Letter to Parents 8/9/2017

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 and refreshing for 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 classrooms and overall school environments.

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 10 character traits of the IB Learner Profile. Our IB Programme builds in our students learning and character skills which help to benefit them throughout their entire educational experience; our IB programme helps to prepare them for the workforce of the future. Regarding funding sources to support our IB Programme, we received word over the summer that Aina Haina was awarded a $40,000 grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation, which will go towards the professional development training needs of our staff, specifically as related to providing further training for them in the IB programme. Mahalo to our IB PYP coordinator, Trisha Shipman-Lameier, for her efforts in writing and securing this grant for our school.

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 have made a huge difference in the learning of our students.

Finally, we welcome some new staff members this school year. Cathy Cobb and Diana Chan are new special education teachers. Yoko Hamane is our new Kindergarten part-time teacher for our Nihongo program. We extend a warm welcome to them in joining our Aina Haina ‘ohana.

We are looking forward to an empowering and eventful 2017-2018 school year!

Your Partner in Education,
Brendan Burns, Principal