Ho`okāko`o Corporation (HC) is an education change agent, providing support and services to three new century conversion school communities serving approximately 1,550 students in high need communities with a total resident population in excess of 50,000.
In addition, Ho`okāko`o seeks favorable policy changes to the political, legal, and regulatory environment in which charter schools operate in Hawai`i. By providing targeted support to its existing cohort of school communities in key areas of need, HC can help its schools stay focused on efforts to improve the quality of education for students, thus demonstrating the impact conversion schools can make on the education landscape in Hawai`i.
As a change agent, Ho`okāko`o helps its conversion schools find new and more effective ways of schooling. Yet, inherent in public school conversions are unique challenges, including legacy issues from prior ways of operating and transition issues from the change process.
As Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard Graduate School of Education says about our school system, “We need to reinvent it, not reform it.” But how does a zebra change its stripes? How does a school familiar and comfortable with “business as usual” learn to embrace doing things differently especially when, as Wagner reminds us, schools are “immune to change”?
Helping its conversion charter school communities reinvent themselves for the purpose of improving the academic achievement and personal growth of their students is Ho`okāko`o’s mission as an education change agent. Central to this is Ho`okāko`o’s role in helping the professionals on each campus transform themselves into an effective “community of learners,” where teachers and administrators learn together with support from each other, sharing questions, ideas, and practices. How do school leaders encourage and support teaching and learning? What does rigorous instruction look like? How do principals as change leaders help their schools feel an urgency to do things differently? These are the types of conversations Ho`okāko`o will encourage and lead with its schools.
Over the next several years, Ho`okāko`o will focus on its existing three conversion school communities (including Waimea Elementary given its feeder relationship to Waimea Middle School), helping these schools continue to transform themselves—and on systematic planning for expanding its customer base in the years to come. As it progresses, HC will assess its work with its three conversion schools and the potential market for expansion. When ready, it will expand specialized support and services on a subsidized or fee-for-service basis to public schools in the conversion schools’ geographical locations that send students to its conversion schools or receive students from these schools, as well as explore providing services to other public, charter and independent schools.