He waiwai nui ka lokahi #977

Unity is a precious possession

Pukui, Mary Kawena, (1983). ʻŌlelo Noʻeau


Did you know that April is World Autism Awareness Month? It is also National Humor Month, National Poetry Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, and Distracted Driving Awareness Month along with a slew of other observances for the month of April. With so many causes vying for attention, it can be difficult for any one to emerge and gain recognition. But maybe focusing all our attention on one is not the point. Maybe our attention goes to what is pertinent in any given instance.

Ryan rarely spoke up in class. He often sat quietly with his head down, avoiding eye contact. His demeanor paled when compared to that of his classmates. Albert would not sit still and rarely stopped talking to his neighbors. Rob constantly pounded his chest, asking others, “What you looking at?” Peter sat front and center, stared at me as he made a string of snarky comments, eliciting snickers from the rest of the class. Ashlyn too possessed a wealth of sarcasm, but laced it with all the correct answers to every question I asked. 

As a first year teacher, it took me a while to figure out that I shouldn’t divide my attention. At first, I struggled to make everyone happy…a fool’s journey. I couldn’t extinguish every fire as it erupted. As soon as I got Albert to sit and listen, I had to break up the brewing fracas between Rob and Peter. If I tried to acknowledge Ashlyn’s contributions, Peter took offense and began wising off. Meanwhile Ryan faded into the background.

Eventually, I realized that what all of my students wanted was attention. They wanted to know that I cared and was willing to work with them. Because of their personalities, this didn’t occur all at once, but everyone was given their time. While they worked on their assignments, I’d sit with each. I found out about their families, their dreams, and their talents. This was not a cure all, Ryan still remained quiet, Albert hyper, Rob belligerent, Peter mocking, and Ashlyn condescending. However, I was able to get my students to care a bit more and learn.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch Emile and the Field written by Kevin Young and illustrated by Chioma Ebinama. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about a special place you and your family treasures.
  • SKILLS: The author uses different examples of figurative language to show the beauty of the field. Identify several examples of figurative language in the book.
  • INTELLECT: Research Prince Kuhio’s efforts to establish a Hawaiʻi National Park, preserving the volcanoes of Hawaiʻi and Haleakala as natural historic landmarks.
  • CRITICALITY: Emile’s father tells Emile, “Though they too love it, if we share, and learn to take care, it means the field will be here forever.” How might we help others learn to take care of the places special to us in our community?
  • JOY:  Participate in a clean-up of a special place in our community such as Luluku Farm (Aina Aloha o na Lima Hana) which occurs on the first Saturday of each month. Other community clean-ups can be found at https://808cleanups.org/calendar/.


Please join me in congratulating and showing appreciation to Nixon Ihu and Bryson Tanji for representing Kāneʻohe Elementary well at the Hawaiʻi State Science and Engineering Fair. Their project, the Tako Box, utilized the Engineering Design Process in innovating a tool used to hunt octopus.  Mahalo nui loa for making us proud


While we still have yet to find out how many pounds of clothing we collected, I would like to thank all of our community for cleaning out their closets and making a donation to our school. In the end, it certainly looked like we exceeded the 3000 lb minimum! Regardless if we did or not, the donations will be put to good use, helping those in need. Further, our volunteers from our KES Ohana throughout the week and on Saturday, assisting with the collection certainly showed how dedicated they are to our school. We certainly owe them a debt of gratitude!


Continuing with a series from The Atlantic, a report from the Program for International Student Assessment, found three factors that are causing a global decrease in test scores:

“students who spend less than one hour of “leisure” time on digital devices a day at school scored about 50 points higher in math than students whose eyes are glued to their screens more than five hours a day.”

“screens seem to create a general distraction throughout school, even for students who aren’t always looking at them…students reported feeling distracted by their classmates’ digital habits scored lower in math”

“nearly half of students across the OECD said that they felt “nervous” or “anxious” when they didn’t have their digital devices near them. (On average, these students also said they were less satisfied with life.) This phone anxiety was negatively correlated with math scores.”

“Studies have shown that students on their phone take fewer notes and retain less information from class, that “task-switching” between social media and homework is correlated with lower GPAs, that students who text a lot in class do worse on tests, and that students whose cellphones are taken away in experimental settings do better on tests. As Haidt, a psychologist, has written in The Atlantic, the mere presence of a smartphone in our field of vision is a drain on our focus. Even a locked phone in our pocket or on the table in front of us screams silently for the shattered fragments of our divided attention.” Read the full article here.



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.


Fri, Apr 19, 2024 2:10 – 3:05 PM STEM Hōʻike Ohana Visitation
Apr 22 – May 10Smarter Balance Assessment testing


He waiwai nui ka lōkāhi. Unity is a precious possession. 977

Pukui, Mary Kawena, (1983). ʻŌlelo Noʻeau


Growing up, our extended family chipped in to rent a beach house on the North Shore one weekend every summer. Although we frequently got-together for dinner and family parties, going to the beach house was a treasured event. We spent all day fishing and playing along the shore. My aunties played their ukulele as we sang old songs by the campfire. Then we stayed up late into the night playing cards, talking and laughing.

My relatives from the continent planned their vacations around beach house weekend. We brought friends to join in the fun. The celebration seemed to grow each year with more people added to crowd of revelers. Now whenever I drive by the North Shore and see the old house we rented, I am in disbelief that it could hold so many people. Yet it still evokes feelings of fondness for my family mixed in with a bit of melancholy. 

After Hurricane Iwa slammed into the islands, my family stopped renting the beach house. One of my aunties became fearful that we would be caught unprepared and swept out to sea. While we still gathered to go fishing and celebrate special events, the frequency seemed to drop especially as my cousins got older. Our moments together seemed much more brief, much more intermittent.

While my family strives to remain close, some cousins have moved further away and less frequently visit. Some have even stopped seeing each other, letting minor disagreements fester into a mammoth-like wedge. As with it happens with many, people grow apart. The longer the time we spend separated and greater the distance between us, the harder it is to remain emotionally close. Friendships drift and relatives become strangers. 

The time spent at the beach house, albeit only three days out of the year, somehow bridged any divides. We didn’t talk about our feelings or told each other “I love you.” (It was the 70s. We are Japanese.) However, being together for 72 hours straight, squeezed into a small space, enjoying shared experiences deepened our appreciation for our family. And it was enough to keep us close.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

In honor of Black History Month, I will be featuring stories written by and featuring people of African descent. 

Please watch Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea written and read by Meena Harris also illustrated by Ana Ramírez González. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk about something your family, neighbors, and/or community have come together to create something. What was that like? How did you overcome any obstacles that stood in your way? Why was this important to your ʻohana/community?
  • SKILLS: What genre of literature does this book fall into? What is the evidence for your answer?
  • INTELLECT: The Kamala featured in this book is based on our Vice-President Kamala Harris. Research her journey to becoming the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to win the vice-presidency of the United States.
  • CRITICALITY: Kamala’s mother would tell her, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.” What meaning does this quote have for you, especially in making this world a better place?
  • JOY:  Host a potluck where everyone is able to share and celebrate each other’s contributions. It could be a simple one, for example, where everyone brings different toppings for your Spam musubi. 


The deadline for submitting kindergarten GEs is this Friday, March 1, 2024.

All kindergarten GEs received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list and will be accepted as space becomes available.

Beyond, March 1, we will continue to accept applications for kindergarten for children turning 5 by July 31, 2024. 

We are also accepting Geographic Exceptions (GE), for students entering grades 1 through 6. If you have any questions about registering your child, please call me or our registration clerk, Brigette Leavy, at 305-0000.


A well deserved congratulations to our Kāneʻohe Menehune for their part in presenting Sponge Bob Square Pants Jr for this year’s CPAC Kidstart show. Please join me in thanking and congratulating the following students and their ʻohana:

Kaeten Miyashiro Manatad, Kameron Goohue-Souza-Kaululaa, Kobe Bruhn, Sariah Ava, Ariana Tanoye, Grezyn Nagao, and Makalehua Pelletier!

CPAC Director, Karen Meyer also wants to let families know they are once again offering Saturday classes. Please see the flyer for more information.


As Black History Month comes to a close this week, I would encourage all to continue to learn about and celebrate the accomplishments of those who aren’t always featured when we study history. The National Association of Elementary Principals gives a few tips on how you might do this:



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.


Wed, Feb 28, 2024 5 – 6 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom
Wed, Feb 28, 2024 6 – 7 PMKES Ohana Meeting
Join by Zoom
Wed, Mar 13, 2024 4:30 – 5:30Wellness Meeting
Join by Zoom
Fri, Mar 15, 2024KES Fun Run
Mar 18 – 22, 2024Spring Break


Unity, agreement, accord, unison, harmony  (Pukui-Elbert)

To be alike; to be agreed; to be of one mind; to be in union or unison (Andrews) 

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

What might a former enslaved person from Schenectady, New York, have in common with our community partner Mark Stride, the mahiʻai of ʻĀina Aloha o na Lima Hana (Luluku)? It might be hard to imagine, given two centuries separates their lives. Further, their roots sprout from opposite sides of the world. Yet, the two are unified in at least one significant way. They both share a love of Hawai’i, dedicated to its sustainability.

Anthony D. Allen escaped captivity in 1800 at the age of 24, cautiously following the underground railway from New York to Massachusetts, a free state. He found work in Boston as a ship’s steward, sailing to ports as far away as China, India and France. Though work on the open ocean offered a sense of freedom, once docked he knew this was an illusion. Six years after fleeing, he happened to run into his former captor at a southern seaport who imprisoned him as a runaway. Fortunately, Allen’s ship captain paid for his freedom and allowed him to work off the debt within a year. 

In 1810 or 1811, Allen visited Hawaiʻi for the first time and decided to stay where he could assuredly remain free. He became a steward to King Kamehameha the Great and for his service granted stewardship of 6 acres of land in Pawa’a, where Washington Intermediate now stands. Allen eventually married two Native Hawaiian wahine and bore children. There, they established a school, a hospital, a boarding house and the first bowling alley and first commercial dairy in the islands. Allen also initiated and oversaw the construction of one of the first paved roads in Hawaiʻi, Punahou Street and Manoa Road. Beyond industrious, visitors and neighbors alike describe Allen as “honorable, congenial, generous, respectable, and gracious.” After his passing, he was remembered for his “pattern of industry and perseverance, and of care for the education of his children.” Source.

As I reflect upon my experiences partnering with Mark Stride, I might describe him is very similar terms. Like Allen, Stride ancestors hail from other parts of the world, yet he possesses a great love for this ʻāina. He once reminded me that the education comes secondary to caring for the land – without the land, we have nothing. Like Allen, Stride and his family suffered the trauma of being oppressed and displaced. Stride’s ʻohana were evicted from their home and the farm they cared for over generations to make way for the construction of the H-3. Like Allen, Stride found a new purpose as he worked to restore the wrongs caused by this traumatic event, bringing together the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Transportation, the current landowner, and community groups to restore the sacred loʻi lying dormant in the shadows of the H-3 overpass. Always generous, respectful, honorable, congenial and gracious, Stride and his ʻohana are honored, beloved partners in educating our students. This is their lōkahi. This is our lōkahi.

To be Lōkahi, remember that

  • Below the surface of our differences, we are connected by similar values, beliefs, and stories;
  • To find these connections, we must be haʻahaʻa and empty ourselves of judgement; and
  • Ask questions, be curious, and start with the connections you fnd.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: Firebird read by the author Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers. Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: The author shares her lōkahi story – humble beginnings and hard, dedicated practice – with the young dancer. What is something you aspire towards and are working hard to accomplish?

SKILLS: Different from simile in that the words “like” or “as” are not used, the author uses metaphor to describe the character’s dress and personal characteristics – i.e. “the fireworks of costumes,” “a dreaming shooting star of a girl”  Try using a metaphor to describe something you see.

INTELLECT: In 2015, the author made history by becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Can you name other African Americans that recently made history becoming one of the first in their field? What obstacles did/do people of African American descent face that has delayed their accomplishing these milestones?

CRITICALITY: How can you help others who are facing obstacles based on race or other forms of discrimination?

JOY:The author asked, “What advice would you give to someone to encourage them not to give up?” Your challenge for this week is to share that “advice” with someone.


  • Recently, the Windward District held it’s annual Science and Engineering Fair. We celebrate all students who created projects, employing the scientific process and engineering design. We are especially proud of two of our students, Miya Karikomi and Mia Stringfield, who achieved Best in Category for Engineering Technology: Statics and Dynamics, besting even 7th and 8th graders. Along with this distinction, both advance to the State Fair where they will represent the entire Windward District. Congratulations Mia and Miya! A shout-out also goes to Kāneʻohe alumni, Ethan Kang and Michael Quinn who won awards at the fair. Awesome job!
  • Kāneʻohe alumnus and US Representative Jill Tokuda was back home to celebrate her becoming an official member of Congress. Fellow Menehune and members of the Castle Alumni Community Association gathered last Friday to be a part of her swearing in ceremony. An alumnus of King and Castle, Tokuda is the first congressional member to graduate from the Windward side. 


  • Mahalo to the students and their ʻohana who braved the storm last week Thursday and participated in our first in-person STEM Night. Thanks goes to our community partner, the American Society of Civil Engineers at UH Manoa, who facilitated a tower building contest where all were challenged to think strategically and creatively to build the tallest, strongest tower out of marshmallows and spaghetti. A huge thank you goes to our STEM Resource Teacher, Karen Kimura, and Parent & Community Network Coordinator, Dee Fujinaka, who organized this fun family event.


Thur, Feb 23, 2023Kindergarten Preview Night for Incoming/Prospective Kindergartners in SY 2023-24
Fri, Feb 24, 2023Engineering Field Day
Mon, Feb 27, 2023KES Ohana Mtg – details TBA
Wed, Mar 1, 2023Initial deadline to submit Kindergarten GEs
Fri, Mar 10, 2023Color Run!
Fri, Mar 10, 2023School Quality Survey deadline