Posted on February 4, 2017
I sat with the preschoolers one morning this week when actor-playwright-storyteller Moses Goods met them at Kawailele, the natural spring on the upper campus. The preschoolers have been uncovering the meaning of "treasures" and the qualities of a "treasure." Parents have been coming in to share their familyʻs "treasure stories" and bringing artifacts to represent the treasure story. These 3-to-4-year-olds have moved beyond thinking of treasures as baubles and expensive objects to understanding that persons, memories, places and spaces are treasures. Among the many natural sites the children have been developing a deep relationship with and coming to understand as cultural treasures is Kawailele. Moses shared a story about Mid-Pacificʻs aumakua pueo and taught them a song about nā manu (the birds) that inhabit the mountains and fly across the ocean. Moses will be meeting the children at other sites beyond Mid-Pacific, using storytelling as one of the "hundred languages" to convey powerful ideas about the sacred relationship between people and places.
On the half day of school this past Wednesday, faculty across grade levels met in disciplines they teach (Discipline Assessment Teams) to continue discussions on three assessment guidelines: using standards to determine the quality of learning, providing many opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding in their learning, and finding evidence of learning related to agreed-upon standards. For example, these K-12 language arts teachers examined the quality of students' writing and arranged the samples into a continuum of writing quality beginning with the earliest writing from preschool through 12th grade. Eventually, this writing continuum will be used by students to help them self-assess their writing and, more importantly, be able to understand how to improve their writing by comparing their writing to the continuum pieces.
One more noteworthy item -- High school senior Richard Winter shared his Eagle Scout project with the third and fourth graders, which entailed uprooting a strawberry guava tree (an invasive species) next to a classroom, building two planter boxes for the students to grow native plants (part of their inquiry curriculum), and sanding paint off two planter boxes so the boxes are safe for planting some native species of edibles and medicinals. Inspired by his experience in India with two other Mid-Pacific students as part of a student leadership institute on conservation, Richard developed a plan to conserve Hawaiian plant species threatened by the loss of their natural habitats. Our third and fourth graders will soon become experts on native Hawaiian plants as they experience the entire planting process.
A reminder about our annual Jump Rope for Heart this Friday. Please check the Owl Updates for event details. Students raise funds for the American Heart Association, increasing their physical fitness while rope jumping.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.