Posted on August 16, 2015
First day and first week at Mid-Pacific is all about beginning to build a community of learners. If you browse through the faculty blogs posted on the website for the week of August 10-14, you see students interacting with one another in almost every photo. This is the curriculum for the first few weeks in every classroom. While teachers are assessing students' skills and content knowledge coming into the classroom so that a baseline is determined, the teachers are more focused on how students inter-relate. A basic premise of learning, as we have been informed by educational theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky, is that optimal conditions for learning occur when students learn in a social context (which is every day, every classroom). They learn from each other by observing behaviors, how to ask questions, how to negotiate understanding, how to talk to one another. The teachers in every classroom are knowledgable guides whose primary responsibility is to inspire students to develop positive mindsets for learning.
Even before the students set foot on campus August 10, the preschool and elementary faculty gathered in a retreat to "look back so the view looking forward is even clearer" and met in grade-level groups to work on the curricular plan for the year. On August 10, we gathered the students together in the dining room, where we have monthly assemblies and weekly chapel, to introduce the faculty and staff and to welcome new students. Teachers shared one tidbit of information about themselves, such as multiage first and second grade teacher Chris Bailie who shared about a trip to Bali and riding an elephant (see photo)! Get to know your childʻs teachers. They are gems.
First week traditions also include convocation in the gym where students from preschool through high school, faculty, and administration numbering 1,800 in the entire school community convene for messages from President Turnbull and each of the division principals. Itʻs always gratifying to see where our preschool and elementary students are headed when the middle school and high school students are with us. It was also a day of firsts for our youngest students ages 3 and 4 beginning their school experience. Their parents joined them for the first two days.
As the year unfolds, make it a Sunday routine to read my weekly blogs, as well as your childʻs classroom teacherʻs blogs, also posted weekly every Sunday usually after 6:00pm. The specialists will post every three weeks. Also check MyPueo and your childʻs page using your username and password.
More community building this week. Look for evidence of it when you walk through the campus and listen to stories your child brings home every day.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.