Saturday, January 2, 2016

A New Year, New Commitments

Happy New Year! This is the first time in five years that our whole family is together, and I am a happy Mom :-) Just being together with our extended families is the best present I could wish for and makes this time of the year so special.
Our three sons and two grandsons made the trip home to celebrate the New Year together and to attend a wedding for one of our nephews. We will cherish this time together; Hawaii will always be home for our sons even though they may live elsewhere.
A New Year - 2016!
This will be a momentous year for our school as we look ahead to 2016. Our three-year construction project will be completed, and the new facilities will certainly impact teaching and learning now and in the future.

Hale Kula Pride:
Our school is focusing on Hale Kula Pride for our Positive Behavior Intervention Support, so I thought it appropriate to refocus my own commitments based on our expectations. Here goes!

Take Care of Yourself
I've always stressed that we need to take care of ourselves or we cannot take care of our students. This means that we need to eat healthier, exercise our minds and our bodies, and maintain positive relationships. Our family and friends should be a priority; the job will always be there, but kids grow up and create their own lives. I certainly do not regret the time I spent with our sons when they were younger, things that didn't cost a penny but remain ingrained in our memories - reading our favorite books, singing songs with enthusiasm, splashing in puddles, and exploring and discovering new places and new knowledge. Now that our sons and grandsons are home for a short vacation, I realize how precious time together is.

This past year, I re-committed to exercising and joined my husband at the gym. I know that the time spent there will pay off now and in the future. Exercising regularly and eating healthier will hopefully make me feel better. At this time, I'm thinking of a fun way to get all of our staff involved in taking care of ourselves. After all, it's more fun when we do things together, and a little friendly competition is always appreciated.

Take Care of Others
An important part of being a school leader is taking care of others: our students, our staff, our parents, and our community. As a military-impacted school which is often a "pit stop" in a child's whole educational experience, we strive to ensure a safe and engaging school environment where students gain the skills and strategies to be successful wherever they may travel to next. We cannot do it alone.

Recently, I wrote a blog, "Are You Busy? and I realized that there are times when I have not made time for others or I have not returned phone calls right away. It is never intentional, but I can see that by not making the time, I have sent a message that minimized the concerns of the other person. As my commitment to "take care of others," I strive to not let "busyness" get in the way of doing what is right.

We are grateful for the support of the US Army and US Army Garrison Hawaii who work closely with schools. We appreciate their support especially through projects like this video, "Every Day Counts" that is shared with all military-impacted schools. These are important issues, and this video clearly shows the partnership between the military and our public schools.

Take Care of Our School
When we broke ground on our construction project back on July 1, 2013, I said we had received a gift, one I never expected when I became principal in 2003. Although there have been many challenges in running a school while construction is ongoing,  I have learned so much from working collaboratively with the contractors and others involved in this project. I've also made it a priority to "take care of our school" by providing input, by questioning when I don't understand, and by following up when there are concerns especially about safety. We have a blog that updates our school community about what is happening with the project. It has been a great way to document the progress and the transformation of our school facilities!

We are the first school in Hawaii to receive funding as part of the Congressional appropriation to upgrade schools on military bases in the United States. As such, we are the "guinea pig" and the Department has learned from our experiences to make it possible for other schools like Solomon Elementary and Mokapu Elementary to benefit.

As our project enters its final months before completion, I will continue to advocate for our school, not just for our facilities but for additional funding so we can provide a well-rounded education for our students.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let's make 2016 a great one by working together and showing Hale Kula Pride!

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