Each grade level has content requirements that must be fulfilled, just as any other Michigan Public School. In addition, Hinoki International School also follows expectations from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The school’s professional staff works in partnership with Eastern Michigan University in all academic aspects, including curriculum development and professional development.
Classes are taught by a team of two teachers, one whose native language is Japanese, the other English. These teachers work together to determine which content areas will be taught by which teacher on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to best fit to each student’s individual needs. Instruction is given in both English and Japanese, thus creating an optimum language immersion environment between students-teachers, students-students as well as students-community and beyond.
The student’s language proficiency will be evaluated on a regular basis. If a student is struggling to understand their first or second language, we will make individual adjustments for that child, like providing additional learning opportunities for students at school, after school, and at home. Teachers work closely with parents, providing them with the necessary tools to assist their child at home in support of their school curriculum. Our teachers and staff also work to build a strong peer support system within the school community. Students are encouraged to help each other in their development, and thus students learn from one another through vital social interaction in a natural, supporting manner, empowering each student to learn with confidence.
Students at Hinoki International School are introduced to many aspects of both Japanese and American culture. Japanese cultural activities include visual arts emphasizing themes such as the cherry blossom tree, watercolors, and block painting. Students will also study traditional holidays, taiko (Japanese drumming), the art of the tea ceremony, calligraphy, Japanese music, and more. American cultural understanding will be gained through valuable exchanges with other schools, by participating in a wide variety of field trips, and by celebrating American holidays and traditions. Through our curriculum, we teach them the rich tapestry of American history, including local figures who have changed the world (Edison, Rosa Parks, Ford, MLK), native American heritage, African-American culture, and the wonderful artistic and musical traditions of Michigan and elsewhere in the US. By studying the famous people, literary and visual arts of America, the students gain a deeper understanding of American culture in a global context.
The students at Hinoki International School benefit from an extended operating calendar, including a 7 hours a day, 200 day school calendar year and a full day kindergarten program. In addition, the school offers a three week-summer camp (subject to availability), field trips, before and after school care, and an onsite intensive preschool program.
Student performance in each subject area is assessed by teachers using a portfolio-based observation model called “Work Sampling System.” This uses real-time observations that are compiled in seven major thematic areas, on a trimester basis. Parents can also expect to receive daily/weekly progress called “Renrakucho” and markings at parent-teacher conferences. As a Michigan Public School, Starting in 3rd grade we will also administer the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP). Finally, English and Japanese language progress will be independently monitored using both teacher and parental feedback.
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