AASA Japan Delegation Visits Canadian Academy: A Showcase of Innovation and Collaboration in International Education

May 21, 2024

Representatives from AASA and superintendents from across the U.S. visit the Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan
Japan Delegation at Canadian Academy


This week, the AASA Japan Delegation – a group of AASA representatives and educators from across the U.S. – visited the Canadian Academy, an international IB school in Kobe, Japan. We were welcomed by the Head of School and other staff from his administrative team including the elementary and secondary principals, learning leaders and the director of admissions.

The school's current enrollment is 674 students. That includes approximately 40% Japanese and 60% international students representing 44 countries. Like many schools in the U.S., the school's enrollment decreased during COVID, but the school is building its boarding component expecting 40 boarding students for next year. The school includes an Early Childhood Activities Center for 3 and 4 year olds through grade 12. Students stay in the school for an average of 4 years, depending on corporations.

Similar to schools in the US, the school's governance structure includes a board of trustees. We were surprised to learn that they do not have teacher shortages.

An Emphasis on Collaboration & Innovation
Canadian Academy Classroom

The curriculum used in the school stems from the common core for English and Japanese, the Ontario standards, Next Generation Science Standards, in addition to the IB curriculum. Teachers collaborate with learning leaders to develop the curriculum, agree on assessments, and identify the programs to be used – all within a continuous curriculum review process. Given the focus on collaboration, teachers have a lot of time to work together.

The facility includes innovative learning spaces with flexible furniture in classrooms, and hallways. The school has two outdoor fields sponsored by the Nestle and Ellie corporations.

Among some interesting innovative learning experiences we discussed the learning zones where students have flexibility to move around and get their physical and mental needs met. We also heard about "A Week Without Walls" where students embark on learning excursions throughout the country. These excursions may include water rafting, skiing, canoeing and other outdoor activities.

Students get to develop a greater sense of belonging and camaraderie that builds long term friendships and relationships beyond the school during these excursions.

Canadian Academy Brochures

Visits to schools like the Canadian Academy are always a highlight of international trips, and I continue to takeaway new ideas and inspiration. To learn more about the Canadian Academy visit www.canacad.ac.jp.


Gladys Cruz
Gladys Cruz

Superintendent & AASA President, Questar III BOCES in Castleton, N.Y.