FAQS

What are you wondering?

Moving your family to a new country is exciting, yet also challenging. As parents and expatriates ourselves, we understand that securing a place for your child in the ‘right’ school is extremely important. The good news is there are many wonderful schools in Tokyo each with their own identity. Our Admissions Team is here to guide you to decide whether or not TIS is the right choice for your family. We have listed some of the most common questions below. We encourage you to browse our website to get a feel for who we are. If you have a question that is not listed below, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you. Whichever school you choose we wish you a very warm welcome to Tokyo!

Staff

TIS takes child protection very seriously. All employees at Tokyo International School are required to provide ‘police clearance’ certificates from all of the countries in which they have lived and worked since adulthood. In addition, TIS undertakes rigorous reference checks. TIS has a strict code of conduct for working with children and a comprehensive child protection policy. Our staff are trained to recognize and report any suspected abuse.

We hire regardless of nationality, gender, race, religion, age or sexual orientation. We value diversity and the richness diversity brings. Near native English proficiency is required as we are an English medium school, but all nationalities are welcome. We are a truly international school which is also reflected in our staffing. Our retirement age is 65 years. For vacant positions please see our Join Us page.

Our teachers possess national or state recognized qualified-teacher status gained at an accredited university. They also hold the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Many teachers also hold a master’s degree.

We employ highly effective, experienced, skilled teachers. Our employees buy into our values, our initiatives, our mission and our love of learning. We seek teachers who are learners too; they reflect, question, critique and volunteer what they themselves still need to learn. TIS employees thrive on collaboration and are supportive of one another. Our staff is fun, positive, flexible and has a ‘can do’ attitude. Please see the ‘Our Community‘ section of this website to learn more.

In addition to subject and homeroom teachers we have a wide range of adults to support our students. These include teaching assistants in our lower grades, student assistants who support specific students’ identified learning needs, a school nurse, a counselor, a speech pathologist and a whole range of friendly, committed office and support staff. Please see the ‘Our Community‘ section of this website to learn more.

The majority of our teaching vacancies are posted in December on our website Employment page. Vacancies sometimes arise at other times throughout the year. Due to large numbers of applicants, speculative letters of interest and applications are not kept on file. Please use APLi to ensure your application reaches us safely. Thank you for your interest in our school and good luck in your search for a new, exciting role! Please see our Join Us page.

APLi is a database. It collects applicants’ resumes, application letters and references and stores them in one place categorized by vacancy. Candidates with files with Search Associates automatically populate their Search Associates references when they apply through APLi. We respectfully and carefully consider all applications submitted through APLi. For efficiency, only applications which are submitted through APLi are considered.

TIS provides a comprehensive, competative salary and associated package. All staff regardless of nationality are on the same, salary scale. All staff receive retirement and health insurance contributions and travel allowance as per Japanese law. Teaching staff (except permanent residents and Japanese nationals) receive a housing allowance, financial assistance with housing, financial assistance with shipping and an annual flight allowance. Full details are shared in interviews with successful candidates.

Teaching & Learning

Yes, as an international school serving transient, expatriate families, it is not uncommon for new students to have little or no English when they first arrive – especially in the Primary School. We offer language support for such students. New English learners receive support in regular classes and receive extra English lessons while other students are studying Japanese. We welcome students only when we have the support and resources to make them successful – we have a duty of care. Admissions of new English language learners depends on the language make up of the current cohort.

Yes, we have a specialist support team who together with our regular teachers support students with mild to moderate learning needs and challenges. We accept students with a range of learning strengths and learning diversity needs. We welcome students only when we have the support and human resources to make them successful – we have a duty of care and limited resources. Admissions depends on the make up of the current cohort: the number of students with an identified challenge currently in the grade and the type of challenges students face.

Our curriculum is drawn from and cross-referenced against internationally-acclaimed standards including the USA Common Core, the USA Core Arts and the Australian Curriculum. We are an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School delivering learning through the frameworks of the IB Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program. In addition, we are one of only a handful of international schools outside of the United States recognized by Columbia University (New York) Teachers College (TCRWP) as one of their ‘project’ status schools. We implement theTCRWP reading and writing workshop.

Inquiry-based learning is any teaching methodology which promotes quality thinking. Examples include problem-solving, debating, making predictions, testing theories, posing questions, considering different perspectives, researching and creating. Inquiry learning at TIS is very intentional and structured.

School Life

TIS students come from all over the world. Most TIS families are transient. One or more parents is ordinarily assigned in Tokyo for a temporary contract, usually with an international company, organization or embassy. We all understand how it feels to be new. Our community is extremely welcoming; not only to students but also to new parents. When students first arrive they are paired with a classmate, who helps them integrate into their new environment. Prior to arrival, teachers prepare their seats and information so the transition is a smooth one. Invariably students end their first day feeling at ease. Please see our Voices page for futher details.

Lunch can either be brought from home or ordered from a catering service: Kiwi Kitchen and delivered to the classroom. TIS does not have a cafeteria.

Approximately 70% of our families live close to the school in Minato ward. Each family determines how their child/ren commute between home and our campus. Generally, Japan is considered a very safe country. Young Japanese children are quite autonomous and many TIS students are the same. Most students come to school by foot, bike, skateboard or scooter. We provide bike/scooter parking for all our students. For those families who live a bit further afield in neighboring wards, we have a fleet of eight school buses. Public transport in Tokyo is amongst the best in the world. Parents with cars can drop their children off in the morning and collect them in the afternoon. Please see our Location page for more details.

We are an English medium school. As an IB school we embrace our host country’s culture and language. In addition to English, from Kindergarten 1 to Grade 8, students learn Japanese. Our parent community organizes some home language teaching programs independently and outside of the usual TIS school hours. Currently we have Dutch school, Finnish school and Swedish school using our facilities.

We follow the northern hemisphere school calendar August to June. There are 179 school days. The school week is Monday to Friday. Vacations do not necessarily coincide with Japanese public holidays. Students are allowed on campus from 8:00. Classes begin at 8:20 and end at 15:20. If a student is late or needs to leave early for any reason, they must sign in/sign out at the office.

Yes, we do have school wear, which can be purchased through the online shop called Top of the Class. Students can decide which color/s they’d like to wear.

In short: fun, friendly and inclusive. We understand if you are a trailing spouse (we do not even like the word) you may have sacrificed your own career, social life and network. If you wish to get involved and make friends, TIS is a very welcoming place for parents. Due to the transient nature of our families people come and go often. Parents have a lot of opportunities to socialize and get involved. There’s everything from sophisticated sake nights and taiko drumming to running club and parents’ workshops. Please see the Our Community page for more information.

Extracurricular Activities and Child Support

Yes, we have many after-school clubs offering cultural, arts, sciences and sports activities. Generally, there is no extra cost for after-school activities except for outsourced specialist instructors such as ballet. Activities start at 15:30 and end at 16:30. Students can only stay on campus until 16:30 when all after-school activities end. The school bus service is available for students participating in these activities.

Yes, we provide many learning opportunities by way of excursions and overnight trips. We also involve students in service learning opportunities. From Grade 4, students enjoy exciting learning-focused residential trips.

We are a very inclusive school and teams welcome all age-appropriate students to join – no tryouts. In the Middle School, our amazing TIS Tigers compete with other international schools. We play volleyball, basketball, football (soccer) and more.

Yes, we offer our Child Care Program for students not in an extracurricular activity from 15:30 – 16:30. There is an extra cost for this service.

Yes, we have a TIS Summer School that runs for three weeks directly after our academic year ends. To enroll, you would  normally register through our website towards the end of the academic year. Due to COVID-19 Summer School will not take place in 2021.

Admissions

Please refer to our Admissions Guidelines and fill out our Inquiry and/or application forms.

There are a lot of wonderful schools in our city to choose from. Tokyo International School is the truly international, family-friendly choice.

Our 350+ students represent over 60 nationalities. There is marked diversity; no dominant nationality or culture. We are an International Baccalaureate World School offering an international curriculum.

We are located in the vibrant heart of Tokyo. Our diverse, welcoming community and friendly family-like relationships are what makes TIS special. Please see the Voices section of this website for further details.

Our central location is close to: popular expatriate residential areas, cafes, parks, culture, nightlife and famous landmarks in Tokyo. This means that land prices are expensive. We have developed our campus with this in mind: efficient use of space with learning at the center of all decisions.

Our classrooms are light and spacious. Our campus is beautiful and well designed. We do envy the swimming pools, extensive playing fields and cafeterias which some other great schools situated further from the the city center have to offer.

In our opinion our prime location: walking distance for the majority of families, our modern, family-friendly campus and the quality of teaching and learning outweigh these disadvantages.

Yes, it is a requirement that at least one parent speaks English fluently and is proficient in English reading and writing. Our mode of communication to parents is in English only.

TIS admits students based on three factors: our criteria (Admissions Guidelines), the make-up of the current cohort and seat availability. We do not use a numbered waitlist system. Once students with fully completed applications are reviewed by our team, the applicant’s file can be placed in the waitpool to be selected when the criteria are met.

We limit the number of all nationalities to sustain our diversity and international ethos. We welcome all nationalities including a limited number of Japanese students. Most often our new Japanese students have been schooled in international schools and/or lived overseas. Japanese students must be peer competive in English at admissions. We do not accept Japanese students who require English Additional Language (EAL) support. This is due to Japanese students having more schooling options in Tokyo compared to overseas, expatriate students.

The Kindergarten 1 and 2 applicants are invited to informal screening sessions, which are more like playdates in January/February for the following year’s intake.

Overseas Kindergarten and 2 applicants can be part of the screening sessions even if they cannot attend physically. Candidates applying after the group screenings will be considered individually if space remains available.

Grade 1 to 8, assessments are only given when deemed necessary, at our discretion and when a seat has been identified. With the exception of the Kindergarten 1 and 2 screening sessions, we have rolling admissions for all grades.

For Kindergarten 1 and 2 applicants, please ask the homeroom teacher to fill out our Pre-School Assessment Form. The form is available online after submitting the application.

Yes, however, siblings must meet the admissions criteria first to be considered for this.

Finance

Please refer to the School Fees section.

TIS does not provide any financial assistance of any kind.

Yes, TIS offers the program. If you or your company are interested in the program, please contact our Business Office. Email: do@tokyois.com. Please refer to the CCP section.

Apple Distinguised School

Tokyo International School is a non profit school, which is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
We are a fully authorized, International Baccalaureate World School, catering for students from Kindergarten 1 (four years old) to Grade 8 (fourteen years old).