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Visiting Academy of the Pacific Rim


(Japanese text to follow)

Last Friday, three colleagues and I visited a very interesting charter school called Academy of the Pacific Rim. It has a unique mission statement:

Our mission is to empower urban students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to achieve their full intellectual and social potential by combining the best of the East – high standards, discipline and character education with the best of the West – a commitment to individualism, creativity and diversity.

APR uses two Japanese words to describe the essence of the culture of the school: Kaizen and Gambatte. APR defines the words in the following way:


KAIZEN – is a Japanese principle meaning continual improvement of ourselves and our community. We engage in daily rituals and routines that help us grow as individuals and as a community.

GAMBATTE – is a Japanese word meaning “persist and never give up.” It is our belief that that our success is based on our effort not on luck.


I will have more to say about this very interesting and impressive school…. I’ll follow up soon so watch this space.


先日、ハーバード教育大学院の仲間3名と学校見学をしました。ボストン南部にあるチャータースクールでAcademy of the Pacific RimというGrades 5-12の学校です。名前にもPacific Rimとありますが、アジアのフィロソフィーをミッションステートメントに取り入れて「改善」や「がんばって」をモットーにしています。日本人が見るとちょっと不思議に思えるかもしれませんが、全校の先生方や生徒たちが一生懸命アジアから学ぼうとしている姿勢には感動しました。ちなみにここは、決して裕福ではない地域のパブリックチャータースクールで生徒の90%位がアフリカンアメリカンで、ラテン系と白人が若干名いますが、アジアの生徒は3%弱だそうです。なのに全校生徒が中国語を習っています。校内には、二宮金次郎のポスターが沢山見られます。能力テストの結果もボストンの平均とマサチューセッツ州の平均をだいぶ上回っていますし、卒業率も進学率もパブリックスクールの中ではとても高いそうです。とてもユニークな学校なのでまた報告します。


  1. Cris

    October 7, 2008 @ 6:10 pm


    Yup,japanase peaple have strong principle and vat culture.
    So…GAMBATTE you ppl !!!

  2. eduleader

    October 7, 2008 @ 9:27 pm



  3. Masa

    October 10, 2008 @ 10:46 pm


    Wow, this is very interesting!
    The two pillar concepts “kaizen” and “gambatte” remind me of my studious Nikkei friends in Argentina. I feel like “gambatte” could be a complex concept to grasp for someone who didn’t grow up in Japanese culture (NOT to say that non-Japanese people wouldn’t understand by any means) but I’m very curious to know more about how the school tries to foster such a learning environment!

  4. eduleader

    October 11, 2008 @ 9:18 pm


    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Masa. I actually observed the concepts in action in some of the classes. In one class, the teacher asked the students to be “kaizen master” and come up with an innovative solution to a problem. Just as Toyota’s commitment to quality took root in labor forces outside Japan, concepts relating to school work ethic can really take root in various cultural settings.

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