Help Save the 8th Grade Japan Research Residency Trip

Description of Japan Research Residency:

The Japan Research Residency (JRR) is not a “trip” in the conventional sense. The JRR serves as the “capstone” academic experience for 8th graders enrolled in the Japanese immersion program at Mt. Tabor MS each year and aligns well with PPS Administrative Directive 6.50.021-AD that states “Travel-study programs provide experiential learning opportunities for students and further district goals for intercultural understanding.” The JRR is district sponsored, but is not a required experience. In April/May, after state testing, students travel to Hiroshima, Osaka and Asago-Shi, Japan. They complete interdisciplinary assignments, are paired in homestays, meet daily in field study groups, travel to various historic and culturally significant locations and complete group and individual field study assignments. Students are expected to negotiate restaurants, train stations and phones using their Japanese language and cultural skills. In addition, students will have opportunities to visit and carry out exchanges with six different middle schools.

Purpose of the JRR:

  1. Learn to negotiate Japanese culture and society independently increasing proficiency in oral and written Japanese as well as cross cultural communication.
  2. Conduct hands-on research related to math, science, social studies, language arts and Japanese. Projects are begun prior to departure and conclude with major written and oral presentations upon return. The oral presentation serves as a required state writing sample and field study assignment, and project requirements are aligned to state standards for all content areas.

Proposed Changes:

On March 1st 13th the District will be making a determination about the continuation of the 8th Grade Capstone Research Residency, more commonly known as the 8th grade trip.  In response, an ONK parent committee is actively communicating with the District decision makers, advocating for the continuation of this essential component of the JMP middle school curriculum.  Based on these interactions it is clear that our 8th grade Japan trip may be eliminated, as soon as next academic year.  The elimination of the Japan Research Residency effectively means the elimination of the 8th grade curriculum, and the end of a 20 year tradition of inquiry, education and achievement.  Whether you have sent a child on this trip in the past, or hope to do so in the future, without your immediate advocacy the simple truth is, there may be no 8th grade trip. 

What can you do to help:

Bring your child to the PPS Board Mtg, 6:00pm, 2/28/17.  There will be student speakers from the JMP testifying at this meeting.  We are seeking 100 JMP students of all ages to stand silently in support and reinforcement of our student testimonies.  Students who have participated on the trip and students who hope to.  (PPS Meetings are held at the Blanchard Educational Building, 501 N Dixon Street, Portland)