Posted on May 30, 2011
Sarah Field, a faculty member, recently wrote in her last blog of the school year:
The walls are bare, the cubbies are empty, and the classroom is quiet. Where are the children?
After a spectacular ending to the school year with water play and frolic on the field and a picnic lunch on the lawn (thank you, teacher Pam Jenkins and parent coordinator Cindy Fujii and committee!), the faculty and I ended the school year, as we usually do, in thoughtful reflection. The Leavetaking this past Wednesday -- a joyful celebration honoring our fifth graders, the conclusion of their elementary years and initiation into middle school -- set the stage for retrospect. Teachers remembered so many of these fifth graders as entering kindergartners, and parents, I'm sure, back to the cradle. You should have seen all the students, from preschool through fourth grade, in rapt attention at Leavetaking. Perhaps they, too, were remembering special experiences from their school year.
During the quiet aftermath of the last day of the school year, the faculty returned to the school goals and professional goals we determined for ourselves at the beginning of the school year, much like the reflection process of our students. We also reflect on our goals mid-year as a faculty. We look again and again at our program, specifically what we teach (curriculum), how we teach (instruction), and how we determine the quality of student learning (assessment and evaluation). We also pay attention to our afterschool program, special events during the year, internal and external communication, and our professional development. Having reviewed our goals, we know where we need to continue improvement when we begin school year 2011-2012.
One of our primary tasks this summer will be to develop a K-5 tech curriculum and an electronic portfolio process. You'll be hearing more about this technology-based student-centered initiative during the Fall. Professional development will be focused not only on acquiring the technology skills but also understanding how technology supports students' learning processes. Our teachers are up to the challenge!
Without a doubt, we acknowledge the pervasive sense of community within classrooms and across the school. Day by day, event by event, the relationships among students and among parents are a key strength. I cannot imagine our school functioning without the support of so many parents! Their role in planning and coordinating the number of events and addressing even the mundane needs in the preschool/elementary is tantamount to the success of the school program and well being of every child. Here's what many parents do above and beyond the call of duty:
• share professional expertise and knowledge during a classroom inquiry
• supervise preschool nap
• supervise lunch in the dining room
• do "read alouds" in the classroom
• sew costumes
• paint background scenes for Spooktivity and May Day
• teach children how to make holiday decorations
• cook special dishes for classroom potlucks
• chaperone students on field trips
• assist with clerical tasks such as Scholastic Book orders
• and the countless other things that often go unnoticed yet make a difference!
I know the teachers and staff join me in thanking our caring parents who share our Children First philosophy.
While the summer heralds summer activities such as family adventures or summer school, we are preparing for our own five-week summer session at the preschool and elementary, June 6 through July 8. Office hours throughout the school year are 7:00am to 3:30pm daily should you need to stop by or call for information. Though this blog is the last for school year 2010-2011, I'll continue to post updates related to summer school.
When teacher Sarah Field wrote about the eerie quiet that has settled onto the campus since Thursday, I couldn't agree more. From my perspective as the principal, it's hard not to miss seeing the children every morning and in their classrooms, hearing their laughter and singing in the hallway, and observing them run, create, build, invent, and think. Sigh.
Thank you, MPI community, for an incredible year of learning. We bid aloha to students and families for the summer and to those not returning to MPI. You and your children leave us with many warm memories. A hui hou.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey