Posted on May 17, 2010
Suitcases are unpacked. I arrived home late Sunday night, still thinking about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences I enjoyed just a few days ago. After a 23-hour journey from Italy to Germany, across the Atlantic and continental U.S., then over the Pacific, it's a wonder that I was half way around the world from Hawaii just a day ago. I lived in a municipality of about 100,00 in Reggio Emilia (northern Italy) then traveled to Florence, population not quite 400,000, and on to Rome, population nearly 3 million! The progression, though not entirely intentional, was advantageous for this traveler. The highlights of my journey include the weeklong study tour in Reggio Emilia where I learned first-hand how fortunate we are to have modeled our preschool on the early childhood schools in Reggio Emilia. Other highlights include having seen the great masterpieces of artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Caravaggio, then the incredible architectural wonders such as the Coliseum, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Hadrian Wall surrounding Rome. I admit nearly crying when I gazed at Michelangelo's "Creation" on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and then his Pieta. Did I fail to mention the food? Hands down, the best food I ate was in Reggio Emilia. Incredible pasta, mama mia! There are many other reflections I have about this journey through Italy, most about what I learned while in Reggio Emilia, which you'll continue to hear about now and then.
If you've checked the teachers' blogs, many have reminders about the upcoming conferences this week, May 20-21. I'd like to also remind you about meetings you are welcome to schedule with any of the specialists. By this Wednesday, you will have received your child's performance continua in pdf. form. Please review these continua so that you're prepared to look at your child's progress portfolio, which documents the placement of your child on the continua. Your child's other evaluations from the specialists will be mailed home the following week.
We hope you've indicated whether or not you'll be joining our end-of-the-year celebration on Field Day, May 27. Your child's teacher will provide details about appropriate clothing for this outdoor event, right on the baseball field. The official end of the school year is 12:00noon. All children should be picked up by noon at the autoline. You should have already informed the office if you need childcare until 2:30pm (at no charge) or regular afterschool care until 5:30pm for preschool and 6:00pm for kindergarten through fifth grade (fee assessed).
Finally, you may have heard that Leah Lorenzana, a teacher in one of the multiage third-fourth grade classes, and Leigh Oshiro, preschool assistant teacher in the class with 3-and 4-year-olds, will not be returning next year. We are very much saddened about their departure from MPI. Leah came with us from Epiphany as a student teacher then accepted a position as a full-time teacher when we became MPI. She is returning home to California with her husband and one-year-old daughter. Leigh began with us when MPI's first preschool classrooms opened five years ago. Leigh will be teaching in a nearby school, sharing all that she has learned about the Reggio approach to new colleagues. It is bittersweet to bid aloha to two very intelligent, compassionate, warm-hearted, excellent teachers and friends.
I end this week's letter with a note of congratulations to Donna Revard, recipient of the Helen Ogata Teaching Award, a former alumna and parent. Each year, a teacher from each of the school divisions is selected for this prestigious recognition of teaching excellence, an attitude of putting children first in all matters related to classroom teaching and community building, and an overall spirit of generosity towards families and colleagues. Our heartiest appreciation to Donna!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey