Misono Girls' Junior & Senior High School
EDUCATIONAL OVERVIEW / STUDENTS & FACULTY
Misono Girls' Junior and Senior High School is comprised of a 6-year integrated curriculuum. We believe that the acquisition of basic skills comes first, so during the first two years of study, we provide skills and tools that teach students how to learn. In addition, the program furnishes students with a good grounding in the core academic subjects of Japanese, English, Math, Science and Social Studies.
Students build on this basic knowlege in the middle two years of study. Furthermore, split-level instruction in the high school allows teachers to better tailor education to individual needs. At all levels of study, English classes taught by native-speaking teachers take place in small groups. Students are encourged to both speak and write in English.
As the students mature, the school actively fosters critical thinking skills with the goal of encouraging students to become independent thinkers. During the final two years of study, we offer a wide range of elective subjects. Students choose from among these electives according to their interests, aspirations and career goals.
Misono Girls’ Junior and Senior High School is a small, private school, and the students and teachers share a family-oriented relationship. In this way, students receive a great deal of personal attention.
We have close to 500 students total; approximately 50 full-time and 15 part-time teachers. The school also has three full-time native-speaking English teachers that provide extracurricular instruction in addition to normal classroom study.
HISTORY & SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY
Misono Girls’ High School was founded in 1946 by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Two years later, the junior high opened its doors. Since 1976, graduates of the junior high are guaranteed admission to Misono Girls' High School. In 2016, Misono Girls’ School merged with Nanzan School Corporation.
The education at Misono Girls' School is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and inspired by its Catholic traditions. With this purpose, students participate in daily prayer and meditation, Catholic Mass, field trips, Christmas gatherings and volunteer activities. Students of all backgrounds experience the joy of serving others and the fulfillment of supporting one another in society. As the students experience the warmth of the school atmosphere, they develop the kindness and sincerity that are the hallmarks of a Misono education. The school's founder, Josef Reiners, instilled in the students that each person has a sacred purpose in life. At Misono Girls' School today, we strive to help the students find their mission and step forward in society with courage and grace.
Misono Girls' School has its campus in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, centrally located between Tokyo and Mt. Fuji. Our 8.3-hectare campus is part of a prefectural wildlife protection area and is very scenic. Numerous trees and birds dot the landscape and seasonal flowers are always in bloom. With separate buildings for the junior and senior high and a central courtyard, students are able to both enjoy nature and study in a peaceful environment.
The school is easily accessible from Yokohama, one of Japan’s largest cities. The historical city of Kamakura is just next door. The school is a ten-minute walk from Fujisawa-Honmachi Station, one stop from Fujisawa Station on the Odakyu Line.
JUNIOR HIGH CONVERSATION
Students have one hour of English Conversation each week with a native speaker. These conversation classes are split into small groups, allowing each student ample opportunities to use English. Throughout the year, teachers provide students with a wide variety of speaking and writing tasks, fun and challenging activities, and the chance to perform original speeches and skits. Through these speeches, students master basic presentation skills. Furthermore, by applying learned grammar to real-life communication tasks, students are able to actualize what they have learned and gain confidence in their English abilities. This practical application of English helps prepare students for not only study abroad programs, but for whatever they may choose to do in the future.
ACE (THE ADVANCED CLASS of ENGLISH)
The Advanced Class of English (ACE Class) offers students with higher English proficiency the opportunity to challenge themselves and further improve their language skills. ACE students attend separate, higher-level classes with a native speaker for four hours each week. These classes are conducted all in English. Reading of classic literature forms the basis for discussion and writing assignments. Students also work extensively with new vocabulary that appears in the readings. Over the course of the three-year program, we cover the four basic writing forms of narrative, descriptive, persuasive and expository writing. The students also keep English diaries, write poems, create stories, and learn how to summarize what they have read. Students are expected to choose 20 shorter books a year as part of an extensive reading program. Presentations and preparation for exams such as the Eiken Test also make up part of the ACE program. ACE students attend grammar-based English classes twice a week taught by a Japanese teacher. ACE students belong to a regular homeroom and study in Japanese with their homeroom class for their other subjects.
HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNICATIVE ENGLISH
At the high school level, all students have two hours a week of communicative English with a native speaker. As with the conversation classes in the junior high, these classes are also split into small groups. Here, in addition to practicing and consolidating knowledge of grammar, students begin to learn using the medium of English. In effect, they are no longer simply learning English, they are learning IN English. Students look at societal issues and international problems. They practice giving opinions and hone their debating skills. In the senior high elective English courses, classes with a focus on the current issues in the news, as well as an advanced writing course, further prepare the students for both university and the wider world.
MEA (MISONO ENGLISH ACADEMY)
The Misono English Academy is designed to support our students’ English education and prepare students for study abroad programs. It is open to students every day at lunchtime and after school. The special MEA Room has a relaxing environment with study tables, sofas, an area for presentations and videos and a library. Native English teachers plan and facilitate the weekly activities and events. The activities focus on listening, speaking and reading skills. On hand are activities, games, iPads and more – all of which provide students with opportunities to communicate in English. At MEA, students talk both with native speakers and with one another. Through these activities, students further improve their pronunciation, fluency and comprehension. In addition, through interacting with both native teachers and guests, students broaden their understanding of cultural traditions and differences. Students also learn to give presentations in a variety of styles using visual aides. Music is yet another medium used at MEA to improve pronunciation and increase functional vocabulary. EIKEN speaking practice is scheduled throughout the year. Furthermore, MEA hosts cultural and seasonal events such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. By engaging in fun, interactive language activities, students gain the confidence and motivation necessary to successfully communicate in English.
※Students who attend Misono English Academy regularly receive a completion certificate at the end of the school year. Participation at MEA is recognized on students’ official school reports.
INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES / STUDY OPPORTUNITIES
Study Abroad Programs
In 2009, we began to take students to Windsor, Canada, the sister city of Fujisawa. Every summer, about one third of the 1st year high school students (ages 15 ~ 16) travel to Windsor, Canada for a two-week English study and homestay program. Each student lives with a Canadian host family. Students receive instruction from trained language teachers and particpate in activities designed to both improve their English as well as provide them with new experiences. The students also pair up with Canadian buddies from local high schools. A trip to visit the mayor of Windsor City is always part of the two-week program, as is participation in volunteer work with children. While in Canada, students not only visit famous sites such as Niagara Falls and Willistead Manor, they also make international friendships that last a lifetime.
New Zealand Study Abroad Program
In 2014, Misono introduced the New Zealand Study Abroad Program. Our third year junior high school students (ages 14 ~ 15) can choose to study abroad in Auckland, New Zealand for one term from January to March. The students live with a host family during their stay. After studying for the first two weeks at an intensive English language school, the students attend one of five Catholic girls’ high schools. Misono has also established a sister school relationship with Carmel College in New Zealand, opening up further possibilites for reciprocity. Recently, students from Carmel College met online with our students at MEA. This special program was greatly enjoyed by everyone. Through the New Zealand Study Abroad Program, students are given the opportunity to greatly enhance their English skills, experience life in another country, learn the value of studying abroad, gain a sense of independence and make life-long friendships.