August 2018 Newsletter

Mission: Possible!

August 2018 UPDATE

Dear friends and supporters of Alaka`i,

Our mission to open a tuition-free project-based school is nearly accomplished!! In just a couple of weeks our classrooms and campus will be filled with the joyful sound of our learners’ voices as they experience a new and engaging way of education. The larger mission will continue as we shift away from start-up mode. And the new focus, as our director, Denise Trentham, puts it is to “Make sure these kiddos are crying on Friday because there is no school to come to on the weekends!”

Here is an update on what’s been transpiring this summer…

On June 28th, Alaka`i had its final pre-assurances reviewed by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission. There were quite a few very important milestones we needed to accomplish, and with a team effort, all pre-assurances were met. Thereby, the school was granted unanimous approval to proceed with opening this August.

Enrollment Update    

Our goal of 165 learners was met by our June 28th commission deadline!  However, as we approach opening day, spaces are becoming available as families change plans, move or for whatever reason decide to withdraw. Therefore, applications are still needed and accepted through our online enrollment portal:

A few spaces are still currently available and some grades are full. Applicants are being placed on a waitlist and will gain an invitation to enroll as soon as a space becomes available. It is important that we keep growing our waitlist, so please encourage your friends and family to apply!

Facility Update     

Repairs of the facilities are coming to completion.  The roof is finished, the bathrooms are renovated, and all classrooms have been clean and sanitized.  The gymnasium, however, was found to have more extensive needs than originally thought, and repairs will continue indefinitely.

In July we were able to acquire the contents of a few schools that were closing both here on Kaua`i and in California.  A 400 square foot container arrived on Monday, July 23rd, and the next day – our “Moving In Day”- had a great turn out with about 40 adults and 15 keiki there to help unload the “School In A Box”.

Board Updates

It is with great gratitude that we announce our torch-bearing Board Chair, DrB, has stepped down from her post into a general director’s seat where she will continue to serve officially for one more year.  You can read about her rich history of service to education in The Garden Island Newspaper here:

Talk Story with DrB

Governing board treasurer, Rick Eckert, will take her place as Chairperson. His past experience as chair of both corporate and volunteer community organizations makes him a perfect candidate. Mahalo, Rick!

New to the governing board in July is Jolleen Abreu.  Jolleen was born and raised on Oahu and moved to Kauai in 2003. She is married to local fire captain, Kalani Abreu and they have two children together.  Jolleen has an extensive background in property, resort & office management and specializes in early childhood education as a teacher & director. She currently operates an early preschool for 2 – 4 year olds and works as her church’s children’s ministry director. We are happy to have her kind of experience and enthusiasm on our team!  

Our governing Board meetings are every third Wednesday, held at the school from 5-7 pm. They are open to the public.  If you would like to review the agenda and minutes of the meetings, you can find them on our website.

At the July board meeting, Denise Trentham was officially offered employment.  Her role as School Director has the authority to hire our staff, and she is eager to get her team activated! Teachers have already been selected and some are already showing up to help.

Important Notice For Submitting Enrollment Documents

Beginning July 30th, our school office is open from 7:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday. If you have not already done so, you will need to submit your enrollment documents before August 28th.

These documents include:

-Birth Certificate or Passport

-Proof of Residency

-Student Health Record and TB Clearance

-Optional Learner Support Fee of $50

Log In to your online schoolmint account to review your enrollment checklist and forms if you are not sure what you need to submit. Call our office at (808) 635-5110 if you have questions or need assistance.


Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

1) When does school begin?

School begins Tuesday, August 28th

2) What are the school hours of operation?

Monday – Thursday 8:15-2:25 pm

Friday 8:15-1:40 pm

3) Is there before or after school care?

The simple answer – We’re working on it Ideally we intend to offer both options. A survey will be coming soon to find out how many people are needing this service.

5) Will there be a uniform or a school t-shirt? When will we get these?

No, there is no uniform. Yes, we will have t-shirts for all our learners by the beginning of school, which are optional. The cost for these is included in the learner support fee.

6) Is there a school lunch program?

No, there is no school lunch program being offered this year.

7) What do I do if I can’t access my SchoolMint account, forgot my password, or am not receiving emails from the school?

Call Office Manager Claire at 635-5110 for any of these issues. It is easy to reset account passwords if this is the problem. If you are not receiving emails sent through SchoolMint there are two things you can do:

1) Log into your SchoolMint account. Go to “Parent/Guardian Info” and click the grey pencil button to edit. Under “Contact Preference” be sure to select the option to receive both Emails and Texts.

You MUST opt to receive emails, not only texts, as all our school communications will be via the SchoolMint server.

2) The other thing you can do to be sure you receive our emails is to search your “Junk Mail” inbox for SchoolMint. Make sure to mark those emails as “Not Junk”.

8) Is there a school supplies list?

Yes, school supply lists are being sent to everyone and will also be posted on our website.

School Bus/Transportation Update:

Efforts were made to contract a bus for our east side families, but unfortunately, there were not enough learners to fill a bus at an affordable rate.  So for our first year, carpooling will help make the commute possible and less burdensome for many. Please work together and reach out to those who may need commute assistance.

Money Matters

On July 20th we received 60% of our annual budget from the state of Hawai`i!  Each fiscal year the Hawaii State Legislature sets aside a certain amount of funds for Charter Schools. Then that total is equally divided among all learners enrolled in charter schools.  This year we will receive $7,359.28 per pupil from the state. Our school’s budget has already been created and approved as part of our pre-opening assurances. This is little more than half of the per pupil amount given to DOE schools, so you can see why our need for private funding is very important.

Donor Acknowledgement

Some of our early donors we would like to thank this month are:

Kelsey Kirwan, owner of Elements Salon in Kalaheo, who generously volunteered along with her staff to hold a benefit, Haircut for A Cause, on Saturday, June 9th. At the same time, Kelsey organized an online auction via her Instagram account, @BeautyCallKauai. 100% of both benefits were donated to our school; Mahalo Nui Loa!

Many more donations were received from the following:

Steven Martin-Oldfield of Kauai Pacific Realty

Grove Farm, Inc.

Jonathan McRoberts

Peter and Linda Baldwin & Family

Gayle & Bart Naylor

Rick Eckert

Raymond & Sarah Salamey

Darcie Yukimura

Victor Lawson – Garden Island Auto Sales

Agnieszka Pinowska

Jolleen Abreu

Matson Shipping gave an in-kind donation that covered the cost of oceanic transport of our School-In-A-Box container!

Another thank you goes to the Princeville Public Library who donated children’s books to our school!  Board member Nicola Sherrill organized a fun way to get our learners involved by inviting them to choose the books they want to see at their school.

Amazon Smile

We are an approved NonProfit on Amazon Smile!  From now on, make your Amazon shopping page so that a percent of all your purchases gets donated to Alaka’i O Kaua’i. Here’s how: