HUSKY EXPRESS June 12,2020


 Administration Corner 

 Head of School 

A Fond Farewell

Dear HIS Community Members,

Well, the 2020 ~ 2021 school year did not finish the way that I could ever have imagined. Covid-19 confined us to our homes a whole lot more and when I was at school, it seemed so empty and far too quiet, despite the voices of teachers talking loudly at Zoom screens and engaging with their students.

This unusual finish means that I will not get to thank individuals in person, and to say goodbye to everyone on the last few days of school, as I was expecting I could have. So, I am left with a letter of farewell and thanks as the means of communicating my best wishes to everyone within the HIS community.

Leaving HIS not only brings my time as head of school to and end, but it brings to an end a 20+ year relationship with HIS. I began as a young father and ESL teacher, working with amazing students and colleagues within the elementary school. My path at HIS would later take me into the secondary school and into the fields of history and language arts and I will carry many many memories away with me of a place that has come to define so much of my career and working life.

I would like to thank the staff and teachers of HIS. Their skills and commitment as teachers came together so clearly and concretely in these months when we had to respond to Covid-19 with flexibility, care and an immense amount of hard work and I have appreciated the dedication they have shown on all parts. I wish each and every one of you my best as your continue to support the learning that takes places every day within (and often outside of) the walls of the schools in Sapporo and Niseko.

I would also like to thank the parent and wider stakeholder community (particularly the Executive Board and Board of Councilors) for your commitment to the school and to supporting the school in so many ways as participating members of this community that is dedicated to education.

My own path after departing HIS will take me into a new and exciting role outside of education. I will remain in Hokkaido, however, and look forward to watching how HIS grows and develops.

In working with Mr. Tim Schlosser, the incoming head of school from August 2020, I discovered a man of immense educational understanding, administrative experience and great ability. HIS is in excellent hands and I wish Mr. Schlosser, school administration, the staff, parents and most of all the students, my absolute best in both the short and long term.

Sincerely yours,

Barry Ratzliff
Outgoing Head of School


Financial Assistance Update

The Finance Committee has met to finalize financial assistance for the 2020-21 school year. Letters will be issued to recipient families over the next two weeks.


 From the Principal's Office 

Dear parents, students, and teachers,

Let me start by thanking you for all your support and understanding as the school and the community responded to the unexpected disruption to the school year as a result of Covid 19. I am very proud of the way HIS students, parents, and teachers handled the demands we were faced with to protect everyone as we also continued to educate.

As you know, there continue to be questions about what the pandemic situation will look like as we approach opening day in August. Nevertheless, we are currently anticipating a regular-schedule opening with students in the school building.

At the same time, however, we are working together as a team to plan out online and hybrid models of learning with the understanding that we could be required to close the school again in the event of a “second wave”.

We learned a lot from this semester, and we have been actively applying that knowledge in our preparedness planning for moving forward. We look forward to sharing out full details of our updated online and hybrid learning plans upon our return in August.

But as we head into summer, it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to the following teachers and staff.
Kadoya-san, who not only cleaned for us each day but was also so often the very first cheerful “hello” we received each morning as we arrived.
Ms. Marquez, who taught the whole school PE while also coaching so many of our teams over the last couple of years.
Ms. Lola, from the Niseko campus, who in collaboration with Ms. Tanya has done so much to build our early year’s program.
Ms. Sugino, who brought such joyful song and dance to the school each year, and such deduction to the well-being of students across the school.
Mr. Holywell, who has done so much to prepare our grade 6s for the rigours of middle school, while helping to promote the joy of reading through his stewardship of the library.
Mrs. Holywell, who, along with Mr. Holywell, provided such warmth and compassion in her role as dorm parent while also subbing for almost every class at HIS - at least once.

And finally, we say a sad farewell to Mr. Ratzliff who over the course of almost exactly 20 years (9 of them as head of school) has played such a central role in the development of HIS’s programs and school culture. Where do you start when trying to sum up the work done and the influence felt by a head of school who has worked so tirelessly for so long. Schools, like any institution, can be a tricky thing to maneuver. Mr. Ratzliff, with his meticulous attention to detail and strong-minded knowledge of what had to be done, was able to put in place so many of the systems, processes, and policies that are required of modern accredited international schools.

We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Ratzliff. As he exits, he leaves us with a very strong foundation upon which to continue to build HIS into a great school.

We wish Mr. Ratzliff the very best in all his future endeavors and adventures!

And to everyone, please have a wonderful - and MUCH deserved - peaceful and restful summer vacation.

Best regards,
Neil Cooke

Last week of school schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 17th
    10:00 - school starts as usual
    1:00 - 3:00 Secondary cleanup / homeroom time
    Students should remember to bring back all materials that need to be returned to the school including: textbooks, library books, locker keys, sports uniforms, etc.
  • Thursday, June 18th
    10:00 - 12:00 -- Secondary assembly/awards ceremony - All secondary students should attend.
    Note: Details will be announced explaining how we will divide students into groups to meet regulatory requirements for maximum numbers allowed due to Covid 19 restrictions.
    3:00 - 4:30 -- Graduation Ceremony

Online Course Application Form / Agreement
Students in next year’s junior and senior classes interested in taking an online course are reminded to submit to me the Online Course Agreement by Wednesday, June 17th. Remember that taking such a course for HIS credit requires a significant amount of summertime work and commitment. There are several deadlines that need to be observed.


 Greetings from the Executive Board 

Notices from the Executive Board:

If you wish to learn about what the Executive Board isand what we do, please follow this link to the HIS homepage:
(Governance page is here)
If you wish to read the minutes to our meetings,
to read in detail, what exactly was discussed and decided on,
then follow this link to the HIS homepage minutes archive:
(Minutes Archive is here)The Executive Board had its annual Scholarship Fundraiser this June. If you wish to see the Final Report,that shows how much money we were able to raise, please find the link to the document here.



Dear Teachers, Staff, Parents and Prospective Parents of HIS Niseko

HIS Niseko is Fully Operational-Thank You!
Our school building is fully open to instruction. Thank you, everyone!
Please continue to provide masks for your child to wear at school. Please be consistent with completing daily temperature checks. Let us all continue to be flexible, friendly, patient, and positive.

Our primary objective remains to limit the spread of COVID-19. 
Three cheers to our students for surviving two full weeks of” in-house” learning. Three cheers to the parents for keeping our kids safe and happy. Three cheers to the teachers for giving them opportunities to learn in a low stress, high challenge environment. 
Great work, everyone!

Our Best Examples of Learning
This week, I was delighted to see superior student-teacher writing conversations in MP3, engaged scientists in EY, and the recognition of the Virtues in MP1. Thank you again, teachers, for this impressive work.

Farewell Mack, Ted and Melissa
This week HIS Niseko got to say goodbye and fare thee well to Mack, Ted and Melissa. Melissa Moss, as our intrepid PTA leader will be sorely missed at our school. We were lucky to have her guidance, support and loyalty each and every day here at our tiny school.

Safe travels and the very best of luck to you and the entire family as you head back to Hong Kong. 

Truncated End of the Year Celebration and Talent Show
Big announcement!
We are getting ready for our June 19th Talent Show.
At the end of each year, students of HIS Niseko get to show their talents on the MPR stage in front of a captive audience. 
This year, students will perform their talents on stage in front of teachers and students, while parents watch LIVE online, via Zoom. Mr. Mernin will post the video of the talent via the school's private Vimeo account on the morning of Saturday, June 20th.
THANKS, and best of luck to our performers!

Fun and Fitness Day Thank You!
Thank you to all in the HIS Niseko community who took part in Virtual Fun and Fitness Days this May 29th, and May 30th. I appreciate your cooperation and are hopeful that next year, we can participate in Fun and Fitness Day 2021 together, on campus.

 Art Department 

HIS Virtual Art Galleries

The HIS Art Department would like to invite everyone to come explore the first ever HIS Virtual Art Galleries on Artsteps. Each Gallery is a collection of works for different assignments. We hope to create more in the future. Please Enjoy.MP1 & MP2
HIS ES Art Gallery(Gallery layout created by high school student Kotomi Robbins)

MP3 Digital Street Art & Photo Manipulations
Middle School

MS Digital Street Art & Photo Manipulations
High School

HS Digital Street Art & Photo Manipulations
AP Art & Design Students

Kind Regards,
-HIS Art Department


Holiday lending​ program​


If students are returning to HIS, they can borrow up to 10 books for the summer.  It’s long, it’s hot, and there is nothing better than 10 cool books!  

On any day from now on​,​ students can take out 5 books to get up to a maximum of 10 for the break.  Students with overdue books, please return or renew them now so that they can borrow for the summer.

Mr. Nick
Librarian (loosening up the lending for vacationing)

 Donated Money to a Library in Thailand 

Juniors came up with an idea about helping the community during the pandemic situation during homeroom. Since the junior trip got postponed, we thought of ideas to support the community internationally.


As a class, we donated 20,000 yen (6,000 Thai baht) to the Bookworm Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The library is a non-governmental, non-for-profit organization that was established in January 2010 by Ms. Yoshimi Horiuchi. We hope our fundraised money will be used to purchase books and provide a better learning environment for their community!

Class of 2021

 Husky Hugs 

Husky Hugs go out to...

  • Mr. Tim Schlosser, incoming head of school for spending this e-week of transition conversations and planning with our community.
  • Executive Board and Board of Councilors members for their support and meetings this week to help plan through this time.
  • Incoming 2020~21 parent, Jiang, who has helped the school to secure enough masks for staff.
  • Elementary teachers to arranging the very productive Fun Friday of last week.




Happy Reading to our HIS Community!

Thanks to all of our secondary students who competed in the 6th Annual HIS Reads. We had some truly inspiring videos!

And now, I would like to personally congratulate our G8 Eight HIS Reads Finalists!

In no particular order...

These eight have all earned a prize spot, playing for Audible!
First Place: 6-month Membership to (~$90 value) + 3 choice-books from the Room 302 library.

Second and Third Place: 3-month Membership to (~$45 value) + 1 choice-book from the Room 302 library.

Fourth - Eighth Place: 1-month Membership to (~$15 value)

Stay tuned for the final announcement during our last student assembly on June 18th.

There, we will reveal the ultimate defender of reading!

In the meantime, check out the videos and leave an encouraging comment here for the video book defense that inspires you the most!

I will check back every now and then so that I can pass on your comments directly to the G8 Eight!

Happy Reading!
Jared Pangier

 From PTA 

Unfortunately, the PTA has not been able to meet very often in the second semester this year due to continuing COVID 19 concerns.

However, we very much look forward to things returning to normal soon and to seeing you all at upcoming meetings in the fall!
Let's hope we can enjoy the fun-filled PTA-sponsored events again soon!
Please contact us to find out how you can be involved.

PTA Information Website:


A little more of Kitara!

Hello students and teachers,
This time, it's High School Dance!
In this video, you will see Ranko, Nina, Sari, Rumy, Aina, Hana, Ryu, and Rion dancing with formations in the gym while Tyoma, Fahr, Annie, and Kevin join them from their respective rooms virtually.
The song is called Vivaldi's Winter.
I thank the dancers this year for sticking with my really weird moves... Don't judge them, judge me. And my iMovie skills.
Please enjoy and have a great LAST WEEKEND OF SCHOOL YO!

Ms. Sugino



Have an active Summer break everyone ! We look forward to forming some teams when we return to school in August. Things will be different but we will all adjust. Go Huskies!

  AP Capstone  

Congratulations go out to two students who successfully completed the 2 year AP Capstone program! Their journey culminated in the presentation of original research to a Zoom audience this past month. After a year-long process of study design and data collection, the following two projects were presented:

How International Students Perceive the Effects of Bilingualism: A Case Study
presented by Reika Wakabayashi

Gaming as a Predictor of Performance on Scales that Measure Hope and a Willingness to Engage in Pro-environmental Behavior: A Study on Secondary Students 
presented by Subha Chowdhury

A special thanks to the community members who volunteered their time to help our students as expert advisors this year: Mr. Ishii, Professor at Sapporo Gakuin University, and Mr. Tomasine, ELL Coordinator.

If you are interested in knowing more about the AP Capstone program or helping students engage in the research process, please don’t hesitate to contact AP Capstone teachers Ms. Harmon and Mr. Pangier.


If you are an HIS parent and are looking for a babysitter for an evening or on the weekend, please feel free to contact  
Interested HIS parents can then be provided with a list of students available for babysitting.

Also, if you are looking for a student tutor for your child, please contact 


 HIS Parent E-mailing List 


Husky Parents!! 
Do you ever have trouble receiving the weekly HExHusky-Info bulletins or other school-wide emails?  Do you have another email address to which you’d like to receive these electronic communications? If so, please email us at  or phone the main office so we can update our mailing lists and include you as soon as possible!


 The Publications & Media class 

This year the students have revived the online student website, www.TheHusky Pulse with lots of new content including artwork from elementary, middle, and high school students, MP3 narratives, high school writings, student articles on HIS events and the Hokkaido outdoors.Also check out HIS Newscast, a series of quirky video reports created by high school students.The Husky Pulse, created by students for all to see.


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