Great Beginnings in 2012 - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Great Beginnings in 2012

Posted on January 7, 2012

by Dr. Edna Hussey on January 7, 2012

2012 at the preschool and elementary began with two days of planning meetings and professional development with the faculty. The focus was on technology to support teaching and learning. Teachers learned some helpful tips from Tracy Wright-Corvo since all teachers document student learning through digital photography. We learned about visual composition and how to make our digital images more focused and aesthetically appealing. Two teachers have already posted recent classroom blogs using images to tell the story. In another session, colleague Suzanne Travis, high school principal at Assets School, explained that technology use in the classroom is inherently necessary for students in the 21st century whose brains think differently from students even two generations ago. She shared different applications and online resources that support learning, from transforming written text to audio to digital storytelling to multi-layered note-taking and outlining to tools that inspire writing. In addition to these sessions, the teachers met in grade-level groups for curriculum planning and even shared breakfast and lunch with their colleagues in the middle school and high school. An opportune way for faculty to begin the school year! The best was yet to come when students arrived on campus.

I have one of the best jobs of greeting the children and parents every morning in the autoline from 7:00am to 7:40am. As I welcomed them this Thursday with Happy New Year!, many of them responded likewise. Children caught up with friends and gave each other spontaneous hugs. Lots of smiles and even broader smiles from parents, relieved, I suspect, that school had resumed. The "word" among teachers was that the students were very happy to see one another, speaking and behaving respectfully toward one another. One very surprising observation: my, how our children have grown in just two scant weeks! Have you noticed this, too? Taller and slimmer! Our students already have one foot into the next grade level.

Many students spent the beginning days of the new year by re-visiting their learning goals and reflecting on what they had already accomplished in the first semester. Teachers engaged students in activities to re-establish their learning communities. This aspect of their learning -- knowing how to work collaboratively and cooperatively to solve problems, complete tasks, listen respectfully -- is an important 21st century skill. We continue to pay attention to the social dimension of learning because it is how we learn best -- with others.

In the second semester, you might note a few upcoming special events on your calendar: Grandparents' Day March 2, Ho`olaule`a March 16, and May Day Performance May 4. The entire school calendar for the preschool and elementary is also on the MPI website. Go to Academics on the menu bar, click on Preschool-Elementary, then to the downloads for the current calendar.

This semester will go by quickly, and for this reason, savor every day with your children. They are young children for such a short time, though they'll be your children a lifetime!
How wonderful and amazing is that?

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey