About A-JIS - The Aoba Story
Video: The Aoba Story
I founded this school 28 years ago with hopes and dreams. I can honestly say that what we have here today far exceeds anything I could have possibly imagined all those years ago.
The staff we gathered here constantly surprises me with their hard work, successes, and attitudes. As for the future of this school, we will continue to service the local and international community, and in the near future, add a senior high school in a new campus.
I personally invite you to join the A-JIS family.
Regina Doi founded Aoba International School in 1976. The school’s offerings were initially from nursery school to pre-first grade. Mrs. Doi’s original purpose in establishing Aoba was to provide a four-year bilingual pre-first grade education, primarily for Japanese children. This would give them the foundation in English necessary to succeed in both International Schools and Japanese schools, depending on the educational goals parents had for their children.
Aoba quickly became a popular choice for early childhood education within both the international and Japanese communities. It was originally located in close proximity to the American School and a cluster of Japanese Kindergartens, and this addition to the educational community provided more options to parents when choosing a program that best suited their (children’s) needs. Aoba proved to be an extremely successful school and experienced rapid growth across its first four years. As a result of that success, parents began to ask Mrs. Doi to open an elementary and junior high school. With the help of a dedicated group of parents and friends, Japan International School was established in 1980.
Japan International School was originally located near Daikanyama Station on the Toyoko Line, not too far from the original Aoba International School early childhood education center. As its student population grew, the school moved three times to accommodate the expanding student body—first to Harajuku, then to Shibuya, and in 1992 to a location in Suginami Ward. The Suginami Campus included a tennis court with an artificial surface that served as a playground and outdoor Physical Education area. Soon afterwards, a Jungle Gym was built for kindergarten and first grade students. The school was located next to a community sports center where kindergarten and elementary students participated in swimming lessons. The school made use of the local community gym for indoor team sports, practices, and inter-school basketball and volleyball tournaments. In 1998 the school’s name changed to Aoba-Japan International School.
From 1998 to 2010 Aoba-Japan International School offered a co-educational program that spanned grade levels from K3 to Grade 9. In the 2010-2011 academic year, a K2 class was introduced to allow children earlier access to an International education at A-JIS; and concurrent to that, the school set out on a 4-year plan to introduce a full high school program in order to complete the growth of the school’s educational mandate. Students began to transition into Grade 10 rather than seek transfers into other high school programs. To enable this new high school addition and to provide a strong curriculum from the outset, A-JIS adopted the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Independent Study High School (UNL) program. This permitted the delivery of a complete and standardized program of academic studies within the fledgling A-JIS High School program.
In October 2012, the school moved to its present location in Hikarigaoka in order to achieve another long-sought vision—the acquisition of a full services school facility and campus. Beyond the multi-level standard school building, the new campus provides a full soccer pitch, a gymnasium, a pool, playground, parking, and more. Aoba-Japan International School now has a mainstream school from K2 to Grade 12 within an environment that will allow it to pursue a new set of goals and objectives that were, until only a short time ago, not possible.
As an International School, A-JIS has, since the start, been a school where Japanese and foreign students learn in a mutually supportive environment. Indeed, a major objective is the facilitation of bilingual internationally minded graduates. A-JIS has, from the start, been a school in which intensive language programming is key to the academic success of students. Core instruction is in English. While Japanese students from Grades 1 to 12 are required to study their native language at a level similar to that within the Japanese school system, international students must accomplish high completion levels in the JPL standard before graduation. With regards to English as Second Language provision at A-JIS, the 2015-2016 school year witnessed the introduction of the EAL program (English as an Academic Language). The EAL Program at A-JIS is based on a “pullout” and “push-in” model that is geared to the integration of English language learners in all mainstream classes. Using relevant theory and current research, A-JIS has constructed a program of English acquisition that provides language facilitation support to students as they participate with their mainstream peers. Our team of dedicated language teachers, combined with strong support mechanisms, helps students learn academic English in context.
The 2015-2016 school year began with exciting changes as a result of the hard work of all. We are now not only accredited by the NEASC and CIS, but also, as of June 2015, we are officially an IB World School.