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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!


October 2, 2020

What a COVID crazy year this has been so far! I truly appreciate our collective efforts to practice Unity, Patience, and Serenity ("UPS" as in delivering instruction like our mail service). It looks like both the Complex Area Superintendent, as well as the Board of Education, feel strongly that public schools, in general, are not ready to open classrooms for all students in light of the continued concerns about the virus. To be honest, we are struggling with balancing reopening with safety during these delicate times. Through our recent parent survey, even our community is split almost down the middle about the timing of reopening.
What I ask is that we all give space and grace to each other and ourselves. We WILL get through this! Trust that we are doing the very best to stabilize our students, our families, and the school. Our hearts and minds are working overtime to continue to support students to ultimately Learn More, Care More, and Be More even during these challenging times.
In the second quarter, we will be increasing our counseling services, opening up new interest-based "fun" groups and finding creative ways to connect kids and families. Our focus will be on how to help kids socialize, find fun in other times besides during the school day, and possibly make some new friends. We will have a Drive-By Parade soon to see all of our students in person, host Parent Coffee Hours virtually (even though I don't drink coffee, I'll have some tea with you), and continue to communicate updates regularly. 
Please be sure to participate in our Family Challenges and find the silver linings behind each cloud that passes your way. Enjoy your break! We all deserve some down time.

September 14, 2020

Aloha Families of Kanoelani!!! 
What a crazy school year this has been so far with all of the twists and turns and unpredictable bends in the road. One thing will remain constant, and I read somewhere recently that this is actually a good thing. The only constant is CHANGE. Part of the good news is with a pandemic and in unstable health times, it is critical that the information changes, which ultimately reflects growth and development. So, although it can be very trying, our collective mindset is crucial. I choose to approach each twist and turn as a step closer to getting kids back in school full time! Practicing good hygiene and focusing on keeping each other healthy is imperative to getting back to a semblance of what was. 
Our attitude and approach to every day, every situation, and every moment will help continue to shape our community. My main message to all of you is short: our staff is going above and beyond and there is NO DOUBT about that. Every single person employed at Kanoelani is going that extra distance to deliver the best possible education. Teachers are staying up way past their bedtimes. Custodians are cleaning double time and the office staff are fielding calls about how to log on and troubleshoot. Please know that we are ALL committed to continuing to provide our excellent educational services for your child. Bottom line- WE GOT THIS!
Please continue to have Unity- with your child's teacher and your own family. Practice Patience- step away from the computer if you feel your blood boiling and take a breath before you speak, write, or even think negative thoughts. Now is NOT the time to be bucket dippers. And whatever it takes, have Serenity and stay calm even when you feel you might lose it. We are excited to bring you family challenges while we are in the Stay at Home order to give your family a fun task to do at home. 
If you need ANY help at all - please call us. Speak to one of our counselors or administrators if you just need someone to talk to or need some advice.
  • Mr. Cy Ohira
  • Mrs. Elaine Shibuya
  • Mrs. Stacie Kunihisa, Principal
  • Mr. Neil Blomberg, Vice Principal
  • Mrs. Lisa Tominaga, Vice Principal
Office Phone Number: 307-3800

July 2, 2020

Hi families of Kanoelani,

This is Principal Kunihisa with updates about our reopening. First of all, rest assured that we have been working very hard to ensure a smooth and safe reopening of school for your children. Thank you for your continued patience and willingness to practice UPS - Unity, Patience, and Serenity as a community and we plan carefully.

The first day of school for all students, except Kindergarten, will be on August 5th, Wednesday. We have a Waiver Day on August 4th so the student start date is on Wednesday. For the first 9 days of school, we will have half days of school ending at 11:30 AM. 

Our school will be on a Hybrid schedule. This means all students in Grades K-2 will come to school daily. In addition, any special education and English Language Learners in grades Grade K-6 will also come daily. Grades 3-6 will be on a rotational schedule. 

I wanted to inform you that we will be mailing out our school calendar and school supply list by next Friday, July 10th. This information will also be posted on our website and social media. Included in this mailing and posting will be the rotational schedule for upper grades.

Our top priority is keeping everyone on campus safe.  We will be expecting students to come to school with their own face coverings, to practice social distancing, and healthy hygiene. Please continue to practice these at home and in the community. COVID will always be around so our goal is to minimize the risk for everyone. 

Finally, please mark your calendars for a virtual Open House to hear about our daily practices and learn how we will reopen safely. There will be a link to our virtual open house on July 23 at 10 am and repeated at 6 pm.  

Any new or incoming Kindergarten parents we will also be hosting a Welcome to Kanoelani meeting August 3 virtual meeting at 10 am and 6 pm.  

These virtual meetings repeat so you only need to attend one session. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

May 27, 2020

Good afternoon Kanoelani Ohana!

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 28, we will be having a Rainbows Drive-Bye. This will be a very special chance for your child to say “Goodbye” to our school and see some familiar faces. Please stay in your car at all times and drive by slowly and carefully. Grades Preschool-2 will be from 9:00 - 10:00 am and Grade 3-6 will be from 10:00 - 11:00 am.

6th graders! This is your final goodbye, please follow your teachers’ instructions and be ready with your name and teachers’ name on your dashboard when you drive in. Look for your surprise by our marquee tomorrow when you arrive. If you want to come back and take a picture by the sign please do so anytime next week from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Be sure if you do stop by, you practice social distancing.

School supply pick up and drop off will be held from June 1 - 5.  f your child’s last name is:

A-D =  Monday, June 1

E-K = Tuesday, June 2

L-P = Wednesday, June 3

Q-Z = Thursday, June 4. 

Make-ups = Friday, June 5 

Please note the times each day are from 8:00 - 10:00 am and 2:00 - 4:00 pm to accommodate our families.   

Finally report cards will be mailed out sometime next week so please expect them in your mailbox along with a copy of our final Chronicle. Know that as information comes out I will be contacting you over the summer with updates about our reopening for next year. Practice Unity, Patience, and Serenity as we head into a “new normal” for school and for life. Enjoy our summer break! 

May 19, 2020

Good Evening Kanoelani Families.  We have two important announcements for you.

 First of all, I want to personally thank you for being so patient with the major shift in schooling during this time. I will be honest, its been a steep learning curve for all of us and we really appreciate your partnership. As the school year ends, we would like to provide an opportunity for drop off and pick up of all school supplies. During the week of June 1- 5 we will have a systemic process that will be efficient and safe. Times will be designated according to the student's last name to support parents of multiple children. Please look for a letter home describing details regarding the week of June 1-5. On our website click on “School Pick Up Procedures” to obtain the schedule.  

In addition, we’ll be having a Rainbows Drive-By to close the school year. This will be a very special chance for your child to say “Goodbye” to our school and get closure by seeing some familiar faces.  Also in the mail going home you should find the flyer about the Rainbows Drive-By. On our website, you can click  “Rainbows Drive By” to obtain that schedule. 

This message will be posted on our website so if you missed anything you can use it for reference. Have a great ending of the school year. Until we meet again practice Unity, Patience, and Serenity. 


April 24, 2020

Aloha Students and Families of Kanoelani,

I hope this message finds you in good health and spirits as we cope with this COVID-19 virus pandemic.  Late last Friday State Superintendent, Dr. Kishimoto announced the continuation of distance learning/packets through the rest of the school year which ends on May 28, 2020.  Though our buildings and campus remains closed, learning will continue.

You should’ve received your child’s 3rd quarter report card in the mail.  Your child’s year grade will be determined on their performance on all standards they have learned so far.  All teachers and staff continue to work diligently to provide enrichment opportunities for our students.  Our staff will continue to check in with your child(ren) as the school year progresses.

Please remember to check our school website and Instagram account regularly.  Join us there to see some cool school updates.  We will also continue to send out voicemail blasts with updates and new information.  If you haven’t been receiving the phone messages or if we don’t have your updated phone number or address; please call the office at (808) 307-3800 or email us through our school website. 

Beginning next Monday, and every Monday after that, we will begin handing out K registration packets.  This is ONLY for incoming K students.  If you need one or know someone who needs to register for Kindergarten for the next school year, please stay in your car and come to pick up a registration packet from 10-12 on any Monday.  If you need one mailed to you because you cannot come during that time, please contact our front office.  We will not be working on registration for all other grade levels just yet.  

On another note – we need to identify all the families either not returning to Kanoelani Elementary next year or for sixth graders, those not planning to attend Highlands intermediate.  Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you next week to find out if you plan to return.  Feel free to reach out and share that information.

Finally - We are aware that our families are going through a lot of strain.  If your child is in need of assistance socially or emotionally please call and let us know, or notify your teacher, as our counselors are available for consultation. 

Our school plans to send home school supplies and yearbooks right after the school year officially ends.  More information to come.  Please stay healthy and safe.  We will get through this together.  Remember to stay united, stay patient have serenity during this challenging time.

Enjoy your weekend. 

April 2, 2020

Dear Kanoelani Families –

Hi everyone, sharing some new information today. Our efforts from our school team have been centered around three guiding principals: UPS – like a delivery system, Unity, Patience, and Serenity and we are using that as a reminder for ourselves personally as well. 

Unity – thank you for working so well with your child’s teacher who should already be in contact with you. Stay connected as we move forward.

Patience - We are in this together – you are not alone.  Teachers are trying new things and grade levels may look a bit different due to age appropriateness.  Do what you can to help at home but don’t feel like you have to do it all. 

Serenity – Stay calm.  We will now transition from enrichment activities to next week a focus more on essential skills. Per contract negotiations, teachers cannot grade work moving forward but they do want to provide work that is essential to the grade level. We will have online learning and packets printed.  The information will be on the same concepts but will look different. Please know you do NOT have to do both. Also, even if your child is working online, feel free to come next Monday to pick up a packet if you want. Packet handout will be every Monday from 10-12 in our school parking lot.  

We cannot foresee what is to come in May but our goal is to have students continue to practice what they know and build on that with these essential skills. As a reminder – if you need to get in touch with the administration for any reason, you can call or text Mr. Blomberg at 341-2006 or email us through the school website.

Until I talk to you again, UPS – Unity, Patience, Serenity. 

March 27, 2020

Aloha Kanoelani Ohana - this is Principal Kunihisa with a new update regarding enrichment learning opportunities for the week of March 30 - April 3.  

As stated in Superintendent Kishimoto’s March 24 letter to parents/guardians, “school facilities will be closed to students until at least April 30 and traditional in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen.”  Students are expected to remain home through April 30. 

Kanoelani Elementary will provide continued student enrichment opportunities during this time.  Parents can access pdf copies of student work activities on our school website: kanoelani.org and can download and print.  Please note - these will not be graded and students will not be turning in any activities. Also - the state expectation is to have this ready by next week but because we have such an incredible team, they have it ready for you to see today.

For those of you who do not have internet access and would like a hard copy instead, pick up will be available from 10-12 on Monday, March 30 in the school parking lot.  There is a video of how we will be distributing activities on our website. If you are not able to view it, just show up between 10-12 next Monday.

We will be updating our website regularly so feel free to check back for the latest information as teachers continue to plan and update.  Please be patient with your child’s teacher and give them grace as they are planning and configuring learning with limited training in online learning. They are doing their very best. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us and we hope to work through this together.  On behalf of Kanoelani Elementary, please remember our UPS mantra- Unity, Patience, and Serenity. 

Finally, WE > ME!

March 21, 2020

Good afternoon families and staff of Kanoelani,
As of Sat March 21 2020 and until further notice the DOE projects students to return to school on April 7. By March 30 we will be posting free resources on our website for student enrichment activities - these will not introduce new units of study and can be viewed and downloaded from our website on that date. Any activities done at home during this time, prior to the April 7th return will not be monitored or graded as they are solely for enrichment. If you do not have access to a computer and would like a packet of the enrichment activities or If you have questions please call the school office on Monday, March 23 or Tuesday, March 24 between the hours or 8-11am.
The DOE is also offering Grab and go Breakfast and Lunch starting next Wed. The closest pick up for our area will be at August Ahrens Elementary School. This is meant for any children under the age of 18 who may be lacking food for any reason. Please see our website for more details under news and announcements.
Finally, join me and watch my daily video clips made just for you called Parent Pointers every day while we are not in session. You can find the first two - Routines and 7:1 on our website, Instagram or Twitter account. Tune in on Monday to hear the next one! Feel free to share the videos with your children and families and use them as a talking point to navigate during these challenging times.
Most importantly please take care of yourself and Choose Love.

March 12, 2020

Happy Spring Break Kanoelani Families!!!
I truly believe a break will be good for us all. With the Coronavirus impact, there is a lot of uneasiness and uncertainty in the air. I can't believe the depth of the reaction that is happening across our state and nation. During these times, it is absolutely imperative to remain calm as a community and continue to simply practice good hygiene. Recently, we reviewed with our entire school community how to wash hands properly and shared tips and tricks to staying healthy.
Despite the virus, we are moving forward with an optimistic attitude of what's to come. Our recent grand opening of the Lokahi Lounge was a huge success, with so many potential possibilities for our school. Not only did all of the financial contributors attend, but Spectrum came to donate a ton of computers and tablets for our students! Great things continue to happen for our kids.
Speaking of great things, I thoroughly enjoyed our Concert Glee singing their hearts out at the annual Pearl City Complex Music Festival last month and had a blast watching our soccer team play against Aliiolani Elementary School. I can't wait to watch the second match in May against their soccer team. Also, this week we will be participating in the annual Math Olympiad led by fifth and sixth-grade teachers as well as Pearl City High School aspiring educators. 
Finally, we are excitedly anticipating the upcoming Kanoelani's Got Talent that will showcase the incredible talent of our students! The winners will be able to enter Brown Bags to Stardom and since Bruno Mars came from Hawaii, why can't one of our students be the next Bruno? With our collective efforts and the WE is greater than ME mentality I know we can cultivate our next generation to lead us to greatness.
Thanks for being an example for your child and remaining calm and optimistic with us over the break and into the fourth quarter!

February 7, 2020

Happy New Year! It's been just about a month since we've returned from Winter Break and there's so much to share already! First of all, our entire school (including all of our students) are about to release a #schoolchallenge online. Stay tuned for this truly EPIC video. If you aren't following us already - be sure to see our Twitter and Instagram accounts and follow us today!
Although 2020 just began, we are actively planning for the next school year and we want to hear your voice! As we gear up for the next school year we want to share some highlights:
1) YOU CAN EARN A BOOK FAIR BUCK to be used at our book fair by filling out our survey: Click HERE
2) We are requesting an extra Waiver Day for SY 2020-2021 to cover Youth First Aide Mental Health training on August 4- so if it is approved, we will start school with students one day later than the DOE calendar shows.
On another note, right before the break, we applied for three innovation grants and we were awarded not one, not two, but ALL THREE! Which means over $25,000 going directly to your child's education. The areas we will be working on improving are coding/drama, news on the move, and academies. Congratulations to our team of teachers- Mrs. Mata, Ms. Apao, and Mr. Ogawa who worked hard to secure this additional funding.
Speaking of awesome stuff- YOU CAN WATCH US LIVE every Monday morning. Our Kanoelani Rainbow News can be found online on our website or by clicking HERE to the weekly links. Find out what clubs are doing, what sports are starting and to hear the latest news. We even feature students of the week and classrooms in action.
Finally, as we reflect on some tragedies that have come our way recently, we are reminded of the true importance and value of Choose Love and its concepts. Take time daily to stop and fill someone's bucket sincerely and forgive someone that's been on your mind today. You never know what tomorrow brings- good or bad- so make each day count!

December 17, 2019

Happy Holidays!!!
I wanted to open with a recent tweet I made regarding Courage, one of our themes in our Choose Love movement. 
Did you know? The root of the word courage is cor- (like CORE beliefs) - the Latin word for heart. In on e of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "to speak one's mind by telling one's heart. How much moral courage do you have? The easiest thing to do is follow the crowd." 
As we head into the holiday season and into the New Year, this is a time for reflection and goal setting. We reflect daily on how effectively we are serving this community and your child. Besides equipping every child with academic knowledge and skills, we are truly committed to building character, perseverance and grit. Part of our job collectively is to allow children to fail, allow children to struggle and allow children to make their own decisions and face natural consequences. At school, we are in essence "substitute parents," or "in loco parentis." 
A few tips to remember as we raise these kids together and we have some time to reflect and set goals at school and at home:
1. 7 to 1 rule. For every negative comment (especially during a conflict with your child or anyone else for that matter), there MUST be 7 positives. This works like magic in the classrooms and honestly in homes as well! What is your ration? (Compassion in Action)
2. Kids NEED clear and consistent boundaries. As much as we want to love kids and give them what they want to ensure they are happy, a big part of providing structure is very clear expectations and consistent, respectful consequences. Are you setting clear boundaries? (Courage)
3. Strongest muscle in your body? Everyone has the most powerful weapon that an destroy a child- a tongue. Words cut deeply and can last a lifetime. Word are either bucket fillers or dippers. What is your percentage?
Choose Love is truly impacting not only our school but our Waipio community and its because of OUR effort. WE > ME - thank you for a being a part of our commitment! Enjoy your break and continue to bucket fill others in your thoughts, actions, and words.
P.S.- If you're not already following us- keep up with the exciting things going on at school on Instagram and on Twitter!
Instagram: kanoelanielementaryschool
Twitter: @staciekunihisa

November 1, 2019

If you didn't have a chance to swing by and visit the launch of the "Stuck on Aloha" book release late October let me paint a picture for you. Imagine incredible community leaders Like Senator Breene Harimoto, who is battling cancer and Boy Scouts Troop 75, who teach how to deal with adversities, sitting alongside our three students proudly signing books. The community came out in droves to show their love and support for the book contributors under a giant white canopy with leis, balloons, and incredible entertainment! It was a sight to see.
Sebastian, Jaycee, and Owen courageously shared their own story of perseverance and grit in this book and I couldn't be prouder. They shed light on the incredible work of everyone in our school and our Choose Love program so please be proud of your child and our entire staff. The book will hit Amazon soon and represents our efforts.
The ability to hit failures and setbacks and truly bounce back is a skill that we must continue to cultivate. At our school we try to strike a "balance" between academic knowledge and critical thinking/problem-solving skills with "soft skills" -how we treat each other, handle stress and tolerate differences. In short, we value both the IQ of your child as much as the EQ. (Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient)
In addition to this "balance," we are working hard to continue to increase student voice and choice. Around the corner is our first round of "Pre-Academies." Aligned to Pearl City High School's Academy structure we are offering classes like Sewing, Coding, and Basic Foreign Languages. Partners such as Island Tumblers Gymnastics and UH West Oahu will be coming in to teach classes to increase relevancy and engagement.
I want to thank our families for coming out to support our annual Craft Fair- this was our most successful one yet! Kudos to our teachers and staff who volunteered their time to make this day possible. Thank you also for all who attended our Pumpkin Carving night and had a chance to show your carving skills! 
Special thanks to our business partner American Savings Bank for choosing us to be apart of their Kids Curling Clinic (see November Chronicle for details). Our business partnerships are an integral part of the education of the whole child, and we are grateful for their help.
Finally, a huge congratulations to the Pearl City Complex and our very own Mr. Ogawa for being three of the four winners of the PAEMST award!

October 2, 2019

As we come to the close of the first quarter, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the entire community working to raise our children of Waipio. We hosted a Business Breakfast to make community connections earlier this month and had over 60 businesses represented. Many of them will be partnering with us to offer authentic academies and real-world project-based learning experiences. We cannot do this job of raising the community alone and I can't wait to see what these relationships bring.
On another note, I want to pause a bit and share my own thoughts about the upcoming trip I will be taking to Washington DC over the Fall Break. As principal representing the State of Hawaii, I am beyond humbled and blessed to go as a team leader of Kanoelani. We are a special place with warm hearts and bucket filling attitudes. One of our new parents recently shared he knows that we work things out through words and connections instead of fists and anger. Even as adults and even in your homes we MUST CHOOSE LOVE and have courageous conversations filled with grace and compassion. We MUST strive high to set lofty goals and hold each other accountable and we MUST simply care more and be more.
I am excited to greet all 49 other principals and receive a Golden Bell that perpetually represents ALL of our hard work. This trip is for every teacher that stays far beyond a workday, every custodian that goes that extra mile to keep our campus safe and clean and every staff member who chooses to wake up each day and handle so many emotions, challenges, and situations on a daily basis that inevitably happens with 800 kids daily.
On your end, I ask that you take some time to look into the Choose Love program home component and make just one change before the holiday season that will positively impact your home. These small ripples will add to our momentum and shift the dynamics of Hawaii one day at a time. I want to end by proudly sharing that we are taking a team of teachers and students to present at the upcoming Schools of the Future Conference and showcase our efforts to merge project-based learning with Compassion in Action. PBL + SEL = WHOLE CHILD! Enjoy your Fall Break!

August 30, 2019

Welcome back to school! I'm wondering if you heard about the exciting celebration we had at our Welcome Back assembly, complete with some staff members dancing, not me of course!!! If they have I was dancing, don't believe them! Seriously though, it was such an amazing time celebrating the return to Kanoelani in such a fun way. Some of our special guests including Miss Asia 2019, Camille Yano, who is also a proud Kanoelani alumni; the recently crowned Miss Aloha 2020, Tiffany Ducaycay; and Junior Miss Hawaii Cosmos 2019, Alexis Bugarin. What a treat it was to hear some words of wisdom from a graduate of Kanoelani sharing her ideas around our word of the year... Commitment!
We are ramping up to provide another year full of bucket filling and choosing love. To that end, we selected a movie that emulates our deep commitment, Toy Story 4. As demonstrated by Woody, we are in this journey together and promise to always practice courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion in action.
At the end of August, we will begin a new system across campus called W.I.N., "What I Need." We will focus on giving students more voice and choice in their learning as well as provide extra time for revisiting concepts that need attention. Services school wide will be deliberately planned so that each child can work on what they need.
Finally, just as a heads up, we have many community and business partners knocking at our door to help us out! Early September, we will be hosting a Community Connections breakfast and so far we have close to 50 people planning to attend. Stay tuned to hear more about how our local businesses and community organizations will be supporting your child's journey.