Schools must demonstrate the following criteria for membership.
1. Governance, Administration, and Staff
1.1 The school benefits from a clear governance structure which empowers the head of school as the clear operational leader of the school.
Note: The head of the school (only) will be the representative to JCIS.
1.2 The faculty and staff must be appropriately qualified to fulfil the mission of the school.
2. Stability, Sustainability, and Continuity
2.1 Member schools will have completed a minimum of three years’ of successful operations as an established school which should be inclusive of a full cycle of operation for any ‘complete’ division(s) in place at the time of application.
Note: A ‘division’ is assumed to be Elementary, Middle or High School.
2.2 The school must have and aspire towards a clearly formulated set of Guiding Statements which must be set forth in a written statement.
Indicators: Guiding statements may include, for example, one or more of the following: Mission, Vision, Values, Purpose, Objectives, etc. A school can be said to be aspiring towards these statements if they are physically evident in the building, form a part of published/online literature and are considered within the taught and learned curriculum.
2.3 The school must be accredited with full accreditation/inspection status from an acceptable accreditation (or inspection) agency.
Indicators: An acceptable agency will oversee a whole school process (curriculum, finance, facilities, health and safety, governance, human resources, etc.) involving some element of site-based reflection (e.g. a comprehensive self-study process), a multi-day team visit and a comprehensive report with final conferred status. The accreditation/inspection should also commit the school to an ongoing cycle of school improvement. Examples of agencies who meet this standard are CIS, WASC, NEASC and the UK OFSTED Inspectorate.
Note: Applicant schools will be expected to provide their most recent accreditation/inspection report and verification of successful outcome (full accreditation or equivalent) as the initial step in the application process.
2.4 The school must demonstrate that it has the necessary legal certification to operate as a school under the laws of Japan.
Indicators: Documentation issued by the local Japanese authorities conferring a right to operate as a school may include evidence of ‘gakko hojin’ status, articles of incorporation and/or any other relevant licence to operate as a legal entity in Japan.
2.5 Financial resources and management of the school must be capable of sustaining the educational programme consistent with the guiding statements.
Indicators: There will be no serious financial concerns emanating from the most recent accreditation report, the school will be subject to regular satisfactory audits, the school shall have sufficient operating capital and plan for long term sustainability.
3. Programme / Curriculum
3.1 The school must have a fully articulated curriculum.
Indicators: the written, taught and learned curriculum should be verified by the accreditation report as being sufficiently aligned both horizontally and vertically.
3.2. The curriculum should be taught in English.
Indicators: The language of instruction (other than in additional language classes) is English; hallway/social conversation is dominated by English; resources/displays/signage/website etc. are predominantly in English as is home-school communication; the curriculum prepares students to continue their studies in schools and universities which use English as the primary means of instruction.
Note: the above indicators do not preclude schools who may be bilingual or dual language and/or value and cultivate mother tongue, provided that the above indicators can also be sufficiently met.
3.3 The school must demonstrate a complete educational programme for one or more of the following: elementary school, middle school, high school.
Note: A complete educational programme is defined as publically advertised by the school. For example, if a school advertises itself as only an IBDP school (Gr.11-12) this would constitute a ‘complete program’.
3.4 The school should attempt to reflect the diversity of multicultural education within the delivered curriculum.
Indicators: The school can cite examples of the way in which the school curriculum helps develop student understanding of global and local issues, the validity of diverse perspectives and which cultivates skills and dispositions of global citizenship.
3.5 The school facilities, furnishings, and teaching equipment must be adequate to support the total school programme.
4. School Community
4.1 The school must be serving a multinational student body.
Indicator: The student body represents diverse nationalities/cultural backgrounds and is served by a multinational staff.
4.2 The school must be able to demonstrate that it is striving to promote international-mindedness within their community.
Indicator: The school capitalises on the diversity of the parent body in shaping the school culture; displays/signage in public places foster a spirit of internationalism; communication between home/school is sensitive to the diverse cultural perspectives of families; ethical values embodied in a spirit of shared humanity permeate operations.
JCIS Member Schools Agreements
Membership of JCIS is afforded to those Japan-based schools who can demonstrate alignment to the criteria for membership.
Additionally, in order to remain members in good standing, member schools agree to uphold the following:
- Adherence to JCIS Guidelines for Ethical Practice
- Regular attendance by the Head of School at the biannual head of school meetings (held in English) and engagement in the collaborative spirit of the council (note the Head of School must be a fluent English speaker)
- Payment of the JCIS membership fees
- Adherence to any JCIS-wide agreements which are duly adopted by a simple majority of members
Applying to Join JCIS as a Member School
JCIS accepts applications from quality, established international schools which feel they can comprehensively meet all 5 ‘mission in action’ statements and have run at least two years of a fully accredited programme (WASC, CIS, NEASC or another approved body).
Applications can only be considered from schools already serving the full age range which they advertise themselves as aspiring to serve, and this age range cannot be restricted to Early Childhood-only schools.
Applications must be received prior to September 1 in order to be processed during the course of that academic year and a school which is successful in its application will be eligible for membership from the following academic year.
The JCIS membership application form can be accessed here.
Suspension or Termination of Membership
In the case that a member school is no longer able to meet the criteria for membership and/orf fails to adhere to the agreements for membership, that school may be subject to either suspension or termination of membership.
The process for suspending or terminating a member school is as follows:
- An inquiry regarding a member school is brought to the attention of the JCIS Executive. This may be reported by the school itself, or by the Head of any other member school.
- The member school is given notice of the inquiry.
- The JCIS Executive, or an appointed committee, investigates the inquiry.
- The JCIS Executive presents its findings to the full JCIS membership.
- The member school is given the opportunity to respond to the findings.
- The JCIS Executive analyzes the outcome of this process and makes a proposal of options in writing which is disseminated to all member schools (inclusive of the school which is subject to proceedings) at least one week prior to the next meeting of JCIS Heads.
- If suspension or termination is recommended by the JCIS Executive, it must be confirmed with a two-thirds majority vote of the total membership (distance votes made prior to the meeting, based on the written proposal, will be accepted).
- In all cases other than termination or suspension the vote of a simple majority of those in attendance at the meeting will suffice.