Forestopia Learning Forest -- Miyazaki Prefectural Gokase Secondary School

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"Please Tell Us!" -FAQ

"Please Tell Us!" -FAQ 

Questions about the Characteristics of the School:

What are the advantages of a unified secondary education system?
Our school was the first public unified secondary school in Japan, and 2013 was the 20th anniversary of its establishment. For twenty years, we have achieved great success in building up students' humanity, as well as their academic abilities. Since all students live in the dormitory, they cultivate communication skills, sociability, cooperativeness and patience through autonomous activities that include students of different ages and grades. We provide finely-tuned guidance throughout the entire six-year period of education, and offer small class sizes, with only 40 students in one grade.
What kind of place is Gokase Town?
Gokase Town is located at the heart of Kyushu. The town has a population of approximately 5000 and is surrounded by the abundant natural beauty of the Kyushu Mountains. It is home to the southernmost natural ski run in Japan. In Gokase, one can appreciate verdure in spring, colored leaves in autumn, and snow in winter - students can enjoy the four seasons. Many educational activities at our school are conducted in this rich natural setting, with support from warm-hearted local residents.
What are the distinctive characteristics of Gokase Secondary School?
The distinctive characteristics of our school are finely-tuned instruction which assists students in reaching the path that leads to their dreams; the Forestopia Study, which provides opportunities to learn from experiences; and boarding education, which helps students to cultivate independence and autonomy.@There are only forty students in one grade, which allows us to provide careful and considerate guidance for their studies and for life in general. We provide curricula for the entire six-year education, and in certain grades students are divided into smaller groups. As a result, many students enter top-notch universities, and we achieve a high and stable university admissions rate.
What kind of abilities can students acquire through the Forestopia study?
Students learn from the rich natural setting of the school, and from experts in the local community, through a variety of experiences. These experiences encourage students to take interest in people and nature, and also cultivate a love for the countryside and nature. While working on a report on a self-chosen theme, each student builds up abilities necessary for finding a subject of interest to them and solving problems related to that subject. These abilities can help students to enter universities by AO (Admission Office) exam and recommendation.

Questions about Life in the Dormitory:

What are the advantages of a boarding education?
Students build positive relationships in the dormitory. Friends they make in the dormitory become lifelong friends. Students develop skills and abilities which modern society requires, such as self-management skills (in other words, the ability to take care of oneself); cooperativeness, which they learn in vertical human relationships; communication skills; and leadership.
How does the instruction system work in the dormitory?
Assigned teachers and dormitory instructors take turns staying at the dormitory all day. Six teachers called "housemasters" are at the dormitory from noon to 10pm; three night-duty teachers are at the dormitory from evening until the next morning; and four dormitory instructors, or matrons, are at the dormitory from morning to 8pm. Additionally, several teachers are involved in nighttime study periods at the dormitory.
What are the rules in the dormitory?
Anything that seems to be a cause of trouble in the dormitory is not permitted. For example, cell phones and games are not permitted. As for phone calls, students must use pay phones, which are available at several locations in the dormitory. They can make phone calls only during strictly designated hours, and we transfer phone calls from their family members during these hours. With respect to television, students are only allowed to watch morning and evening news on weekdays. Consequently, students have more chances to be exposed to the printed word, and have time to read newspapers, magazines and books.
What happens if the students get sick?
When students get sick, they are taken to an appropriate hospital depending on their symptoms. Regular health watch is done at roll call in the morning and at night. When students are absent from school, matrons at the dormitory nurse them and bring meals to their rooms. If a student's condition is serious, or if a student is diagnosed with an infectious disease, we may ask their guardian to take them home.
When and how often do students go back to their homes?
In principle, if they wish, students can go back to their homes every week. There are "return-home days" on which all students must go home, and "optional return-home days" on which only students who want to go home will go home. We sometimes arrange chartered buses to and from school. Students can use these buses at their expense.

Regarding the Inspection-and-Selection Test, or Entrance Aptitude Test for Prospective Students:

Is it possible for prospective students living outside of Miyazaki Prefecture to enter the school?
If both the prospective student and his/her guardian(s) begin living in Miyazaki Prefecture before the admission ceremony, it is possible for the student to enter the school. Since the inspection-and-selection test held in January 2007, it has been possible for prospective students living outside of Miyazaki Prefecture to take the test. However, it is only allowed under the condition that the student and his/her guardian(s) are able to begin living in Miyazaki Prefecture before the admission ceremony. For more details, call the Miyazaki Prefectural Board of Education, Educational Policy Division at 0985-26-7239.
What are the contents of the test?
The inspection-and-selection test contains an aptitude test, an essay and an interview. The aptitude test is designed to measure a student's capabilities in general, which are expected to be developed through daily study based on the curricula used at elementary schools. For example, the test evaluates troubleshooting skills, decision-making skills, intelligence and judgment. The essay test is designed to evaluate comprehension ability, power of expression, and reading skills - all of which are required when hearing, reading, and responding to the essay questions and materials. Please refer to the past tests available on our website.
What kinds of students are desirable for the school?
At the dormitory, students have to take care of themselves - they assume a set of responsibilities that includes washing their clothes and cleaning up their rooms. Therefore, self-management skills are required. Preferable personalities we have mentioned at School Information Sessions are as follows:
  • One who has motivation - A student who can say "I'll do it," all the time.
  • One who works on things in earnest - A student who tries to follow rules and keep promises
  • One who places importance on kindness - A student who can greet and be kind to other people.
  • One who likes to wonder - A student who thinks "Why?" and asks questions.
  • One who is energetic both mentally and physically - A student who always thinks positively.
Do I have to enter the school if I pass the inspection-and-selection test?
You can decline admission, even if you have passed the entrance test. We will ask whether you intend to enter the school after your entrance has been guaranteed. You can make up your mind at that time.
Can I transfer to the school?
Our school's educational target is designed to be achieved through a complete six-year course of education. We do not accept transferred students, even if existing students leave the school and, therefore, there is vacancy.
Can I leave to attend another school?
You cannot change schools easily. Some students leave the school because of illness or family matters. So, it is possible to change schools. However, since we are a secondary school, our curricula are designed for a program of six-year education, and our educational activities are based on those curricula. Therefore, you cannot change schools easily.
Do all students have to go to universities or higher educational institutions after graduation?
Since our target is to send students to universities or other higher education institutions, most students go on to higher education. There have been some students who got jobs after graduation, so it is not necessary to pursue further education. However, most students at our school do so.
How often do guardians have to go to the school?
There are three open school days per year. Additionally, guardians may have to pick up their child(ren) before and after the holidays in May, the summer holidays and the winter holidays. We sometimes arrange chartered buses to and from school. Students can use these buses at their expense.
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