Off and running, or should we say dancing in 2010! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Off and running, or should we say dancing in 2010!

Posted on January 9, 2010

by Dr. Edna Hussey on January 9, 2010

Hauoli Makahiki Hou 2010! Aloha, families! After the two-week interim, it was a joy to welcome the students back to school, many them wide-awake and enthusiastic as they stepped out from their cars or walked onto campus. As you can imagine, the children were brimming with yuletide stories of Christmas gifts, family outings, and New Year celebrations, and the teachers made sure there was plenty of time this past Wednesday morning to share these memories at morning circle. What does a school do during the interim? Many teachers enjoyed the holidays with their families and friends, some traveling to be with family across the Pacific.  On campus, the business and school offices remained open while maintenance crews did extensive cleaning in the classrooms, such as floor waxing and carpet cleaning. Speaking for the faculty, I know how much we appreciate our maintenance teams and the outstanding job they do in keeping our facilities and campus safe, well maintained, and aesthetically pleasing. 

Prior to Wednesday when students returned to school, the preschool and elementary faculty met on Monday to review school, professional, and personal goals and met in grade-level groups to plan second-semester curriculum inquiries. On Tuesday, the K-12 faculty gathered in our elementary dining room to hear a riveting presentation by Alfred Solis of the Buck Institute for Education, on project-based learning, another name for inquiry-based learning. This non-profit is focused on improving teaching and learning in the 21st century by creating and disseminating knowledge, practices, research, and products for effective learning, specifically project-based learning. The faculty is excited about this professional development resource, which will serve to improve our teaching schoolwide.

In an effort to deepen our understanding about learning at Mid-Pacific Institute, all faculty members have begun classroom visits to each other's classes.  They've begun these non-evaluative observations in an effort to collect data on demonstrations of learning throughout the school.  Tony Wagner introduced us to the notion of "collaborative inquiry," which will be a method for assessing the educational landscape at MPI.  This schoolwide research is noteworthy because the teachers themselves are conducting it, and we'll have time to discuss our findings on the next professional development day, February 12 (a no-school day).  The three principals have been working collaboratively as a leadership team to guide the professional development of our respective faculties. You'll be hearing more about our ongoing Schools-of-the-Future efforts.  Back on the preschool/elementary campus, the K-5 teachers will continue their lunch meetings, during which time we discuss professional reading, analyze student work, and discuss teaching videos. It is an invigorating time to be a teacher at MPI!

I'd like to invite you to attend Salsa Under the Stars, a preschool through high school community event, organized by representatives throughout the school. The event is this Friday, January 15, at the elementary campus, 6:00-9:00pm. Rolando Sanchez and his band will perform music while we salsa under the stars (let's hope for clear weather!).  I understand there will be lots to eat, thanks to the donations we are beginning to receive. We're grateful to Diane Koshi who is the originator of this brilliant idea for a school community event and has expertly organized a school leadership planning team whose members are just as excited as she is about the event. The children and faculty are learning a salsa line dance to perform on Friday.

Where are my dancing shoes?!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey