Patience; patient, enduring, long suffering; to tolerate. Lit., great breath 



One of my favorite temptations is chips and other salty snacks. When placed in front of me, I have a difficult time resisting trying a few. This weekend I attended a workshop and walked by the platter full of pastries without a second look. However, when the bags of chips were brought out, all of sudden my stomach started to rumble. I immediately grabbed a bag of Fritos and clumsily stuffed my face. Had I been one of the kids in the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, I would’ve been an outlier. Place a marshmallow in front of me and I can wait for days without wanting to eat it. But replace it with a plate of fries and I’d be labeled an impulsive toddler. 

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, tested how age correlated with the ability to self-regulate and control one’s impulses. Children were given the choice to eat a marshmallow immediately or be rewarded with more if they waited. Researchers found that at around the age of 4, children are much better at showing patience when given this choice. Somehow, at this age, their brains mature to such a point that they could decide to wait rather than give in to temptation. Of course, some 4 year olds were better at waiting and could do it for much much longer – like 20 minutes compared to about a minute. Why the variation? Are some kids just born more able to control themselves? Science has shown otherwise.

Self-regulation/controlling one’s impulses/patience/ahonui is a skill and, like any skill, can be learned. (Even Cookie Monster can learn to be patient.) The Marshmallow Experiment showed that children who waited the longest, used strategies to be patient. They sang, turned away from the marshmallows, or did another activity. 

Of course some temptations are harder to resist. Like fries or chips for me, some children are especially impulsive when something/someone angers them. Even in these situations, they can learn to better control their emotions. Breathing, counting, singing, and walking away helps to diffuse their anger so they may better address the harm and hurt they experienced. As they learn to master the skill of showing ahonui, children will better foster positive relationships, enriching both their personal and professional lives into the future.

To show AHONUI, 

  • Take a deep and cleansing breath – aho;
  • Picture a cool and gentle wave washing over you, rinsing away temptations, anger or stress; and
  • Relax your muscles 


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend written, illustrated and read by Dan Santat.Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: Describe a time when you had to be patient and preserve through a scary or uncomfortable experience. 

SKILLS: What strategies does Beekle use to remain patient and persevere through his challenges? Provide examples from the book.

INTELLECT: Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Watch this video by Sir Ken Robinson and the Power of Imagination (or for those with less patience, this shorter version)

CRITICALITY: When children move from one school to the next, it can be very trying to make new friends. How might we show aloha to help someone through that experience? Interview someone who has had to move to a new school -or- Share your story of moving to a new school.

JOY: In the story, Beekle wears a crown, symbolic of his courage, patience and perseverance. Using recycled materials, make a crown to remind you of the courage, patience and perseverance you possess.


One of the key initiatives unique to Kāneʻohe Elementary is our participation in the Engineering Pipeline, partnering with the UH College of Engineering and various engineering firms.  At the elementary level, we introduce students to engineering as a problem-solving process and career option. Every student, from pre-school to grade 6 then uses the Engineering Design Process throughout the year to solve problems, apply core academic areas to real life scenarios, and cultivate a Growth Mindset. On Friday, April 28, 2 – 3:50 PM we invite you to visit your child’s homeroom and have them share the problem they attempted address, how they used the Engineering Design Process, and what they learned.

HOʻOMAIKAʻI: Castle-Kahuku Complex-Area Speech Festival 2023 Champions

On April 15, 23 fourth and sixth graders participated in the Castle-Kahuku Speech Festival 2023, our first in-person speech fest since the pandemic. They competed against other schools across the complex-area and were judged for their ability to recite works of literature to evoke emotion and entertain. We received their scores earlier this week and proudly announce that every group earned a superior rating – an amazing feat. Congratulations to the following superior speech festival participants:

Millie Brechner 

Makamae Kaluhiwa 

Kobe Bruhn 

Kolea Danner 

Keisuke Fujimoto 

Mahina Ruiz 

Willa Maxilom-Stevens 

Callia Malczon

Sariah Ava 

Nahlyn Khanama 

Isabella Morton 

Precious Pagba-Pimenta 

Farrah Dumancus-Jones 

Jase Chow 

Kage Timoteo 

Ryan Hunt 

Isabela Duenas 

Audrey Andres 

Haulani Solarzano 

Shaylyn Naone 

Sophia Reimers 

Jessica Hanaoka

Mia Stringfield

And their coaches: Mrs. Almedia, Mrs. Kodama, and Ms. Hastings

Mahalo also goes out to Miyuki Sekimitsu for coordinating our participation in this event and her team including: Jacque Yoshizumi, Dee Fujinaka, Julie Isa, and Jessica Matute


We begin our Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) testing on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, through May 19, 2023.  Please ensure your child 

  • has a good nightʻs rest; 
  • eats a healthy breakfast;
  • bring their headphones to school; and 
  • is on time for school.

Tardy students cannot take the SBA on the day they are tardy.  

During this time period, we will also cancel our daily piko on testing days.


Mon, Apr 24, 2023Innovation Academy Information Session 6:30 – 7:15 PM
Wed, Apr 26, 2023School ends at 2 PM – switch with Friday, Apr 28 for STEM Hōʻike
Wed, Apr 26, 2023School Community Council Mtg 4:30 – 5:30 PM
Fri, Apr 28, 2023STEM Hōʻike  2 – 3:50 PM – NOTE: School ends at 1:35 PM on this date 
Mon, May 1, 2023Waiver Day – No Students
Sat, May 13, 2023Campus Beautification #2
Apr 25 – May 19, 2023Smarter Balance Testing at Kāneʻohe Elementary



Redup. of haʻa; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility.  (Pukui-Elbert)

Early in my career as a high school teacher, I chastised students who used profanity, asking if they would use language like that around their parents or grandparents. Most would avoid my gaze, sheepishly mumble, “no,” and then apologize. However, there were more than a few who defiantly confirmed that’s how they speak at home. Back then, I dismissed those responses as an oppositional fabrication and reprimanded the student further. I could not imagine anyone swearing at home. It certainly was not how I brought up and not how my friends were either (at least I assumed). Consequently, I surmised my personal experiences were universal for all of my students.

Then a few years later, I was sincerely blessed to be welcomed into the homes of my students. I served as their class advisor and spent many late nights constructing floats for the homecoming parades and chaperoning dance rehearsals for assemblies. There, I saw how different their lives were compared to mine. Some were raised by an older sibling. Others served as the caregivers for their elderly grandparents who were also their guardians. All were loved and provided for. Some lived in strictly religious, austere households. Others seemed to have no rules and were often unsupervised for most of the night. All were extremely generous and welcoming.

Getting a glimpse into their lives taught me that I knew so little. I made broad assumptions that could not be further from the truth. Everyone has different life experiences and everyone experiences life differently. And while it is still improper and unacceptable to swear at school, I never again asked students if that’s what they do at home. Instead, I let them know what is the expected behavior in this context and how others might perceive that as disrespectful. After all everyone has different life experiences and everyone experiences life differently.

Aunty Pilahi Paki taught Pono to “go empty” when striving to be haʻahaʻa. In other words to be open-minded and not cast judgements on others. She said that you must empty yourself of your ego so that you can listen to and understand others.

To become more HAʻAHAʻA,

  • Empty yourself of ego and judgements
  • Listen and observe with an open mind and heart
  • Consider there are many ways to be and do what’s right


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: Milo Imagines the World  by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. (Note – the reading of the story begins at 2:25 and goes to 11:26. The full video is just under a half-hour and is totally worth watching it in its entirety. The author and illustrator share their process and the backstory of the book.)Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: Does anyone you know like to draw? What makes drawing pleasurable for that person (ask them and listen to what they say)?

SKILLS: What might be the main message of this book? What makes you think this?

INTELLECT: As you listen to the story, the author uses alliteration and onomatopoeia. Research what these literary tools are, point our where they are used in the story and then come up with examples of your own.

CRITICALITY: Have you ever wrongly judged someone – making an assumption about what they might be feeling or thinking? Share about this time and how, in the future, you can avoid judging others.

JOY: Draw a picture of your loved ones sharing a happy moment in the future.

If your child asks what happened to Milo’s mom and why she is in a correctional facility, the author suggests the following:

We know that when we do not obey a rule in school or at home, we have a consequence. Adults also have consequences when they do not obey rules. Milo’s mom might have not obeyed a law and the consequence for the specific law she broke was spending a certain amount of time in a correctional facility. 

After listening to students share their ideas, follow up with questions that will humanize Milo’s mother further, and create a baseline, a starting point students have created themselves, to refer to when they think and refer to a person that is or has been incarcerated. You could ask:

Using your background knowledge and the clues the author and the illustrator give us as readers, brainstorm with a partner(s) how you can tell that Milo’s mom is a good mother.


For the past 12 years, Kāneʻohe Elementary has partnered with Punahou School to recognize students as scholars for the PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) program. Students selected for PUEO attend a special summer program at Punahou from the time of entry until their senior year. During this time, students take a variety of courses designed to ready students for college while building pilina and resiliency. Until recently, Kāneʻohe was allowed to nominate one 5th grader to the program. This year, we were fortunate that we had a fourth grader, Hope Bunda, and two fifth graders, Trystin Arikawa and Azarya Young-Kawaa, accepted into the program. They join sixth graders, Levi Bertelmann and Hiʻilani Taniguchi, as Kāneʻohe’s PUEO scholars. (Pictured are our newest PUEO scholars with their families, including Kāneʻohe alumnus and PUEO scholar Jayse Bunda.)


Tue, Apr 18, 20236th grade promotion picture taking
Sat, Apr 22, 2023Rainbow Keiki Run
Fri, Apr 28, 2023STEM Hōʻike (details TBA)
Sat, May 13, 2023Campus Beautification #2

ʻOLUʻOLU and Resilience


Redup. of ʻolu; pleasant, nice, amiable, satisfied, contented, happy, affable, agreeable, congenial, cordial, gracious; please.  (Pukui-Elbert)
Good natured; not easily provoked; good humored as applied to a nature of ease and cheerfulness. (Parker)

Since 2003, public middle school students (grades 6 – 8) across Hawaiʻi respond to a biennial survey tracks “health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and young adults.” The survey covers topics ranging from smoking to drug use; mental health to sexual behaviors; as well as protective factors that promote healthy choices.

Compared to 2019, the latest survey results recorded in 2021 features several bright spots. For one, cigarette smoking continues to be on a downward trend, dropping from 10.5% to 7.1%. Further, there was a sharp decrease in vaping as well, from 30.6% to 12.8%. 

Interestingly, students reporting that they “Did not go to school because they were sick in the past 30 days” significantly decreased from 53.1% in the pre-COVID year of 2019 to 37.4%.

Sadly, the amount of students that reported feeling despair so deep it kept them from participating in regular activities has risen, increasing from 30.5% to 34.4%. Further, more than half of them, 53.6%, never or rarely got the kind of help they needed. Unfortunately, this is part of an alarming trend for the nation’s youth that has been on an incline for the past 10 years. Keeping kids from attending school in-person and other traumatic affects of the pandemic only exacerbated this situation. While schools were able to keep students learning from a distance, many students suffered from being physically disconnected from their peers and teachers. Studies emerging from this period indicate increased depression and anxiety stemming from distance learning.

For Kāneʻohe Elementary, we monitor our students’ social-emotional wellbeing through the Panorama SEL survey which is conducted three-times-a-year. Based on the results of this survey, I am happy to announce that our students are making good progress. For example, during the Fall of 2020, as we transitioned from distance learning to being partially on-campus, 47% of our 3rd-5th graders and 45% of our 6th graders reported being able to regulate their emotions, which includes controlling their emotions when needed, remaining calm when things are going wrong and staying relaxed while everyone around is angry – in other words, being ʻoluʻolu. At that time, our students reflected the overall mood of the nation. 

This past winter, when asked the same set of questions, 58% of our 3rd-5th graders and 52% of our 6th graders reported positively, respectively placing them at the 99th and 80th percentile across the nation. While we strive to have 100% of students showing ʻoluʻolu, I believe we are making good progress.

In large part this is due to promoting “protective factors” here on campus, especially in building connections –lokahi– to caring adults and teaching students to build positive relationships. One the key areas we look at to measure this is students’ sense of belonging which asks about whether they feel understood, respected and supported. From a low of 73% for 3rd-5th graders and 55% for 6th graders in the Fall of 2020, 80% of our 3rd-5th graders and 62% for 6th graders now report feeling like they belong.

Credit for this improvement can be attributed to a broad range of efforts from our teachers, support staff, parents, families, community partners, kupuna in our neighborhood, and our students themselves. All have focused on improving learning outcomes and fostering a culture of aloha. 

Pono Shim frequently paraphrased Aunty Pilahi Paki’s prophecy regarding Hawaiʻi’s future stating:

“In the 21st century, the world will search for peace and they’ll look to Hawaiʻi because Hawaiʻi has the key and that key is ALOHA.”

To become more ʻOLUʻOLU

  • Develop positive connections;
  • Practice empathy;
  • Help others;
  • Embrace your choices (mistakes, failures and successes) as lessons;
  • Make self-care (eating healthy foods, exercising, get a good night’s sleep) a daily habit; and 
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Hugging Tree by Jill Neimark and illustrated by Nicole Wong. Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: Interview a family member about a challenge your kupuna faced. Who and what helped them to be resilient?

SKILLS: What is the main problem the tree faces in the story and who does the tree turn to for help?

INTELLECT: Learn about the ʻōlulu, an endemic plant in Hawaiʻi once found on the cliffs of Kauaʻi, but now is presumed to be extinct in the wild. It survives due to help received from humans.

CRITICALITY: When times are hard and we face challenges, we need to be strong. Can we be strong alone, or do we need help from others? How do we seek help from others, and why do they help us? (source)

JOY: Write and draw a thank you card to someone who helped you through a difficult challenge.

HOʻOMAIKAʻI: Hawaiʻi State Science and Engineering Fair Winners

Congratulations to our students for placing 1st and 3rd in their respective categories, beating out 7th and 8th graders from public and private schools across the state! For Engineering Technology, Mia Stringfield and Miya Karikomi took the top prize. Eleu Ceria, Logan Belluomini, and Violet Koida followed strong bringing home the bronze. Mahalo nui loa to their teachers (Mrs. Almeida, Ms. Bruecher, Mrs. Morton, and Kumu Sarah) who prepared and encouraged these students for this major competition.


Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 6 – 7 PMKES Ohana Mtg – in-person at the KES Library or via Zoom
Sat, Apr 22, 2023Rainbow Keiki Run
Sat, May 13, 2023Campus Beautification #2
Apr 25 – May 19, 2023Smarter Balance Testing at Kāneʻohe Elementary



Agreement in mind; unanimity of sentiment; union of feeling; oneness; similarity. (Parker)

A common greeting when two people from Hawaiʻi first meet is to ask, “Where you grad from?” (Translation: From which high school did you graduate?) This is followed by, “What year?” And while we might poke fun of each other’s alma mater or age, these questions are not intended to judge each other. Instead, these questions are aimed at finding a connection; finding the lōkahi. For through this initial inquiry, we often discover the friends we have in common or distant relations. Which then leads us to share the stories which show the humor and values we share, thereby further deepening our bonds.

Last Saturday, I had the honor of connecting with Dr. Jim Scott, former head of Punahou. We sat on a panel, speaking to aspiring school leaders. While I met Dr. Scott before, our interactions were limited and only in formal settings. Often it occurred in a receiving line as I thanked him profusely for co-founding the PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program. Being only one of two elementary schools on the Windward side that nominate students to participate in this illustrious scholarship program, I am eternally indebted to Dr. Scott for his visionary compassion. Also given his accomplishments and accolades, I did not feel like I was at his level where we could just “talk story.” 

Now, three years since his retirement and 11 years into my tenure as principal, in this somewhat casual setting, we were able to talk casually and get to know each other on a personal level. He of course asked me where I graduated from and what year (I already knew he was an alumnus of Punahou but also asked for his year of graduation.) We shared an obvious personal connection through the former head of the PUEO program, Dr. Ackerman who once taught at Iolani, my alma mater. He then mentioned that his partner also taught science at Iolani and might have been there when I was going to school. I did not recognize her last name, but immediately wondered if it might be my biology teacher who had the same first name. I had not thought of her for years. Yet, pondering the possibility, I recalled how she challenged us with interesting, relevant lessons such as determining the possibility our children would end up with our looks. I remembered how she would show kindness and a real interest into how we were doing. 

A few days after the event, Dr. Scott emailed me to share what his partner’s last name was back when I was in school. He also said that she remembered me. While it had been 40 years since I was her student, knowing that she was also a part of Dr. Scott’s life somehow strengthens our connection. And yet, this connection existed well before last Saturday. Regardless of the positions we held or the circumstances of our meeting, without our knowing, we were already connected. This is lōkahii.

To uncover LŌKAHI

  • Ask about someone’s background – where they grew up, where their family is from
  • Listen without judgement
  • Ask follow-up questions, seeking to find different ways you are connected
  • Share stories of those connections


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken. Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: What parts of the story describing the tree in the main character describes the tree in you? 

SKILLS: The author uses the metaphor of a tree to represent how we are all connected. Think of another metaphor to show how we are all connected.

INTELLECT: The author mentions not using any green in illustrating her trees. On the continent and sometimes here in colder areas, there are trees that change the color of their leaves in the fall. They are called deciduous. Research this term and learn why the leaves of deciduous trees change color.

CRITICALITY: How might seeing how we are all connected possibly reduce hate in our society?

JOY: Draw the tree in you. What colors would you use to represent your leaves?

Mahalo Nui Loa: Campus Beautification

A huge thank you goes out to Jolyn Kresge, Wali Camvel, Dee Fujinaka, and Cherisse Yamada for organizing our first Campus Beautification event in many years. We also owe many thanks to our alumni, the Castle High Key Club, Uncle Estria of Mele Murals, Representative Scot Matayoshi, our Navy Partners, members of our staff and the many families and students who put in a tremendous effort to show akahai to our campus. Stemming from a shared love for Kāneʻohe Elementary, their hana, certainly helps our campus to be a more inviting, positive place to learn.


Sat, Apr 22, 2023Rainbow Keiki Run (details forthcoming)
Apr 25 – May 19, 2023Smarter Balance Testing at Kāneʻohe Elementary