Happy New Year and Welcome Back! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

Posted on January 4, 2007

by Scott Yoshinaga on January 4, 2007

Happy 2007! As we begin this new year, the faculty and I wish you and your family good health and joyful experiences ahead. This past Tuesday, as the faculty met to plan for the second semester, we began by sharing stories about our two-week interim break. The overwhelming highlights were the priceless memories of being with family and friends, as I’m sure they were for you.

We also revisited our goals for this school year: 1) to strengthen the preschool/elementary program to better meet the needs of diverse learners, and 2) to create a sense of unity among the students, faculty, & staff, preschool – grade 12. To address our first goal, we have been slowly implementing Math Investigations, a new math curriculum, which more effectively focuses on the teaching and understanding of math concepts, as supported by the National Council of Teaching Mathematics.

Classroom teachers have been “mapping” the K-5 social studies curriculum, in an effort to align content, goals and objectives, instructional methodology, projects, and assessment (mapping also supports professional development). We’ll be looking at reading assessment and analyzing the quality of student writing through a writing assessment process. And we’ve also been noting possible changes to the performance continua. Whew!

We determined that we’ve actually been doing a lot to strengthen our ties with the middle school and high school (e.g., preschoolers learning Japanese dancing with the middle school; participation in the Ho`olaulea; fifth and sixth graders in many social activities; the MPSA jazz band performances during lunch in our dining room, etc.).

But we plan to do more, especially with the next special activity — attending the varsity basketball team game on January 10, 5:30pm, in the MPI gym. We’ll be organizing a few activities with the basketball team on our elementary campus next week, but we’d like to encourage everyone to attend the game on January 10th. All students who wear their MPI green shirt (regular preschool/elementary school uniform t-shirt) will be treated to a pizza dinner prior to the game and free admission to the game. Students must attend the game with a parent or family member (faculty and staff are not expected to supervise afterschool events). However, with parent permission, students already enrolled in the afterschool program can be escorted to the gym around 4:30pm by the afterschool supervisors. Parents will be able to find their children in the gym after 5:00pm that day. Details will be provided to parents of students in the afterschool program. We’ll also have details for parents who’d like to have their children attend the game.

Thirty-five students from preschool through fourth grade participated in “winter camp” activities directed by the staff during the interim. They decorated cookies, took an excursion to City Hall for the holiday displays, played sports, participated in dance and drama activities, and just enjoyed the camaraderie. The weather was cool, crisp, and mostly blue during the interim, so the children took advantage of outdoor play.

The campus was quite busy with renovation projects. A larger drainage pipe was installed in front of Bakken auditorium to circumvent any flooding due to excessive rain. The courtyard between Kawaiaha`o and Atherton buildings was resurfaced, and seating areas with large umbrellas have been installed. The entire parking area by the gym, including the gravel area by the outdoor basketball/volleyball court, have been resurfaced. These renovations will significantly enhance the safety and appearance of the campus.

Next week, we will send home flyers for afterschool classes offered during the second semester. You have already received information for Japanese language and ballet (a new offering!). We’ll continue to offer piano, choir, art, sports, hula, ukulele, and guitar.

MPI admission meetings and assessment sessions begin this January and end in April. Nearly every Saturday is scheduled with admission sessions for preschool, kindergarten, and grades one through four. We have four faculty teams who will be assessing applicants. We are pleased by the strong interest in the educational program that we offer children in Hawai`i.

Perhaps most of you have made your New Year’s resolutions. I’d like to offer two that will ensure your child’s success as a learner at MPI —

1. To read all school communications such as the weekly Thursday letter and teachers’ weblogs to be well informed about my child’s learning community;

2. To partner with the school by supporting my child’s teachers and trusting in their professional expertise and efforts.

Once again, Happy New Year and our very best wishes for a year of enduring peace and joy.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey