Just like our children - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Just like our children

Posted on November 5, 2011

by Dr. Edna Hussey on November 5, 2011

Just as our students are immersed in inquiries of all kinds -- communities, water conservation, spaces and places, world population, the "great garbage patch," the ahupua`a, abstract portraiture, solar energy, continents, musical instrumentation, etc. -- so, too, is the faculty! An inquiry on digital portfolios! For about two years since we began talking about e-portfolios, we've taken a long, careful look at why and how we go about transforming our paper technology into digital technology. The teachers have been learning how best to capture your child's thinking and learning performance in all areas across the curriculum. Flip cameras, digital cameras, "ladybug" projectors with recording capability, iPod Touches, digital scanning, voice recorders, iPhones -- we've been learning which tools do the best job and which tools our students can use independently. (The Preschool faculty actually began this process last year using video clips of individual students that are shared during conferences.)

We're converting this week's faculty inquiry meetings (we usually have study group sessions and lately have been trying our new thinking routines ourselves) into teachers-teaching-teachers sessions. Teachers with certain expertise have offered to teach colleagues some shortcuts for transferring images to the e-portfolios, for example. We're wondering how this "new" documentation process might be impacting learning, particularly how students are reflecting about their learning. How is this process impacting teachers and how they think about their students' learning? This collaborative process among colleagues mirrors the same learning expectations we have for our students. Yes, we're all learners.

During November, the teachers are working on bringing together all the artifacts of learning, which have been "captured" using appropriate technology. This will be a new sharing process for parents as well. You'll be able to view some video clips, listen to your child reading, or view images of your child's writing, reflections, or drawings. In addition, you'll also receive your child's performance continua via email before the December conferences. Needless to say, it's an intensive few weeks now through early December preparing the portfolios and performance continua.

As a school, we're also taking a close look at how we've been working on six major recommendations made by the 2009 Visiting Committee of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) regarding our educational program, campus leadership, strategic plan, and facilities. (For the complete report of the 2009 Visiting Commitee, go to www.midpac.edu/wasc/2009/05/wasc-visiting-committee-report.php). We received a six-year term of accreditation with a mid-term one-day visit to be made by a representative of WASC/HAIS. This mid-term visit will be in February 2012. The Mid-Term Committee, co-chaired by two faculty members, Tiffany Byrne and Brian Grantham, also consists of committee members representing faculty, staff, parents, and the MPI Board of Trustees.

Finally, about 75 parents attended the social evening organized by the `Ohana on Saturday. The elementary dining room was completely transformed into an intimate gathering place accentuated with Christmas lights and an elegant spread of hors d'oeurves and wines. So gratifying to see our parents enjoying each other's company!
Just like their children.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey