On behalf of the faculty and administration at HTA, we welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year. Hawaii Technology Academy strives to empower students to succeed through our blended learning experience – face-to-face, virtual and independent. We are confident that blended learning offers students at all grade levels the opportunity to find personal, academic and social growth through an innovative approach to teaching and learning. One that centers around the 5 C’s of 21st Century Learning for our Core Values:
This year, we focus on the “C” of Collaboration.
I am excited to dive more deeply into the meaning and importance of collaboration in our learning community. Collaboration is much more than simple teamwork - it is a process that involves two or more partners who share a common mission and work together to achieve a common goal.
At HTA, every faculty and staff member subscribes to the idea that collaboration is the ideal format for dealing with complex problems that require thoughtful solutions. Not only do they believe in this important skill, but they model it each and every day as they work together to improve upon our blended learning processes and procedures, and deliver an outstanding academic experience to the families who have entrusted their students to HTA.
Apart from ongoing behind-the-scenes collaboration, you can be assured that each and every HTA teacher seeks to effectively collaborate with you - the Learning Coach - as a partner in the education of your child. Together, the teacher, Learning Coach and student form a triangle of collaborators who share a common goal: to provide a learning experience that opens doors to increased knowledge and understanding, and a love of learning that will extend beyond the student’s years at HTA.
This year, as in every year at HTA, your student will be afforded a wealth of opportunities to collaborate and build connections with his or her peers and teachers through project-based learning and daily interactions in our face-to-face and virtual classrooms. Through these collaborative interactions, it is our hope that your student will not only experience academic growth but also take steps toward more fully reflecting all five of our Core Values - vital indicators of a well-educated student.
As we prepare to open the doors to a new school year, we look forward to opportunities to collaborate with each of you. Thank you for joining the HTA ‘ohana.
As the semester draws to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about family. The teachers and administrators at Hawaii Technology Academy often discuss how fortunate we are that families play an integral role in the learning experiences of our students. Unlike other schools in which I have taught or been a school leader, the success of a student at HTA ties directly to the involvement of a parent, guardian, or other dedicated adult who is fully engaged in the student’s learning.
You make this first commitment as an involved parent or guardian when you choose to enroll your child, or children, at HTA. As a school of choice, we are aware that there are many fantastic educational options across our state, and you are choosing our blended learning program because you feel that it will offer an optimal learning environment for your student and your family. Once enrolled, there must be authentic commitment to your students’ learning - helping them with lessons, assisting them in organizing their week and supplies, hiring a third-party tutor to fill the gaps that you are not able to assist with, driving to our various Learning Centers at odd times of the day, corresponding with teachers, and, most importantly, serving as an essential spoke in our wheel of student support that includes teachers, student, administrators, and family. We simply could not offer a blended learning program without dedicated Learning Coaches.
Those less familiar with blended learning often ask me, “How do you really know the students if you only see them two or three times per week?” I always argue that we know our students better because we truly get to know and work with the entire family unit. I feel the same way about our faculty. Since I don’t get to see everyone every day, it becomes even more important that I know what is going on in their lives - kids cutting first teeth, partners receiving promotions, parents and loved ones falling in and out of ill health, etc. The success of our school, and of our students, revolves around our extended school family…across divisions…across Learning Centers…across the state.
We recently held a number of Coffee Talks, attempting to ascertain the value of HTA in the lives of our students and Learning Coaches. The main point that we have heard again and again is that it enables families to enjoy the lifestyle that their family wants to experience here in Hawaii. Unbound by excessive homework, tedious assignments, wasted time at lunch or recess, etc., parents comment that HTA enables their students to learn like they live, with a mix of digital, face-to-face, independent, and mindful components that strengthen rather than detract from the family unit. HTA has always endeavored to provide a 21st century education that prepares students for the world in which they are currently living as well as the future.
I would be remiss if I did not also note that the Coffee Talks have continually yielded praise of our dedicated, innovative, and compassionate teaching faculty. Just like your family, HTA teachers also choose to grow, professionally, through their experiences at our school. They, too, arrive with a beginner’s mindset and a willingness to learn a new approach to teaching and supporting students and parents. Unquestionably one of my favorite parts of HTA is the people that I have the privilege of working with and learning from each day.
As we move into a very well-deserved Winter Break and the New Year, I send sincere thanks to you, our parent Learning Coaches, to our students, and to our exceptionally dedicated faculty. Together you comprise our HTA family - our ‘ohana - and the future of our school.
Wishing you and your ‘ohana a happy and healthy holiday season.
With Warm Aloha,
This year, we focus on the “C” of Character. The teaching faculty began our year discussing how we can model character for our students every single day. It is often the little things - a genuine smile, a casual compliment, a joke, or simply a look of trust and empathy across the crowded classroom - that implant into the memories of our students. It is not the expertly designed interdisciplinary project or epic field trip or painstakingly crafted authentic assessment, as faculty members might hope. It is who educators are as people, as models of character in their students’ lives, that students remember and possibly replicate as they mature. I am certain that if you were to recall a favorite teacher or mentor, it is the spirit of that person - how he or she made you feel as a person - that remains close to your heart.
For me, it was Mr. Flaherty, my 5th grade teacher. Perched atop a blue director’s chair in the left front corner of the room, Mr. Flaherty was a master at differentiated group instruction before that term even hit the education world. Masterfully crafting groups of athletes, artists, academics, shy kids, “popular kids,” new kids, and kids from all walks of life, every lesson in Mr. Flaherty’s class ended with some sort of team challenge in which every student, at one point or another, felt as though he or she led the team to success. Your team also lost points if a member was absent and didn’t name his or her alternate. This made your physical presence in class matter. I can recall ten-year-old classmates who were not in my immediate circle of friends encouraging me not to go on a family trip to Florida because I would miss a speed reading competition at the end of The Call of the Wild! Mr. Flaherty made all twenty two of us feel as though we were integral members of the class, that we were important, and that regardless of whether our team won or lost, every one of us contributed to one another’s success in class.
It is my sincere hope that as this school year progresses every student at HTA finds that adult with whom he or she connects. Be it a classroom teacher, club advisor, enrichment coach, staff member or community volunteer, we are fortunate at HTA to offer our students a myriad of opportunities to engage with adults, both in and outside of our Learning Centers. Study after study indicates that attendance rates, academic growth, school re-enrollment and graduation rates all increase when students connect with a single adult in their educational sphere. Let us all seek to create a place in which every member of the HTA student and parent learning community feels loved and supported. Let us all remind one another that each of us serves as an integral part of the success of our school ‘ohana. And let us all work together this year to ensure that HTA is replete with “characters” to meaningfully connect with every student.