Columbia International School of Japan: Fostering Education in a Hi-tech Learning Environment
Columbia International School of Japan | The Knowledge Review

The school strives to develop powers of critical and creative thought, preparing students both for demands of post-secondary education in North America’s finest universities and life as international people.

Columbia International School of Japan was founded in 1988 as a high school to provide a preparatory program for students planning to attend universities and colleges in North America.  During its more than three decades of journey, the school has grown leaps and bounds into one of the premier day and boarding schools in Asia. The school’s goal is to create a fun, challenging, and supportive lifelong learning community that allow its students to develop the learning, communication and social skills to be successful global citizens in today’s world. Columbia International School opens pathways for graduates who go on to attend top universities in Japan, Canada and throughout the English-speaking world.

Wide Campus with Diverse Students

The campus of Columbia International School stretches over a nature-rich suburban area which is 20kms to the north-west of Shinjuku, the hub of Tokyo. Currently, we have 3 buildings filled with the youthful energy of our students. The enriching campus of the school has 2 gymnasiums, a playing field, computer and sciences labs art rooms.

Columbia International School currently enrolls 250 students in Kindergarten through grade 12. Columbia possesses a diverse student body with presently more than 21 different nationalities, many returnees, and dual ethnicity children. Many of the students come from other areas of Asia as local or on student visas and the school provides them with its excellent dormitory.  Many of its students though are Japanese some entering at the kindergarten level or join us at grade 1 from other international kindergartens. Also, many students come from the regular Japanese system at various grades supported by our excellent ESL program. This multicultural mix of students brings different cultural, religious, and life experiences which provides an excellent environment for fostering a sense of global interdependence and responsibility.

The Columbia International School dormitory that was built in March 2000 is located about an 8-minute walk from the campus. The dorm offers boarding students’ both girls/boys with safe and comfortable living experience. The modern three-story building was built with keeping comfort and safety in mind. It provides an excellent environment for students to study and share their school experience.

About the Leading Light of the School

Greeting students with a cheerful smile every morning as they enter the school gate is our Principal Mr. Barrie McCliggott. Mr. McCliggott an Ontario certified Principal has been at Columbia since 1995 and Head of the school for 18 years. He has been an intricate part of the growth and the success of the school. The wellbeing of all students has always been at his center. He had a goal to create a fun, challenging and supportive lifelong learning environment that allowed students to develop the knowledge and skills to be successful global citizens in the 21st century. Along with the supportive board and a talented team of administrators and teachers, he sets out to provide the infrastructure, programs and environment where happy students feel inspired and empowered to reach their full potential.

I am very fortunate to work with a group of passionate educators and supportive parents who are all here to provide an excellent educational environment for our students,” says Mr. McCliggott.

World Class Courses Offered

Since the foundation of the school, Columbia International School offers its students one of the most challenging and globally-recognized courses of study based on the Ontario (Canada) curriculum. The reason being, Ontario is consistently at the top in reading, math, and science. Besides, 91% of Ontario Grade 10 students met or exceeded the critical science benchmark in the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study.

Based on this model, Columbia International School follows a common and rigorous curriculum from kindergarten to Grade 12. The Ontario curriculum implemented at Columbia is recognized as a world-class curriculum and is extensively used throughout the world in part due to its excellent framework for incorporating a theme of internationalism into the curriculum.

Columbia curriculum offers both Japanese and international students the opportunity to interact with ideas from around the world. Also, it provides them a robust platform to confidently share their culture and expand their communities. The school’s focus has always been on increasing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills; hence preparing its students to be global thinkers for the 21st Century!

Providing Top Career Exposures and Opportunities

Columbia International School offers students in small classes, a safe and supportive learning environment, where highly trained teachers guide students through an exploration of the world around them. In its technology-rich environment, students become highly computer literate an essential skill in the modern work environment. Columbia International School graduates possess the knowledge and skills required to be successful studying at leading universities throughout the world and to become leaders in today’s global work environment. The school believes that students learning in a multicultural environment develop an understanding and appreciations for other cultures that help make them comfortable working in the global scene here in Asia or abroad in western cultures.

Education at Columbia’s opens the door to the world and provides pathways to a variety of opportunities. Columbia graduates’ study at the world’s finest universities and are regularly recruited by famous global companies. The schools’ effective and enhanced frameworks, regular Canadian and WASC Certification processes and tremendous support from parent’s organization ensure ongoing development as a learning community. Its wireless one-to-one laptop environment allows both teachers and students to access the latest information and learning strategies.

Everyone right from the administration, teachers, and staff are involved in continuous learning through Columbia International School’s professional learning circles. Also, Columbia teachers and administrators are regular participants or presenters at conferences throughout Asia.

Happy Students at Columbia International School

Columbia International School shares few of the testimonials.

When I entered Columbia two and a half years ago, I was a shy boy who couldn’t speak English very well, and I was afraid of talking to people. I joined the basketball team, and made many friends; and practiced both Japanese and English by communicating with my schoolmates. As a result, of my effort, I could speak English and Japanese besides Mandarin, and I made a lot of friends at the school. I learned in the process that there is no fear of challenge as long as I make strenuous attempts to overcome it.
In the end, I really want to thank all the teachers, staff and classmates for giving me such a wonderful high school life.”

Yuto Fukushima

My school life at CIS (Columbia International School) was the best when compared to the other schools I have attended and experienced. Since I was young, I had moved back and forth from Hong Kong to Japan numerous times and as a result experienced many schools. I appreciated the teachers and staff, who cared about students when we had our ups and downs in life and school. After graduating from CIS, I moved to Canada to a small city called Calgary in Alberta.

I am currently in my senior year in a 4-year program at the Alberta College of Art and Design. In relation to the experiences in CIS, the classes that the school provided helped me build an understanding and a variety of knowledge that supported me and helped me understand my expectations in college. Columbia International School is a school every student should get a chance to experience because they won’t regret it. I never have.”

Momo Bando

Enhanced Programs and Activities

At Columbia, students are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer community service as a graduation requirement. Community service builds a feeling for human interdependence and a proactive sense of social responsibility in the heart. Community service starts in kindergarten at Columbia with students regularly cleaning up the local park through the ‘Columbia Cares’ program. The Kindergartens are also active gardeners in the school garden recently growing popping corn that they later sold at its sports day with the proceeds going to charity.

The Elementary students regularly clean up the local area and grow and sell vegetables to the local community to support charities like ‘Habitat for Humanity’. The junior and senior students connect with the communities directly by leading activities and performances at local retirement centers and organizing activities for local kindergartens. The residence of the retirement home enjoys the interaction and the opportunity to share their life experiences with its students. Through Habitat for Humanity, the school challenges its students to extend those boundaries by visiting areas in Asia such as Mongolia, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, that need support and building houses for those in need in these community.

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