Elementary School Principal's Blog

Affirming Who We Are

Posted on November 12, 2022

by Dr. Edna Hussey on November 12, 2022

The 2022 accreditation process was a success! The self-study report, coupled with the 3.5-day visit by a team of educators and confirmation of the alignment between the report and visit, received strong, positive remarks. The Visiting Committee commended the school for its honest self-appraisal of who we are and student-centered decision-making based on data. Visiting Committee members met with chapter committee representatives of the 16-chapter self-study report (approximately 100 people), observed everything from autoline to chapels to classrooms from preschool through high school, and conversed with students representing all school divisions. Receiving notable commendations were the quality of the school program and Deeper Learning approaches, strides in institutional advancement efforts and a comprehensive campaign, strong governance, use of data to make decisions, and the student-centered focus noted across all aspects of the school system. Several committee members shared that the highlight of their visit was talking to students and observing students actively engaged in learning.

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Committee Chairperson Peter McCormack, Interim Head of San Francisco Day School, was unable to travel to Honolulu but participated virtually in meetings during the entire visit. President Paul Turnbull welcomes him on the first day of meetings in the Weinberg Seminar Room.

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The Visiting Committee was comprised of school leaders whose responsibility was to read Mid-Pacificʻs self-study report with a critical eye and assess the schoolʻs actions and decisions over the past seven years against 16 accreditation standards. The Visiting Committee members were (l-r) Gerry Delgado, Parker School; Tammy Miller, Hawaii Department of Education; Sue Macklin, Island School; Tammy Miles, Kamehameha School, Kapalama; and Co-Chair Dr. Llewellyn Young, Hawaii Catholic Schools.

What happens next? The Visiting Committee will submit their report to the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and Western Association of Schools and Colleges with a recommendation for the term of accreditation, which we anticipate will be a 7-year term of accreditation (the highest term possible) with a mid-cycle visit by a smaller team. The official notification will be made in late spring after the WASC/HAIS Accreditation Commission reviews the Visiting Committeeʻs report and confirms their recommendation. Recommendations made by the Visiting Committee already align well with Mid-Pacificʻs long-term strategic plan--Aspirations 2035. These are ongoing efforts towards strengthening the school community and a review of the schoolʻs mission, ensuring that deeper-learning practices are consistent across the school program, achieving financial sustainability, and developing faculty and staff talent through professional learning. Congratulations, Mid-Pacific!

The faculty and I certainly enjoyed the recent Professional Learning Day. While colleagues in the middle and high school attended to their agenda items, the preschool team focused on the development of this yearʻs project work, and the elementary faculty participated in an "unconference." The format allows teachers to select topics of choice and leave a session to join another. Presenters are colleagues!

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Teachers met in small groups to discuss different scenarios using scaffolds and strategies developed from their own experience and expertise to support students with learning challenges.

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There were sessions on how to use assessment to inform instructional practices and how to rethink mathematics instruction to support flexible thinking about math more as inquiry rather than algorithms (fixed procedures for solving). There were even sessions on apps and websites to support learning, how to play 4-square with new rules, and stress-relieving art activities for students. This format for professional learning demonstrated that colleagues are their own great resources! Each faculty member is skilled, talented, innovative, and really know their teaching craft.

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In the afternoon, all teachers from preschool through high school met in their respective disciplines (math, music, language arts, science, etc.) to share examples of student learning that enable students to develop traits in the 2020 Learner Profile revised.pages.pdf. Teachers followed a protocol that provides a process to share student work and receive feedback from colleagues on the evidence of learning, wonderings about the lesson or work, or next steps for the teacher-presenter. Below, a group of teachers from elementary, middle, and high school demonstrate how the protocol works; the teacher-presenter is a middle school physical education teacher.

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The remaining professional learning days in the spring semester will continue to focus on implementing the Learner Profile in all classrooms through instruction and assessment.

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I leave you with these last images of preschool assistant teacher Emiko Kurosawa Arakaki whose last day of teaching was this past Wednesday after 8 years in our Reggio-inspired preschool. She hopes to use her knowledge about the Reggio Emilia approach in her new learning community at a public elementary school on Oʻahu. Our very best wishes go with friend and colleague Ms. Emiko on her new adventure with children.

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E Kūlia Kākou!
Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.

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