2014-2015 Action Plan Progress Report
- 1 Document format (submitted to WASC)
- 2 School Data
- 3 School Description (Profile)
- 4 Significant Changes and Developments Since Last Visit in March 2012
- 5 Follow-up and Progress Report Development Follow-up Process
- 6 Progress on the Schoolwide Action Plan, Including Critical Areas for Follow-up
- 7 Schoolwide Action Plan
- 8 Appendices
Christian Academy in Japan
Accredited grades: K - 12
Accredited through 2018
Name of individual completing report: Michael Essenburg: school improvement coordinator until 1/1/2015 Brian Vander Haak interim school improvement coordinator starting 1/1/2015
Chief administrator: Brian Vander Haak, head of school
Enrollment: 446 (January, 2015)
Mission: Equipping students to serve Japan and the world for Christ (revised 2014)
Schoolwide Student Learning Outcomes : We equip students to become responsible learners, discerning thinkers, productive collaborators, effective communicators, and faithful caretakers.
Type of School: Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) is a private, coeducational, international, Christian day school, established primarily to serve the needs of missionary families.
Governing Structure: The school is governed by a board of directors, the members of which are nominated by six sponsoring mission organizations, two at large positions, the head of school, and two auditors (nine voting members and two auditors). The school also has a board of councilors as stipulated by Japanese law whose function is primarily to vote in members of the board of directors and approve the budget in tandem with the board of directors.
Finance Summary: School funding is provided through tuition fees and fundraising. The procedure to develop the school budget includes budget-planning sheets prepared by faculty, staff, and department coordinators. These planning sheets are approved and submitted by principals or supervisors. The business manager and head of school prepare a budget and then submit it to the board for approval following vetting with the board finance committee. Funds are then allocated to categories, including departments and co-curricular activities. The budget is monitored through an annual audit and the board finance committee.
Overview: CAJ is a K-12 school established in 1950 to provide Christ-centered education to the children of evangelical missionaries. While continuing in this purpose, CAJ also serves otherfamilies who desire this type of education for their children. We serve more than 440 students in our day school program and approximately 250 additional students in our School Support Services program. Our program is communicated in English and uses an American-style approach.
Day School Students: The school serves a student body of 446 (as of January, 2015) that is composed of the dependents of missionaries (38%) and dependents of business and professional people (62%). At the beginning of the year there were 35 nationalities represented in the student body (34% have dual passports, 21% are Korean, 21% are Japanese, 14% are North American, and 10% from remaining countries).
Staff: CAJ has a staff of 82 full-time equivalents representing 10 countries. A total of 71% of faculty members have served 5 or more years.
Calendar: CAJ’s 2014-2015 academic year has 180 instructional days. The year is divided into 2 semesters (August – January, January – June).
Academic Program: Elementary school students concentrate on Bible, language arts, social studies, math, and science. They also receive instruction from specialists in art, choral and instrumental music, Japanese language, physical education, digital and library skills.
Middle school students explore their potential through courses in home economics, industrial arts, computer applications, art, language (Japanese & Spanish), and choral and instrumental music, in addition to a strong program in core academics.
The high school curriculum offers 8 semesters of English, social studies, mathematics, and science; 6 semesters of foreign language (Japanese, and Spanish); and 4 semesters of Bible and physical education. Additional courses are available in art, digital technology, home economics, and music. Advanced Placement courses are offered in art, English, world language, math, science, and social studies.
The school’s Support Team offers a range of services, including counseling, EAL, and learning accommodations.
School Support Services (SSS) provides educational resources, consultancy, achievement testing, and special events for English-speaking families across Japan that homeschool or supplement Japanese schools with home tutoring in English. SSS also shares expertise and resources with other Christian schools through the Affiliated Schools Program.
For further information (including student performance data), see the School Profile.
Significant Changes and Developments Since Last Visit in March 2012
Legal Status: On April 1, 2013, the school changed its legal status from a foundation juridical person (zaidan houjin) to a school (gakkou houjin). This change was part of CAJ’s improvement plan.
Staff: Winnie Langelaar was appointed as middle school principal, to begin serving in SY 2013-2014. Jean Hino was appointed to serve as interim elementary school principal for SY 2014-2015 with Jacquie Willson planning to return to the assignment in 2015-2016. Hiroaki Tada was appointed as government liaison. Dr. Tom Norton was appointed to serve as head of school, starting July 2015, and Brian Vander Haak, current head of school, will voluntarily be assuming other responsibilities at CAJ including the founding directorship of a new historical archive project (Megumi Mission Archive). Michael Essenburg, long time school improvement coordinator, resigned in December 2014 to assume the head of school position elsewhere.
Resource Management: The school’s 1-to-1 laptop program now includes grades 10-12. IPad classroom sets are available for all students in grades K-2 with expansion to grade 3 set for 2015-16. A cart of Chrome book laptops was added in December 2014. A science classroom and additional offices were added in 2014 in a space that was formerly a school dorm. CAJ has contracted with an outside food service vendor for the first time and the cafeteria kitchen had a major upgrading of equipment during the summer of 2014. Additional funds have been made available for staff to access for individual professional development. The school now has 25% of its operating budget in cash reserves (a requirement for getting the new legal status).
Follow-up and Progress Report Development Follow-up Process
The Leadership Team, supported by focus group leaders and academic department chairs, is responsible for implementing and monitoring the school wide action plan. The Leadership Team and appropriate staff provide input for the progress report, which the school improvement coordinator then uses to draft the annual report. The Leadership Team reviews and revises the draft, and then publishes the progress report as part of the school’s annual report, which is made available online to all stakeholders.
Progress on the Schoolwide Action Plan, Including Critical Areas for Follow-up
The following 4 WASC critical areas for follow-up have been incorporated into and addressed by CAJ’s schoolwide action plan:
- The leadership and staff review the Professional Development Plan to ensure it is linked to instructional supervision and student outcomes, and is informed by assessment data;
- The alignment of written, taught and assessed curriculum is critical for maximum student learning. CAJ administration and faculty need to continue working towards the alignment of Student Objectives, standards/learning targets, assessments/rubrics, and instructional strategies, as outlined in the UbD framework. Such information should be shared with parents and students to make learning visible;
- CAJ administration and faculty must systematically use data to make decisions about curriculum modification at the Professional Learning Community level and decisions about resource allocation and professional development at the schoolwide level;
- The new Resource Master Plan needs to be completed on schedule, and reviewed and adopted by the Board of Directors. The Resource Master Plan should provide clear direction for future facilities and equipment that support the educational program for students and account for student safety.
Please see the italicized text in the following progress reports to see where the 4 WASC critical areas for follow-up have been incorporated into and addressed by CAJ’s schoolwide action plan.
Curriculum: Further develop an aligned curriculum that has refined scope and sequences and unit maps that meet baseline criteria, implementing it with increased differentiated instruction and student use of technology for learning (possibly, in part, by implementing technology standards/learning targets across the curriculum) (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 2).
Teaching staff have made progress on further developing the curriculum, thereby supporting student achievement of all student objectives:
- Academic departments, using the Understanding by Design framework, have made significant progress toward completing the documentation of the alignment of the student objectives, standards, assessments/rubrics, instructional strategies, and technology resources.
- Teachers, using the Understanding by Design framework, worked to get unit maps to baseline, which included aligning learning targets, enduring understandings/essential questions, and content/skills; and learning targets and assessments. Extensions were granted to teachers with new courses this year, middle school teachers who worked on standards based assessment implementation, new teachers who inherited incomplete maps, and elementary core teachers with multiple subjects. The expectation is that all relevant courses will be at baseline by June 2015 and teachers are being provided additional release time to work on them as needed as well as the opportunity to be paid to work in the summer on curriculum maps (the summer of 2015 will be our third summer for this). Time at some divisional and PLC (Professional Learning Community) meetings has been set dedicated to mapping.
- Middle school teachers provided middle school students and parents with standards-based reporting for all middle school learning targets addressed in middle school courses, based on the refined alignment of middle school learning targets, assessments, and rubrics. Extensive work has been done on this including a refined report card in January 2015.
- The prompts and rubrics for senior comprehensives, CAJ’s culminating experience, were refined, and the backward designing of high school department assessments (in Bible, English, and social studies) from senior comprehensives was initiated.
- Secondary Bible is refining its standards and learning targets, and secondary English and social studies refined their scope and sequences for MLA style and department assessments.
- A plan for further developing the health/guidance (inclusive of technology behaviors) was approved and initially implemented.
- Teachers continue to take steps to increasingly use differentiated instruction and technology for learning.
To support these efforts, teaching staff received training and support for Understanding by Design (chapters 9-13), technology integration, the Big 6 research framework, and differentiated instruction. Additionally, the Learning Team annually reviewed the option of developing and implementing technology standards/learning targets across the curriculum, deciding to reconsider this option next school year.
Data Usage: Systematically use data to drive achievement of board ends and, consequently, the mission (WASC Critical Areas for Follow-up 1 and 3).
CAJ staff are increasingly using data to drive achievement of board ends, including student achievement of the student objectives. Focus groups, for example, monitored the achievement of the ends by analyzing the school profile, parent survey, and key performance indicators; they also suggested additional key performance indicators. Some academic departments used student assessment data to modify instruction. The head of school is increasingly using data to support his board monitoring reports. Our use of data helps improve decision-making, thereby supporting student achievement of all student objectives.
To support data usage,
- Meeting leaders were encouraged to model data usage and have meeting participants use data.
- Initial discussions were held regarding modifying PHOENIX so that it provides data on standards and rubric criteria and provides a more effective breakdown of the assessment data and report card data for use by professional learning communities, divisions, and individual teachers (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 3).
- An online professional development application process that further links data from instructional supervision, student outcomes, and student assessments has been implemented (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 1).
- The Professional Development Plan has been reviewed and further aligned with ends (including the student objectives). The plan’s goals address ongoing needs and the school improvement plan, both of which involve a review of student assessment data and instructional supervision data. The plan now more clearly identifies strategies for implementation (WASC Critical Areas for Follow up 1 and 3).
- Staff continued to receive data training that emphasized the importance of using data to support statements (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 3).
- Key performance indicators have been developed for focus groups and selected professional learning communities (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 3).
English Language Proficiency: To address our demographic shift, increase students’ English language proficiency (reading, writing, and vocabulary).
Given the focus on further developing the curriculum, CAJ intentionally invested limited energy in this action plan. Teaching staff have made progress, thereby supporting the achievement of 1 student objective (Effective Communicators):
- Reading standards have been integrated into middle school math, and writing standards have been integrated into secondary science. And English writing standard has been included in the middle school Bible curriculum. (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 2)
- The Leadership Team reviewed with the staff the connection between the EAL admission policy regarding English language proficiency and the decisions that are made.
- Charts for key performance indicators related to English language proficiency have been developed.
- Teaching staff received training in English language acquisition and in effective instructional strategies for language proficiency, including differentiation and EAL strategies.
- Middle school core teachers have discussed the importance of academic vocabulary using the book Building Academic Vocabulary. A cross-divisional faculty book study used The Vocabulary Book by Graves. The Vocabulary Book was also used for self-selected discussion by about ½ of the elementary staff during elementary divisional meetings.
Legal Status: Complete the change of CAJ’s legal status from zaidan houjin to gakkou houjin.
At a ceremony with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on April 1, 2013, CAJ completed the change of its legal status from zaidan houjin to gakkou houjin. This change involved establishing a cash reserve that is equal to 25% of the operating budget by November 2012, successful submission of the application in November 2012 (which involved completing the revision of core legal documents and getting them approved by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, finalizing accounting changes required by the transition to gakko houjin status, and submitting required personnel and financial documents), and a January 2013 site visit from government officials who toured the school and asked questions about CAJ’s revenue, admissions, program, and accreditation.
Resource Master Plan: Collaboratively develop a Resource Master Plan that provides clear direction for future facilities and equipment that support the educational program for students and account for student safety (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 4).
For a number of reasons, but primarily because of the need for key support staff to focus on efforts to ensure the legal status change and an anticipated change in leadership, the timeline for the strategic plan has been revised. Progress to date includes (WASC Critical Area for Follow-up 4):
- Ongoing opportunities for all staff to provide feedback.
- The collection of “need” and “want” statements from the staff, administration, board, and community.
- Work on student population number projections and the implications of growing or reducing in size or maintaining current numbers.
- The collection into an accessible database of the facilities history and maintenance/purchasing cycles.
- Work on financial projections in anticipation of a significant building project within the next 10 years.
- A systematic audit of child safety protection policies and practices will include inspections of all areas of campus and has already led to discussions about additional surveillance cameras and adjustments to policies.
The School wide Action Plan is reviewed and updated annually, as appropriate. While minor changes have been made to the plan, the school continues to have the same four action plans that it did in 2012 (curriculum, data usage, English language proficiency, master resource plan).
The Leadership Team, supported by focus group leaders and academic department chairs, is responsible for implementing and monitoring the school wide action plan.
Schoolwide Action Plan.
- Acronym and Term Directory, Staff
- Action Plans
- Annual Reports
- Board Manual
- CAJ Focus Groups/WASC Criteria Comparison Chart
- Campus Map
- Group Listings: Focus Groups, Professional Learning Communities
- Key Performance Indicators
- Progress Reports
- School Improvement Process
- Visiting Committee Report, 2012