Fall Focus: Aloha 'Aina
While the Voyager keiki continued their fall break, our teachers and admin spent Monday and Tuesday immersed in professional development around place-based, project-based learning, or PBL. On Tuesday, we visited Waikalua Loko I'a, a 400-year old fishpond in Kane'ohe (photos above and below). In partnership with the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's STEM pre-Academy program, we learned how the engineering design process, along with Hawaiian ancestral knowledge, can be used to solve problems specific to our islands and relevant to the issues facing our globe, while providing our keiki with a rigorous learning experience in the process.
Our exploration into this type of learning grew out of demand on the part of teachers last year to learn about relevant ways to tie science and social studies curriculum together with real-world issues facing our island communities. While many charter schools in Hawai'i were founded on this approach as their instructional focus, it is a bit new to Voyager, and teachers are embracing the chance to get "hands-on" with some authentic place-based learning. The experience immediately sparked calls for Voyager vans to bring our students to local venues for place-based learning (we're working on this!), and to apply place-based and design strategies back "home," on Voyager's campus and around our neighborhood. We look forward to the potential partnerships that this two-day experience inspired, and are committed to supporting our teachers and students as they find ways to expand learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
In other news, our recent StriveHI academic achievement report was published late last month. We are happy to say that we are meeting our academic targets according to the state's measures in all three tested subjects, and that we brought our rate of chronic absenteeism down significantly last year. Thank you, Voyager families, for providing the support needed for our students to perform well, realizing our founding vision of enthusiasm and performance steadily rising, and remaining at a high level. Two areas that warrant extra attention as a focus for improvement are our rate of improvement in math, which we'd like to accelerate, and performance in both ELA and math by our high-needs students. An "achievement gap" persists at Voyager, as it does in many public and private schools across the nation, between students who require additional support--due to income, English language proficiency, or specific learning challenges, and the median, or "average," Voyager student. Some charts highlighting the results are included below. The full report can be viewed here.
It is worth noting that while we are a standards-based school, Voyager does not place a great emphasis on standardized test scores, and treat these numbers as one indicator among many measures of student success. We evaluate the quality of our program using multiple indicators, and are constantly seeking more authentic means of assessing our student learning goals by subject, by class, and school-wide. Most importantly, we place the highest value on students' ability to self-assess and reflect upon their learning, taking responsibility for setting their own goals for growth and improvement. We look forward to having you join them in their exhibition of learning at Student-Led Portfolio Conference Day on November 9th.
Evan Anderson, Trisha Donaldson, and the entire Voyager PCS Staff
Herb Lee of PAF leads us in an 'oli to start the day
A teacher team is introduced to the fishpond's history.
Teacher-designed ahupua'a model #1
After-School Clubs and Activities: What's the Difference? What's the Deal?
Thanks to all parents and kids who have been waiting patiently for us to sort out our after school offerings. Based on consultation with numerous state agencies and other schools, we have reorganized our after school programs into two classifications: afterschool clubs and afterschool activities. Clubs are paid and led by a teacher or independent contractor, while activities are free and initiated by students, with a staff volunteer as supervisor. Below is a graphic that breaks it down. We will start our full slate of after school offerings after Winter Break, with a limited number of activities and clubs starting up between now and then. Stay tuned, and keep a keen eye out for announcements via email and in Friday Folders. Special thanks to Mrs. Donaldson, Mrs. Ralleta, and the Voyager 'Ohana PTSO for sorting out the details and making this happen!
Picture Day Has Arrived! Monday, October 29th
We will have Fall pictures at Voyager this year with our first date on Monday, October 29th and a makeup day on Tuesday, November 20th. Our students will take individual pictures and class pictures on October 29th. Students can dress in their Voyager uniform shirts or free dress. Thank you for following dress code requirements. Please have your child wear close-toed shoes, as students will still attend recess as regularly scheduled. Upon receipt, we encourage you to turn in your picture forms or order online early, as they are due by Monday, October 29th!
Keiki Water Safety Initiative: Grade 1 & 2 Mission Accomplished!
Our students in first and second grades in Mr. Fujihara, Mrs. Ralleta and Mrs. B's classes completed the Keiki Water Program fully funded by a grant through the Hawaii Aquatics Program. The development of the aquatic safety education program is in response to drowning being the leading cause of accidental death of children 1 to 15 years of age in Hawaii– motor vehicle accidents (occupants and pedestrians combined) are second. Further, 96% of fatal childhood drownings in our state are Hawaiian residents, meaning our keiki account for nearly all of the child drownings in local pools, streams, and ocean. The “Keiki Water Safety and Learn-to-Swim Curriculum” is divided into two five-week sessions with two lessons per week. The ten-lesson curriculum includes two classroom-based water safety lessons and eight 25-minute in-pool swim lessons. A huge mahalo to our families for supporting this program and great thanks to our local Kanewai Community Swimming Pool for making this possible for our students. You can learn more about this amazing opportunity at https://hawaiiaquaticsacademy.org/ .
Computer-Assisted Assessments Guide Instruction
One way that we track our progress toward our academic performance targets is a computer-based "screener" assessment called iReady. We use this program several times each year to give us a standard measure of where students stand in relation to grade-level standards. Please read our letter explaining iReady here. Feel free to contact your child's teacher for additional detail or information about this assessment measure.
Free After School T/Th: To the Moon!
All of our Ka'apeha (7th/8th grade) students have now visited a local education partner called "Moonshot Lab" to engage in 21st century learning using 21st century technology. As part of our educational partnership, Moonshot invites Voyager students to visit during "open lab" hours every Tuesday and Thursday that school is in session. All of this future-focused educational enrichment is included at NO COST! Students should be accompanied by an adult for their first visit. A detailed description from Moonshot follows:
- Education Incubator is offering selected schools and grade levels an afterschool Moonshot Lab Hawaiʻi program this year at Hālau ʻĪnana in Mōʻiliʻili (2438 Beretania Street, Honolulu 96822). This program will run from September 20, 2018 through the end of the school year, and will closely follow the school calendar in terms of meeting dates (may be closed on Federal holidays).
- Education Incubator’s Moonshot Lab Hawaiʻi offers Open Lab hours at Hālau ʻĪnana on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00-8:30 pm. This is not a structured program, rather open work time with EI staff oversight. EI staff can help facilitate discussions around passion projects using Project Wayfinder's Purpose Compass and help support students in their endeavors in looking at where their passion, strength, and community need overlaps.
Come check it out!
Student Supply Orders: Your Feedback Requested
Repeat: Curbside Pick-Up Kokua Requested
We have set a goal to complete dismissal each day within 15 minutes, without clogging University or blocking the freeway, and we are getting close to meeting that goal regularly. To help us with reducing the pickup line backup and achieving "good neighbor" status, please follow these important guidelines:
- DO NOT LINE UP ALONG WILDER AVE UNTIL 3PM (1:45PM on Wednesdays). No students will exit until that time.
- STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE. WE WILL ASSIST YOUR CHILD WITH OPENING THE DOOR, LOADING AND BUCKLING.
- IF WILDER AVE IS FULL, ENTER H-1 FREEWAY AND CIRCLE AROUND VIA WILDER EXIT. DO NOT BLOCK H-1 ON RAMP
- CONSIDER CARPOOLING, OR PARKING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND WALKING TO PICK UP YOUR CHILD.
It is CRITICAL that NO CARS stop before the freeway entrance "split"; drivers may be cited and Voyager will receive complaints. Also, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church's lot on the corner is NOT for parent use. We have contracted with them for a limited number of staff spots and our insurance only covers us for that specific use. Thank you.
By following these guidelines, we hope to bring our dismissal time down to a manageable 15 minutes (see chart below). With your help, we can say "Bye-Bye to the Backup!"
Please review this video for more detail on how to make our pick-up line safe and swift.
School Uniform Orders: Web Orders Now Open 24/7
Kula Threads now offers order fulfillment and delivery within two weeks. Order online, and pick up at school. It's that easy! Check out the selection at kulathreads.com
School Meals: eTrition is Here!
At long last, our student meal tracking system has been updated for a smoother meal balance tracking and payment experience. Mahalo again to our school meal service coordinator and office clerk Naome Barretto, for initiating the upgrade. Free and reduced-price meal applications will soon be able to be processed online. Forms are currently available as downloads online, or in the Voyager office.
Voyager Public Charter School is an equal opportunity provider.
Mahalo to our Morning Volunteers! More Help Welcome!
Thank you to our MVP (Most Valuable Parent) volunteers who have stepped up to help supervise play from 7:30am-7:45am on our makai side play structure yard! We could still use a couple more hands each day greeting students curbside and helping the younger ones with unloading during this time.
If you are available to help our keiki exit their vehicles safely, please email Principal Evan Anderson at email@example.com with your preferred days. Or just show up and offer to lend a hand. Mahalo!
Voyager Basketball: Coaches Needed!
We were unable to field a full complement of coaches and players for the PAL football season, but the PAL basketball season is just around the corner! If you or your friends or family have knowledge of the game and would like to get involved by coaching a Voyager squad, please let Mr. Anderson know at firstname.lastname@example.org (despite his height, he is useless on the court).
Field Trip A$$i$tance Available
If your household cash flow is having a hard time keeping up with the number of field trips your child is scheduled to go on this year, help is available! The Joyce Lynn Kimura Kokua Fund provides assistance in amounts up to $10 for field trips, as long as the request is submitted one week prior to the permission form due date. Application can be found here.
For more expensive field trips (overnights, off-island, etc), financial assistance in larger amounts is also available now through a grant from the Hawai'i Community Foundation. Requests for help from this fund should be submitted in writing to Principal Evan Anderson in the Voyager office, at least one week in advance of the permission form due date.
Join the PTSO!
Come by the office and pick up a membership form to support our parent-teacher-student organization in its mission to improve the learning community at Voyager! $10 for individual membership, $20 for family membership (2 or more keiki). Two of the PTSO's upcoming events are listed below.
Save the Date: Ice Palace Night and Diamond Head Hike
Please mark your calendars for the following two events:
Sunday, November 4th 6:30-9:00pm: Ice Palace Night!
Voyager takes over the Ice Palace! Look for order envelopes coming home in Friday folders: $6 in advance, $9 at the door
Tuesday, November 6th (Election Day) 8:00am: Diamond Head Hike
Voyager is committed to health and wellness, in and out of school. Bring your water bottle, wear a hat, and a work up a sweat with your kids before you go cast your ballot!
November brings with it a hodge-podge of days off, some of which are specific to Voyager and deserve special mention. Thank you in advance for paying close attention to the Voyager calendar. Please contact Kama'aina Kids at 285-8511 for information about care on teacher work days and student-led conference day.
- Monday, November 5th: No School (Teacher Work Day)
- Tuesday, November 6th: No School (Election Day)
- Friday, November 9th: Student Led Conferences and Book Fair (Attendance required--conference only; no regular classes)
- Monday, November 12th: No School (Veteran's Day Observed)
- Wednesday, November 21st-Friday, November 23rd: No School (Thanksgiving Holiday)
Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday at Honolulu Museum of Art!
While Voyager doesn't recognize specific holidays, like Halloween (please don't send students to school in costume :), those of you who enjoy the October costumed revelry might enjoy the FREE event below, and the gorgeous Honolulu Museum of Art
or HEAD on down to HISAM!
Looking for something to do with the kids? Try a FREE visit to our Hawai'i State Art Museum--open daily, filled with amazing art, and one of the most beautiful public urban spaces on our island.
BONUS: If your Voyager is in grades 3 through 6, they will be visiting the museum over the next few weeks and responding to artwork through poetry with professional poet Laurel Nakanishi. So you'll have an expert guide to the galleries in your very own family! Laurel will be sharing about her work at a Meet the Artist event on October 30th at noon. The event is free of charge.
EXTRA BONUS: The First Friday of every month features extended evening hours (6-9pm), live music, and food!