Recently, I gave a campus tour to a set of prospective parents and they asked about our test scores. Yes. Most of our students do well on tests and we are proud of their accomplishments. Yet, doing well on tests is not our mission. It is a by-product of striving to have all students reach high levels of learning but it is not our mission.
Our mission is
We are ʻohana at Kāneʻohe Elementary School where all are inspired to embrace learning and discover passions with ALOHA at our core.
Our aspirations are so much bigger than doing well on a computerized, standardized test that might not necessarily be highly predictive of our students ability to succeed in the future.
Our aspirations are to prepare students to thrive in the future as they embrace their kuleana to themselves, their ʻohana and their community.
At Kāneʻohe Elementary,
- We value innovative teaching practices. Hence teachers are empowered to try new ideas out; deviate from basal and curricula; collaborate with colleagues, parents and community partners; and connect to resources to learn/assess/reflect/improve.
- We inculcate in students an engineering/entrepreneurial mindset so they see opportunities in their world, ask “what if,” use empathy to gain Lōkahi (a complete, unifying perspective), generate possible solutions, develop and test prototypes, iterate, present, implement.
- We incorporate a sense of place to provide students authentic, relevant learning experiences. The Kāneʻohe ahupuaʻa is rich with resources including kumu who are well-springs of cultural knowledge and moʻolelo of our neighborhood. We engage students in learning experiences involving these resources so they may better understand their kuleana in sustaining and adding to the richness of our community.
- We practice Aloha. We communicate and regard each other with patience, support, strength, humility, and grace. We strive for unity and harmony so that all in our school community may thrive.
- We share our joys and talents to help students discover new passions while inspiring them to share theirs.
- All means all. We understand and value the unique perspectives, strengths and experiences all students bring to our ʻohana. Hence we remove barriers to learning and provide relevant, enriched learning experiences that enable all students to reach high levels of learning.
- We foster and model a growth mindset. We encourage and support students in learning from their mistakes, making improvements, and continuously learning.
- We engage in collaboration with our colleagues. Paraphrasing Margaret Mead, thoughtful, committed teams change the world. Hence we also teach students to effectively collaborate with their peers by engaging them in projects that require teamwork.
- We nurture student agency. When students authentically have choices and provide their voice in the learning, they experience greater motivation and develop a stronger connection to the learning community.
- We seek and cultivate partnerships with our greater ʻohana, including parents, the community, and other organizations. We share the kuleana for educating students so they may be exposed to the multitude of opportunities to apply their knowledge in improving their homes and the broader community.
In the year prior to the pandemic, our 4th graders hosted a community workday in which they did most of the planning and all of the presentations. The day brought in teachers, staff, parents, and members of our community to clean-up our māla and seed new native plants.
ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia
The many hands that pitched in that day was a perfect metaphor for the school we strive to be…The immense and important hana of nurturing our haumāna is made better when everyone, including the haumāna themselves, contribute to the learning and betterment of our community.
Me ka ha’aha’a
Derek Minakami, NBCT
He ʻohu ke aloha, ʻaʻohe kuahiwi kau ʻole.#852
Aloha is a mist, there is no mountaintop that it does not settle upon.