FYI by Staff and Students

Our school's vision is: We are a community of innovative life long learners striving towards excellent.  Karen Corbell, a 4th grade teacher here at Mountain View Elementary, shares her thoughts of what it means to be an innovator:
  1. a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products.
I am an innovator according to the above basic definition. I am a person who tries new things because  they may improve a situation or solve a problem. However I think there is a whole lot more to it.

I would like to expand on what I think an innovator is. I believe it is more about being the best you can be at whatever you spend your time doing. Innovators tap into a need to excel and to be challenged.  I love to learn and have been curious about everything for as long as I can remember. These are common threads  found among teachers. Curiosity and the love of learning woven together creates the fabric of innovation. I believe another trait an innovator possesses is an innate ability to remain balanced in the face of struggle. It is the knowledge that some things must be explored before you can fully appreciate the end result. I also think that innovators are great planners. If you do not have a good framework there is nothing to hang off of. Sometimes we need to swing in the breeze a little knowing that we are anchored to the plan. Being open to change and trying new things is a hallmark of courage that most innovators do not even acknowledge. It usually takes someone else to point this out. Not necessarily because the innovator is modest but simply because they are completely absorbed in what they are doing. They don't notice because they find their endeavors invigorating and fun! Ok...that also includes frustrating, time consuming, stressful, scary and risky but mostly FUN! Change is not always welcomed by others so an innovator also has an extra amount of confidence in the ideas they are promoting. They believe it is worth the effort. They also have the patience to wait out the reluctant naysayers.  The final and most important aspect of being an innovator is being a strong collaborator. Two heads are better than one. Yes! I love trying out new things (especially with my students) because the joy of discovery and success is much sweeter when shared!
I am a digital innovator who is thoroughly enjoying the journey and is looking forward to the amazing opportunities ahead for us all!
How do you define yourself in the area of innovation?
    Mrs. Corbell, My Blog-Transparent Thoughts,, "What Makes A Digital Innovator?", 1/6/16 
Participation in the Hawaiian Culture at the School
written by Kumu John Cuban, Title 1 Schoolwide Coordinator, March 22, 2014
     One major concern that has been very common amongst schools in Hawai’i is the concern of participating in Hawaiian chant and hula by students who belong to certain Christian denominations.  Respectfully so, I can understand their perspective.  The traditions of our kupuna (ancestors) were guided by many facets of spiritually.  Whether it was fishing, farming, building, navigating, carving, hula etc., all encompassed spirituality as its guiding force.  Therefore, I understand the viewpoints that may challenge one dedicated to a religion to practice that of another.
     But so is our public school system as well, as we understand the distinct separation of church and state.  Just as similar are practices of religion not allowed to be taught and practiced in the schools, so is those practices not allowed when teaching the Hawaiian culture in our schools.  In teaching a Hawaiian chant, song, or hula, educators of Hawaiian culture are to teach those that promote the traditions and culture without invoking worship or prayer to deities.  For example, one can share the stories and legends of the goddess Pele and those stories could be told in forms of hula and songs, but anything that encourages the students to invoke and worship Pele is not allowed.
     Also, it is important to understand that not all Hawaiian chant, songs, and hula invoke religious connotations.  Most of these are like most worldly traditions and arts that express universal values of life, love, family, friendship, beauty, land, etc.  Therefore, every chant, song, or hula that I teach within the schools promotes those cultural expressions and traditions only.  In schools that I have worked at before, I was able to share this explanation with families who had concerns.  I even shared this with elders of a particular church in which they were able to help those families within their church understand my purpose.    But if I encountered one who after my explanation still insist that their family will not participate, I then respected their decision and wishes.
     In our Mountain View chant, we celebrate the Hawaiian tradition of asking permission to learn and to seek wisdom and knowledge.  What is also special about this chant is how it connects to where they are.  In this chant, it speaks about how our school sits in the lush beauty of Ola’a in the midst of two great mountains Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.  And as they stand within this all, they seek to carry out in seeking knowledge ever mindful to carry this quest through the values of respect, responsibility, cooperation, and pride.  Before they chant, they focus themselves for learning quietly by feeling the breeze of the wind upon their skin, the trees swaying back and forth, and the birds singing their morning song.  Then when they begin to chant it is so awesome to see the pride that they project through their vibrant voices no matter what race, family, religion, or origins they came from.  At that moment you can see they are truly proud to be Mountain View Elementary students.
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