First week successes - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

First week successes

Posted on August 14, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on August 14, 2008

We’re off to a wonderful beginning of school year 2008-2009! The entire week has been running smoothly for the most part with so many indicators — very few tears when children said goodbye to their parents in the autoline or just before entering classrooms the first day of school; the broad smile on many children’s faces as they’ve walked onto campus; teachers talking animatedly in the faculty workroom and on their way to their classrooms; relatively few phone calls to the office, even on the first day of school; and the feeling that we’ve settled into a comfortable rhythm early in the school year.  I’m trying my best to learn the names of our new students, who’ve been patient with me as I ask them to repeat their names. I’m getting there!

The entire school gathered in the dining room on Thursday morning for our welcome assembly to introduce the faculty and staff to the children and to introduce all of our new friends from preschool through fifth grade.  Ms. Jenkins, the K-5 physical education teacher, reviewed playground rules via a PowerPoint presentation and
explained that students’ safety and well-being are important to us.  Two multiage third-fourth grade students announced our campus recycling program.  Everyone exited the assembly quietly and happily as they listened to lively, upbeat music.  All parents are invited to attend our monthly assemblies, during which time students celebrating birthdays that month are recognized.  We also celebrate our students’ learning by scheduling curriculum-sharing presentations.  Your child’s classroom teacher will give you advance notice about any special presentations for these assemblies. We are always amazed by the confidence and enthusiasm our students display about their learning.  The next assembly is August 21.  All assemblies begin at 8:15am and end around 8:45am.

As I had explained to all new parents at the orientation sessions, we are sending home packets this week and the next because of all the enclosed information.  Ordinarily, these packets are sent home with your child on Thursday afternoons (check your child’s backpack).  We are offering instruction in Japanese, Mandarin, ballet, guitar/ukulele, piano, tennis, and choir. We realize that some classes overlap, so you and your child will need to make the best decision. We have worked with our afterschool instructors for several years; three are MPI faculty.  Please observe the due dates noted on the forms, which should be returned to our office.  The “CSAL” form refers to the Christian Schools Athletic League for students in grades 4-6.  Several of our MPI students participate in this league after school, and we play with other schools such as Maryknoll, Waiolani Judd, Hawaii Baptist Academy, Le Jardin, etc.

We are beginning our second year of full implementation of Math Investigations, the K-5 math curriculum.  Our investment in Math Investigations has been worth the time and effort, particularly evident in the enthusiasm students have about learning math. They don’t want to skip math class! And we’re finding that our students are developing many more problem-solving strategies. I ask that you attend the special parent evening session on Tuesday, August 19, 6:00-7:30pm, in the dining room, featuring math specialist Gail Parrino, consultant for Math Investigations.  She worked intensively with classroom teachers last year and continues to provide support to our faculty.  I only learned of her availability two days ago, so I apologize for the late notice. If you would like to better understand how your children are now learning math in the 21st century, I heartily encourage your attendance.  Please return the enclosed form to the office by Monday, August 18.  

After one week of school, I have some reminders:
•  Our primary mode of communication is through the website:  It is the easiest and most cost effective means to communicate with everyone quickly. If you go to the preschool/elementary website or your child’s classroom teacher’s webpage, the right sidebar asks you to enter your email address so that you’re notified automatically about any updates.  As a service to all our parents, Ms. Jacobson will enter the email addresses you have provided so that you can receive these notices to check the website for updates.
•  Unless there is an absolute need to send home a packet, we will not be sending packets home.  Check your child’s backpack. Please continue to check the website weekly.  
•  Please carefully check the enclosed class list in the packet.  If there is any information you need to change or remove, please contact Ms. Jacobson at 441-3801 or email as soon as possible.  A new class list will be enclosed in next week’s packet.
•  Students should be wearing the MPI uniform shirt daily.  Special MPI events’ shirts such as Ho`olaule`a, MPI baseball camp, or the 1908 shirt should be worn on Fridays only.  
•  Every first Friday of the month is “Choice Day.”  Students may wear “free dress” following the guidelines on page 29 in the Elementary Handbook and page 46 in the Preschool Handbook.

At least one parent should attend the Open House for your child(ren).  Each teacher will explain the class curriculum, instructional and assessment methods, special class projects and activities, and student expectations. The Open Houses will be August 27 for preschool through second grade and on September 3 for grades three through five.  Both Open Houses begin at 6:00pm in Wilcox Dining Room and will end about 8:00pm in your child’s classroom.  We are unable to provide childcare during Open House, so please make arrangements for your children.  Your participation in Open House is critical to your child’s success as a learner, so plan on attending.

Have you been keeping up with the Olympic Games? While the games do inspire strong feelings of patriotism, even more amazing is to see the wonders of human strength and the incredible tenacity and determination of every athlete. It’s mind-boggling to consider the years of training, self-discipline, and personal sacrifice required for a few minutes’ performance.  Well, now I’ve been encouraged to pick up the speed and incline on the treadmill!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey