NLIS Handbook

Welcome to New Life International School.  We hope to encourage a love of learning and to inspire happy, healthy children to follow God and serve each other in love. This handbook explains our school’s basic plan, policies and regulations.
School Policies and Procedures Curriculum:   The curriculum at NLIS is English based, mostly from America.  The curriculum is chosen for each class by the principal in conjunction with the teacher. We use Kokugo textbooks for the Japanese classes.
Subjects taught at NLIS include the following:
  •         Mathematics:  Singapore Math, world-known and high level
  •         Science and Health
  •         Bible and Chapel (chapel on Fridays)
  •         Language Arts:  English grammar, phonics, spelling, writing, reading, literature, poetry
  •         Social Studies: community, history, geography
  •         Japanese with Kokugo textbooks
  •         Art:  History, crafts, paints, sculptures
  •         Drama
  •         Music: handbells in 2/3 grades, recorders in 4/5 grades
  •         Physical Education
  •         Typing, Computer Skills            
The school provides one computer for every two students. The students are encouraged to use the computers for research, to play learning games, and to improve their typing and computer skills several days a week. 
School language:   The school language is English, thus we do not speak any Japanese in the classrooms. We have found that by focusing in English in the classroom, the students learn much quicker. Immersion is an amazing tool for language. Children speak Japanese in Japanese class. Japanese and English are both used in their playtime and at lunch. Our goal is to have bilingual students, so both languages are equally important.
Calendar:  NLIS follows the Japanese calendar by starting the school year in early April and finishing in early March and observes all Japanese national holidays. Students will meet for a total of 185 class days per year. For purposes of comparison, 180 days is the minimum requirement for American schools and British schools meet a minimum of 190 days a year. A separate detailed yearly calendar is issued with exact dates of class days, and holidays each year. Important school dates can also be found on the school website.
School cancellations and make-up days: School may at times be cancelled due to bad weather or emergencies. In case of heavy snow, dangerous typhoons, or other emergencies, please call NLIS to learn whether your child should go to school. If the school is cancelled only one day during a given school year, the students will not have to make up that day of cancellation. However, if more than one day is cancelled within the school year, the second day and all following cancelled days must be made up. For example, in one year if one day is cancelled, no makeup day is necessary. If two days are cancelled, one day of make up classes is necessary. And if three days are cancelled, two days of make up classes are necessary.
School hours:   Regular school hours are as follows, Monday through Friday:   
K-1st grade:         9:00 am to 3:00 pm
2nd - 5th grade:     9:00 am to 3:15 pm
6th-9th grade        9:00 am to 3:30 pm
In order to encourage family times together and to allow for church attendance, the school will not hold clubs, sports events, festivals, or other events on Sundays. Arrival and departure times: For the safety of the children, all children should only be on school grounds when faculty and staff are present to watch and protect them. As a result, children should come to the school grounds no earlier than 8:30, and they should leave the school grounds within 15 minutes of dismissal, unless the parents are paying for after school care. If the children travel around the city on their own, the school cannot guard their safety, so we ask that you watch the time your child departs and arrives each day, and be aware of when and where your child is traveling. If you are over 15 minutes late picking up your child, there is a fee of 300 yen per hour. The teachers need the time after school to grade papers, visit with parents, and to prepare for the next day's lessons. The teachers cannot work with students playing without supervision and it is not safe, so please inform your child's teacher if you will be late.
Lunches: Students bring their own lunches. Since each family will prepare their own child’s lunch, the school has no food rules. We believe that parents have the right to choose their children’s food every day. However, we ask parents to provide balanced meals. We suggest fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy, grain, and a drink. Parents may also include candy or a desert. We can provide hot school lunches when at least 20 students are willing to pay 500 yen a day for the lunch. If you are interested, please let us know.
