Elementary School Principal's Blog

The Perfect Hosts

Posted on October 4, 2009

by Dr. Edna Hussey on October 4, 2009

Our students never cease to amaze us.  

Last Thursday a student contingency from the Dan Zhao Yi Piano Center in Sichuan, China, visited us at the elementary school and gave impressive piano performances.  Seven children, ages five through fourteen, dressed in brightly colored silk dresses and long-sleeved white shirts, played flawless classical pieces.  And all had been taking lessons from one to six years! In front of an audience, our guests carried themselves like artistic performers. They played with dramatic expression.  But when they relaxed during lunch and on the playground, they behaved like typical children, with a hint of mischievousness.

Several MPI students, from grades one through four, served as hosts to their new friends.  Our students were cordial, attentive, very helpful, and just an absolute joy to observe as they showed our guests the "ropes" on campus.  They led their new friends by the hand into the dining room, escorted them to seats, showed them how to dip the chicken nuggets into the barbecue sauce, and where to toss their plates.  Outside on the playground I watched our boys demonstrate how to use the pogo sticks or how to shoot a basketball.  We were relieved that several of the piano students spoke fluent English. I overheard some of our students enrolled in our afterschool Chinese language program testing their language skills with our guests.  At the end of their visit, we cheered xie xie, thank you, as they walked off to Bakken auditorium to perform for the middle school and high school.

This Friday, October 9, about 130 faculty from the preschool through high school will converge in Bakken for professional development.  Teachers will dialogue, reflect, and learn new ways to improve our curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  We will tangle with the "big ideas" of 21st century learning and skills necessary to help our students succeed.  The model for our professional development day is based on the notion of "teachers teaching teachers."  Nine teachers from the preschool and elementary will be part of a 17-member team that includes middle school and high school.  They'll share teaching strategies about instructional approaches using inquiry, collaboration, and technology with mixed groups of faculty, preschool through grade 12.  This approach to professional development is novel in that we recognize expertise from within the school rather than bringing in consultants to MPI.  Thank you, parents, for your support since October 9 is a no-school day so that our entire faculty can meet together.  

If you've opened your blue Friday packet, you will have seen a one-page reminder about parent-school communication.  I'll repeat some important points here:
•  The primary mode of communication is via the school website at www.midpac.edu. You can access teachers' weblogs and navigate the website for information about MPI.  
•  The Parent Intranet is our means of directly contacting parents with timely and important information.  We will post, as much as possible, downloadable flyers.
•  The blue Friday packet will be used less frequently and only in cases where a written return response is needed.  
Your homework as parents is to read the website each week because the teachers and I post updated information weekly.  Their blogs and my weekly letter are posted Saturday and Sunday.  Check the website each weekend.

This week I will be in San Diego, along with a middle school and high school teacher visiting three schools recognized as Schools of the Future. Representatives from seventeen other Hawaii schools who also received funding to support their Schools-of-the-Future initiative in their own schools are part of this cohort. We will be meeting altogether and with our respective school groups to discuss what we'll be learning.  Our intent is to share what we've learned with the MPI faculty and administration to help move our initiative forward.  

This is an exciting time in the history of Mid-Pacific Institute, and we're glad your children are on this incredible journey with us.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey