Posted on January 18, 2007
Last semester, our `Ohana president Kim Soares and her sister Pam Yoshihiro organized a letter-writing campaign for the troops in Iraq. Most classes wrote heartfelt letters of support or drew colorful messages, which were carefully packed along with non-perishable food items donated by East O`ahu Realty. We received a message from the commanding officer of the United States Marine Corps Squadron 363, Colonel A.D. Broughton.
He wrote at Christmastime:
The Marines and sailors of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, The Red Lions, would like to thank all of you for your recent care packages. This means a lot to us to know that our fellow Americans from wonderful towns, such as Honolulu, still support deployed service members in the fight against terrorism. To you all, it may seem not like much, but we in the Red Lions appreciate your time and effort. The Red Lions of HMH-363 fly CH-53D heavy lift helicopters. We are usually stationed in Kane`ohe Bay when not deployed, but our Marines and Sailors come from cities and towns all across the United States, with several men and women from Hawaii. Please thank all the students from Mid-Pacific Elementary for their support.
Many thanks to Kim Soares and Pam Yoshihiro for coordinating the letter writing, food collection, packing, and mailing. I read some of the children’s letters, and I know their words touched the hearts of the recipients.
I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of parent Wilfred Tochiki, who made the newspaper pom-poms for every student (and more!) at the basketball game last week. Now that’s spirit!
An important part of the accreditation process is for a school to continually review progress on its strategic plan, which covers all areas of school operation, from governance to educational program to finances and facilities. The Board of Trustees and administration have been meeting periodically to address MPI’s strategic plan, with input from the faculty. To address our efforts in providing a first-class educational program for all learners preschool through high school, we have been reading and discussing the work of Dr. Tony Wagner, Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools. Wagner is Co-Director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We invited him to spend the day at MPI this past Tuesday, during which time he observed classes and met with focus groups of students and faculty. We asked him to specifically look at any change and transition issues between elementary, middle, and high school. In a debriefing session with Wagner, we learned that the students feel confident as they move from elementary school into middle school, despite the typical challenges of being on a larger campus, making new friends, having more homework and projects, and working with teachers in each content area (unlike elementary school, where teachers are responsible for all core areas). In addition, Wagner commented on the friendly environment and courteousness of the students. Wagner was helpful in challenging us to constantly work towards improving the quality of teaching at all grade levels by focusing on teaching supervision. We hope to continue consulting with Dr. Wagner and other experts.
All of our afterschool special classes are in full swing this week o ready to go next week. Ballet and sewing/knitting are new classes. If any of your children are not enrolled in the afterschool childcare program, but have special classes (e.g., art, ballet, piano, etc.) scheduled after 3:00pm, your child must be enrolled in the childcare program to be supervised by our afterschool program personnel (unless you supervise your own child). We do want all of our students accounted for and supervised for their own safety.
Although not finalized, it’s likely that the first day of school for the elementary students will be either August 9 or August 13. I understand some of you are trying to work out family vacations. I hope to be providing you a calendar of the upcoming school year soon.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey