Kanoelani Elementary School

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| Fall Break: October 9 - 13 | Parent Teacher Conference: November 3 - 9 |
Principal Stacie Kunihisa » Principal's Blog

Principal's Blog

Welcome to my blog! I am excited to be using this as a communication tool for our parents, students, teachers, and community members. This blog is intended to serve as a vehicle for informing upcoming events and giving you an opportunity to hear from me. By pressing the Subscribe link (on the right), you will get notifications via e-mail when I update my blog. I look forward to another great school year with you!
 

Recent Posts

Denzel Washington Speech: Make a Difference

On Saturday, May 9, 2015, Denzel Washington delivered the commencement speech at Dillard University. This video is just a small portion of his speech that he gave that day to 213 graduating students. Mr. Washington emphasizes that you should have dreams with goals. Without goals, a dream will only have disappointment. I hope you will be inspired by Mr. Washington to set goals for yourself and your family.

September 11, 2017

First quarter is now in full swing and the buzz around campus is electric and exciting! Students are busily working hard to set personal academic and behavior goals with the support of their teachers. For academics, teachers are using research-based universal screeners that identify specific next steps for each child. They are effectively differentiating curriculum and instruction to level the playing field for everyone. But it's not just about the intellectual growth, we are all truly dedicated to the development of the whole child. Coupled with our new social emotional learning program, Choose Love, our bucket-filling has risen to new heights. Discipline referrals are at an all time low compared to this time last year. Students are learning how to have COURAGE and use brave breaths to calm situations down and understand each other's perspectives. Please spend some time asking your child about their Choose Love journals and the work they are beginning to do to gain tools to live a successful life.
 
Every year the entire Kanoelani staff focuses on ONE word that drives our collective efforts and this year our word is COURAGE. In so many ways teachers and staff are working hard to embody that concept with peers, parents, and most importantly, students!!! Teachers are bravely stepping up more and more to provide professional development to our faculty, opening their classrooms for peers visits and challenging themselves by setting high goals for classroom to reach.
 
With a whole child focus in mind, articulation has begun and kids are anticipating extra classes such as art, music, technology, and PE as well as after school activities like Concert Glee and Aquaponics/Gardening Club. For the first time ever we are including lower grade students in Kanoelani chorus and we will soon get to hear our little ones singing their hearts out!!! Our recess time is now equipped with PE type games that are set up for students to participate in daily. I can't believe how much kids love Sharks and Minnows! In addition to the multitude of activities offered at Kanoelani, we are beginning a brand new Maker-space program that will be open for students across the campus at recess. This is a new journey as we continue to expand our technology and hands-on learning for all! I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings! 
 
 

May 25, 2017

What an absolutely AMAZING May Day program!!! I want to bucket fill our very own Mrs. Twinkle Hayashi and Kumu May Balino-Sing who worked so hard to plan and prepare for this phenomenal experience! I was beyond blown away at the variety of cultures represented and the well orchestrated program. I can't believe our sixth graders danced liked that! It took the entire faculty and staff to pull together to ensure that the day went well despite the early morning rain. A World of Music embodied our commitment and dedication to WE > ME. Together we can fly!
 
Mahalo for everyone who came out to McNight and supported our school efforts. Showcasing our talented Taiko group, JPOs, Twinkle Toes, and Concert Glee was just another example of how connected our school is to the larger community with a commitment to and appreciation for our business partners. Congratulations are also in order to our track team that took third place overall in the annual Pearl City Complex Track Meet. Our students ran their hearts out and gave it 100%. I was such a proud audience member that night and appreciate all who came out to support our runners.
 
Finally, I wanted to also recognized our new Gardening and Aquaponics Club. Students from grades 2-6 culminated their experiences with oral presentations in front of a panel of judges explaining their personal growth and journey. It was absolutely amazing to hear these "scientists" defining symbioses and sharing their personal aquaponics systems they built.
 
As the year closes, we have to say farewell to several staff members who will not be returning to Kanoelani next school year. Mrs. Alexa Dela Cruz will be taking some time off for family needs. Ms. Anna Guieb will be moving to Lehua Elementary School and Ms. Jennifer San Nicholas will be relocating to another state. We wish them all the best of luck!!!
 
Enjoy your summer break and remember to always, always be bucket fillers and not dippers! Know that with growth mindset anything is possible as long as you have GRIT and determination! Best wishes over the summer break and I look forward to seeing you all next school year!!!

Never Give Up

I recently came across Denzel Washington's acceptance speech for winning the Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his portal in his latest movie, Fences (2017). Click here to view. 
 
Mr. Washington encourages the audience to never give up. If you fall down, get up. I hope you find inspiration from his words in your life to always try your best and failure is okay. We learn and grow from failure. 
 
As we finish our first week of SBA testing, please continue to practice having a Growth Mindset. Get a good nights rest and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning so you are prepared to put your best foot forward!
 
 
"Fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning." - Denzel Washington, 2017
 
 

April 10, 2017

It has been exciting times at Kanoelani as we embarked on a new adventure incorporating "Academies" through our Academy Exploration program for fifth and sixth graders. We have partners, as well as staff, offering classes that are interest based and allows for student choice. Beginning late April, we will have our we will run our very first Academy. HPD and Boy Scouts are among the teachers who will teach our students a variety of engaging activities ties to potential career pathways. The long-term vision is to incorporate several rounds of Academies for upper grade students and expose them to the Academies offered at Pearl City High School.
 
On top of Academies, we are gearing up for our annual Smarter Balanced Assessment that will measure the academic growth and gains of our 3rd-6th graders. Kanoelani teachers have worked hard to ensure students are equipped with strategies for problem solving and critical thinking. Be sure you are aware of your child's test dates and prep them with a healthy breakfast and good night's rest.
 
I want to congratulate our phenomenal Math Club members who represented us so well at the annual Math Olympiad in March as well as our Robotics Team who amazed many of us at the Robofest! Our teams represented us well! I also want to wish our track team good luck as we head into our complex track meet.
 
Finally, thanks to everyone who helped make our Bubble Run a huge success. Kids and adults alike were running through the floating pearly orbs while getting fit in a fun way. What a fantastic way to celebrate health and wellness!
 
 

March 17, 2017

HUGE congratulations are in order to our Concert Glee members who awed and inspired the audience with musical renditions that blew me away!!! Also, congratulations to our awesome Math Club as they worked hard in the recent Math Olympiad and took THIRD PLACE! What a feat that was trying to complete mind boggling competitions. Combine those celebrations with our new Dance and Gardening Clubs and it is evident how many extra curricular opportunities our students have.
 
In addition to these after school activities, I am excited to announce the latest innovation our fifth and sixth grade students will experience in the fourth quarter. I recently had the privilege of visiting Nashville Academy high schools and toured campuses that are offering real world learning in a hands-on environment. Imagine having classes in a court room with a real judge or having your quizzes in a mock doctors office where you are giving a physical exam. I was blown away at the relevance and integration of learning.
 
So our upper grade students will be able to participate in a our new Academy Explorations program that will allow students to choose which classes to attend for a four session series. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new endeavor to make learning relevant and engaging! 
 
Finally, thank you to all of the families who participated in the star creations! Our library was filled with creative recycled stars; all around! Mahalo also for participating in our Book Fair- we exceeded our goal thanks to your support! All of the funding will go towards purchasing new books and equipment for the library!
 

February 6, 2017

You have probably heard from your child by this point that we recently said farewell to Mrs. Walleen Hirayama and sent her off wit hour collective well wishes. She has been an integral part of our school team and will be missed. For a two week period, we will also have a training Vice Principal, Mr. Howard Chi visiting our school as Mr. Tanouye goes to another school to cross train. Feel free to say hello to our new administrators at any time!
 
We are excitedly approaching many challenging and fun-filled events! Our track team has begun practicing for the upcoming Track Meet and our Concert Glee is preparing for the Complex Music Festival coming up on February 18. Taiko is still going strong as well as our new Gardening and Aquaponics Club. These are just a few examples of how we truly value teaching the whole child! We even started a brand new Dance Club, Twinkle Toes and Rainbow Dazzlers for students in grades 1-6.
 
Meanwhile, back in the classrooms teachers and students in grades 3-6 are busily engaged in problem solving and applying learning to prepare for the Smarter Balanced Assessment which is right around the corner. Students are setting personal goals and working to show academic growth in this annual assessment. Please watch the calendar for dates and times of testing. 
 
Finally- we really, REALLY want to hear from you as we begin to create our Academic Plan for next year. Please complete the survey before our Read to Me Family Night for your chance to get a raffle ticket. Turn in the last page of the survey and we will put a raffle ticket for your child in the lottery! Winners will be pulled on the Read to Me Night and you do no need to be present to win. Win a slurpee, books, or even Scholastic dollars. See you on February 17th!

As we finish our first month of 2017, it is always a great time to reflect. This year I hope to continue to grow professionally and personally. I challenge everyone to wake up each day trying their best to be the most awesome person someone can be! We should live each day with the most color and happiness someone can put in a day. We all have responsibilities in life but we should still take the time to love one another and show that we care for others as well as yourself! 

December 14, 2016

As one chapter ends, another begins... With the closing of 2016, I want to share about changes in our school's administration team. We are sending Mrs. Walleen Hirayama off to the next chapter of her career as she leaves the school and assumes a position working to train incoming administrators. Mrs. Hirayama has been such a tremendous asset to our school community and has impacted not only students, but also teachers as well as families in Waipio. I want to personally thank Mrs. Hirayama for her endless hours working to find solutions and supports for so many students. She has gone above and beyond the duties of a Vice-Principal and has had a positive impact in so many ways. We all send her with our fondest farewells and know she will always be a part of our Kanoelani Ohana. She will truly be missed by everyone!
 
As she transitions for the next few months, we will have a temporary assigned (TA) Vice Principal assume her role. Mrs. Lisa Tominaga, currently a counselor with Holomua Elementary School  will be joining the administration team. Along with Mrs. Tominaga, we will also have Mrs. Gina Mata, a current second grade teacher in a (TA) Vice Principal role. Both will be training to become administrators during the second semester along with Mr. Tanouye. Please join me in welcoming our new administration. They are ready to take the reins and provide a seamless transition so they we can continue providing support to your child.
 
The quarter is coming to an end quickly, however before we leave, the students are looking forward to celebrating their successes at our Rainbow Fun Day! Thank you to all so much for the outpouring of donations and time to support this free experience for them. It's not too late to send monetary donations and/or items to be used for the day.
 
Continue to slow down during these hectic days breathe and always, always find reasons to be a bucket filler and not a dipper. Enjoy your break and see you in 2017!

Reasons to be Thankful

Life can be tough but we should always remember what we are thankful for. Although we may only celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, we should always remember to show how thankful we are everyday. Here is a short video of 25 (technically 26) reasons Kid President is thankful for and see if you share the same things as he did. I did! Have a great week of learning!

November 17, 2016

Thank you very much for your partnership with our school and your child's teacher. We value and appreciate your participation in the recent parent teacher conferences and were happy to meet so many families at our first quarter Rainbow of the Quarter celebration. I was especially tickled by our student led GLO skit created, produced, and executed 100% by the student council representatives. This is a direct reflection of our collective efforts to put students in the drivers seat of school programs. We are working hard this year to increase student voice and choice by scaling up our leadership efforts for students in various roles. 
 
As we balance the school to offer your child a well rounded education we were excited to welcome Professor Smart's to our campus on November 10th and to cheer on our school's basketball team at the annual complex wide tournament. We also began a student led Aquaponics and Gardening Club and are working on a new Robotics club for the near future. Our other co-curricular activities are up and running with huge success. And what a touching moment when our Glee club sang our  school's new alma mater a cappella at the recent assembly!
 
In short, your child is being exposed to all kinds of academic, social and fun activities on a daily basis and we will continue to find CONNECTIONS between and among people and purposes. Speaking of connections, be sure to read the message written by our very own SCS Chair, parent Kim Tadaki in our newsletter and our News & Announcements section on our website. Hope to see you at our upcoming events! Enjoy your thanksgiving season and continue to be a BUCKET FILLER at home with your kids and out in the community.

November 7, 2016

This is a short week of school but this shouldn't limit our students' learning. Tomorrow is our much anticipated Presidential Election. Parents, talk with your children about your views and the reasons why you are choosing a specific candidate. Students are asked everyday to explain their thought process. Please take some time before you vote tomorrow to show your children that we explain our thoughts everyday!
 
Kidshealth.org asked more than 2,000 students and 77% felt that the outcome of an election would change their lives. In a matter of no time, they will soon be eligible to vote for next President or Governor! 

Comeback Race - Always Try Your Best

I recently came across this video of an Irish track runner, click here to view or watch below. She reminded me that we should never give up and always have a growth mindset. 
 
In April 2016, Phil Healy pulled off an almost impossible victory at the Irish Universities Athletics Association track and field championships. Healy raced for University College Cork and was part of the 4x400 meter relay race and she was the closing runner. If you take a look at the video, she is the runner in all red and is absent through most of the video until the very end.
 
With almost 60 meters separating her and first place, Healy did not let that stop her from achieving greatness. Please share this video and story with her children to remind them to never give up and to always keep trying. You will never know what will happen in the end of you don't try.

"The Best Race Comeback You Will Ever See"

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRa7mQg73Eg Article: http://www.espn.com/espnw/culture/the-buzz/article/15291287/ireland-college-relay-race-ends-spectacular-comeback-amazing-radio-call

October 6, 2016

All good things must come to an end and, as such, the first quarter is ending very quickly. We have accomplished so much in such a short time with the beginning of so many exciting new activities for your child. From our very first Gardening and Aquaponics Clubs to the reintroduction of Concert Glee, kids at Kanoelani are offered a well-rounded experience. We've brought back Art into the articulation rounds that allow students in all grades to creatively express themselves. Student council representatives from grades 4-6 will be working directly with administration to have a stronger voice in leading our school forward and we can't wait to begin that journey with the kids!
 
With a stronger say in where we go, students will be able to practice their growth mindset beliefs and watch how "voting" has a major impact. As we head into the election season, be sure to continue to discuss with your child the value of voice and choice. A practice We Vote is available for your child to use as we will be giving them the chance to participate in We Vote Hawaii students can exercise their rights to have a say in our future.
 
Having said all of that, the measuring tool of a school is so, so much more than test scores. However, test scores matter and academic growth is a huge responsibility of every educator. We recently received our test scores and I am proud to say we have made gains in Reading and Science and maintained our status in Math as we transition to our new math program. Stay tuned for our specific results that I will share when the embargo is lifted.
 
As you go into break, please talk to your child about READO, our fall break challenge and see if you can check of boxes as a family and read, read, read! Enjoy your break!