Parties, field trips, special days, and special speakers: We have 4 class parties each year, including a fall party, a Christmas party, and a Valentine's party. Parent volunteers are asked to bring food and help with these parties. We also have a summer party to celebrate the end of our first term where we play all kinds of water activities. These events help our school's atmosphere become more exciting and are a reward for diligent work.   3 field trips are also taken so the students can explore their community. We ask for some parents to volunteer to travel with us on the field trip for the safety of the students. Please look at our school website at the calendar for a detailed list of special days and activities. We love to have speakers come and share their talents with us. We have had policemen, dentists, train conductors, a ventriloquist, artists, world travelers, and many more come speak in English and in Japanese. We welcome parents to come and share their talents and teach our students about their jobs or their interests. We learn a lot from our community and our families.
Recess:  Each class will be given a playtime called “recess,” in which students will play outside in the front, the local park, or in the gym for 30 minutes each day. The students will also have physical education taught to them twice a week. There they will learn rules of cooperation with teams doing sports like soccer, basketball, and kickball, and all about fitness and health with proper exercise and diet taught.
Transportation:  Students may walk, ride bicycles, take a bus or train, or parents may drive the student directly to school by car. Students may choose any type of bicycle that they wish to use, but must wear a helmet at all times going to and from school.
Clubs and extracurricular activities: We have English classes available 2 days a week. If any parents would like to teach a craft class, dance, or karate, or know of a good teacher who could teach after school, please let us know. The volunteers set the days and the fees. The school is open to club activities on any weekday.  
Pro-family:  We believe that the school assists the parents in raising their children, thus we are here to help you raise your child. We ask parents to support the teacher as he or she trains and disciplines your child by supporting our decisions. We also encourage parents to spend quality time with their child, teach them morals and social skills at home, and communicate freely and frequently with the child about his or her feelings and experiences at school and with friends.
Christian teaching: Bible will be taught in each classroom daily, and a chaplain will come to the school every week to provide a small chapel service with singing, games, and a Bible story. A prayer will also be said in the mornings and before lunch each day. Students are not required to follow the Christian religion, but they must agree to take part in the chapel singing, prayers, etc.  All students, regardless of religion, will feel accepted in our school.
Use of heaters and air-conditioners: Students focus better when they are comfortable and not stressed from heat or cold. Therefore, each classroom will be heated in cold months and cooled in hot months. Average temperature settings for cold months will be 20 degrees. Average temperatures setting for hot months will be 25 degrees.
Grades: Students will be issued grade cards 4 times a year to let parents know how each student is progressing. Parents will be asked to read the grade cards, sign them, and send them back to the teacher. Please see "What is a Christian, Western-Style Education" in our website. We recognize that grades are important, but we don't want to over emphasize one grade or skill above another. We want to push our students to do their very best and celebrate their unique talents.  Students’ grades will come from daily work, both written and verbal, projects, and portfolios, as well as tests. No single test should make up more than 20% of a student’s semester grade. A passing grade is considered 60%. Students must make an average of 60% on their assignments and test grades to pass. Because of our school's small teacher-student ratio, teachers are keenly aware of the students' abilities and will work hard to ensure every student's success. If there is a problem, the teachers will call the parents and ask for the parent's assistance with homework. We are all invested in our students and we want them to succeed.
Retaining students:  We discourage teachers from retaining students to repeat a school year because research shows that students who repeat a year of classes usually do not improve, and students who continue onto the next grade level do as well as those who were retained. It may be possible for a child to fail a school year yet to be allowed to promote to the next class. However, the child’s failure will remain in his/her permanent school record and cannot be erased. In the case of very young students who are developmentally slow, they may need to repeat a grade level. We also reserve the right to retain older students to repeat a grade since this gives us some leverage to encourage students who might otherwise feel no need to attend or pass their classes.
Attendance: Students must attend 90% of their classes in order to pass their school year. This includes all absences, excused or not excused, as well as doctor’s visits and long-term illnesses. Since NLIS meets 185 days, students may be absent a maximum of 19 days before failing grade level.A student who transfers from another school should provide grades and proof of attendance from his previous school. Those attendance numbers and grades will be calculated as part of the year’s attendance and grades for NLIS for purposes of passing the final grade level.
