Thursday, July 26, 2012

The School Year Begins!

This has been a busy week!  On Monday, we had a training for the teachers who volunteered to participate in an exciting hands-on environmental project.  Dr. Jones from UH-West Oahu provided us with background knowledge about a sea urchin project where our students will care for,  learn about, and raise these creatures to be released as part of the effort to save our coral reefs from invasive algae.  The teachers are so excited to be part of this inquiry-based, real-world, relevant project which will hopefully have a long-lasting impact on our students and their families!  The tanks are ready, and in about two weeks, we will receive the baby sea urchins.  This will be an example of project-based learning, and we look forward to learning through the 3Rs and 4C's and sharing with the community!

A new school year officially began yesterday when teachers returned to work.  Due to economic challenges in the State, we no longer have professional development days which is really a challenge since a number of State, Complex, or initiatives/mandates must be implemented.  Fortunately, we have a great staff, and they all did their assigned "homework," accessed through a scoopit! curated topic. Their discussions were richer because everyone participated and had the opportunity to reflect on what they read or viewed; it was like a flipped classroom model!  The groups then collaborated to complete an assignment and posted their statements (limited to 140 characters) on  (I wish we could have had more discussion, but teachers were anxious to work in their classrooms, and I promised to honor their time.)  Hopefully, by participating in these kinds of activities which infuse the 4C's, teachers will be able to implement similar kinds of critical thinking activities with their students.

 Our Data Coaches and counselors guided the discussions today with their respective grade levels.  As a school leader, one of my goals is to build capacity of our staff, so instead of whole group training, these teachers facilitated the training and discussions.  This was also an opportunity for building relationships between colleagues, an essential component for successful data teams.  We know that any new process takes time to work through, but if today's discussion was an indication, the data team process will lead to improvement in teaching and learning at Hale Kula.

We are off to a great school year!

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