If you are weren't at Salsa Under the Stars this past Friday, this is what you would have seen and heard: a cast of over 900 students from all grade levels, families, grandparents, alumni, faculty and staff streaming through the gates onto the elementary campus . . . festive lights and paper decorations . . . rhythmic Latin music by the legendary Mr. Salsa himself, Rolando Sanchez, and his talented group . . . a large gathering of people on the courtyard lawn bouncing, bopping, head-nodding, shoulder-shaking, hip-tipping to the music . . . plates brimming with the makings of burritos, salsa and chips . . . children running in the dark between dancers . . . ten lines of people following the lead of the dance instructor on stage . . . . four steps to the right, pivot, pivot, use your hips, point, tap, point tap . . . strains of laughter harmonizing with echoes of La Bamba . . . . For myself, it was just pure joy to see the wonderful mix of all ages enjoying the music, dancing, food, and celebration of this MPI community. Salsa Under the Stars was much more than a dance party. It was a demonstration of how a school community collaborates and makes great "music" together. (See the all-school photo gallery.)
We are grateful to many across the school community who planned and
prepared MPI's first all-school dance party -- the Parent Community
Association, the Alumni Association, Student Government Association, the various language
classes and their teachers in the middle school and high school, the
sports teams and their coaches, and the maintenance crew. Special
thanks to Diane Koshi for this brilliant idea, to Colleen Otsuka who
helped to bring school groups together, to Eri Ackman for coordinating
the food, and to Bill Wheeler for setting up the sound equipment.
We were also able to collect over $1,200 at the event for the Haitian
tragedy. Funds will be given to the American Red Cross. If you'd like
to contribute to this collection, please make your donation to the
American Red Cross by Wednesday, January 20, and we'll add it to the
Our third and fourth graders returned safe, happy, but tired from their
overnight stay at Camp Erdman. (But evidently not so tired to miss
Salsa Under the Stars!) Students learned about the natural environment
and participated in team-building activities. There's something
memorable about a camping experience with your friends, away from home,
sleeping in cabins, eating in large hall, and getting to know one
another in a context completely different from the school environment.
Admissions "season" has begun at MPI and many independent and private
schools in Hawaii. Last week and this coming week, Ella Browning,
Associate Director of Admission, and I will complete presentations to
parents applying their children to the preschool. Our Saturday
admission assessments of applicants begins January 23rd and continues
through April, during which time information presentations are made to
parents applying their children to kindergarten through fifth grade.
Finally, we continue our small group lunch discussions about inquiry
teaching and learning. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, we gather
in the Tech Lab for ongoing professional development through our
discussions about the nature of inquiry and the most effective
strategies to support instruction. This semester we will also have a total of twelve teacher candidates working with our faculty from kindergarten
through fifth grade. We're honored to mentor a cohort of eight from
the University of Hawaii's teacher education program working on an
undergraduate degree in elementary education, two master degree
students from Chaminade University, one student teacher specializing in
physical education certification, and another in music education. It's
literally a full house at faculty meetings since our student teachers
are invited to participate in these meetings.
If you have some extra time this weekend, take a look at our
specialists blogs or blogs from any of the other classrooms. The blogs
give you a very good idea about what's happening in each grade level.
Never a dull moment!
In honor of all those who work tirelessly to promote peace in our
homes, our community, our nation, and in the world, spend some
peace-filled time with your children.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey