Our students never cease to amaze us.
Last Thursday a student contingency from the Dan Zhao Yi Piano Center in Sichuan, China, visited us at the elementary school and gave impressive piano performances. Seven children, ages five through fourteen, dressed in brightly colored silk dresses and long-sleeved white shirts, played flawless classical pieces. And all had been taking lessons from one to six years! In front of an audience, our guests carried themselves like artistic performers. They played with dramatic expression. But when they relaxed during lunch and on the playground, they behaved like typical children, with a hint of mischievousness.
Several MPI students, from grades one through four, served as hosts to
their new friends. Our students were cordial, attentive, very helpful,
and just an absolute joy to observe as they showed our guests the
"ropes" on campus. They led their new friends by the hand into the
dining room, escorted them to seats, showed them how to dip the chicken
nuggets into the barbecue sauce, and where to toss their plates.
Outside on the playground I watched our boys demonstrate how to use the
pogo sticks or how to shoot a basketball. We were relieved that
several of the piano students spoke fluent English. I overheard some of
our students enrolled in our afterschool Chinese language program
testing their language skills with our guests. At the end of their
visit, we cheered xie xie, thank you, as they walked off to Bakken
auditorium to perform for the middle school and high school.
This Friday, October 9, about 130 faculty from the preschool through
high school will converge in Bakken for professional development.
Teachers will dialogue, reflect, and learn new ways to improve our
curriculum, instruction, and assessment. We will tangle with the "big
ideas" of 21st century learning and skills necessary to help our
students succeed. The model for our professional development day is
based on the notion of "teachers teaching teachers." Nine teachers
from the preschool and elementary will be part of a 17-member team that
includes middle school and high school. They'll share teaching
strategies about instructional approaches using inquiry, collaboration,
and technology with mixed groups of faculty, preschool through grade
12. This approach to professional development is novel in that we
recognize expertise from within the school rather than bringing in
consultants to MPI. Thank you, parents, for your support since October
9 is a no-school day so that our entire faculty can meet together.
If you've opened your blue Friday packet, you will have seen a one-page
reminder about parent-school communication. I'll repeat some important
• The primary mode of communication is via the school website at
www.midpac.edu. You can access teachers' weblogs and navigate the
website for information about MPI.
• The Parent Intranet is our means of directly contacting parents with
timely and important information. We will post, as much as possible,
• The blue Friday packet will be used less frequently and only in cases where a written return response is needed.
Your homework as parents is to read the website each week because the
teachers and I post updated information weekly. Their blogs and my
weekly letter are posted Saturday and Sunday. Check the website each
This week I will be in San Diego, along with a middle school and high
school teacher visiting three schools recognized as Schools of the
Future. Representatives from seventeen other Hawaii schools who also
received funding to support their Schools-of-the-Future initiative in
their own schools are part of this cohort. We will be meeting
altogether and with our respective school groups to discuss what we'll
be learning. Our intent is to share what we've learned with the MPI
faculty and administration to help move our initiative forward.
This is an exciting time in the history of Mid-Pacific Institute, and
we're glad your children are on this incredible journey with us.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey