Posted on October 20, 2013
There are several reasons I look forward to Admissions Open House: 1. The classrooms look stunningly inviting, with so much evidence of student learning on walls and tables. 2. There is a heightened sense of school pride as student docents at all grade levels (K-12) answer visitors' questions with clarity and self-assuredness. 3. At the preschool and elementary, parent docents rather than our faculty field questions and speak so confidently that guests believe they're speaking to the teachers! (note our MPI parent on the right explaining the Reggio Emilia philosophy to a prospective parent). 4. More visitors to Open House are telling me that their co-workers and friends are recommending Mid-Pacific as a must-seriously-see-for-yourself school for their children. 5. More visitors are learning about our unique inquiry-based program, child-centered approach, progressive 21st century assessment for learning, and pervasive thinking about creativity and innovation throughout the school. For those of us who work at MPI beside our students, we can attest to the fact that everything our visitors notice during Admissions Open House actually occurs daily, which is why we strongly encourage school tours.
In my previous blog, I had explained that MPI's investment in professional development supports strong returns in student learning. This past Thursday and Friday, several teams of our teachers from the elementary, middle, and high school levels attended the 3rd Annual Schools of the Future conference for independent and public schools in Hawai`i. This year's conference featured two dynamic educators. Dr. Yong Zhao is an internationally known scholar and author whose focus is on global competence and technology in education. He wrote Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students.
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University was named one of the nation's ten most influential people affecting educational policy over the last decade. In 2008-09, she headed President Barack Obama's education policy transition team. A prolific writer, Darling-Hammond has written The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future; Powerful Teacher Education: Lessons from Exemplary Programs; Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do and other books.
In addition to these keynoters, conference participants attended breakout sessions throughout the day on a variety of sessions focused on technology integration and instructional practices. Lucy Masa and Pam Jenkins both posted blogs this weekend on their impressions of the conference. Both teachers explain why professional development is critical not only to their professionalism, but more importantly to the quality learning experiences of their students:
One of the key features of the conference were panel presentations by students from various designated Schools of the Future. Seventh grader Reina M., pictured here on left with her team partner, explained a project-based example of applied mathematics: constructing a unique case for a traveling teapot. The teapot from Japan actually traveled in these student-designed boxes clear across the U.S. Reina entered MPI as a four-year-old in our preschool! She is a member of the first class that will be graduating from MPI in 2019 as 14-year students of the future!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey