Redup. of haʻa; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility.

Pukui, Mary Kawena, Hawaiian dictionary : Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian 


Stephen R. Covey once observed, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Accordingly, Aunty Pilahi Paki and Pono advised we practice haʻahaʻa and empty ourselves of thoughts, ego and judgement when listening to someone. Conversely, if we take the words spoken to us, filter it through our own experiences and opinions, we will fail to completely understand that person’s perspective. For example, imagine someone is telling you about an awful restaurant experience. As they speak, you might be thinking about the last time you were at that restaurant or how you had a similar experience. Yet, their experience is completely their own. It’s influenced by multiple factors such as their sensitivity to salt, their unique taste buds (did you know that some people are genetically predisposed to dislike dark chocolate and other bitter foods?), how their day went, how their server’s day went, food traditions they experienced growing up, etc. That’s why Yelp reviews can vary so greatly for the same restaurant. So instead, empty yourself of personal thoughts then listen. Ask questions to clarify your understanding. Check to ensure you understood.

When a visiting team comes to a school for the purpose of accreditation, it’s too easy for the team to listen to reply by bringing in their own educational background; see things as if they were a teacher or administrator in that school. Having served with the WASC Accreditation Commission for more than 20 years, I’ve heard too often, “Back at my school…” or “If I were you…”. Admittedly, when I first started serving on visiting teams, I was guilty of filtering my observations through my experiences as a teacher and how we did things at Kailua High School. 

Gratefully, the team that visited us last week, led by Deborah Hofreiter, a retired administrator from California, conducted the visit with haʻahaʻa. She reminded her team, “We are here to learn about Kāneʻohe” and not to insert what they think is going on. When the self-assessment we submitted to them lacked clarity, the team interviewed people. They listened until they understood.

As a result, the team created a report of their findings that accurately described where we are as a school. They noted strengths and areas of growth that we already saw within ourselves. Additionally, they also spotlighted several areas of strength we acknowledged but did not emphasize. They were especially impressed with our focus on STEM, our vibrant community partnerships, and the extent to which ALOHA permeates our culture. In fact, our visiting chair glowingly reported how much ALOHA she and the team felt from all members of our school community. As an example, she cited an exchange with one of our students. When she asked, “what stands out to you about Kāneʻohe Elementary” the student replied, 

The longer you are at Kāneʻohe the more aloha gets into your heart. I know this because it happened to me.

Kawika, 5th grader

We are grateful for a visit that was conducted with haʻahaʻa and the opportunity to be truly seen. Mahalo nui loa to the team: Deborah Hofreiter, Malia Draper, Kristi Maruno, and Celestino Palacio.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: When We Were Alone read by the author, David Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Like the girl in this story, practice haʻahaʻa, and listen to understand. Ask your kupuna about something in their past that influences them today (like what they wear, something they always say, or often do).
  • SKILLS: This story features many examples of simile, (i.e. We all mixed together like storm clouds.) Practice making a simile to describe your kupuna.
  • INTELLECT: This story is about a woman who survived the American Indian residential schools that attempted to “civilize” or “Americanize” Native American children. Native Hawaiians faced similar treatment as their language was banned from schools from 1896 to 1978. Talk about what would’ve happened to the language and knowledge of Native Hawaiians if that ban was never lifted.
  • CRITICALITY: How does the grandmother in this story express her resilience and strength given her treatment as a child? What ALOHA value might this be an example of?
  • JOY: Share what you and your friends or siblings do when you are alone, away from adults. What do you do that brings you joy?

Parents/Kupuna/Teachers: Here is another version of a read aloud that features the artwok and words of the story.


This week, our Wellness Committee present Kāneʻohe Cooks, a return to our pre-pandemic campaign to promote healthy habits. Our committee is motivated by the desire to help our students develop healthy habits so that they not only feel better but they are able to learn better. 

Did you know that childhood obesity is significantly linked to higher rate of depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem? This in turn can also lead to social problems such as being bullied. And since we know all of these conditions can draw attention from learning, obesity is also associated with lower academic achievement.

Along with discouraging sugary snacks, we advise families adopt the daily 5-2-1-0 strategy:

  • 5 Servings of Fruits, Roots and Vegetables
  • 2 Hours of Screen Time
  • 1 Hour of Physical Activity
  • 0 Sugary Drinks

Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) VISIT – WHAT’S NEXT

At the end of the visit, the WASC Visiting Committee shared their appreciation to the staff, students, parents, and community members of our Kāneʻohe Elementary community. They loved seeing our classrooms, taking in the beauty of our campus, hearing our stories, and gathering our suggestions, weaving them into their final visiting report.

The Visiting Committee now submits their report to the WASC Commission who will make a final determination regarding our accreditation status. The Commission meets in January, so we practice ahonui until we hear official word sometime in the new year.

Mahalo nui loa for all who organized, supported, shared, and helped us prepare for this accreditation visit. It required a lot of coordinated effort and the experience underscored how fortunate I am to be a part of this school community.



See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.


Join us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 


At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.


Tue, Nov 14, 2023Fall Picture Retakes
Wed, Nov 15, 2023, 5:30 – 7 PMThe Wellness Committee presents: Kāneʻohe Eats register here
deadline to register is Monday 11/13 4 PM or until capacity is reached
Fri, Nov 17, 2023Deadline to submit KES Ohana Fall Giftcard orders
Wed, Nov 29, 2023, 5 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom
Wed, Dec 13, 2023, 4:30 PMWellness Committee Meeting 
Join by Zoom
Wed, Dec 20, 2023Winter Classroom Paina
end school at 2:05 PM (switch with 12/21)
Thur, Dec 21, 2023Winter Songfest
end school at 1:15 PM (switch with 12/20)
End of Quarter 2
Dec 22, 2023 – Jan 5, 2024Winter Break Intersession – no school
Wed, Dec 27, 2023, 5 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom
Mon, Jan 8, 2024Waiver Day #3 – No Students
One Comment
  1. Mahalo for your weekly reminders! I need work on listening at home, so this is a great story to really help understand the importance or truly listening.

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