Animal Inquiries lead to animal awareness - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Animal Inquiries lead to animal awareness

Posted on December 6, 2007

by Dr. Edna Hussey on December 6, 2007

A shorter yet very busy week as parents of multiage first and second graders attended their children’s inquiry presentations on their animal research. In our tradition of inquiry, students selected animals — snakes, lions, penguins, whales, eagles, owls, etc. — they were interested in studying, including the animal’s natural habitat.  Students generated research questions, read and visited a variety of resources, synthesized information, and presented their learning in power point presentations. If you visit the school, you’ll see a representation of an eagle’s nest that one group of students constructed. The nest sits on a platform built to look like treetops where an eagle’s nest might be found (one of our talented parents constructed the platform and tree tops). We learned that an eagle’s nest can sometimes be up to 10 feet high! Parents are quite involved in the inquiry process. Some parents are invited to come to a class to work with small groups of students to help them with finding and reading research information.  

As an outgrowth of their animal research, two classes have decided to raise money for Heifer International to demonstrate their love of animals. Since 1994, Heifer International has helped millions of families in many countries to build sustainable communities through global initiatives to teach environmentally sound agricultural techniques, provide training in animal management, and bringing an end to world hunger. Check out their website at  The students are organizing a bake sale (a mini-economics unit) on December 18 during first recess. I’ll remind you about the bake sale in next week’s letter.

Our week was punctuated by the strong storms that whipped through the state on Wednesday (and continues though in lesser degree of intensity).  I realize that many neighborhoods were without electrical power and road conditions were hazardous. If you had electricity or battery-operated radios, you might have been able to tune in to a radio station for updates.  Many of our families wanted to know if school would be open that day. And perhaps many of you were frustrated not to hear any news about MPI on the radio stations. Please know that President Rice did attempt many times to contact the major radio stations, and when he finally got through was told that only the names of closed schools would be reported. The administration is looking into better ways to communicate with our families about the closure of school during emergency situations. In the meantime, and before we implement a communication system, unless MPI is on the list of closed schools, expect that school will be open that day.  Also, because some neighborhoods can be more seriously affected by severe weather than others, parents need to assess whether it’s a good idea to take their children to school. By the way, about ¼ of the preschool/elementary children and 2 faculty members were absent from school this past Wednesday due to the storm.

The children were treated to a medley of Christmas music favorites performed by the MPI band and orchestra today during lunch in the dining room. Check the school’s photo gallery.

No school on Friday, December 7, as the faculty prepare for the parent-teacher-student conferences on December 13 and 14. Although you already have scheduled meetings with your child’s classroom teacher, I strongly encourage you to also meet with your child’s specialist teachers in art, music, character education, and physical education. There’s still time to schedule a meeting with any or all of these teachers by calling the school office or emailing the specialists. They will be in their offices or classrooms on December 13 and 14. We are completely booked for childcare on both conference days and cannot take any more reservations because of staffing. Childcare ends at 5:30pm on conference days.

In next week’s letter, which will be printed and placed in the packet to go home on Wednesday, 12/12/07, I will discuss in more detail the nature of the conferences and what to anticipate during the conference.  Parent attendance to the conference is required because your participation is essential to your child’s success as a learner.

Our special Christmas chapel has been rescheduled to Monday, December 10, 9:00am. We are happy to continue this Epiphany tradition in the preschool and elementary as Mid-Pacific Institute. Your child should wear his/her green MPI collar (polo) shirt to school on Monday. You are welcome to attend the chapel, though space is limited.

Since so many of our families were very supportive of Moon Over Manoa through donations and attendance to the event, the MPI Office of Development is treating all the children in the preschool and elementary to a pizza lunch with a beverage and fruit on December 12. However, your child should still bring a snack to school for first recess. If your child is allergic to cheese, please have your child bring his/her own lunch to school.  All students in the Sodexho lunch program will receive their regular lunch beverage with the pizza.  All other students will have bottled water.  Many thanks to the Office of Development!

If you have a fourth grade son who is interested in playing volleyball for the Christian Schools Athletic League, of which we are members, the first day of practice is Monday, December 10.  Participation in CSAL boy’s volleyball is for boys, grades 4-6, and all ability levels. There will be no cuts from the team. Practices will be Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30pm, for the first two weeks, and three times a week thereafter, including games. Students must dress appropriately and bring a water bottle and snack, if needed.  Parents should pick up their children from the elementary court by 5:30pm. If you have any questions, please email our p.e. teacher, Pam Jenkins, at

Don’t forget to see our MPI Choir perform at Honolulu Hale’s Christmas City Lights on December 9, 15, 16, 21, and 22, all performances beginning at 7:00pm.

Heads up regarding the Christmas Program: We will be distributing two tickets per family to the December 19 6:00pm performance in Bakken auditorium via the weekly packets on December 12. We are working on a plan to accommodate the other members of your family or family friends who might want to also attend the performance. I should have the details ready for my December 12th letter.

Still don’t have my Christmas tree up at home, though I’m taking the spirit of this season all in stride. No bah, h humbug, for me!

Happy Chanukah, families.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey