Elementary School Principal's Blog

Taking the first step as faculty schoolwide

Posted on October 12, 2009

by Dr. Edna Hussey on October 12, 2009

For the first time in the history of MPI, the faculty from the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school convened for a full day of professional development focused on setting the groundwork for implementing the school's vision.  We viewed a thought-provoking video clip, Learning to Change, Changing to Learn, which you might be interested in seeing at http://www.pearsonfoundation.org/pg5.6.html, then discussed it in small mixed groups with representation from all grade levels.  We also analyzed several articles related to 21st century skills and the widespread impact of technology on learning, which we read prior to our meetings.  In the afternoon, all teachers attended sessions on teaching strategies incorporating uses of technology and strategies on developing an inquiry-based classroom. Of the nine workshop sessions offered to teachers, five sessions were developed and presented by our preschool and elementary faculty.  We returned to the auditorium to view one example of a cluster of schools in San Diego known as High Tech High (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yie4q8lscBs&feature=channel) and to write closing reflections of our learning together.

This professional development day marks the first step on a journey towards making significant changes to deepen the learning experiences for every student at Mid-Pacific Institute. The vision of MPI challenges the school community to embrace the changes of the 21st century by teaching our students through creativity, collaboration, critical thought, and global awareness, guiding their decision-making with an awareness of moral and ethical values. Our goal as a school is to prepare students to make a difference in the world and to begin making a difference in their community as students at MPI. This mindset requires a view of education beyond test-taking to get into a college. Your children will get into college. Rather, this mindset involves a more global, meaningful view of education, including learning 21st century skills such as asking critical questions, working collaboratively rather than competitively, thinking creatively, and accessing and analyzing an abundance of information.  

I explained in last week's web posting that I would be visiting several schools in San Diego as part of MPI's Schools-of-the-Future initiative. I was a member of an MPI team, which included the tech coordinator from the middle school and a high school teacher.  There were teams from seventeen other independent schools in Hawaii, recipients of a grant supporting this initiative. We observed classrooms, talked with faculty and administrators, and learned how these schools created their unique learning communities (I mentioned the URL for the High Tech High video earlier).  Our visiting MPI team will be consolidating our observations for the faculty. Hopefully, we should have a summary available for parents as well.  Of one thing I am certain: I've been inspired by the work of other schools and see the potential for deeper, more meaningful, more relevant-to-real-world learning at Mid-Pacific.

I see the possibilities, and we have the talent and intelligence of many teachers here who are making a difference.  

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey