School as a cultural phenomenon - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

School as a cultural phenomenon

Posted on August 19, 2012

by Dr. Edna Hussey on August 19, 2012

IMG_1696a.JPGFirst week at the preschool and elementary -- amazingly calm! On Tuesday morning, returning students entered the gates enthusiastic and cheerful, and new friends, somewhat cautious, ventured forward with determined steps and guarded smiles. By first recess two hours later, it was hard to distinguish new from returning students. I had to pause now and then, trying to recall their names, impressed by the students' quick turnaround and affable demeanor. With 266 students and 30 faculty/staff, it's a wonderfully full house teeming with life!

We gathered for our first assembly on Wednesday in the dining room where faculty and staff introduced themselves to students and revealed some unknown tidbits about themselves. In their former lives -- a marathon biker, pet owners of chickens and dogsSc, a gourmet chef, an avid Sound-of Music enthusiast, a craft hobbyist, an ice skater, a water polo champ, lineage dating back to the very first missionaries to Hawaii, and much more. (Even I was surprised by these revelations!)

In the all-school assembly mid-week, over 1550 students and 200 faculty and staff converged in Mills gym for the annual convocation led by Kahu Wendell Davis, Mid-Pacific's new full-time chaplain. With greetings from each of the division principals, the central message was about growing our sense of community -- awareness of each other, advocacy for one another, and taking action for one another. Kahu announced the spiritual theme for the year: Ho'okahi i ka Pilina, We are connected through our relationships with God, our world, our school, our families and each other. This theme will be central to chapel services throughout the year. The convocation ended appropriately with prayer and the MPI alma mater.

IMG_1709.JPGSince 2012-2013 marks the Year of the iPad for MPI, the first school in Hawaii providing an iPad for each student in grades 3-12 and iPad access to students in kindergarten through second grade, we commemorated this technology initiative with a photo op. Students were asked to take out their iPads from their backpacks and hold them up high for a photo. It was quite a sight with screens turning on like camera flash bulbs. You'll be hearing more about how the digital tablets are being implemented in classrooms. Kudos to the IT team for an incredible feat of prepping nearly 1700 iPads (for students and faculty) and determining the infrastructure and processes to operate an iPad on our campus. The back end of this initiative has involved an incredibly complex orchestration of details.

Now that the first week of school has come and gone, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we got our children to school on time and managed back-to-school routines -- and need to be consistent in our efforts. We understand that for some students, the transition from summer vacation to the school environment or from another school to Mid-Pacific will take time, while other students have adjusted quickly to "school." We understand that the culture of school -- relationships, ways of thinking and speaking, processes and procedures, ways of behaving -- is a monumental experience that students are constantly learning as they matriculate through each grade level, and that this acculturation process is not restricted to students. We are all learners, so "schooling," especially in the 21st century, is a phenomenon we experience together.IMG_1689.JPG

Several faculty members have recently posted their blogs. If you are reading this blog, you've done so without having received notification from our office. This week we will be entering the email contact information you've provided so that you will receive an email notification every time a new blog is posted. The blogs and emails are our primary means of communicating with families, so please read these updates so that you're well informed about what's going on in your child's classroom and school.

Each morning when I see students entering the campus, I am trying to remember their names. We have about 40 new students, mostly in preschool and kindergarten, so one of my immediate goals is to call each student by name by next week! I already have the 220 or so students' names in by brain file.

A warm welcome to Mid-Pacific Institute!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey