Items

  1. Message from the Board of Directors
  2. Bentos (lunches)

Principal Message

Dear HIS Community

Thank you to everyone who came along to the Parent Information Evening. It was great to see you here and we look forward to working with you all this year to support the learning of your children.

Kind regards

Damian Rentoule (Principal)

Message from the Board of Directors

Greetings from the Board of Directors

This is the first of what will be a regular inclusion here in the Crane—as the Director General of the Board of Directors, I plan to use this opportunity to give you an idea of what the Boards (Directors and Trustees) do in a general way, and what issues are currently being addressed, what lies ahead, and so forth. So, for this first offering, I will give a very brief outline of the school’s “Foundation” and the two Boards that represent it, and then conclude with a few notes on the issues discussed at our most recent “retreat” meeting in June.

Hiroshima International School is a non-profit educational institution, and as such, is required to follow certain guidelines as stipulated under Japanese law in order to operate. One basic requirement is that a “foundation” be established which governs the operation of the school. How the foundation is to operate is outlined in the “Act of Endowment” (AoE), which is accessible online on the HIS site. The AoE requires two Boards to govern the school’s operation—the Board of Directors (BOD) and the Board of Trustees (BOT). Both Boards are comprised of different members of the community, representing parents and/or guardians, learned individuals and significant contributors from the outside community, staff and so forth (with a balanced representation of the various categories required on both Boards). At present, there are between 8-10 members on the BOD and 18-24 members on the BOT. It is very important to remember that ALL members of both Boards are there as volunteers (and, due to fluctuations in actual numbers, we are almost always interested in welcoming new members)!

In essence, the BOD is the governing body of the school, which means that it works to implement the delivery of a product that suits the clients that it has been set up to address. In terms of HIS, it establishes, maintains and refines the mission and vision of the school, notes its strengths and weaknesses, and endeavours to improve the delivery of its “product” in spite of and in view of the various regulations and limitations it faces. Typically, what the BOD does is more general than I think many may realize. The BOD does not specifically intervene in teaching methodologies, curricular issues, and so forth, but rather, sees that appropriately qualified individuals are in positions to do this, starting first and foremost with the selection and support of the Principal. For most day-to-day situations, the Principal assumes responsibility.

The main challenges the BOD faces is keeping the school financially solvent—balancing tuition against the costs of implementing the program—we consider ourselves doing well if we are able to break even at the end of a given school year, and if ahead (quite rare) doing great. The BOD assists in the preparation and approval of the school’s operating budget, with input from the BOT. The BOT meets much less frequently than the BOD, with between three or four meetings per year. In some ways, the BOT is set up to check the BOD, to make sure it is operating within the stipulated laws of the foundation, and to offer advice and comments on the most important issues facing the school. The BOT offers a voice to a greater number of people, and the concerns raised by the BOT are then brought to the BOD.

I turn now to issues that the BOD recently considered at our last meeting in June. I apologize that the reporting of these issues are delayed, but this is because, following the Act of Endowment, we cannot “publish” any information regarding our discussions until after the following meeting, during which the meetings of the previous meeting are formally approved. Anyway, onto the issues. Our meetings always have reports from the secretary (in order to approve the minutes of the previous meeting) followed by a report from the Director General (who outlines the agenda and highlights any issues of particular importance), then the Principal’s report (which looks at current/projected enrollments, ongoing certification issues with the various organizations HIS belongs to, any kind of curricular or personnel issues, and so forth). This is then followed by the Treasurer’s report, which outlines where we are at that specific point in time, and again looks at short and long-term projections based on current enrollments, and expected changes. After these reports, we usually discuss issues of particular currency and/or importance.

At the June retreat, our main task was to review and edit the newly revised “By-Laws” for the school, which is essentially a working copy of the Act of Endowment that has been tailored to fit the operation of the international school—an “operator’s manual” of HIS. We also considered at length issues related to the “Strategic Intents” document which is part of the HIS School Development Plan. Other issues included looking into the viability of establishing a dormitory for older students, and to that end, one such location was considered, with arrangements made to visit the facility later, in July. Another issue regarded the need for outside investment and the feasibility in garnering such investments. We concluded by scheduling the next BOD meeting, to be held on August 25.

Thank you for reading—in the future, these notes will be much shorter, but at the beginning of every school year, I will include this introduction to the Boards for those who have newly arrived. I hope to see you at the school and wish everyone all the best for a productive and successful school year.

Yours,
Peter M. Skaer
Director General, Board of Directors
Member, Board of Trustees

Bentos (lunches)

A reminder that bentos start on 18 September. Invoices will be sent out now for all the families who have ordered.

PTA

Short update to be emailed on Monday.

The Crane Video

The Crane, 7 September 2018