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Accreditation Preparatory Visit Report (November 2020)
Douglas Brittain

Seisen is, in the estimation of the evaluators, a very impressive school, with a great deal to be proud of.

In November 2020 Seisen International School took part in a "Preparatory Visit for Accreditation" with the Council of International Schools (CIS) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). This visit continues the cycle from our re-accreditation in 2017 and helps us improve prior to our next visit in 2022. Below are excerpts from the Preparatory Report.

Conclusions - Preparatory Evaluation

Evaluators commentaries 

This preparatory evaluation was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many schools had enacted on-line learning and teaching, maintaining contact with their students and continuing their education. As conditions improved in individual countries, some schools were able to return to on-site lessons, though under considerably changed circumstances of health and campus access. Even when conditions improved within the country of a CIS school, travel to and from the country was often severely restricted or forbidden, making in-person accreditation visits untenable. CIS offered Seisen International School the opportunity to conduct a virtual preparatory visit to maintain its journey towards re-accreditation. The CIS School Support and Evaluation Officer, based in Los Angeles, and the NEASC peer evaluator, situated in Beijing, conducted meetings and lesson visits virtually. The visit took place successfully in November 2020. The school had shifted to remote (online) lessons last spring, when the pandemic hit Japan, but has reopened this fall with most of its students coming to school for in-person classes. Discussions were held with all stakeholders. The school arranged effective remote observation of in-class lessons which, coupled with pre-recorded remote instructional lessons, as well as of recorded videos of the school campus, allowed the evaluators to gain a reasonably broad perspective of the school.

CIS is pleased to inform you that Seisen International School has been granted candidate status for CIS Re-Accreditation.
Congratulations go to you and your school community on this achievement.

Seisen is, in the estimation of the evaluators, a very impressive school, with a great deal to be proud of. The school community is powerfully guided by a set of statements of purpose that are drawn from both the school’s mission and the founding religious order’s beliefs, providing a clear identity for the school and direction for its strategic and operational decisions. To its great credit, Seisen implements these religious beliefs in an ecumenical manner reflecting the universal nature of human rights. The school’s values are captured in integrated profiles for students, staff, and parents, ensuring a shared understanding of expectations of behavior and aspiration. The school’s commitment to global citizenship is strong, as evidenced by the recent funding of a coordinator for global mindedness and intercultural competence. The care and well-being of students, staff, and parents pervades the school culture, with a commendable foundation of child safeguarding policies and practices, and an effective curricular program of personal, social, and emotional health for students. In keeping with its guiding statements, SIS has developed an instructional culture that stresses holistic student development (not just academic results). The school’s duty of care also extends to staff, with a well-crafted set of human resources documents and procedures, especially those relating to staffing of all positions. The result is a tangibly positive atmosphere of respect and support throughout the campus, which was widely observed as a happy place. Although the campus is aging, the school leadership continually addresses renovation and upgrade, all the while looking for more substantial long-term solutions for space limitations. Safety is a high priority, and the school effectively employs numerous and varied avenues of communication between and among students, staff, and parents.

The school took the recommendations of the most recent accreditation visit in 2017 very seriously, addressing many in a detailed and professional manner before this preparatory evaluation visit. These enhancements in recent years included expansion of the IB program, curriculum review, long-range financial planning, health and safety enhancements, and school climate. Without a doubt, Seisen approaches the accreditation process as a genuine opportunity for self-improvement.

In conclusion, the evaluators were notably struck by Seisen’s community culture, strength of purpose and direction, and commitment to self-reflection and continual improvement, the latter highly evident in the school’s professional and comprehensive approach to improved documentation of policies and practices in all areas of the school. CIS would like to thank Colette Rogers, the head of school, the senior leadership team of division principals, and especially Janet Fuentes, Administrative Assistant and Support Center Lead, for ensuring the visit went smoothly and efficiently under highly unusual circumstances of COVID-19. CIS offers further thanks to the students, staff and parents who were generous in their time and honest in their answers to the many questions posed. CIS also wishes the school well as it prepares for this exciting next step in the accreditation process.

Rick Spradling

CIS International Liaison Officer 

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