Kanagawa Prefectural Tsurumine High School

v. Historical Background

Over the last half-century the population of Kanagawa has increased steadily due to more and improved commuter links to Tokyo. This population boom created the need for high schools where previously there were none. To deal with the problem, the Kanagawa Prefectural Government came up with a plan to build 100 new schools. Tsurumine was one of those schools. Tsurumine was founded as a co-ed school in 1975 and in its first year was located in a part of another school nearby. There were only four classes with a total of 181 first-year ( 10th grade) students. The following year they were all moved into the newly-built school at the current location. At that time there was nothing but some paddy fields around it.

Kanagawa Prefecture’s new schools were designed to cater for up to 1600 students in 36 classrooms. Tsurumine was no exception, and by 1980 our student population amounted to more than 1600. But after several years came a drastic shift in demographics as the inflow of population from other parts of Japan slowed down and families had fewer babies than ever before. This has led to an annual drop in enrolments in all schools. As of 2006, however, the enrolments have started to resume a gradual increase.

vi. Tsurumine Today

Tsurumine is well known for its international-exchange programs and overseas returnee education. “ Returnee” here means Japanese students who have lived abroad with their families for a few years and come back to Japan. They are provided with small-sized classes to help them study various subjects separately from other students in accordance with their abilities. As for the international-exchange programs, we accept two to three one-year exchange students every year. So far we’ve had students from America, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Korea and some other countries. We also accept some short-term foreign students. Every so often moreover, we welcome larger groups from overseas schools.

Club activities are also one of the unique features of Tsurumine in terms of the number of students who are members of various clubs. Approximately 75 % of the students do some sports and cultural club activities after school every day and even on weekends. Those clubs are taken care of mainly by the teachers.

Teachers’ responsibilities are not limited to teaching their specific subject. They also take care of some club activities and share tasks related to school administration, the student council, vocational and future guidance or affairs associated with overseas returnees and exchange students, ect.

School events such as the Sports Day, School Festival and Chorus Festival characterize Tsurumine as well. All these events are run by the ad-hoc student committee for the respective events. Students look forward to these events and try to make them as entertaining and memorable as possible. In some cases they work much harder for the events than for the subjects they take!

Most of the graduates from this school go to colleges, universities and various occupational schools. Very few try to get a job immediately after finishing school. Some students also go overseas to study for a year before they finish school.

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