Middle School & MYP Coordinator’s Message

TIS – A Learning Focused School

Not all schools have students’ learning at the forefront of their mind. This may sound strange, even ironic, since schools are for students and students are in schools to learn. However, many schools are only concerned with what the students should know and understand, the what, and the assessments of that learning, the how.
Although these two components are essential to learning and need to be thought about carefully, there is another piece to the puzzle that needs to be in place as well and that is the what then piece.

When teachers and learning leaders are focused on the learning of all students, they have focused and structured conversations about the action they can take if a student is not reaching a learning target, as well as what they can do if a student is exceeding a target; this is the what then piece, and it is of significant importance in order to ensure continued growth of students’ learning.

At TIS we pay the utmost attention to that third piece. We do this by providing opportunities for professional learning for teachers during the school year; opportunities to work collaboratively in teams to build shared knowledge on the best way to achieve goals and meet the needs of students. This, in turn, results in increased student learning and achievement.

One way to provide such structure for team collaboration is through the work of a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Tokyo International School is in its third year as a PLC. The model of a PLC promotes collaborative dialogue and action among teacher teams around student learning. The three big concepts of a PLC are:

  • A focus on learning
  • Promoting a culture of collaboration
  • A focus on student learning results

The PLC is seen by leading educators as one of the most powerful ways to sustain and nurture student growth and teacher professional learning. The very essence of a learning community is a focus on and commitment to the learning of all students. It develops a results oriented culture, provides consistency of practice, and for Tokyo International School provides a means to realize our mission and vision of high levels of student achievement.

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On Tuesday and Thursday this week, teacher teams and the leadership team presented their goals for their PLCs for this school year. Throughout the year the teams will meet and engage in
ongoing professional dialogue around student learning, and how they can best support their students in reaching a set goal. At the end of the year, the teams will present and celebrate the result of the work and actions of the PLC; the growth of the team and the students.

Student learning is at the forefront at Tokyo International School; it is our fundamental purpose as a school, and it promotes lifelong learning for all: students, teachers, and leadership. If you would like to learn more about Professional Learning Communities All Things PLC would be a great site to explore.

Kind regards,

Kristine Adelsboell
MS & MYP Coordinator