Tardies: School begins at 9:00 am. Students who arrive after 9:00 are considered tardy to class. Students who are tardy to class 5 times in a 6-week period may have to stay after school or stay inside for recess to make up the lost time.
Standardized tests: The Iowa Basic Test will be used every year. This is a standardized test done in the U.S. and in international schools around the world.  Each student is compared with all students tested in the United States at their grade level. Then each child is given a ranking from 0% to 99% in comparison to other students. For example, if a child receives a score of 55%, he or she has scored higher than 55% of the other students in the U.S. at his or her grade level. In this way, NLIS can see the actual learning progress of the child compared to other native speaking children. The Iowa Basic test will usually be given in the 4th and 5th grade classes so that we can judge the effectiveness of our program.
Student Dress Regulations:  In order to keep clothes competition down and to help us feel unified, we ask the student to wear a simple uniform: black, navy, white, khaki, or gray tops and bottoms. The clothes can be any material, long or short sleeve, but must be solid color. Girls can wear dresses, skirts, and pants, but must be in the school colors. Every child must also wear a badge each day to school to help the community identify the child as part of our school. The uniform is observed Monday through Thursday every week.
Skirts: All skirts must must not be shorter than 15 centimeters above the top of the kneecap, and underwear cannot show. Dark leggings are acceptable with skirts. (Please don’t make the skirts too high and ask the school to understand. Girls must not roll up their skirts.)
Shorts: May be worn by both boys and girls, but no shorter than 15 centimeters above the top of the kneecap and must also be solid dark blue or black. Dark leggings are acceptable with shorts.
Shirts: They must have a simple collar and have no logos, designs, ribbons, ruffles, etc. Shirts may be either button up or polo style.
Shoes: Students are free to wear shoes, sandals, boots, etc. as they wish, as long as they are safe and useful for school. Students are also asked to bring one pair of indoor sneakers to be kept at school for use in the gym. Those sneakers must be white or clear rubber soles (no black or dark colored soles).
Badges: Each child will be given one pin-on school badge. The badge should be worn every day to school. It should be pinned onto the shirt above the shirt’s front left pocket. (Or in that position if there is no pocket.) Children will receive one school badge free of charge. If parents want more badges they may purchase them at the price of ¥200 for 1 badge.
Fridays: Fridays are "free days". Students may wear any color clothes they desire as long as they are respectable.
Physical Education Uniform: The children may have separate clothes for physical education from 4th grade and up. These should also be in the solid colors black, navy, khaki, and white. A time and place will be given for the students to change clothes.
Middle School Students: All students from grades 6 and up may also add red to the color of uniform allowed.
Freedom in fashions: Though we require uniforms, we wish to give students freedom in their hair and body fashion; therefore, things such as jewelry, perms, colored hair, makeup, nail polish, etc. are left to the parents’ choice as long as they are not so extreme as to distract from learning. However, we encourage the biblical teaching of 1 Peter 3:3-4: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (NIV)
Forbidden fashions: Students shall not wear any clothing or fashion that distracts from learning, that appears immoral, or that is unsafe. By immoral, we mean something likely to cause sexual temptation or encourage sin according to Christian teachings. By distractive, we mean something so noticeable or shocking as to distract students from focusing their eyes and ears on learning in the classroom. We take a broad view of fashion and do not assume that anything that looks different or is non-traditional is immoral or distractive. Please be patient with other parents and children who may have different personal or cultural tastes. Different is not bad, especially in an international environment. However, in line with our policy regarding learning, morality, and safety, the following clothing and fashions are forbidden at school or even on the way to school:
  1. Brightly colored hair (green, pink, yellow, etc.) or distractive face paint. (Face paint may be worn during parties with the teacher’s permission.)
