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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!

Recent Posts

April 5, 2018

It's been another busy month at Kanoelani. On March 1st, we held our first ever "Community Connections" business breakfast and hosted over 40 guests from local area businesses. Stronger partnerships are beginning to form as we continue to head towards increasing relevancy in the classrooms! Our student ambassadors greeted the guests and courageously presented information about our school. Picture this... two of our Kindergarten students, microphone in hand, explaining the value and purpose of school programs. It was beyond impressive. Words cannot do the student efforts justice as they took full control of the audience and spoke like mini adults! Kudos to our presenters for the day!
That day, business owners were treated to special presentations by Taiko and Concert Glee. Speaking of Concert Glee, HUGE Congratulations are in order to them as they awed and inspired the audience with musical renditions that blew me away at our recent Pearl City Music Festival!!! Not only did they sound wonderful, but they sang meaningful songs directly tied to Choose Love.
Choose Love has been working wonders at Kanoelani and we are excited to announce we have been selected to receive funding to host a statewide conference for educators! That means many educators will be visiting our classrooms next year to learn about the impact of this new social-emotional learning program. We are excited to host as the changes in both students and adults have been resounding. 
I am honored to be part of a school that focuses on the mental and emotional development of children in addition to the academic growth. In today's society, with social media bombarding us all with opinions and perspectives, it's hard to sometimes make up your own mind and figure out how to live a life of courage and compassion. It is our job collectively to mold and shape the HEARTS and MINDS of these kids. Please take time to bucket fill at home and on the go and STOP to Choose Love every single day. 

February 2, 2018

Happy New Year and welcome to the second semester! I hope you are thoroughly enjoying our new student-led school paper. We are so proud of the students running the show behind the scenes of the Chronicle. In line with the direction of our new Superintendent, all schools are continuing their own efforts to increase Student Voice and strengthen School Design. To that end, we are providing more and more opportunities for students to lead their own learning path. Every child sets their own academic and behavior goals as well as reflect on the progress to measure growth in their Rainbow Reflection class structure.
Also, a newly designed Student Ambassador program began this month as we cultivate student leadership in a dynamic way allowing for real-world application and problem-solving opportunities. These student ambassadors are already providing school tours for new students and meeting adults with a confident handshake. 
The student ambassadors will have a chance to exercise what they have been practicing at our very first Community Connections breakfast. This is our chance to build a bridge between businesses and the ONLY school in Waipio Gentry to offer ways that private and public industries can partner up to transform learning. If you are a business owner or work in our area (or any area), feel free to RSVP at 307-3800 and join us or invite others to attend. We will have students share out easy, no-cost ways that business can get involved with student learning!
What: Community Connection Breakfast
When:  Thursday, March 1, 2018
Who: All business owners/managers
Why: To build a mutually beneficial partnership that allows for real-world learning for kids
Finally, we are proud to announce we are once again expanding our plethora of extracurricular activity choices to now include Hip Hop Dance. Students in grades 3-6 will be able to practice and showcase their moves at upcoming events. With over 15 clubs available, we hope that every child finds a "home" away from home.

November 15, 2017

Thank you very much for your partnership with our school and your child's teacher. We value and appreciate your participation in the parent-teacher conferences and were happy to meet so many families at our Choose Love night event. Developing compassion, empathy, and gratitude is just as important as developing a child academically and we are committed to ensuring your child gets a well-rounded education.
Aligned with the vision of our new Superintendent, we are continuing to increase student voice and choice. For the second year now, we are excited to bring back our Academy Explorations program. During the week of December 11-15, students (grades 5 and 6) will be able to select an academy explorations class such as "Just Desserts," "Painting by Design," "and Makerspace" to develop their own personal interest and find connections to possible career paths. These offerings align with the Academies offered at Pearl City High School and will help to get kids thinking about their possible career paths.
In addition, to extend the chance for student leadership and student's voice, we have a new "Kanoelani Chronicle" that will be created, written, and published by students and sent to all of our families regularly. This will highlight events across campus as well as showcase student work and our new SEL (Social Emotional Learning) program. Stay tuned for this exciting new publication! 
Finally, this quarter our Choose Love theme is Gratitude. Students across campus are receiving lessons on the mindfulness of being grateful and ultimately being a BUCKETFILLER!!! Enjoy your Thanksgiving season and continue to Choose Love!

Hawaii Principals Lead with Public School Pride

In honor of National Principals Month in October, the HIDOE produced an inspiring video of principals who have graduated from the DOE leading their own DOE school with pride! I attended elementary in California, Okinawa and then 4th to 6th grade at Maemae Elementary School. I then went to Aiea Intermediate and High.
Attending public school taught me how to relate to so many different types of peers from different cultures, beliefs, and thoughts. The opportunity to learn how to negotiate, compromise and connect allowed me the chance to see life through others eyes. Sometimes parents can inadvertently hurt their child if too much protection and shelter block reality. For me, at Aiea, life was real. Full of challenges, obstacles, and triumphs.
Learning how to deal with defeat and setbacks gave me the drive to persevere and battle my way back no matter how hard the situation was. Mrs. Kumasaka, my 11th grade English teacher gave me a very low score on a writing piece and expected more from me than I thought possible. This ultimately led to raising my own personal expectations.
As a school principal, I expect nothing but the best for our students, faculty, and families. With that mindset and determination, Kanoelani has flourished with the help and dedication of every single staff member who works day in and day out with the WE > ME heart! We are truly one team and everyday people at Kanoelani choose the right attitude and love each individual for who they are! I am very proud to be apart of this great community!
"It takes a village to raise a child" is a true statement in today's day. Research has shown that parent, family, and community involvement in education correlates to higher academic performances and motivates students. This weekend at our annual Craft Fair, it was evident that we have a strong community and family involvement by all the patrons. Thank you for supporting our teachers and students. 
Monies raised by each of the grade levels go directly back to fund activities for your children throughout the school year. Many of the students in each grade level have helped to create the products that were sold or games that you may have played. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

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!