New Year Unleashed! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

New Year Unleashed!

Posted on January 11, 2009

by Dr. Edna Hussey on January 11, 2009

Here's to a bright, promising New Year for our MPI families! From the first school day of 2009, it has been a joy to see the children and hear their voices fill the quiet spaces of the campus. During the morning autoline this past Tuesday, every student who passed me on the way to the main gate flashed a smile or waved excitedly. Really! And several ran from the autoline drop-off point to the courtyard, eager to see their friends. From what I could gather eavesdropping on conversations, the big topic of conversation has been an analysis of toys, from Wii games to Transformers and everything else in between.  The teachers have done a quick review this past week of ideas, topics, and skills last discussed in December and are moving forward on curriculum plans.

On Monday, January 5th, the entire faculty gathered for a full day of meetings and in-service.  Every year, the faculty revisits the goals and actions planned at the beginning of each school year and determines mid-year the quality of our efforts, extent of how well we have been working towards achieving our goals, and identifying our next steps.  In the most recent issue of the Owl Line, MPI's quarterly school publication, you may have read about the school's new vision statement.  Our focus schoolwide is to provide an educational program so that students develop the skills to work collaboratively, think creatively, make decisions based on moral and ethical values, and be globally aware.  We believe at the preschool and elementary levels that our inquiry-based approaches and curriculum provides all students with a range of experiences to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to achieve MPI's new vision.  

In order to improve our inquiry approaches, we will embark this semester on collecting data about how we go about implementing a classroom inquiry.  We're interested in the range of inquiry processes from preschool through fifth grade, so the faculty will be observing each other and the students while some aspect of inquiry is taking place.  We'll also take a careful look at some of the "products" of inquiry, e.g., students' questions, observational notes, research drafts, and presentations.  

Our second goal is to revise the performance continua for reading and writing, and also to develop an inquiry continuum since it is the basis of our program. The faculty has assembled into three teams and will be meeting throughout the month to complete a draft for each continuum, which will then be "tested" and revised over several months by looking at actual student work.  This continua revision process actually began this past summer with a core team of teachers, and now we're ready to further develop the continua by expanding the team to include all teachers.  Our collective experience, expertise, and wisdom will help us to develop the continua.

I hope you've checked your child's backpack and retrieved the items from the manila envelope.  Please consider allowing your child to attend Tuesday night's girls' varsity basketball game, MPI vs. Iolani, 6:30pm, at the gym.  The form must be returned tomorrow. The next game is January 27 at 7:00pm, boys' varsity, MPI vs. Punahou. Details about both games are in the packet. 

We begin this Saturday the assessment sessions for children applying to Mid-Pacific, from preschool through fourth grade.  These sessions will be held nearly every weekend through the first week of April. And now that the Christmas decorations have been stored away, it feels good to return to some "normalcy" both here in school and at home!  The second semester always seems to go more quickly, so hang on to your wits and good humor!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey