HUSKY EXPRESS January 16, 2015


 Administration Corner 

  Head of School   

Welcome Back to School: I would like to welcome students and teachers back from the long and restful Winter Break. The second semester is just around the corner and we look forward to a smooth and successful transition from semester one to semester two.

Teachers Professional Development Days: While students and families were enjoying their last two days of the Winter Break, HIS teachers were participating in two days of professional development with renowned international school educators Dr. Ochan Kusuma Powell and Mr. William Powell. The Powells lead learning sessions on how to support student awareness of how they are learning (also known as metacognition ). HIS also hosted several teachers from other international schools to the workshop.


  From the Principal’s Office  

Welcome back to school!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

 @ Niseko 

Welcome back Charlotte! Coming back for a short stint this winter!
Upcoming events include snowshoeing, pyjama day, and Australia Day!

 Husky Hugs 

A thanks and set of welcoming hugs to two teachers who will soon be joining the HIS school team. Ms. Claire Yao joins HIS as the primary ELL teacher. Ms. Yao originally comes from Toronto, Canada and brings with her many experiences from a varied educational career. We are very fortunate to have Ms. Yao at HIS.


Milepost 1 also welcomes Ms. Kagan West, a career international school teacher who will come in to fill the position of Ms. Pape. Ms. West is very excited about coming to HIS and is looking forward to meeting with students, parents and teachers very soon.

 Outdoor Education 


Priyanka, Yuri, Ayaha, Mukhayyir, Jun Hyun, Hiro,
& Lev at the summit.


Students of the Outdoor Pursuits course climbed Mt. Tarumae and decended to Lake Shikotsu over the weekend.


Community members welcome on AdHOC trips … just email Dave Piazza at for more inofrmation.

 Foreign Language Department 

International Day and Winter Celebration 2014 was a great success! The devotion of students, faculty and parents to this event proves once again that HIS is very special place where everyone honors the cultures we came from.

The foreign language department would like to give special thanks the following people and groups:
PTA for the financial support,
Mr. Katayama for organizing the communication through art and technology,
HIS Office Staff for the welcoming reception and helping the lantern,
Niseko students and teachers for travelling in the snow and participating in many programs,
Mr. Ratzliff and Mrs. Oda for the mochi pounding,
Mr. Salter and his art class students for decorating the school building with beautiful art works,
Mr. Swarn for the arrangement of the equipments,
Mr. Piazza and Mrs. Currie for the fun booths,
Ms. Nara for helping out students and displaying artworks everyday,
Hugh, Adnan, Raffi and Amy for outstanding service as emcees,
Sports teams for setting up the tables and chairs,
All teachers for showing the spirit with your flexibility and smile,
All students for the enthusiasm, kindness, creativity and volunteer. 

 Elementary Activities 

We would love to hear from any parent or teacher who can assist with these activities after the Winter Break. Any skill, craft, sport,interest is OK. I will try and get notices out this week. Please contact Mr Kelly ... without support we cannot offer variety and choice in this program.

 Husky Calendar 

Want to see more upcoming events?  Check out the newly updated calendar on the Calendar

 ArtSonia Gallery for
Elementary Students

Elementary On-line Gallery at ArtSonia
Art Room News – Invitation to the Art Gallery of your child

MP1 through 3 students have explored art and created very nice work. Their beautiful art is uploaded to their own Art Gallery on ArtSonia ( Please do not forget to activate the digital portfolio of their individual Art Gallery.

It is easy to activate the gallery. Please go to, and then go to your child’s screen typing in the screen name on the Permission Form. On the screen, you will see the column to type the security key. Please type the unique security key on the Permission Form, and set up the security Q&A. Please feel free to contact me if you have any question or concerns.

Ms. Machidori

The online gallery is also a great way to share your child’s art work with family, relatives and friends.

 College/Alumni Corner 

The fair went really well! Thanks to all who attended, contributed, and supported the efforts of exploring post-HIS options. Seniors are now working on submitting materials for deadlines.

One area we’ve seen changes in are the requirements for students who are attending international schools abroad and need transcripts from previous schools to HIS. If you are in this category, please take time to contact those schools and request official transcripts. Even if the school accepts our combined transcript, visa applications may require originals.

As always, please write if you have any questions. Office hours are B-days from 2-3:30.

Upcoming Events:SAT - January 25 (register by December 27)

 Upcoming Events 

  • Wednesday, January 14th - B Day - First day back from Winter Break
  • Jan 15~18 JV  Girls & Boys BB Tournament
  • Jan 22~25 HS Girls & Boys Tournament
  • Jan 30 End of First Semester (Report Cards)
  • Feb 6~8 Snow Festival Classic


Last week the HS boys played 2 games for a narrow loss to Hokkai and a convincing win over Shoshi Gakkuen. The HS girls started their game brilliantly against Seishu but ran out of steam in the 2nd half to lose narrowly. They have an away game on Monday against Hachijo JH. On Wednesday it is the annual Alumni/Teachers game against the HS boys.  Go Huskies !

 Babysitting/Odd Jobs Directory 

Check out this directory of students able to help! Email Mrs. Currie at if you have trouble accessing the directory or would like to post any job needs. If you know of anyone that needs help with specific projects, just write!

 From PTA 

The PTA encourages all HIS families who have facebook to join “HIS Family and Friends” as this is a great way to find out about things going on at the school and in our community.

 Invitation to be a Game Critic 

Though a family contact the school was introduced to Mr. Kevin Yockey, founder of Club Penguin, a children’s gaming company that is now owned by Disneyland. The Mr. Yockey started a new gaming software company and has developed an educational game based on the abacus (soroban / そろばん). The company is looking for feedback on their developing game product.

The game provides challenges in the form of math question that need to be solved on the soroban abacus.  The faster a player completes the challenges the harder the challenges become.  The math is currently limited to addition and subtraction. The owners believe that someone who is actually familiar with the soroban will not find the game too challenging.  There isn't a specific age-group in mind, anybody familiar with the soroban and able to add/subtract numbers should be able to play.  The secondary students might be the perfect age (?)

They would like feedback on:

  • Is the game fun?
  • Is it clear how the game is played?
  • Is the game easy to play but difficult to master?
  • What do players like or dislike about it?
  • Is there value in pursuing an educational angle or should we stick to casual gaming?

They are also eager to hear about any teaching tips or tools they could use to help an audience understand the mechanics of an abacus and play the game better.  So far the biggest challenge is teaching people how to play the game, but once they learn it they typically enjoy it and come back for more.

If you or your child is interested in this opportunity, please send an email to Head of School, Barry Ratzliff at

 Yearbooks still available! 

The books are 5000 yen. Sibling price is 8500 yen for two books. Limited supply. Contact Mr. Shaffer at

 Executive Board Update 

The Executive Board had their 3rd meeting of the school year on Wednesday, November 26th. The Board of Councilors had their 1st meeting on Wednesday, October 29th. Minutes of each Executive Board meeting appear a month later in the homepage Governance tab, section “Meeting Minutes Archives.” There is also a brief summary of each board meeting in the Governance section of the HIS website under the heading “Board News.” This is updated after each meeting. All the year’s minutes and previous years’ are accessible from the HIS homepage site, under the Governance tab, section the “Executive Board Minutes.”

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