  2. Bags, jewelry, or clothing with a bad message: bad language, offensive pictures, evil or immoral themes in pictures or words, or pro-alcohol, pro-tobacco, or pro-drug messages.
  3. Hats inside the classroom.
  4. Rolling up, unbuttoning, or loosening of clothes so that the stomach, back, shoulders, mid-chest, or upper thighs can be seen.
  5. Showing part of underpants or bras.
  6. “Sagging,” i.e., wearing pants below their intended level so underwear shows.
  7. Earrings on boys since these are so controversial for males. For safety purposes girls’ earrings must be small (e.g., small studs or very small hoops) so that they cannot be easily pulled off.
  8. Other clothes or fashions that the teacher deems distractive, immoral, or unsafe. 
We request that parents not send very expensive jewelry or clothes to school. We will not take responsibility if such items are damaged, lost, or stolen.
School Rules for Student Behavior   
Students should take a positive view of school in the following ways.
        1. Follow the instructions of all teachers and school leaders.
        2.  Do all homework and complete all class assignments with a positive attitude.
        3.  Attend classes every day and come to school and to class events on time.
        4.  Follow NLIS dress regulations carefully.
        5.  Love and show respect to all classmates, teachers, and school staff.
Parent-teacher conferences:  We have no scheduled conferences during the year. However, should questions or problems arise, parents may contact the child’s teacher for discussion after class hours (not during class time, please). If contact with the teacher has already been made, parents may further appeal to the principal regarding dissatisfactory issues. We invite parent-teacher dialogue to build a stronger school. 
Open door policy:  All parents may come and observe the classes at any time.   If you would like to volunteer on a regular basis, please talk with your teacher.  We love our parents to come and get involved by helping in the classes. 
Students must not do the following:
  • Disobey any teacher, principal, school leader, or employee of NLIS.
  • Cheat on school work: Cheating on tests, copying others’ homework or having someone else do that homework, turning in a written essay or research paper that is copied word for word from books or other sources without the teacher’s approval.
  • Make noises, play with toys, computer games, etc., or perform other behaviors that discourage learning in the class.
  • Use bad words or vulgar language (including talk about sex or very rude things) in any language.
  • Break the school clothing regulations or wear clothing or other body fashion that disrupts learning, appears immoral, or is unsafe. 
  • Use cell phones or computers without the school’s permission. All cell phones must be put on manner mode and may not be used during class at any time. NLIS will not be responsible for the loss or damage of any cell phone brought from home. Teachers may confiscate a cell phone if wrongly used, but they will be returned after school.
  • Hurt things that belong to other students, teachers, or the school. Example: draw pictures on the wall, break a student’s pen, hurt someone’s clothes, etc.
  • Harass and bully: gossiping, teasing, making bad gestures, touching, hitting, pushing, kicking, taking items from a child, sending bad computer messages, telling lies about a child, etc. We will not allow one student to lead others to refuse to play with or communicate with another child, or lead others to reject a child in any way. Also, no jokes or insults about race, religion, culture, family, etc. Please see NLIS's bullying policy below.
  • Be involved in sexual related behaviors, including talking about or writing notes about sex, carrying or looking at pornography, or drawing pictures that contain naked bodies or are sexually suggestive. Also no sexual harassment: teasing about sex or the body, sexual jokes, inappropriate touching, pointing, talking, or sexually suggestive actions, etc. Students may also not take part in kissing, holding of hands, etc. at school or on the way to school.
  • Take anything without the owner’s permission, including borrowing paper, pens, or other items.
  • Smoke or carry cigarettes, even near the school.
  • Take part in any illegal activity, including under-aged participation with alcohol or illegal use of drugs, possession of drugs, or smoking cigarettes. Also attempting to encourage others to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs, or encouraging others to break the law in any way.
  • Commit violence: Attacking, hitting, or kicking a teacher or student.  Carry or use weapons.
  • Threaten to harm another student or teacher in any way—physically, socially, or emotionally.
