Thursday, June 20, 2013

One Year Ends -- Another Begins

I am learning so much from other educators around the country and here at home.  Reading tweets and blogs or visiting and talking with other principals and teachers has provided me with ideas on ways to improve our school and my practices as principal.  It has also given me much food for thought as we continuously reflect on our practices and search for ways to make education more relevant and engaging for our students and teachers.

I recently read a wonderful graduation speech by Chris Lehmann who is principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.  I love to read about his school, and he inspires me to keep believing that we can make a difference, that our students can achieve greatness if we give them the guidance and the opportunity to create their own future.  This week, four of our teachers will be attending the International Society for Technology in Education along with 20,000+ other educators, and Chris Lehmann is being honored as ISTE's 2013 Outstanding Leader of the Year Award.  Also notable is the fact that one of our own teachers, Rachel Armstrong, is being honored as an Emerging Young Educator.  Rachel is our fifth grade Blended Learning teacher, and the success of our program is due to our great team which also includes Rebecca Linford (fourth grade teacher), Megan Cummings (Instructional Media Resource Teacher), and Michelle Colte (Librarian and Media Specialist).  Together, they have created a program which will continue to grow and provide us with ideas on ways to improve teaching and learning at our school.

Construction will begin shortly on our "new" school, and we can't wait!  I find myself looking at buildings more carefully to see how space is being utilized and how furniture is configured. I'm also looking at how art enhances and adds a special touch to the buildings. Recently, I attended a training at the Hawaii Convention Center and spent time each day admiring the Children's Courtyard where colorful artwork is displayed.  I took a photo and sent it to the architects to see if we might be able to exhibit our student work in this way.  I also took lots of photos from my grandson's school where art is displayed prominently throughout the school.  What a wonderful way to share the creative talents of our students!

Left - Students painted scenes of what is special about Hawaii.
Right - A mural made of tiles at my grandson's school

Finally, when I attended a training at Mililani High School, their principal, Fred Murphy, took me on a tour of their new building.  One idea we can implement right away is the school's "Did You Know?" which shared the many accomplishments of their students and staff -- honors they've received, championships they've won, competitions they've excelled in -- from academics to athletics to the arts to service and citizenship.  We can do that at our school, too, and we will!  We have much to be proud of at Hale Kula, and we need to share our accomplishments with our school community.

No time to rest . . . got to get back to work!

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