Beginning our journey of learning together - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Beginning our journey of learning together

Posted on August 14, 2009

by Dr. Edna Hussey on August 14, 2009

What an amazing first week of school! Within the first two days, a noticeable sense of calm mixed with degrees of tenuousness, shyness, and apprehension hangs in the air as students test the waters of school culture. There is noticeable physical growth -- every child inches taller with some sporting new haircuts and squeaky new shoes. The children are keen observers, and even the returning students sense something different about "old" friends. There are a whole lot of getting-used-to thresholds they must cross, so imagine what this back-to-school tradition must be like for our youngest keiki entering school for the first time or students throughout the grade levels who are new to Mid-Pacific. This is why our teachers focus on community-building the very first week of school because learning cannot take place until everyone feels safe, secure, respected, and valued.

The students don't just learn each other's name, though it takes more than a few days to master everyone's name. They learn something about each other -- who has siblings, titles of favorite books, movies, or foods, who has traveled to faraway places, who likes yogurt with sprinkles, who has a pet. School, as they soon discover, is not just about fact-finding, but everything about knowing who you are, what and how you can improve as a person, developing positive relationships with others, learning how to solve problems of all kinds, and making good choices. And so we begin our journey of learning together. Two key words will underpin our learning this year: wonder and curiosity. You'll be hearing more about our inquiry throughout the year.

A highlight this week was the school assembly in the dining room. Teachers introduced one another to the children, and teachers with new students introduced their new friends to the rest of the school. We have an assembly each month -- next one is August 20 -- to celebrate our community. A few classes share something about what they're learning, a faculty member might talk about a favorite hobby or interest, and students with birthdays that month are recognized at the assembly. Parents are invited to the assemblies, which are held on a scheduled Thursday at 8:15am and usually run 30 to 45 minutes. Though it'll be standing room for parents, you are more than welcome to attend.

Thanks for your patience with the morning and afternoon autoline. The traffic issues will work themselves out as families settle into a routine for coming to school. There will be another adjustment to traffic when the University of Hawaii and all other schools resume. Our goal is twofold: every child's safety and efficiency in the autoline system. Here are some helpful reminders:

• Make sure your child is seated on the right side of the car rather than behind the driver so that your child does not exit into the lane for passing cars.

• Try to avoid leaving backpacks in the car trunk so as not to hold up the traffic behind you.

• Drive all the way to the end of the turnaround or as far down the lower autoline curb.

• Allow the adult supervisor or HUGSS student to open the car door.

• Children should be exiting or getting into their cars closest to where the adult supervisor is standing.

• If your child exits or gets into the car several cars behind, do not pull out into the passing lane as this can cause a traffic accident or traffic jam. Stay in the drop-off or pick-up lane until you can merge into the passing lane.

• Best time to drop off your child in the morning is between 7:00am and 7:20am. Best time to pick up (grades 1-5) is between 2:40 and 3:00pm.

• Above all, patience is the key.

We are 265 students and 31 faculty and staff members strong in the preschool/elementary! The year will go quickly, so take the time to savor these days with your children. They are truly gifts to us!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey