conferences were exciting! Why? Because students and parents had good conversations about learning. To prepare for these student-led conferences, students selected samples of their work, assessed what they had learned, reflected on what made a piece of work satisfying or challenging, and set goals. Students then presented their findings to their parents.
  • First and 2nd graders participated in Kid City, a simulation that helped them understand how a community works, some of the services that a community needs, and some beginning economics lessons. The students ran a variety of services including a bank, a doctor’s office, a grocery store, and a park.
  • Students are collaborating to learn and to demonstrate their learning. Sixth grade scientists worked in groups to study heat. An Algebra II student used his learning to help another student. High schoolers collaborated in many ways (including a hula dance) to entertain their audience and raise money for the seniors at Cafe Dolce.
  • Students demonstrated their public speaking skills in Japanese in the annual high school Japanese speech contest on April 22 in the OCSI’s cafeteria. Students from all 6 levels of Japanese participated.
  • Today was Elementary Field Day (see photo). Students, parents, and teachers enjoyed being outside doing a range of activities.

Another good thing that is happening at OCSI is the refinement of our school improvement plan. We are doing this because we want OCSI to be an even better school, and we are doing this as part of being an accredited school. Our improvement plan now focuses on 5 areas—culture, communication, key performance indicators, curriculum, and financial planning:

  1. Culture: Further develop an organizational culture that reflects operational values (Christ-centered community, focus on mission, empowerment, best practice, and growth).
  2. Communication: Increase effective communication with current and potential stakeholders, resulting in improved recruitment and retention of both students and staff, and in increased donations.
  3. Key Performance Indicators: Systematically use key performance indicators to improve decision-making, drive achievement of mission and vision (which includes the expected student outcomes), and demonstrate the degree of compliance with accreditation standards and board policy.
  4. Curriculum: Further developing a standard-based, Bible-based curriculum with appropriate standards-based assessment and culminating events for each division; implementing it with engaging, differentiated, backward-designed instruction and with increased student use of technology for learning; and resulting in increased student English language proficiency.
  5. Financial Planning: Increase financial stability and sustainability by implementing a 5-year financial plan designed to carry out the board’s approach to finances.

To learn about more good things that are happening at OCSI, please visit our blog and our Facebook page.

Sincerely,

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

April 29th, 2016|

Parent Update: March

Good things continue to happen at OCSI:

  • Eleventh grade debaters discussed a range of topics including “Should students be graded on their handwriting?” to “Should governments ever restrict free speech?” 
  • High school scientists presented their research at the Science Fair on March 4th.  The winners are 1st place: Justin Emmel and Erika Bargamotov, 2nd place: Koumi Manazaki and Kayano Okubo, and 3rd place: Asahi Shioma and Toransuke Misumi. The students went to OIST on March 24th for a tour and to perform science experiments.
  • At the March 11 Culture Fair, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders worked in groups to effectively and creatively communicate their learning to kindergarteners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders. 
  • Secondary students were involved in service projects during Missions Week:

Another good thing that is happening at OCSI is that we are reviewing our expected student outcomes. The proposed outcomes are research based and help us answer the question, “What knowledge, skills, and attitudes do students need to have?” Here are the proposed expected student outcomes:

  • Understand God, His world, and their place in it.
  • Think critically and Biblically.
  • Collaborate with others, respecting them as God’s image bearers.
  • Communicate truthfully and effectively.
  • Create ideas, products, and solutions.

If you have input you’d like to share about the proposed expected student outcomes, please send it to ruthjerome@ocsi.org.

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. It is re-registration time for next school year, and soon you will be receiving re-registration materials. We want to thank you for choosing OCSI for your child’s educational needs, and we hope that you will re-register with us again. We count it a privilege to partner with you.

March 24th, 2016|

Parent Update: February

Good things continue to happen at OCSI:

  • Kindergarten: K4 is receiving a new document camera for projecting books and showing student work in the front of the room. K5 is working on making predictions during their reading times. This is a critical skill for making meaning of text.
  • Elementary: 2nd graders went to the aquarium and learned about many marine mammals and the coral ecosystem. 3rd through 5th graders are working hard on their group country displays to prepare for the Culture Fair on March 11th.
  • Middle: Students are having a blast and learning about science through hands on learning. 6th graders experimented with heat, insulators, and convection. 7th graders dissected crayfish.
  • High: Congratulations to the boy’s basketball team for their 4th place finish in Far East.

Another good thing that is happening at OCSI is our March 5 Bazaar. At this year’s Bazaar you can…

  1. Have fun with family and friends.
  2. Play outdoor games and in bouncy houses.
  3. Purchase toys, books, clothes, household goods, CDs, and DVDs.
  4. Enjoy hot dogs, lumpia, Okinawa soba, ice cream, baked goods, curry rice, popcorn, and nachos.

Funds raised by the Bazaar will be used for non-fiction library books, technology, science tables, and more! So, come have some fun while supporting OCSI!

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. To learn more about OCSI, check out our blog.

February 24th, 2016|

Parent Update: January

Good things continue to happen at OCSI:

  • Many elementary families came together for Kite Day to fly kites on our field.
  • Elementary and middle school students have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming Spelling Bee. Middle school students showed school spirit and wore school colors for Spirit Week.
  • High students played and cheered well at the homecoming basketball games. Students in Advanced Placement Statistics went on a field trip to Ginoza Town to perform a statistical analyses on a strawberry farm.
  • K5 teachers are currently studying a book to help students develop stronger reading strategies. In addition, they are piloting new grammar and phonics materials. Mrs. Rubero has been working hard to improve literacy skills in our literacy support program. Secondary teachers refined student learning goals, discussed how to help students gain deeper understanding, and discussed how to more effectively design assessments (like projects, presentations, and essays).

I’m glad these good things are happening, and I’m glad to be part of the OCSI community. I’m glad to be part of a community that cares (Luke 10:25-37) and encourages (I Thessalonians 5:11). I’m glad to be part of a community that focuses on equipping students and that works together—thanks to all those who attended the January 22 OCSI Bazaar meeting (see photo).

I want our community to continue growing. So, I’ve been reflecting on ways we can keep building community. Possibilities include:

  • Speaking the truth in love.
  • Respecting each other.
  • Talking about what’s on our hearts.
  • Staying centered on Christ.
  • Being culturally sensitive.
  • Spending time together.
  • Listening to each other.

What about you? What are you grateful for regarding our school community? What do you think we can do to keep building community?

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
P.S. To learn more, check us out on Facebook.

January 29th, 2016|

Parent Update: December

I’m grateful to be a part of the OCSI community. One of the many things I’m grateful for is the respectful attitude of our students.

Let’s think a little bit about respect. What comes to mind when you hear the word respect? What comes to mind for me includes:

  • Focusing on others first.
  • Listening.
  • Thinking about myself with sober judgment.
  • Honoring the customs of other cultures.
  • Greeting people.
  • Being polite and kind.
  • Speaking the truth in love.

As God’s image bearers, people are worthy of respect. After all, God created us just a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5)! No wonder God commands us to respect each other by loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:39), by honoring our parents (Exodus 20:12), and by submitting to those in authority (Romans 13:1).

Good news! When we obey God by respecting each other, we build stronger relationships, stronger homes, and stronger communities. Aren’t those things we all want? I know I do. I want to see Okinawa Christian School International become an even stronger community.

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him

December 14th, 2015|