Aloha to both new and existing members of our Assets community, and welcome to a new school year! I hope you had a fabulous summer break, full of fun, learning, relaxation and time with family.
The beginning of a new school year is always such an exciting time. Students come back eager to reconnect with their old friends and a little anxious in their quest to make new ones. And of course, the kids can’t wait to find out what teachers they will have this year!
We educators get excited too. We have spent weeks gathering supplies, moving and then re-moving furniture, decorating walls, revisiting our curriculum and attending professional development workshops – all in preparation for the return of young minds to campus, and for the opportunity to once again help our students further develop their intellectual, physical, social, emotional and moral selves.
The first week here at Assets is all about getting to know each other and building community. Hopefully, if you asked your child about her day, she shared about morning meetings, closing circles, an all-school assembly, conversations with students and collaborative class activities. A real highlight for me was at our assembly where Tanner (8th grade) stood up in front of the entire school and delivered a kind welcome to all students, with a special note to new students. Tanner and I didn’t plan our speeches together and yet we both stressed how special this place is to us and how lucky all of us are to get to work, learn and play together here.
All of these activities are intentional. They help students ease back into the learning environment in a safe manner, as well develop strong relationships and positive school climate. We also start assessing students current academic achievement level so we have a starting point to measure growth from throughout the year.
Welcome New Faculty Members
Speaking of community, it’s my pleasure to introduce some new faculty members to Assets.
Shannon Patalano joins Assets as our new Dramatic Arts teacher, working with all students K-8. Shannon previously worked as a drama teacher at Sacred Hearts Academy, and has worked for several years at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, which is one of our school’s favorite places.
Melissa Rosen joins us as a second teacher in our middle school. She is working with Ms. Emily King this year. Melissa joins us having recently served as a special education teacher at Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate Schools. Melissa previously served as the Student Services Coordinator and a special education teacher at Hālau Kū Māna public charter school. Melissa has previously worked for the Learning Disabilities Association of Hawaii and sat on the board for Hawaii’s Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC).
We are also excited to welcome back Linda Blais. Linda is serving as a long-term sub in the 5/6th grade. Linda is a warm and familiar face on campus, having served as a long-term sub for us last year and as a full time teacher in our summer school.
Please join me in welcoming Shannon, Melissa and Linda to our school community.
Responsive Classroom Training
As I mentioned, our teachers have been preparing for the first day of school long before it arrived. We had 30 faculty members report back to school one whole week earlier than required so they could participate in a 4-day Responsive Classroom workshop. You may remember the middle school faculty doing the same thing last year with Development Designs training. Both programs promote the social-emotional health of students. This summer, we focused on conducting morning meetings, how we interactively model behavior and routines for students, our teacher language, and how students can establish their own classroom rules collaboratively. It was an inspiring training!
Campus Beautification and Ice Cream Social
Mahalo to the families who were able to attend the campus beautification event before school started. This is an opportunity to welcome new families to the school and take care of our beloved playground structure by spreading fresh fibar. I think a new record was set this year by finishing the job in 10 minutes, which left a lot of time for ice cream! If you haven’t already seen it, check out the time-lapse video below.
High School Campus
We miss our older student neighbors but we are very excited for the high school to officially open their new campus last week. This is an exciting new chapter in our school’s history. If you missed it, check out how their opening was covered by local news agencies.
We’re off to a great start. I look forward to seeing everyone at the pancake breakfast on Friday morning!