2011 Progress Report

2011-2012 Report | Student Objectives Review | Profile | Focus Group Reports | Plan | Process

Changes Since March 2009[edit]

Legal status[edit]

The CAJ Board of Directors began working on changing the school's legal status from foundation juridical person (zaidan houjin) to a school (gakko houjin). This has resulted in the board revising its constitution and act of endowment, and in the board changing its structure.

Staff[edit]

Full-time (more than 74% FTE) staff now receive payments for federal health benefits and for government pensions. Full-time staff are eligible for contract re-signing bonuses, and incoming staff are eligible for relocation funds.

Finances[edit]

As a requirement for acquiring new legal status, we have changed our accounting system and are working to increase our cash reserves to 25% of our annual operating budget.

Resource Management[edit]

The playground has been resurfaced to promote better drainage and student safety, and a 1-to-1 laptop program is being implemented this school year for students in grade 12. We have added a laptop cart, clusters of netbooks in elementary classrooms, and 14 digital classrooms (built-in data projectors and sound systems).

Improvement Process[edit]

CAJ has developed, and the board has approved in principle, an ongoing school improvement process which integrates:

  • The board’s vision via a fully integrated “ends”-based governing system (policy governance/Carver model).
  • Continuous strategic thinking applied to day-to-day operations rather than an occasional strategic planning cycle.
  • A sustainable, focused, usable and well maintained school improvement plan.
  • Accreditation: A WASC approved process that allows CAJ to engage in ongoing self-study and produce reports that serve its unique needs.

The process is being used to produce an annually updated school improvement plan.


School Improvement Plan[edit]

Curriculum

[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

Despite progress made, CAJ needs to continue a school-wide effort to unpack academic content standards, revise and maintain scope and sequence for all courses and departments, and create unit plans of instruction. These unit plans should be created by unpacking targets and then creating powerful and diverse student assessments that drive instruction. These assessments and the school grade reporting should provide clear information to all stakeholders about student academic achievement and progress by all students on the ESLRs.

Progress Report[edit]

  • Academic content standards:

The school’s goal is to communicate clearly what all students are to know, do, and understand by the end of each grade level and/or course:

    • 12/12 subject area standards (all or part) are loaded into mapping software
    • 4/12 subject areas are making significant revisions this year to their standards and benchmarks (K-12 Bible, K-12 computer, K-12 social studies, K-5 science).
    • 1/12 subject areas (vocational arts), industrial arts needs to develop standards and benchmarks.


  • Scope and sequence for all courses and departments: Academic departments use their standards/benchmarks as the basis of their scope and sequences. Some standards/benchmarks scope and sequences have been further defined by content and skills fields in unit maps, for example, specific scope and sequences in English Language Arts for grammar and literary terms. More work is needed.


  • Unit plans that unpack the standards/benchmarks: K-12 teachers use Rubicon Atlas mapping software and the Understanding by Design framework to create and revise unit maps that include fields for benchmarks, enduring understandings, essential questions, content, skills, assessments, and resources. In 2010-2011, some teachers began aligning assessments and standards/benchmarks, and this year more teachers are aligning assessments and standards/benchmarks. In March 2011, academic department chairs developed and began implementing a

    unit map checklist

that defines quality mapping. In June 2011, we added a mapping field for enduring understandings to help us further unpack academic standards/benchmarks.


  • Powerful and diverse student unit assessments that drive instruction: We use a variety of formative and summative unit

    assessments

, including projects, presentations, essays, and discussions. Academic department chairs have set goals regarding Stage 2 of Understanding by Design and using assessment to drive instruction, all of which will help us further define criteria for quality assessment.


  • Provide clear information to all stakeholders about student academic achievement and progress by all students on the ESLRs: Assessment results are used to report progress by all students. K-5 provides semester report cards, and secondary provides online grades with category breakdowns.


  • Staff anecdotal data indicates that curriculum mapping has increased student achievement of the student objectives.


Curriculum Planning and Evaluation System

[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

CAJ needs to continue implementing schoolwide communication, planning, and evaluation systems that address curriculum development skills, instructional and assessment skills for teachers and adequacy of resources (including technology, human and time) to deliver the curriculum, all in an effort to improve student achievement and progress by all students on the ESLRs.

Progress Report[edit]

  • Communication system: The

    curriculum planning and evaluation system

is updated annually as necessary and is published on the staff portal. In addition, annual

subject area goals

are published on the school wiki.


  • Planning and evaluation systems: The

    Learning Team

(academic department chairs, curriculum coordinator, principals, and headmaster) now share responsibility for implementing a curriculum planning and evaluation system that addresses curriculum development skills, instructional and assessment skills for teachers and adequacy of resources (including technology, human and time).

The Learning Team will use the curriculum planning and evaluation system to set the timeline for curriculum development and to identify the professional development for staff regarding curriculum development, instructional skills, and assessment skills.

As a result of implementing our curriculum planning and evaluation system, we have increased technology, human, and time resources. Currently, teachers map curriculum using Rubicon Atlas software, teachers are using a database (PHOENIX) for collecting and analyzing classroom assessment results (in terms of ELSRs), and the curriculum coordinator supports curriculum development. In addition to teacher planning time, the Leadership Team provides time for curriculum development through professional development days, twice monthly subject area meetings, and monthly Learning Team meetings.


Curriculum Technology Integration[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

Increase use of technology, and change the way it is used, to help students learn.

Progress Report[edit]

  • Increased staffing: Our tech support team has gone from 2 full-time staff to 3 this year. In addition, a technology teacher was partially re-assigned to spend a significant portion of her time assisting elementary teachers with their integration initiative.
  • Changes to program: Elementary technology instruction moved to the classroom and teachers are expected to design and implement 3 units this year that are rich in technology integration.
  • Increased resources: This year Grade 12 students are piloting our secondary 1-1 laptop initiative. We have added a laptop cart and netbook clusters to elementary. We have added 14 digital classrooms (built-in projector and sound system), increased the number of digital cameras available to students, and made iPads available for foreign language classes.
  • Increased training: Three staff are pursuing advanced technology integration training, taking 15 hours from SUNY toward a technology endorsement.


Legal Status Change[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

Get CAJ's legal status changed to a school (gakko houjin).

Progress Report[edit]

  • Board: The Board has revised its constitution and act of endowment, and in the board changing its structure.
  • Accounting changes: To improve our ability to provide gakko houjin-required reports to the Japanese government, we have implemented a new Japanese accounting software program. We are training staff and re-aligning responsibilities, and have hired a Japanese accounting firm to assist us with the change. This firm will perform ongoing audits of our accounting practices, producing reports in both English and Japanese. Work continues to improve this system.
  • Financial reserve: In cooperation with our legal advisors and the Japanese government, our paperwork is largely completed and includes extensive reporting on property assessments, labor practices, and financial situation. One major hurdle remains in the building up a cash reserve of 25% of our operating expenses. Our target for accomplishing this is the fall of 2012.


Professional Development Plan

[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

CAJ needs to continue to implement a clearly articulated professional development plan driven by schoolwide improvement goals that will train and prepare staff to show ongoing improvement on the delivery of the curriculum and that can be clearly tied to increased student achievement and progress by all students on the ESLRs.

Progress Report[edit]

  • Implement clearly articulated professional development plan driven by schoolwide improvement goals: The professional development plan (which focuses primarily on teaching staff) addresses beliefs, goals, calendar, opportunities, resources, funding guidelines, application procedure, and process for reimbursements. This plan has been explained to staff, posted on line, and implemented.

    The plan is designed to drive student achievement, is aligned with school improvement plans, contains both 2-year and 1-year targets, and provides staff with ¥40,000 of professional development funds (which can be accrued up to ¥120,000 over a 3-year period) for approved activities. To be approved, professional development activities must support the achievement of schoolwide improvement plans and, consequently, progress by all students on the student objectives.


  • Train and prepare staff to show ongoing improvement on the delivery of the curriculum and clearly tied to increased student achievement and progress by all students on the ESLRs: As a result of implementing our professional development plan, staff have received a variety of training (including schoolwide training on curriculum mapping, Understanding by Design, and differentiation), resulting in improved delivery of the curriculum. Schoolwide training is increasingly connected to improved student learning, and when applying for individual professional development, staff are asked to identify how this opportunity will increase student learning. Teachers across all grade levels are given opportunities to access and share strategies they have developed and/or implemented in their classroom.


  • Staff anecdotal feedback indicates that the revised professional development plan helped staff maintain and increase student learning.


School Improvement Process[edit]

Improvement Plan[edit]

Implement an ongoing improvement process which integrates:

  • The board’s vision via a fully integrated “ends”-based governing system (policy governance/Carver model).
  • Continuous strategic thinking applied to day-to-day operations rather than an occasional strategic planning cycle.
  • A sustainable, focused, usable and well maintained school improvement plan.
  • Accreditation: A WASC approved process that allows CAJ to engage in ongoing self-study and produce reports that serve its unique needs.

