Posted on March 6, 2011
This past week I spent five days, Sunday through Thursday, on the campus of another Hawaii independent school to serve on a 17-member team to accredit the school. An accreditation is a self-study process overseen by the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) in collaboration with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Criteria are set by HAIS and WASC to ensure that each school is fulfilling its mission, provides a quality educational program, has adequate financial support, employs quality faculty and staff, is governed by a competent and able board, and has the appropriate facilities to support the program. (Mid-Pacific Institute completed its first preschool through high school accreditation in February 2009 and received the full six-year term of accreditation.) I have served on several visiting committees as a chairperson and as a team member and always find these experiences the best professional development opportunities for educators. This recent visit prompted me to reflect on the factors that contribute to school effectiveness:
• Successful schools are guided by a clear mission. The communication of the mission is effective when all stakeholders (board members, administration, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni) not only understand the mission but also take pride in it.
• The school's board leadership takes initiative for determining the vision of the school and allows the school to take full responsibility for its implementation. Board members are fully supportive of the school and can share the story of the school with the larger community.
• Teachers are passionate about their work with students. The teaching mindset comes from a core belief that students are capable and intelligent individuals. They teach challenging material and in ways that challenge student thinking.
• The curriculum, instruction, and assessment are cohesive and based on current educational research. The mission and vision of the school are also reflected in the program.
• Parents are supportive of the school's mission and program and take an active role in the life of the school.
• All components of the school -- business office, development, admissions, technology, security, food service -- exist to serve students.
Does this describe Mid-Pacific Institute? Take a moment to reflect on this question.
I haven't done this before -- but I'd like to recognize three of our own elementary parents who've made the local news. Congratulations to Kalei Cadinha-Puaa (daughter is in first grade) and Matt Delaney (son is a third grader, daughter in first grade) who were highlighted in the recent edition of Hawaii Business as "individuals whose intelligence, energy and vision make them people to watch over the next two decades. They come from different backgrounds and serve in various fields, but they share a passion for making a difference in their careers and communities," p. 24. Congratulations to Tim Donlon (son in fourth grade) who was featured in the Star Advertiser some weeks ago. He opened `Ohana Genetics, which provides high complexity genetics testing in areas including pre-natal diagnosis, pediatrics and hematological disorders such as leukemia. Our preschool-elementary community acknowledgements their accomplishments.
Our annual MPI Ho`olaule`a is next Friday, March 18. The entire preschool and elementary should be leaving their classrooms after 11:00am to have lunch at the event. Classroom teachers are contacting parents regarding the need for parent chaperones who are responsible for a small group of students until 2:00pm. The Ho`olaule`a is a family event where there are keiki games, inflatable games, a variety of foods, baked goods, and white elephant items. Scrip orders should have already been sent in to the office. Hope all families will join me and the faculty next Friday. All proceeds go to supporting student activities. Go, Owls!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey