June 15, 2018

Dear friends and families of Yujin Gakuen:

It’s been a whirlwind this month with the 30th Anniversary Celebration, the fifth grade and kindergarten promotion ceremonies and the parent meetings. Now that the year has come to and end, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. On this last day of school, I want to let you know what our staffing will look like and provide some additional information about our schedule for next year.

Staffing for 2018-2019

Kindergarten – Takako Sensei and Robin Sensei will continue teaching. Wendy will continue as education assistant, but Tomo Sensei will be taking a leave of absence for the year, joining his wife who will be working in Japan. We will hire a long-term substitute who speaks Japanese to fill his role until he returns. Naoko Sensei will return and she may still work at the kindergarten level, since we are expecting a third classroom, but it has not yet been decided. We have screened candidates and are preparing to interview for the other Japanese teacher. If we are able to find a suitable hire, we will move forward with hiring an English teacher. Our plan is to have a half-time Japanese and a half-time English teacher, but we will consider hiring one bilingual if the candidate is able to teach in both languages.

First Grade – Sayaka Sensei will have a new partner, Maran Reyes, who is a current YG parent, and is finishing a job as a teacher at Prairie Mountain.

Second – Fourth Grades – The teaching assignments will remain the same at these grades. Kumiko Sensei and Monica Sensei will remain at 2nd grade, Kenji Sensei and Amanda Sensei will continue at 3rd grade, Jemei Sensei and Ashley Sensei will stay at 4th.

Fifth Grade – Mariko Sensei will return as 5th grade Japanese, but Kelly Sensei will be taking a leave of absence for the first semester. We will hire a long-term substitute to fill in for her. This year, Bree Young was filling in for Kelly Sensei, and we are hoping she will be able to fill in again.

Music – Giulie Smith will teach music full-time next year for the entire year. All students will have music twice a week next year.

PE – We do not have a PE teacher assigned at this time, but we will be hiring a full-time teacher for next year. All students will have PE twice a week next year.

Comprehensive Learning Center– Jennifer Slater will return as the teacher in the Comprehensive Learning Center. Lisa Defrancesco, Elayne Goodban, and Kaisa Erickson will return as education assistants.

Learning Center – With Mary being reassigned and Karen retiring. Melissa Lutsch will be assigned to the Learning Center half-time and will be working half-time at Spring Creek. Katja Sirvinskas will be joining our staff as the new education assistant.

Bilingual Education Assistants – Jeanne Sensei and Machiko Sensei will return next fall. Machiko Sensei will provide supervision at recess and cover the office for our new secretary next year.

School Secretary – Some of you may have met Amy Eastman already while she was in the office a couple of times this week. Amy comes to us from Fox Hollow and also worked as a school secretary at Fern Ridge. I know she will do a great job for us next year.

Recess – Next year, all students, including 4th and 5th graders, will have recess three times each day, a ten-minute recess in the morning, 40 minutes of lunch and recess combined, and a ten-minute recess in the afternoon. There will be separate recess for grades K-2 and 3-5, so there will be fewer students on the playground during recess.

Administration – Lavinia Sensei will return as assistant principal, and I will return as well.

As we close out this  year, we say a tearful goodbye to those who are leaving us, Nancy Sensei, Diane Sensei, Tomo Sensei (although only for a year), Rachelle Sensei, who is going on to Family School, and Ms. Kelly Sensei, who will not be returning next fall.

As we look forward to summer break, I want to say one final goodbye to the outgoing fifth grade class. It was great knowing you. I hope you will leave with fond memories and continue learning Japanese. And for everyone, I wish you all a happy and safe summer




Tom Piowaty