Posted on May 15, 2016
The energy at the preschool and elementary is palpable! Nearing the end of the school means that students across the grade levels are bringing temporary closure to class inquiries, projects, pieces of writing, and other demonstrations, their learning interrupted only by something called 'summer vacation.' Parents will be streaming onto campus this Thursday and Friday for student-parent-teacher conferences when students take center stage to reflect on their learning. E-portfolios document the learning, and performance continua report the quality of learning. In the midst of the assessment process, I continue to discover celebrations of learning!
When you arrive on campus, take notice of the wall mural by the preschool. It is breathtaking. The painting of the mural is the culminating experience of a year-long inquiry the preschoolers began last semester when they entered into deep discussions about whether it is in the nature of ideas to connect or combine and what this process looks like. This provocation was transformed into metaphors of spaces and places on O'ahu that the children discovered with the help of their parents who devised maps, clues, and used Hawaiin cultural stories. Native Hawaiian muralist Solomon Enos worked beside the children (literally on his stomach to sketch), embraced their ideas, and breathed life into their ideas using the images in the mural.
This past Friday our entrepeneurial students who participated in Lemonade Alley, under the direction of Extended Learning Director Kimee Balmilero and other business associates, made lemonade and snacks to sell. Funds will support the Hawaiian Humane Society, a non-profit near and dear to the children. Students in Extended Learning showcased what they've been learning -- everything from improvisational skills to hip-hop to playing stringed instruments to Minecraft coding. So much to learn!
In another class I happened to pass by one afternoon, first and second graders were devising spectographs to understand the properties of light. Some university professors and graduate students also demonstrated how to measure infra-red heat. While students learned the science of rainbows, the factual information only added to phenonmenon and wonder of rainbows.
School's not over yet. Students are still immersed in the thick of their learning and having fun. The upcoming conferences, for which the students have been preparing, are the perfect way to end the school year with the most important persons -- student, parent, and teacher --in conversation with one another about learning.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.