Review of the homework policy - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Review of the homework policy

Posted on September 6, 2007

by Dr. Edna Hussey on September 6, 2007

Thank you, parents, for taking an active interest in your child's learning by attending the Open Houses these past two Wednesday evenings. Teachers explained the class curriculum, some instructional practices, assessment of learning, the daily schedule, special events, and homework and discipline policies.I know you received several handouts from the teachers, so please take some time to read the information. If, at any time, you have questions or concerns throughout the year, do not hesitate to call or send the teacher an email. Thank you for signing up to volunteer for classroom and `Ohana activities. As you learned at Open House, we're a busy community and offer several opportunities to celebrate our children and families, and we thank you for your support in organizing these events.

Homework is inevitably one of the topics about which parents have the most questions or concerns. If you're a returning family, you might recall a couple of letters in which I explained the discussions at faculty meetings.  MPI's school publication, the Owl Line, Spring 2007 issue, contained a lengthy article explaining the homework policies and practices in the elementary, middle school, and high school. Essentially, we acknowledge that homework has merit if relevant and meaningful rather than assignments merely to keep a student occupied -- "Assignments should be thoughtfully selected or designed by the teachers, with the intent of giving students further opportunities for understanding concepts and ideas" (from the elementary homework policy outlined on pages 16-17 in the handbook). It's a good idea to clarify with your child's teacher the expectations for homework.  The most important homework, across any grade level, is reading (e.g., being read to, reading aloud, independent silent reading), so make reading one of those must-do activities every night.  

In the spring semester last year, I explained in one of my Thursday letters that we would discontinue the multiage third-fourth grade trip to the Big Island for several reasons. Each year, the number of families attending steadily increased (nearly 350 persons, including students, siblings, parents, and extended family members), which added far more responsibilities to the teachers in arranging air travel, ground transportation, meals, excursions, etc.  Then there were problems with last-minute cancellations or special arrangements for family members. The teachers spent much time trying to juggle all the planning with their daily teaching. All adults coming as chaperones were required by MPI to complete a background check (fingerprinting) and a recent tuberculin skin test. Just the sheer number of persons on the trip detracted from the instructional intent of the trip. After some research, we learned that many O`ahu sites could easily replace similar destinations on the Big Island. Speaking on behalf of the faculty, I know they are quite relieved of the immense task of planning the Big Island trip!

While several parents have expressed disappointment because the trip provided a convenient family vacation, the faculty and I feel that the purpose of the trip -- to enrich our students' learning about the culture, geography, and history of Hawaii -- had been compromised. Instead, we'd like to refocus our efforts on making sure that our students are given rich learning experiences right here on our island that meet our curriculum goals and needs.

Mahalo to all the families who have generously donated items for our MPI Welcome BBQ! We ask that you deliver all NON-PERISHABLE items to the elementary school no later than Wednesday, September 12. PERISHABLE items may be delivered on Friday afternoon, September 14. Please label your donated items with your name and your child's name so we can properly acknowledge your donation. Denise Hirano, Food Committee chairperson, thanks you for your generosity.

Mark October 26th, 5:30pm, for a brief meeting with Middle School Principal Dwayne Priester. He'll attend the `Ohana meeting in the dining room.

Intuition, the school uniform company, has just screened new small youth t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts.  Monogrammed jackets are also available in all youth sizes. If you would like to purchase any items, get an order form from the elementary office or call Intuition at 735-6871. All orders will be delivered to students through their teachers.
Notice the new banners attached to the light posts on campus?  

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey