Blogging is not easy and takes more time than I anticipated. However, it's been a great way for me to reflect as a principal, and with the start of a new year, 2013, I am renewing my commitment to this blog and hoping to reflect more regularly.
Next month, I will be at Hale Kula for ten years! So much has changed over this decade, but I believe that my core values have played an integral part in my commitment to the principalship and to the relationships I've fostered over the years. As we begin a new year, let me share three important statements which guide me in the work I do.
Take care of yourself - Everyone at Hale Kula gives 100% and more to their job. I certainly appreciate their dedication. However, the job will always be there, and there will always be something else that needs to be taken care of, so at the end of the day, it is important to remember to spend time with family and friends doing things we want to do with people who love and care about us. We also need to take care of our health by eating right, exercising, and finding time to relax and do the things that make us happy. This is something I learned while my children were growing up, and I have never regretted my decision to make family my priority. Now that I am older and my kids are grown, I have more time to devote to my job, but I still make time to go golfing on the weekend, pamper myself with a pedicure, or go out to dinner with my husband.
Take care of each other - Education used to be a lonely job where the teacher was solely responsible for what went on in the classroom. Today, we know that collaboration and communication are important skills for our students and for our staff. Getting along with others is a crucial life skill, and working together, we problem-solve and share successful ideas to improve teaching and learning. At our school where 99% of our students are military dependents, this is even more important because for many of our families, the school is a critical system of support. This means providing academic, behavioral, and emotional support for those who need it -- children and adults.
Take care of our community - The school is an integral part of the larger community, and our students are taught valuable lessons in caring for others and caring for our world. Unit studies, for example, share the importance of sustainability or the impact we have on our oceans and reefs or the reasons why we encourage reducing, reusing, and recycling. We have contributed thousands of canned goods or non-perishable food to the Food Bank; students donated to the Laulima Giving Project; we donated books to the Schofield Acute Care Clinic; students did chores around the house to earn money to donate to a Hurricane Sandy fund; and students pick up trash to beautify the campus or tutor younger students. These are just a few examples of how we care for the greater community, to make this world a better place for the future. I am always reminded of a Native American quote, "We don't inherit this world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
Much has changed in the ten years since I was a rookie principal, but one thing hasn't changed. The people at Hale Kula -- the staff, the students, the families, and the community -- are the reason why I continue to love my job. Happy 2013!