ICAN, located in Nagakute offers international and Japanese students an American curriculum based on a Christian philosophy of education and taught in English from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Founded in 1990 by missionaries from the Presbyterian Church of America and the Evangelical Free Church of America, ICAN is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Such Accreditation is something that sets the school apart and ensures that the school maintains high standards for curriculum, faculty, and facilities.
The current enrollment of 91 students from ten countries is taught by 14 American faculty members, including the new School Director, Rebel Houston who we had a chance to speak with.
You are new to Nagoya, and Japan. Where are you from originally?
I am originally from a small town outside of Birmingham, Alabama, in the United States. My family and I first visited Japan on a tour back in December 2011. However, this is the first time for my wife and I to live and work here. It has been exciting for us as we learn more of the Japanese culture and language.
What has the transition to your new job and a new country been like?
In many ways the transition to the Director position and Japan hasn’t been that much of an adjustment as I worked as an administrator in International Christian education in Bangkok, Thailand for over 20 years. I am used to living and working in Asia.
It is exciting to be a learner all over again in regards to the language and culture. It helps put things in perspective. I have had to become a student of the people, culture and language in order to be successful.
Where were your previous postings? What kinds of schools were they?
My previous posts were at Briarwood Christian Schools in Birmingham, Alabama (2013-2015), the International Community School in Bangkok, Thailand (1996-2005; 2006-2013) and Brittin Elementary School in Fort Stewart, Georgia (2005-2006). At the International Community School, I served as an administrator for 6 years so that helped prepare me for the Director position here at ICAN.
What is the biggest thing that has surprised you about ICAN?
One thing that has surprised me is that even though we are a small school with limited facilities, we are able to utilize it so well. We have dedicated teachers who could work for higher salary and benefits elsewhere but have chosen to serve at ICAN. We are growing and developing as a school so that we can meet the needs of the International community in Nagoya. We are a small school with big dreams. We are committed to working together, learning together and growing together.
The American-style curriculum at ICAN is geared towards preparation for college. What kinds of colleges and universities do most students enter when they complete ICAN?
At this point, we have had 3 graduating classes. This coming June will be our fourth. Our graduating classes haven’t been large, as we have had between 5-10 students graduate each year. Our graduates have been accepted at various colleges and universities but it seems that most are entering the US, Canada and some staying here in Japan.
There are a lot of “International Schools” in Nagoya and Chubu these days. What do you think is unique about ICAN?
There are several things that are unique about ICAN. One, we are a Christian International School. Two, our mission is unique as ICAN is a Christ-centered school that impacts the world by providing students with an education based on a biblical worldview in an environment of academic excellence, while cultivating respect for people of all cultures and religions. Three, all of our faculty and staff are Christians who are committed to serving God in International Christian Education. Four, we are a small school that is able utilize our facilities and resources well. Five, we are accredited by two accrediting agencies, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International).
What is a typical school day like?
A typical day for an elementary student would start at 8:30 am. However, depending on the grade level they would finish at different times (Kindergarten 2:50 pm; Grades 1-2 at 3:00 pm; Grade 3 at 3:10 pm and Grades 4-6 at 3:30 pm. Students will cover spelling, writing, Bible, math, social studies, science, physical education and/or music during the school day.
A typical day for a secondary student would start at 8:30 am and then finish at 3:45 pm. The secondary school is on an A/B block schedule. They have 4 periods a day. Each period lasts for 90 minutes. The students will have English, math, science, social studies, Bible, physical education, music along with some elective courses like media journalism, online Advanced Placement (AP) course, etc.
What sort of Extracurricular Activities do you offer?
At ICAN intramural volleyball, basketball, soccer, and other seasonal sports are available. Other extra-curricular activities are offered, such as art club. We have an active parent-teacher group (PTF) that plans family activities throughout the year.
What about the Academic calendar? How many semesters do you have and when do they begin?
Our academic year consists of 180 instructional days divided into two semesters from August to December and January to June. Elementary classes are 45 minutes per day or the equivalent while the secondary school courses follow an A/B block schedule.
If someone is interested having their child attend your school, what is the best way to organize a visit?
One of the best ways to learn more about ICAN is to contact our school office at 0561-62-4196 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have tours for prospective families on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. You can also check out our website. It will have information about our mission, philosophy of education, curriculum, faculty and staff.
International Christian Academy of Nagoya