Letter to Parents August 2019

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,

Welcome back to everyone, and welcome to all who may be new to our school. We hope your summer vacation was both meaningful, refreshing, and rejuvenating for both you and your family.

Here at Aina Haina School, our goal is that this will be a year of building meaningful connections with everyone through our school’s continued focus on creating nurturing, supportive, and empowering research based learning environments. Equity and empathy continue to be the lenses through which we endeavor to view each student, as we learn their stories and find ways to connect with each of them. We continually work to maximize our students’ academic success by promoting positive behaviours through early interventions and empowering students through the building of coping and resiliency strategies. Our staff has continued to receive training from Dr. Linda Jordan from ICLE (International Center for Leadership in Education) in order to empower and support us in reaching this goal. In addition, this school year, we are implementing the Mind Up Social and Emotional Learning curriculum to continue our school’s focus on addressing our students’ very important social and emotional learning needs.

As one of the very few public elementary schools here in the State of Hawaii to be an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School offering the Primary Years Programme (PYP), our mind-set is to follow the IB educational philosophy of inquiry-based learning and international-mindedness. Each grade level continues the implementation and teaching of six thematic transdisciplinary units, which incorporate deep inquiry-based learning strategies that challenge our students to develop higher order thinking skills. Each grade level does a tremendous job in facilitating our students’ learning within these units. These units help to build and to develop skills in our students that will ultimately lead to their participation in the culminating activity of the IB PYP, which is the Grade 5 IB Exhibition Project. An evaluation team from IB will be visiting our school in spring semester, 2020, in order to provide us with helpful feedback for our school to consider as we continually work to improve the implementation of the programme at our school.

In accordance with our school vision, providing a well-rounded education for our students continues to be a priority for our school as well. Students engage in learning at our school by expressing themselves through co-curricular programs, such as, physical education, art, computer science/technology, and drama. The latest brain research shows that this holistic approach to teaching our students greatly enhances their learning. We thank our wonderful PTA Board and all the members of School Community Council for their collaborative partnership through their support of our school vison and mission. Their collective efforts continue to make a huge difference in the learning of our students.


Finally, we welcome some new staff members this school year. A special welcome to:
Gabby Ortega--new part-time Art teacher and Student Council coordinator.
Doris Dowdy--new part-time Computer Education teacher and yearbook coordinator.
Hiroko Toma--new Kindergarten Nihongo part-time teacher & para-professional tutor.
Tisha Narimatsu—new Na Hoku ‘Ala reading and math intervention program part-time teacher.
Kerry Garner—new Behaviorial Health Specialist.
Mr. Miles, Ms. Pat, Ms. Erina, and Ms. Leslie—all new adult supervisors.

Best wishes to all on an empowering and eventful 2019-2020 school year!


Your Partner in Education,
Brendan Burns, Principal

Letter to Parents May 2019

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,

It’s been a great school year and I wanted to thank everyone and to share my sincere appreciation for your support of our school and its vision and mission.

I appreciate all everyone has done to make our school an awesome school to be at. We are looking forward to next school year with all of our staff, students, and families in continuing to advance our IB signature, by continuing to address the social and emotional and learning needs of all our students, and by continuing to create brain-based learning environments in our school through the application of the latest neuroscience.

For those who may be considering sending their child to Aina Haina: we continue to accept student enrollment registrations for next school year; we also continue to accept Geographic Exceptions for some grade levels. If you haven’t done so already, please consider registering your child if you would like to become part of our ‘ohana and the great things that we are doing at our school.

Have a fantastic summer vacation!

Your Partner in Education,
Brendan Burns, Principal

Letter to Parents March 2019

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,

The 5
th grade International Baccalaureate Student Exhibition held on Friday, March 8, 2019, was a great success; our 5th graders exhibited tremendous learning in their group projects that involved higher order thinking skills, collaboration skills through working in a team, and effective communication skills through sharing with others about what they learned. Students shared their learnings as pertaining to real-world subjects, such as, homelessness, climate change, healthy living, ocean pollution, inspiration through art, and more.

Their presentations of how they turned their passion into action were extremely impressive and creative; this exemplified the power of the IB to enhance their learning. It provided them with an opportunity to synthesize their prior learning from their elementary school experience. This type of learning is empowering our students in each grade to take their own learning experiences to a higher level. It truly was amazing to see what our students had come with. Kudos goes to our students for their hard work in completing their projects; as a next step,
by the end of the school year they will be taking thoughtful action upon what they have learned.

Special thanks also goes to our school staff who provided mentorship to our students, serving as guides and resources to our students during the process of completing the projects. Mahalo especially to our IB Primary Years Coordinator, Trisha Shipman-Lameier, for her excellent efforts. It was a privelege mentoring an exhibition student group this year, and it was a terrific experience in being involved in supporting our students in their learning.



Your Partner in Education,
Brendan Burns, Head of School/Principal

Letter to Parents December 2018

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,

This holiday season, as principal of our school, I am both extremely thankful and grateful for our hard-working teachers and staff, for our parents and community members, for our student body, and also for the great things that are happening here at Aina Haina which we have witnessed in the second quarter.

This year our PTA’s Jaguar Jog raised over $84,000, which is a tribute to the great generosity of all of our donors. Words of appreciation cannot express how thankful and grateful we are for this monetary donation to our PTA, which goes toward helping us achieve our school’s vision of educating the whole child; in addition, it helps to foster action through service among our student body by providing training for staff for our IB Programme. Thank you to all who gave of both their time and resources to this worthwhile cause which goes to supporting student learning.

Fall Festival also proved to also be a great success.
The money raised will be used to buy over two hundred new books for the library, help pay for the 5th grade camp bus, and start a Grade 5 student-initiated action project. A big mahalo goes to the Fall Festival Committee for doing a fantastic job in organizing this community event, which showcases our 5th graders creative dramatic skills. Thank you to everyone who made it possible and for coming out to this wonderful event.

Welcome to our staff: Mr. Isaiah Chang, who is our new School Food Services Manager (SFSM); Ms. Jasmin Palasigue, who is teaching our special education resource room for grades 4 – 5 in Rm. E-28.

I would like to finish by wishing everyone in our Aina Haina ‘ohana, Happy Holidays!
From our 'ohana to yours...wishing you a joyous and safe holiday season!

Your Partner in Education,
Brendan P. Burns


Letter to Parents October 2018

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,

This has been an eventful first quarter. It has been great seeing many new and familiar faces at our open houses, PTA meetings, and at the morning drop off areas. Here are some highlights of the great things that went on:

On July 31st and Aug. 1, 2018, Dr. Linda Jordan of the International Center for Learning and Education (ICLE) spoke to our faculty and staff, doing a follow-up talk on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), and brain-based teaching and student learning strategies for the classroom. She also shared about what the brain research says about homework. As a result of her talk and working with grade levels, in alignment with the latest research on neuroscience, our school decided to do homework differently this year with a focus on student learning via strengthening families at the heart of how we do homework. Dr. Jordan will be returning on January 18, 2019, for our second Professional Collaboration (PC) day to continue her work with our faculty and staff.

PTA Return to School Night on Tuesday, Aug. 21, was terrific. Despite the storm warning that evening, the turnout was great. I even had the opportunity to learn how to hip-hop dance from the expert dancer that came that night.

Our annual Community Brunch was held on September 14
th. Mahalo to our attendees: State Representative Mark Hashem, representatives from: Councilman Trevor Ozawa’s office, the DOE Community Engagement Office, Kaiser High School, Niu Valley Middle School, Kilauea ‘Ohana Playschool, New Hope Community Church, Koko Head Lions Club, First Hawaiian Bank Aina Haina Branch, Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA, American Heart Association, and Honolulu Police Department Community Policing Division. This event enables us to fulfill our school mission by helping our school to continue to foster and to build reciprocal partnerships with our school community in order to support our students’ learning. Mahalo to our PCNC, Renee Ako, for coordinating this annual event.

Congratulations and a big mahalo to Lisa Elliot, our School Food Service Manager, for her many years of service here at Aina Haina and in the Hawaii Department of Education. She retired from the DOE on September 29
th. Greg Honma is our Temporary Assigned (TA) School Food Service Manager (SFSM). He will work temporarily in this position until a new permanent SFSM is officially hired. Greg comes to us from Makalapa Elementary in Radford Complex where he serves as their cafeteria's cook.

We look forward to 2
nd quarter and beyond in advancing our school's vision & mission & the great endeavors our school has embarked upon with our IB programme, our social emotional learning initiatives, and through the incorporation of brain-based teaching and learning in our classrooms.

By continuing to work together as a school community in moving forward, great things will continue to happen here at Aina Haina.


Your Partner in Education,

Brendan P. Burns

Letter to Parents August 2018

Dear Parents, Guardians, Community Members, and Friends,
Welcome back to everyone, and welcome to all who may be new to our school. We hope your summer vacation was both meaningful, refreshing, and rejuvenating for both you and your family.

Our goal is that this will be a year of building meaningful connections with everyone through our school’s continued focus on creating nurturing, supportive, and empowering research based learning environments. This is through the implementation of the latest brain-based educational research in our various school settings with the overall purpose of fostering the learning and the well-being of each and every one of our students. In accordance with this vision and direction, our staff is in a continual process of building and developing inviting and nurturing classrooms and overall school environments. Our staff has recently received training from Dr. Linda Jordan from ICLE (International Center for Leadership in Education) in order to empower and support us in reaching this goal.

As one of the very few elementary schools here in the State of Hawaii to be an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School offering the Primary Years Programme (PYP), each grade level continues the implementation and teaching of six thematic transdisciplinary units, which incorporate deep inquiry-based learning strategies that challenge our students to develop higher order thinking skills. Each grade level does a tremendous job in facilitating our students’ learning within these units. These units help to build and to develop skills in our students that will ultimately lead to their participation in the culminating activity of the IB PYP, which is the Grade 5 IB Exhibition Project. In addition, within our IB Programme, our entire staff collectively teaches and reinforces with our students the ten character traits of the IB Learner Profile. Our IB Programme helps to build in our students learning and character skills which will serve to benefit them throughout their entire educational experience; it prepares them for the workforce of the future.

In accordance with our school vision, providing a well-rounded education for our students continues to be a priority for our school as well. This is why we provide opportunities for our students to grow and learn in the areas of arts, athletics, and foreign language as well as in the core academic areas. The latest brain research shows that this holistic approach to teaching our students greatly enhances their learning. In addition, we continue to offer a great variety of afterschool programs on campus that offer opportunities for our students to grow and learn. We thank our wonderful PTA Board and all the members of School Community Council for their collaborative partnership through their support of our school vison and mission. Their collective efforts continue to make a huge difference in the learning of our students.

Finally, we welcome some new staff members this school year. Welcome to our new Kindergarten teacher, Douglas Spencer, and to our new second grade teacher, Kylie Hisatake. Yoko Hamane will serve as our new part-time teacher for our ELL (English Language Learner) program; she will also continue her work as a part-time teacher for kindergarten in our Nihongo program. Jane Kim is our new part-time teachers for our NHA (Na Hoku ‘Ala) reading and math intervention program. We extend a warm welcome to all of them in joining our Aina Haina ‘ohana.

We are looking forward to an empowering and eventful 2018-2019 school year!

Your Partner in Education,
Brendan Burns, Principal
August 2019
May 2019
March 2019
December 2018
October 2018
August 2018