Progress Report[edit]

The school improvement process has been used to drive the school improvement plan:

  • We have published and implemented a plan for involving students, involving parents, and staff in school improvement process.
  • Focus groups have been meeting for two years and are beginning to produce substantive reports to be used by the Advisory Council and WASC accreditation team. These reports will become a major part of the headmaster's ends achievement report to the board in May 2012.
  • Advisory council, composed of focus group leaders and administrators, has replaced the Mission Achievement Team (of similar purpose but within a different process). The Advisory Council is now meeting to begin the process of gathering the reports and will be formulating and maintaining the school improvement plan. Setbacks connected to the disasters of last spring have hindered progress with the formation and progress of this team, but by mid 2011-12 they are projected to be on target and on task as regard the school improvement plan.
  • Reporting and tracking of focus group work is being done digitally using wikis and google docs.
  • Data collection and publication is being refined, and better use of data is being emphasized throughout the school and system.


Current To Dos[edit]

Culture Focus Group[edit]

  1. Make notes from parent cafes available online for parents.
  2. Explore why some parents feel communication isn’t great, for example, language, technology, format, awareness or other: Elementary parents gave input at the October 2011 Parent Cafe.
  3. Explore incorporating our diversity (including linguistic diversity) into chapel: The Leadership Team has approved using Japanese songs and worship materials.
  4. Involve parents/classes in promoting/sharing their culture (for example, by having an International/Geography Gala Day).


Facilities Focus Group[edit]

  1. In light of the electricity conservation measures, provide two fans per classroom if air conditioner use must be minimized: The Facilities PLC reviewed the situation, noting that in August and September they were able to keep rooms cool with air conditioning without exceeding the electrical peak usage. The Facilities PLC did install additional fans in the gym, purchased 2 additional fans for use in the hallways, and will review individual requests for fans.
  2. Have teachers “spring clean” classrooms: The Facilities PLC is pursuing this idea with the principals.
  3. Clean tops of tall shelves and cabinets at least once a year: The facilities manager indicated that the tops of the shelves and cabinets could use a good cleaning and that because materials are stored on the tops of the shelves and cabinets, this job would best be done in the summer and would involve hiring people to do this. The headmaster is reviewing the facilities manager's input.


Program Focus Group[edit]

  1. Increase high school focus on intentional use of reflection to match middle and elementary: In high school divisional meetings, teachers are learning about using reflection as part of formative assessment
  2. Survey recent graduates about their readiness for college to see if the curriculum is challenging like our parent and student surveys say: The Guidance Office and high school principal are developing a survey tool and following up with alumni.
  3. Have the Leadership Team increase shared understanding of the connection between ESL admission policy and the way decisions are made: We are reviewing the admissions process this fall and will follow-up with staff.
  4. Address parent concern about how CAJ prepares students for the SAT (through publicizing the ways we have available and our reasons for not having specific preparation, or by offering more preparation): CAJ uses Naviance software to track progress on the college application process and to prepare students for the SAT. High school students receive instruction in Naviance at each grade level. The high school principal, high school teachers, and academic counselor are promoting using Naviance for SAT preparation. In September 2011, the academic counselor met with 10th grade parents to explain Naviance. Additionally, CAJ's website provides a list of resources that can be used to prepare for the SAT.
  5. Have the Leadership Team provide opportunities for staff to share ProD learning.
  6. Review the contents of the school profile to ensure it includes all relevant information and to increase profile accessibility: We have added data charts (demographics, student achievement) and posted these online.
  7. Survey elementary school parents to assess their level of satisfaction about information they have on upcoming events and assignments.
  8. Increase parent awareness of CAJ’s student support systems (LRC/special needs, guidance, library, health center, ESL).


Staff Focus Group[edit]

  1. Make sure job descriptions for are available for all jobs: The headmaster reviewed the situation and relevant board policy. He authorized the development of new job descriptions during SY 2011-2012.


Student Objectives Focus Group[edit]

  1. Track our graduates, and collect anecdotes about how well they feel CAJ's program prepared them for college: We have purchased new development software that can help us track our graduates.
  2. Explore how the Naviance database could be used to help our data/decisions to answer the questions that come up: Naviance is being used to track college acceptance and enrollment. Naviance can be used to track standardized test scores, and Keystone (our official school database) is currently being used to track standardized test data.
  3. Gather more informal assessment data of verbal communication ability.
  4. Train of parents in using iCal, online grades, online resources, communication by email, and strategies for overcoming their lack of confidence in English: CAJ provided training for secondary parents on iCal, online grades, and Naviance as part of Back-to-School Day on September 19, 2011.
  5. Explore ways to improve data collection and how we can develop common assessment strategies: This task was reviewed and was designated as something larger than a to-do task. The Student Objectives Focus Group was encouraged to include this in their 2011-2012 report.
  6. Have PLC conversations about data, and develop a way to record the anecdotal evidence from these discussions.
  7. Ask PLCs to discuss what they understand by the student objectives: All staff reviewed the student objectives on August 19, 2011.