HC operates a network of public conversion charter schools in Hawai‛i that implement a shared system of student-centered and research-based educational innovations proven to improve student academic achievement and success. Our schools possess the expertise, accountability, responsiveness, and flexibility necessary to create these vibrant learning environments attentive to the educational, personal, physical, and cultural needs of our students.
With the involvement and input of a volunteer Local Advisory Panel comprised of parents, community and business leaders, residents, faculty, and students, each school maintains a close and engaged partnership with their surrounding community critical to meeting the unique educational needs of their children.
Kamaile Academy – Wai'anae, O'ahu
In 2007, Kamaile Academy joined Ho'okāko'o becoming Hawai‛i's largest public charter school serving approximately 930 students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade.
Kamaile is located in the Wai'anae community on the island of O'ahu which has the largest proportion of at-risk children (38.1%) compared to other communities in the state. Residents of Wai'anae are predominantly of Hawaiian or Part-Hawaiian ethnicity (70%) and are more likely to be low-income or receiving public assistance (26.4%) than elsewhere in the state (5.4%).
School data shows that approximately 60% of Kamaile's students struggle with a lack of housing, or reside in overcrowded conditions with other families, placing them near homelessness. Fourteen percent of Kamaile students have been identified as being homeless or residing in emergency/transitional housing. Several low-income housing projects in the community significantly increase Kamaile Academy's transient student population.
Kamaile strives to build the healthy, thriving and self-sustaining community envisioned and established by the lineal descendants of Wai‛anae Moku. The model is of ho‛ola kumua‛o, life growing from wisdom and learning. At the core of Kamaile’s school community is a “P-20 village learning center” that supports the success of Wai‛anae children from preschool through college. P-20 is a Hawai'i state educational initiative to strengthen the educational pathway for students from their early childhood through their higher education so that all students achieve college and career success.
In 2008, Kamaile’s Local Advisory Panel conducted community surveys and focus groups that revealed overwhelming community support for a P-20 model for student learning in the Wai'anae community. Parents envisioned a seamless P-20 system through which their children are provided consistent and coordinated quality educational opportunities and support services over 18 years. Community members recognized that a P-20 village learning center is the key to student success and ultimately a revitalized and healthy Wai‛anae community. Kamaile is committed to the vision of a P‐20 learning village for our community that is rooted in our core values and united by a mission of preparing college‐ready learners.
In 2011, Kamaile established The Navigators' Center as the center of Kamaile’s P-20 learning village based largely on the community schools model. The Navigators' Center coordinates community partnerships, rich student activities, meaningful family programs, and a comprehensive health and wellness program for students and for the community. Students, families and the community come together for support academically, physically, socially, and spiritually.
Kualapu‛u School - Kualapu‛u, Moloka‛i
Kualapu‛u School is an elementary school that serves students from pre-kindergarten through sixth. The school is 50 years old and has served many generations of families from the central Moloka‛i area. The school has achieved much during this time, including the following highlights:
The first school in Hawai‛i to become a "year-round" school.
Home to the island's Hawaiian Language Immersion Program.
Converted from a traditional DOE school to a charter school in 2004
Advanced from "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) restructuring status to a school in "good standing" as defined by high levels of student achievement by the federal government.
Expanded to a Pre-Kindergarten program.
Initiated longer school day to offer students meaningful enrichment activities that nurture the whole child.
Awarded "Initial Accreditation" school status in 2013.
As a result of all of these changes and despite an ever competitive educational environment, the community, where 90% of students are of Hawaiian ancestry and 83% qualify for free-reduced lunch status, has continued to remain supportive of the school and its initiatives. The proof of this support is our stable enrollment of approximately 377 students. Kualapu‛u School's mission of providing a strong foundation for learning has truly been solidified in the growth of programs at Kualapu‛u so that "with proper nurturing our keiki will be able to discover and grow, develop skills and confidence, and, like the ‛uala, withstand adversity and thrive in an ever-changing world."
The school is physically situated in a quiet residential area in the central part of the Island of Moloka‛i. It is primarily made up of four locales: Kualapu‛u, Kalae, Ho‛olehua, and Kalamaula. Kualapu‛u School was built in 1966 in what were pineapple fields owned by the Moloka‛i Ranch and leased to the Del Monte Company. The school was first opened as the community school in 1967.
Moloka‛i is a small, isolated community with approximately 7,400 people. It is viewed by many as one of the few remaining hubs of Hawaiian culture. On the other hand, the 2010 Census Proximity Report presents demographics that are far less attractive than the state average and presents a declining percentage compared to the 2000 census.
The primary ethnic groups (some residents are represented more than once due to mixed ethnicities) on the island are Native Hawaiian/Part-Hawaiian (62%), Asian/Part Asian (42%), and Caucasian/Part Caucasian (29%).
Approximately 15% of the adults in the community have less than a high school education, and only 20% are college graduates. Moloka‛i continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the State, worsened by the closure of Moloka‛i Ranch and the layoff of about 120 employees in 2009. Concurrently, goods and services are more costly here than in most places in Hawai'i. Access to the other islands is cost restrictive for many of the families, due to the high cost of transportation (air and ferry).
Waimea Middle School – Waimea/Kamuela, Hawai‛i Island
Waimea Middle School (WMS) was the first public conversion charter school formed under Act 2 of the 2002 Hawai‛i State Legislature. Located in the town of Kamuela on Hawai‛i Island, WMS serves a diverse demographic of approximately 280 students in grades 6-8, serving the entire school district of approximately 18,000 residents.
The community average income is approximately 4% higher than the state average, although the family incomes at WMS lag significantly, with 67% of children meeting federal poverty guidelines qualifying for free or reduced school lunch. Ethnically, Waimea/Kamuela is a diverse area of primarily Caucasian and Asian, but the population also includes significant numbers of Hispanic, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians. Native Hawaiians make up the largest ethnic group attending WMS (52%).
The community is also a diverse socio-economic mix including farming, ranching, professional, retail, service and tourism. There is also a significant science research and health care presence.
WMS’s focus is on successful student learning in a middle school framework with a foundation in place-based and project-based learning that connect children’s learning to their heritage, ʻāina and communities. As such, on-going partnerships within the community, both public and private, factor significantly into the WMS holistic approach to student achievement academically, physically, and socially.
Understanding that service to the community is a critical component of middle level education and that integrating service learning into the curriculum helps develop a sense of community and social responsibility, WMS students participate in a variety of service learning activities throughout the school year.