Posted on October 13, 2014
Iʻm following through on last weekʻs blog to write about what weʻre doing schoolwide to improve and strengthen our studentsʻ learning experiences. So much happened on Friday, October, 10, that I feel compelled to share with you what transpired that day, This goal of school improvement begins with, or rather, continues with professional learning. "Continues" is the specific verb chosen as academic year 2014-2015 marks the sixth year of schoolwide professional learning. For the past five years, preschool through high school faculty have been working side-by-side to better understand inquiry, project-based learning, technology integration, digital citizenship, and assessment in the service for learning. (Iʻve written about all of these initiatives over the years; all blogs are archived on the Mid-Pacific website.) On Friday, the faculty met again for some personal reflection about our professional work at Mid-Pacific. Using the metaphor of trees representing our rootedness in Mid-Pacificʻs rich history, values, and sense of place in Mānoa, we reflected on the need to be professionally resilient and flexible, able to adapt to the ways that our students are learning in the 21st century, stretching our reach. Professional learning days have been entirely focused just on this notion of professional growth, of reaching out and aspiring,
Having received this foundation of key educational concepts and principles of learning sustained over the past five years (weʻll continue to deepen our understanding moving forward!), we are now meeting in content areas, K-12, to examine curriculum (what we teach) and pedagogy (the how and artistry of teaching). The Math 21 initiative began last year and more work with math consultant Dr. Melfried Oleson is scheduled throughout the year while a small team of K-12 math teachers have been focused on curricular alignment. K-12 science teachers (which means all of our elementary classroom teachers) met again to look more carefully at how science concepts can be integrated in more meaningful ways across grade levels. We refer to this initiative as NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards. The focus of NGSS is for teachers to develop a more interactive instructional approach and to realign the curriculum so that science concepts are taught in more integrated ways (photo, right). The preschool faculty met via webcam with our consultant Dr. George Forman, with whom weʻve been working for nearly five years. K-12 content area meetings have helped us to work towards creating a meaningful pathway of learning for our students as they matriculate from one grade to the next.
One more initiative. We have become a network of international schools working with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to be part of their research on global education. Their invitation to Mid-Pacific, the only school in Hawaiʻi, is serving our intent to implement an important aspect of our mission and vision -- to develop "global citizens" and students who are "globally aware." Based on student and teacher surveys and teacher interviews, the Harvard Graduate School of Education has determined that Mid-Pacific is well on its way to providing a global education. But we are a school striving to provide the best for our students -- so we have committed to a three-year partnership with HGSE to really bring global awareness to the forefront of our teaching. You will be hearing more about this exciting partnership!
We are nearing the completion of the schoolʻs self-study final report, but I have so much to say about the process, especially what transpired the afternoon of October 10. In next weekʻs blog, Iʻll spend time explaining Mid-Pacificʻs self-study process called accreditation. All of this going on PLUS the phenomenal work in the classroom. Please read the teachersʻ blogs on the website, and donʻt miss Shirley Riveraʻs blog on the fifth grade Peace Team -- http://www.midpac.edu/elementary/ce/2014/10/peace-team---20.php. Itʻs noteworthy because the notion of the Peace Team came entirely from the students 20 years ago, which speaks to our belief that students are highly capable, intelligent, and insightful.
Look at our newest technology -- a 3D printer! Oh, the possibilities . . .
E Kūlia Kākou!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.