NLIS bullying policy:   No child may be bullied, teased, or insulted no matter how different that child may dress, talk, act, or think. A child may not be bullied no matter the child’s religion, race, culture, language background, family, or anything else that makes the child seem different. We do not accept the support of bullies for any reason from a child or parent, and all bullying will be dealt with firmly. If you feel that your child is being bullied, please contact us immediately.
Christian discipline: The following was taking from the school handbook of Christian Academy of Japan in Tokyo. It is appropriate, so we have adopted this stance regarding our punishment and discipline policy:
Because of sin in our lives, there are times when the law of love and mutual respect is broken, school rules violated, and disputes arise among students, teachers, staff, and parents. We all have sinful inclinations, but what must be different about those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ is the way we deal with sin and its effects. The Bible is our guide for dealing with sin. The Biblical process for dealing with sin includes: Admonition in love ("Did you have permission to take that from John’s locker?") Confession of wrong (“I'm sorry. It was wrong of me to do that.") Restitution (“I'll put it back right now.") Reconciliation (“I forgive you; let's be friends.") When we follow this pattern, we can grow toward Christian maturity through our mistakes.  
Consequences for doing wrong: Whenever you've done something wrong there are consequences. We follow these guidelines when a student makes a wrong choice: Because we're looking for growth and change, the consequences of doing wrong should correct or repair the harm that has been done. Reconciliation requires personal confession, apology and forgiveness. Abuse of property may require restitution. (For example, if you make a mess, you may have to spend extra time at school cleaning; if you've wasted time in class or been frequently tardy, you may have to skip recess; if you abuse a privilege, you may lose that privilege for a while.) If doing wrong seems to be a habit or a pattern, or if the deed seems especially willful or serious, we will contact parents by telephone. We may request a conference with parents to discuss the problem and possible solutions. We encourage proactive communication between parents and teachers. 
In addition to this process of admonition, confession, restitution, and reconciliation, each teacher might also have his or her own system of rewards, warnings, and punishments to train the children. A teacher might find it necessary to punish a child to strengthen the child’s sense of sorrow and willingness to change. Since punishment is culturally sensitive, the following punishments are traditional in America and are approved to be used for all children of NLIS who break rules.
Possible punishments:
  • Natural consequences (e.g., A student cleans up a mess that he has made.)
  • Restitution (e.g., A student pays for or replaces something broken or taken.)
  • Removal of privileges (e.g., A student is required to sit alone during lunch.)
  • Confiscation of property (e.g., The teacher takes away a child’s cell phone, toy, cigarettes, weapon, etc.)
  • The student will be removed from other children (primarily for purposes of concentrating on the lesson.)
  • The student will write a letter of apology.
  • Detention (otherwise known as staying after school). If detention is a problem for parents, we can set up a system of contacting parents, or we can postpone detention till the next day.
  • Parent conference (when a student has a very serious problem or a repeated problem that cannot be easily solved.)
Expulsion from school:  It is possible, when all other attempts have failed, a child may be permanently removed from the school so that he is no longer enrolled as a student. We realize that English schools in the Kofu area are limited, so this would be a last resort. However, there have been examples in Japan where a child literally smoked in the classroom in front of the teacher or beat up other students, but the teacher felt helpless to stop the child. We will not allow one very troubled child to destroy the school. However, we will deal with troubled children using love, strong actions, and much patience in all cases.
No corporal punishment:  Many cultures allow corporal punishment (physically spanking, slapping hands, etc.) However, due to the sensitive nature of this action, NLIS will not allow corporal punishment of students.             
Prayer for the School:  NLIS is a Christian school. We aim to please God, yet we know we are human. Please pray for God to bless your child and this school every day.  Pray that God will guide us, give us wisdom, and give peace to the students and teachers of NLIS.  Please pray especially for your child each day that God will bless him or her on the way to school and in our halls with physical protection, with learning, with friendships, with healthy emotional development, and most of all with love and faith in God. Thank you for your support and prayers! – Danny and Suzy Brown