Posted on January 11, 2015
Backpacks have returned to the classroom! The first week of the New Year felt extraordinarily refreshing and rejuvenating to see the children re-enter the campus. They seemed, as they always seem to me at this time of the school year, taller by several inches and older. Still, each student walked in bright-eyed and headed straight for the entry gate, not skipping a beat. If you have time to read the teachersʻ first blogs of 2015, youʻll immediately notice the overlapping patterns in the descriptions of their studentsʻ return to the classroom -- "eager," "excited," "happy" to be back with friends and quickly delve into their learning.
The day prior, the faculty and I met for a full day to prepare for the second semester. Among the topics of discussion was Carol Dweckʻs Mindset, which we read together and discussed during our weekly lunch meetings. For the past four years, teachers have been voluntarily meeting with me in small groups to discuss readings related to education, share student learning, meet with colleagues from other areas of the school (or visitors to Mid-Pacific), or investigate our own teacher inquiry. I highly recommend Dweckʻs book. The faculty and I have adopted the concept of "growth mindset" and have been sharing this way of looking at learning (life in general) to help students understand that they can achieve their goals if they work towards them. The growth mindset meshes well with the notion of lifelong learning as personally satisfying rather than motivated solely by extrinsic awards. For a teacherʻs perspective how a growth mindset is applied to the classroom, please read Lucy Masaʻs blog, http://www.midpac.edu/elementary/3_4masa/2015/01/welcome-to-2015.php. If you hear any of the faculty using the term "growth mindset," youʻll know what is being referenced.
We have been moving along in our self-study process and happy to announce that the full report is posted on the school website under the Annual Fund graphic. The self-study is a comprehensive report on all areas of the school: philosophy and core values, teaching and learning, financial sustainability, operations, institutional stewardship and leadership, and institutional sustainability. Fifteen committees composed of individuals representing all school constituencies (about 100) met over a year-long period to conduct the research necessary to reflect and report on the schoolʻs ability to meet accreditation expectations. A team of educators from the mainland and Hawaiʻi independent schools will be visiting Mid-Pacific February 22-25. Iʻll write more about the actual visit and what to expect. All members of the school community are invited to attend the Visiting Committeeʻs final report on February 25, around 3:30pm, in Bakken auditorium.
While the students have been busy this first week, so have been the teachers. Here are the preschool teachers in their weekly faculty meeting, which includes professional learning. They are discussing documentation, particularly photographic images, and how to capture images that can powerfully convey the complexity of learning, even in the small, intentional gestures of young children.
The second semester will race by -- so try to savor the moments with your children. This time of childhood only comes once in a lifetime.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.