AIA Award of Merit to MPI Preschool & Elementary - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

AIA Award of Merit to MPI Preschool & Elementary

Posted on August 30, 2007

by Dr. Edna Hussey on August 30, 2007

Dear Parents of Mid-Pacific Institute,

Last week I wrote about the importance of Open House, and this past Wednesday night, the parents of preschoolers and multiage first and second graders gathered for a very informative evening.  Parents learned more about their child's classroom curriculum, instructional approaches, assessment practices, special projects and events.  The faculty prepared slide presentations and an activity to illustrate a learning experience.  `Ohana representatives for each class explained the many school activities requiring parent support.  It was also an evening for parents to renew friendships sparked by their own children's friendships.  Of course, Open House is one of many opportunities to learn about the program.  The faculty welcomes your emails or phone calls and your interest in your child's learning.  We've just begun the journey!

I'm pleased to announce that Mid-Pacific Institute's preschool and elementary received a 2007 Award of Merit for excellence in design quality and aesthetics. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) presented this award to Urban Works, the architectural firm that designed the school. A distinguished and independent jury of five architects selected 10 projects for awards from a field of 41 entries. According to one juror,  "Thoughtful details, such as low window sills, allow children to better understand their surroundings." The following is a brief rationale from the awards program for Urban Works' distinguished honor:  

"This project creates a village for learning, scaled to the needs of children. The site plan carefully accounts for the direction of the sun and prevailing trade winds, while weaving a series of large and open spaces and courtyards into it. The integration of the old dormitory building into the new administration building and dining hall has given new life to an outdated structure, making it an important component of the school."

During the charrette process, which included several faculty members, Urban Works listened carefully to our vision of an environment intended to create a village atmosphere -- houses surrounding a central courtyard where the community gathers for special activities and where relationships with others and the environment are celebrated and supported. The school's design is not only aesthetically appealing but also functionally effective.  We couldn't ask for a more breathtaking natural backdrop from the Ko`olau mountains. Congratulations to Urban Works' principal architect Lorrin Matsunaga; Gordon Wallace, project architect; and project designers Michael Toma and Cathi Ho. The September issue of Honolulu Magazine will feature the AIA awardees. Large banners of the AIA projects receiving awards will be on display at various public venues.

As we complete our third week of school, I'm happy to report that your children have settled into class routines.  As many of you learned at the Open House for preschool through second grade, each classroom has its own rhythm, and your children have not skipped a beat. And I am becoming fairly proficient at remembering the names of each child, all 251 of them! If I pause just a moment when greeting your child, give me another second or two to bypass the "senior moment."

Some reminders:
•  Please turn in forms for flu shots, school photos, and extended-day classes.
•  No school on Monday, September 3. Labor Day.

Have a safe three-day labor-free weekend (in your dreams) with your children.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey