Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Social-Emotional Learning

In our approach to education at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we emphasize methods that foster learners’ social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning is the process through which learners understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, and establish and maintain positive relationships to make responsible decisions.

We believe it’s vital to help learners develop skills such as social awareness, self-management, regulation of emotions, and self-awareness so they can weave these abilities through every facet of their lives. When emotional intelligence is nurtured and developed, it can inspire creativity and increased engagement.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore nine pillars of social-emotional learning (SEL) at Alaka’i O Kaua’i:

  • Social intelligence
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude
  • Purpose
  • Growth mind-set
  • Self-control
  • Curiosity
  • Zest
  • Grit

But why is SEL so important?

To adapt to an increasingly globalized economy, education must emphasize more than rote knowledge. We believe learners should be empathetic, critical thinkers who thoughtfully engage with the world around them. Modern employers prize these skills in the workplace, and research suggests employees with more highly developed social-emotional strengths earn more and are more productive.

Additionally, focusing on non-cognitive skills may further improve reading, writing, and mathematics performance in kids, according to the nonpartisan think tank Economic Policy Institute.

We measure and report SEL progress as part of every project, individualized learning plan goal, and Report of Progress. We have also developed SEL and academic rigor rubrics that add a well-balanced approach to academics and reflective practice for facilitators, learners, families, and administrators. Other elements of our SEL implementation, practice, and assessment include our Learner-Led Conferences (LLCs), Presentations of Learning (POLs), Passion Projects, Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs), Advisory Program, Morning Meetings, learner-led ambassador groups, and restorative approaches to discipline.

PBL expert and iLEAD partner Thom Markham summed up why social-emotional learning is so vital. “Navigating a changing world demands a communicative, creative, and collaborative person with a flexible, empathetic, resilient, and persistent temperament,” he said. “It’s time to make a change to our mind-set and be far more intentional about teaching the dispositions and personality attributes that lead to better work ethic, more engagement, improved relationships, a greater sense of well-being — and better projects.”

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, our goal is nothing less.

Pictured: Alaka’i O Kaua’i, 2019-20 school year.

COVID-19 Updates

We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Our school is fortunate to have a remote location with expansive outdoor areas plus large classrooms to allow for proper physical distancing. Please email info@alakaiokauai.org or call 808.635.5110 with any questions.

Drop-Off Procedure
Drop Off Procedures 1

Health Check Procedure

AOK Procedure 1 - Health Check

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Online Enrichment Tools

COVID Resources

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School Director’s Message

Aloha to the great people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness.

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we wish to acknowledge all the challenges and issues that are ongoing in our world right now. We see it, feel it, and live it ourselves here at our school. We greatly appreciate all the flexibility, adaptability, and support that our learning community has demonstrated during the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. As a former crisis therapist on our beautiful island of Kaua’i, I encourage each of you to please look after yourself, your ohana, and those around you.

Here is a suggested self-care checklist:

  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise — play basketball or enjoy another physical activity
  • Meditate, pray, journal, or whatever fills your soul
  • Practice yoga
  • Go for walks in nature
  • Find a new hobby — garden, bake, paint with watercolors, knit, join a book club, etc.
  • Learn something new — piano, guitar, calligraphy, etc.
  • Eat healthy food — and if you need to, something unhealthy (in moderation)

Although we all know what we should be doing, some of us tend to try to push through the challenges in unusual situations. Please do not overextend yourself.

The best path ahead we can take in these uncertain times is to try to do everything we can to stay safe, keep our families safe, and attempt to be our best selves.

Further mahalo to the good people of Kaua’i for helping keep the number of COVID cases on our special garden island low. Accordingly, we feel that we can slowly and safely expand our on-campus face-to-face education for all of our vulnerable learners plus one additional class per day. Here is the on-campus schedule that will come into effect starting on Monday, September 21:

  • Monday: Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 3
  • Tuesday: Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 4
  • Wednesday: Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 5
  • Thursday: Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 6

Friday: Facilitator planning and professional learning day. Possible work packet pickup and drop-off in the gym from 8:15 AM to 2:45 PM. Please communicate directly with your child’s facilitator to determine if the work packets need to be dropped off or picked up on those days.

We hope to stay in this next step of gradual school opening until Friday, October 2, which marks the conclusion of the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. We are currently projecting to return all learners to on-campus face-to-face education on Monday, October 12, after Fall Break.

As we are now welcoming four full classes of learners back to campus on a daily basis, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will start running the bus again starting on Monday, September 21.

We greatly appreciate your support of our school. Stay safe. Stay strong!

With gratitude,
DJ Adams
School Director
Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Remembering with Tutu B: Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi’s Beginnings

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i `Ohana,

The pandemic has given us lots of time to clean our rooms (as you might have been told by your families). I was given some more time when, after 17 years as a professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM), I retired on July 7, 2020. When I had a chance to clean out my office, I discovered many pictures and documents that had gotten buried under lots of other papers!

The photos reminded me to share the story of Alaka`i O Kaua`i with you.

Above is a picture of me during the very first day of school, August 29, 2018. I was outside the office to greet each and every learner (with their parents) to our new school. What an exciting day that was! Well, we were supposed to open on August 28, but Hurricane Lane made a river across the road to our school and we had to cancel the first day of school. Thankfully, we postponed our opening only by one day.

Before that day, many more people worked very hard to help bring you your school.

(L to R) Tutu B, Paul Zina, Felicia Cowden

A few people, working in what was called the Advisory Group, helped our Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Governing Board in several ways but especially with writing the application for charter school approval.

Paul Zina, who was principal of Ele`ele School and is now Kaua’i Complex Area Superintendent, served as the educational liaison. He showed great support for our school to the Charter Commission and gave valuable input for writing the application.

Felicia Cowden, who had operated her own homeschool and written a book about homeschooling, served as community liaison for the Governing Board and actively served on the Advisory Board. Felicia is now a Kauai County Council Member.

Steve Martin-Oldfield, owner of Kauai Pacific Real Estate, served as our business liaison. He helped look for locations for the school and met with all prospective candidates to share about the housing opportunities on Kauai.

Tutu B with Minna Freeman Prichard

Minna Freeman Prichard was previously a teacher at Koloa School but had taken some time off to have a baby. Minna opened a homeschool not only for her own children but for other children to join as well. She had a lot of experience with environmental education and envisioned what Alaka`i would be. After she had her baby, Minna joined the Advisory Board to continue helping when she could.

As chairperson of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Governing Board, I made certificates of appreciation for each of the people named here, but I found the certificates only while going through my office files! “Better late than never” is a good motto. So this past Wednesday, September 16, 2020, three out of the four Advisory Group members finally received their certificates of appreciation. Steve could not be seen, for he is dutifully serving quarantine time after visiting the mainland and will be given his certificate later.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Remembering with Tutu B. I look forward to sharing more of the story of your school, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School, very soon!

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School Culture: Real-World Experiences

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School emphasizes 21st-century skills and preparing learners for the work world, and tangible experiences help elevate the learning process.

Examples include our third graders’ podcast; our DreamUp to Space challenges, where teams of learners come up with scientific research projects that launch to the International Space Station for testing; or our living history programs, where learners re-create scenes from history.

Real-world experience is at the heart of what can make project-based learning (PBL) truly exciting, challenging, and rewarding for learners. When PBL is infused with real-world experiences, learners develop crucial skills while they’re still in school. Additionally, these experiences can provide learners with deeper insights into career areas they may want to pursue. Furthermore, kids find that their success isn’t defined merely by a grade but by the experience they gain through the process.

Finally, learning that incorporates real-world experience helps learners become familiar with professional environments. Besides learning the subject content, learners develop skills crucial in the work world, including clear and timely communication, thinking critically, problem-solving, and time management.

As part of a well-rounded PBL curriculum, real-world experiences are essential to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s mission.

Dreamup to Space Alakai O Kauai

Apply to Join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team!

Alaka’i O Kaua’i learners in grades 5 and up are invited to apply to join one of two DreamUp to Space Launch Teams, featuring experiments designed by learners in our network! Deadline to apply: September 25, 2020.

Selected team members will run experiments in preparation for the actual experiments that will launch to space to be run by astronauts on the International Space Station with a target date of March 2021.

Team members will collaborate with facilitators and mentors at each stage. They’ll also be involved in promoting their mission, including creating videos and writing blogs. They’ll fund-raise for experiment-related expenses as well as the chance to travel with their families to Kennedy Space Center, where they could present their experiment and watch it blast to space!

Watch our DreamUp to Space Launch Teams’ videos to understand more about the experiments:

If you would like to apply to join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team, please click below:

Or feel free to apply for both!

For more information, please contact the Director of STEAM Initiatives Kathleen Fredette at kathleen.fredette@ileadschools.org.

To learn more about iLEAD Student Aerospace Projects, please visit ileadaerospace.org.

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Greetings, Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

Last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced our learning communities to physically distance, we launched a weekly campaign with the goal to reunite our facilitators and families and lift their spirits. Every week, a new Together Tuesday video featured photos of families, learners, and staff throughout the iLEAD nation — a reminder that we’re all in this together.

This year, Together Tuesdays will be making a comeback, now as a monthly feature. Whether your kids are learning on campus, from home, or a combination of the two, we’d love to see your contributions.

The first video of the 2020-21 school year will go live on September 29. To ensure your submissions are included, please click here to submit. Photos received by the Friday before each Together Tuesday are eligible to be included.*

We’re all in this together, and we can’t wait to see your photos!

If you have any questions, simply reply to stories@ileadschools.org.

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

*If you send us a photo or video, we will consider this approval for use on our school websites and social media accounts. Please do not include images of video conference screens showing learners.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness.

We were extremely pleased to commence our enrichment classes for our learners on campus after Labor Day. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is proud to share that we have hired Ms. Nicole Goncalves to teach art plus the Seven Habits to learners in grades 3-6, and we look to expand these opportunities to our learners in grades K-2 in the near future. Ms. Nicole has an impressive background in teaching art and is a familiar face in our learning community. E komo mai e, Ms. Nicole, and we all love your friendly smile and warm personality here on campus with our learners.

We are also excited to share that Mr. Chris Kavwe is returning to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School to facilitate Hawai’ian culture on campus. Chris also has an extensive background and shares with us his knowledge of his roots in Hawai’ian heritage. Last year Chris helped create some fascinating outcomes in project-based learning, including one of his loves, which is canoes. E komo mai e, Chris, and we greatly appreciate your calm demeanor and love of nature, which surrounds us here on campus.

In the coming week, the Entry Forms for the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Ninja Warrior competition will become available. Our event will be held on campus on Wednesday, September 30, for the on-campus learners that day. We will schedule time slots for all the on-campus learners during that school day (kindergarten and grades 1, 2, and 5) and have the other grades during their on-campus days: Monday, September 28 (grade 3); Tuesday, September 29 (grade 4); Thursday, October 1 (grade 6). This optional fun competition is based on the popular event American Ninja Warrior and will challenge our learners to cross a course that includes our two playgrounds. Each participant will earn a certificate for participating, and the fastest male and female competitor in each grade will receive a certificate for winning that category. This fun event is free to our learners. Unfortunately, due to safety procedures, we are unable to welcome parents to observe the event this year.

Speaking of parents, a hearty mahalo to all who graciously gave up some time for our No Hoa O Alaka’i Friends of Alaka’i meeting held last Thursday and the Wala’au Coffee Talk Story held last Friday. Lots of positive, energetic ideas were presented to support and improve our school going into our bright future. Please watch for more information on events that you can become involved in as a parent. If possible given COVID-19 restrictions, we do hope to host a Trunk-or-Treat, a Turkey Trot, and Pizza Fridays. These are just a few events that you could volunteer for that are coming soon.

Mahalo for your support of our school. Stay safe. Stay strong!

DJ Adams
School Director
Dreamup to Space Alakai O Kauai

Apply to Join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team!

Alaka’i O Kaua’i learners in grades 5 and up are invited to apply to join one of two DreamUp to Space Launch Teams, featuring experiments designed by learners in our network!

Selected team members will run experiments in preparation for the actual experiments that will launch to space to be run by astronauts on the International Space Station with a target date of March 2021.

Team members will collaborate with facilitators and mentors at each stage. They’ll also be involved in promoting their mission, including creating videos and writing blogs. They’ll fund-raise for experiment-related expenses as well as the chance to travel with their families to Kennedy Space Center, where they could present their experiment and watch it blast to space!

Watch our DreamUp to Space Launch Teams’ videos to understand more about the experiments:

If you would like to apply to join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team, please click below:

Or feel free to apply for both!

Deadline to apply: September 25, 2020.

For more information, please contact the Director of STEAM Initiatives Kathleen Fredette at kathleen.fredette@ileadschools.org.

To learn more about iLEAD Student Aerospace Projects, please visit ileadaerospace.org.

21st Century Skills Alakai O Kauai

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Building 21st-Century Skills

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, what’s important is not only ensuring learners are receiving an academically well-rounded education but also that they have the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing world. That’s why we place a high priority on 21st-century skills.

These skills are essential in a worldwide market that’s moving faster by the day, and they funnel to a key focus: a person’s ability to enact and/or adapt to change.

Why? Because we live in a world where long-established industries are now regularly disrupted with new ideas and methodologies. Kids are preparing for work in an era when nothing is guaranteed, and it’s important to be adaptable.

When we speak about 21st-century skills, we’re talking about those things that help learners adapt and thrive in a world that is increasingly more dependent on technology as well as a global economy and workplace. The 12 essential 21st-century skills include the following:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Technology literacy
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Productivity
  • Social skills

Through individualized instruction and project-based learning, we celebrate and foster each child’s individuality and support them in discovering their highest potential. We believe each child will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to achieve their fullest potential in preparation for college and the demands of the 21st-century workplace.

Succeeding in the 21st century calls for skill sets that go beyond the basics mandated by densely packed education standards and what’s evaluated on standardized tests. Learners also need to build skills sets that will last a lifetime. To solve problems in our complex, fast-changing world, learners must become nimble, creative thinkers who can work well with others.

In line with the 12 skills identified above, there are four Cs Alaka’i O Kaua’i focuses on instilling in learners, as identified by the Partnership for 21st-Century Skills:

  • Collaboration: Learners are able to work effectively with diverse groups and exercise flexibility in making compromises to achieve common goals.
  • Creativity: Learners are able to generate and improve on original ideas and also work creatively with others.
  • Communication: Learners are able to communicate effectively across multiple media and for various purposes.
  • Critical thinking: Learners are able to analyze, evaluate, and understand complex systems and apply strategies to solve problems.

It is critical to keep in mind that those 4Cs don’t replace academic learning goals; rather, they complement and enhance them.

Since Alaka’i O Kaua’i ’s inception, we have been committed to helping develop well-rounded kids, those who are lifelong learners empowered to lead and succeed in a changing world. By incorporating 21st-century skills, we’re making sure they’re ready for anything they face in their journey.

Pictured: Alaka’i O Kaua’i classroom, February 2020.

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Greetings, Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

Last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced our learning communities to physically distance, we launched a weekly campaign with the goal to reunite our facilitators and families and lift their spirits. Every week, a new Together Tuesday video featured photos of families, learners, and staff throughout the iLEAD nation — a reminder that we’re all in this together.

This year, Together Tuesdays will be making a comeback, now as a monthly feature. Whether your kids are learning on campus, from home, or a combination of the two, we’d love to see your contributions.

The first video of the 2020-21 school year will go live on September 29. To ensure your submissions are included, please click here to submit. Photos received by the Friday before each Together Tuesday are eligible to be included.*

We’re all in this together, and we can’t wait to see your photos!

If you have any questions, simply reply to stories@ileadschools.org.

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

*If you send us a photo or video, we will consider this approval for use on our school websites and social media accounts. Please do not include images of video conference screens showing learners.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and hope this message finds you healthy and happy.

In the short history of our school, there are several talented people who have continuously contributed to ensure that Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School kept on moving ahead.

One of those people is Jon McCallister, who has transformed the campus from a vacant jungle-infested set of buildings into a school.

Jon has worked tirelessly preparing us for the 2020-2021 school year by constructing outdoor classrooms, building from scratch over 100 desks that are size-specific for our keiki, and preparing the classrooms for instruction — just to name a few of his incredible tasks.

Jon has an uncanny ability to literally build something out of nothing, and he has saved the school thousands of dollars over the last three years of sharing his talents with us.

Mahalo, Jon, for all your work to make our school a viable educational choice for keiki on Kaua’i. The school has long wait lists of learners who wish to attend here due to the quality of Jon’s work.

One area Jon is not responsible for but is known to us all is the road to arrive and depart here at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We drive the road here as well and understand your frustrations about the quality of the route. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School leases our campus, and the road here is a private road maintained by our landlords. We are in communication with our landlords to please upkeep the maintenance on the potholes, bumps, and gravel that shake our bones coming and going out of Kahili Valley. We are also in conversations about having the road paved by our landlords in the future, which would be a great improvement for us all.

Mahalo for driving with aloha for the drop-off and pick-up of learners here on campus. We greatly appreciate your patience, especially given that the morning health checks can sometimes slow down the day. Tremendous cooperation and kindness have been demonstrated all around, which leads to the enhanced safety for our keiki.

We greatly appreciate the many hands and many hearts that contributed to the School Beautification Day held in late July. The people who selflessly volunteered their time to improve the school did an outstanding job, and we are working hard to maintain the quality of the efforts provided to our school.

Mahalo for your support of our school, and please stay safe.

DJ Adams

School Director

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School Culture

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Partnering with Home and Community

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we don’t believe that education happens solely within the four walls of a school. On the contrary, we believe education that produces well-rounded children is a result of synergy and collaboration between the school, the home, and the community.

That is why it is so important to us to build strong partnerships between families and communities. Parents and community partners are key resources to supporting learners’ success, which is why Alaka’i O Kaua’i actively and consistently involves parents, finding ways to support them and extend learners’ education at home.

Through our relationships with various community partners, we are able to provide learning experiences that broaden kids’ perspectives, not to mention often give back to the community. Strong community partnerships are a win-win.

There are several ways we promote parent involvement. We strongly encourage parents to volunteer at their learners’ school during the year, with opportunities including classroom volunteering, tutoring, attending board of directors meetings, participating in events, and more. We also encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s learning.

Other community-related partnerships we encourage and facilitate include partnering with industry professionals, business leaders, government and civic leaders, community leaders, nonprofit leaders, higher-education partners, entrepreneurs, and more. Fostering these relationships provides learners with a wealth of knowledge, advice, and insight, in addition to access to real-world learning opportunities and experiences.

Collaboration is at the heart of Alaka’i O Kaua’i’s project-based learning model. When synergy is found between learners, families, and communities, something really special happens — the foundation is set for authentic learning that produces inspired leaders with promising futures.

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness. It was GREAT to welcome our vulnerable learners (kindergarten, grades 1 and 2, and Special Education) back to campus this week and see their happy faces in person. We also appreciate all those learners in grades 3-6 who are currently in distance learning who attended our Morning Assemblies daily at 8:45 AM. We look forward to the day when we can have all of learners on campus safely for face-to-face education.

The next projected date of health evaluation for opening our school for all learners will occur on Tuesday, September 8, right after the long Labor Day weekend. We greatly appreciate your flexibility and adaptability with the changes, and we eagerly await the next Hawai’i Department of Health Matrix for opening schools. Mahalo for understanding that schools have varied interest groups that we work with, including the Hawai’i Department of Health, the Hawai’i Department of Education, the Hawai’i State Teacher Association, the mayor’s office, the governor’s office, and you as our learning community.

Moving forward, we do wish to share with you some new programs that will be added to the school in the coming weeks.

On the first Thursday of every month during the school year at 3:00 PM, we will be hosting a Parent and School Meeting. To get this started, it will be my pleasure to act as the chairperson. We are hoping to further expand our learning community and provide greater opportunities for our parents to be involved in our school.

On the first Friday of every month of the school year at 10:00 AM, we will be hosting a “Wala’ua with the Director.” Wala’ua means start a conversation. This talk-story session will hopefully give parents another opportunity to connect with the school and learn more about the day-to-day operations of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School.

Both of these sessions will be held via Zoom for the month of September, and an invitation will be extended to parents by email from my desk.

Start practicing now for the first annual “Alaka’i O Kaua’i Ninja Warrior Competition.” It has come to our attention that we have some fantastic athletes in our school who may wish to show their skills crossing a course across both of our playgrounds. This fun event will be free of charge to our learners and, by the nature of the event itself, will be properly physical distanced. We hope to run this competition sometime in September but will not announce the official date until we know we have the ability to open the event to all of our learners who wish to participate. More details to follow as well as entry forms for those who are interested.

Mahalo for your support of our school, and best wishes to your family for continued happiness and health. Malama pono!

DJ Adams
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Project Based Learing

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Culture: Project-Based Learning

Spend even just a few moments inquiring about the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi approach to education, and one of the first things you’ll hear about is project-based learning, or PBL. It’s at the core of our approach to school and a proven asset to education.

So what is project-based learning? In PBL, learners actively explore real-world challenges to acquire deeper knowledge of the subject at hand. Research shows that learners increasingly retain and enjoy what they’re learning when PBL is done well.

This educational model helps students learn the valuable collaboration, academic, and problem-solving skills our global economy will demand from them. Through the PBL method, learners tackle engaging projects about real-world issues that require critical thought, inquiry, and synthesis, and culminate in regular Presentations of Learning (or POLs) to their peers, facilitators, community members, and parents.

The PBL model requires learners to research, collaborate, and carefully weigh information and evidence in a nuanced problem-solving environment. It teaches learners to accept feedback, create solutions, and present their findings in a high-performance context — preparing them for the rigors of the 21st-century economy and the challenges of a global world.

PBL provides the following benefits:

  • PBL makes school more engaging: In PBL, students are active, not passive. Projects engage their hearts and minds and provide real-world relevance for learning.
  • PBL improves learning: At the completion of a project, learners understand content more deeply, remember what they learn, and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better able to apply to new situations what they know and can do.
  • PBL builds skills for college, career, and life: Learners are preparing for life in a world where success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively.
  • PBL helps address standards: Common Core and other current education standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, as well as the development of success skills like critical thinking/problem-solving, collaboration, communication in a variety of media, and speaking and presentation skills. PBL helps learners effectively meet these goals.
  • PBL embraces technology: Kids enjoy using a variety of tech tools that are a perfect fit for PBL. With technology, facilitators and learners not only find resources and information they need; they also collaborate more effectively and connect with experts, partners, and audiences.
  • PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding: Projects allow facilitators to work closely with active, engaged learners doing high-quality, meaningful work. In many cases, facilitators rediscover the joy of learning alongside kids.
  • PBL connects kids and schools with communities and the real world: Through PBL, learners have opportunities to solve real problems and address actual issues, and as such they learn more about interacting with adults and organizations, are exposed to workplaces, and can identify and develop career interests.

In short, project-based learning is at the core of the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi model because we believe it is at the heart of how kids learn best. Time and again, we’ve seen how PBL helps learners develop academic skills, build leadership skills and character, and lay the foundation for promising careers.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Board of Directors Strategic Planning Session.

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this Monday Message finds you in good health and happiness.

Mahalo to all who supported our on-campus face-to-face days with our facilitators this past week. Your adaptability in assisting with the shifts and changes that came about with rising COVID cases on Kaua’i is greatly appreciated. It is comforting to see the numbers on our beautiful island flatten out again, and these numbers combined with inter-island quarantine again gives us all hope to return to campus safely for everyone.

Accordingly, we will continue to welcome our learners back on campus gradually starting on Monday, August 24, with our vulnerable learners first. Vulnerable learners would be classified as our keiki who would find distance education most challenging and potentially unproductive for their developmental needs. Younger learners in our school definitely fall into this category, so we will have our kindergarten, grades 1 and 2, and learners with special needs back on campus in the initial phase.

Grades 3-6 will start distance learning on Monday, August 24, as previously announced. These learners will remain in our distance learning program until an evaluation on Tuesday, September 8, to determine whether health experts and government officials give us the recommendation to open campus safely for the reminder of our learners.

Your dedicated facilitators will communicate with you directly about the particular details of their educational delivery model as each one of them is special and unique and will teach in different ways.

We could see and feel the joy of the learners to be back at school face-to-face again. They quickly adjusted to new procedures, protocols, and expectations on campus despite being away since March. Mahalo, learners, as we enjoyed having you here and appreciate your eagerness to learn new concepts about being on campus during a pandemic. We are excited about our future together when we can all return to campus at the same time without a health risk to any in our learning community.

This week we also wish to express our gratitude to a group of people who sometimes get overlooked in today’s world: the PARENTS. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is blessed to have a strong foundation of parents who support our collective work together. A majority of our talented staff members are passionate about our success, as they are PARENTS of learners in our school. Many of our dedicated Board of Directors members selflessly volunteer countless hours to govern our school, as they are PARENTS. Let’s also recognize that there are also PARENTS from all parts of our beautiful island who give their time, effort, and commitment to have their young people attend our school. Mahalo to you all for your support of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School!

You may have noticed a photo highlighting parents in this week’s message. We were blessed to have a Board of Directors Strategic Planning Session this week, which featured a talk story component between our staff and Board of Directors to improve communication plus build cohesive problem-solving.

Our featured Monday Message image is of a promise fulfilled, as Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is now running a bus to campus. This endeavor was made possible through the efforts of many people for numerous years and speaks well of our bright future.

Best wishes to you all for a terrific day and mahalo for your support of our school.

DJ Adams
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness.

Mahalo for your incredible flexibility and patience with the announced changes that came forth last Tuesday from the Hawai’i Department of Education. Although we have been the only Hawai’i Department of Education school and Hawai’i Charter school to welcome learners back on campus, we will follow the outline in the HIDOE announcement.

This is a difficult and painful decision at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and there was certainly no shortage of sincere tears from our staff, as we want to have our learners back on campus for face-to-face education daily without a hybrid or blended model of education.

We also recognize the importance of our social responsibility to everyone in our learning community and the good citizens on the island of Kaua’i. As the educational leader of our school, I realize it would be morally incorrect to open our school when COVID cases are on the rise on our beautiful island. Just one positive case at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School could potentially impact hundreds of people on our island and place our vulnerable population at greater risk.

As a project-based learning school, this is also part of the learning around our driving question to start the 2020-2021 school year: “How can Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School safely welcome back our learners for the 2020-2021 school year?” It is important to teach the valuable lifelong lesson of looking after each other as well as your neighbor as a component of social-emotional learning.

We look forward to being able to have all our learners back on campus for daily face-to-face education as early as mid-September. We will closely monitor the COVID cases on Kaua’i and continue to consult with health and government officials about opening on campus again.

Here is the schedule for this week (and a little beyond):

Monday, August 17, 8:45 AM to Noon

  • All learners in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 with last names starting with the letters A-M
  • All learners in grade 5 with last names starting with the letters A-L
  • All kindergarteners in Group Yellow*

Tuesday, August 18, 8:45 AM to Noon

  • All learners in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 with last names starting with the letters N-Z
  • All learners in grade 5 with last names starting with the letters M-Z
  • All kindergarteners in Group Orange*

Wednesday, August 19, 8:45 AM to Noon

  • All learners in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 with last names starting with the letters A-M
  • All learners in grade 5 with last names starting with the letters A-L
  • All kindergarteners in Group Blue*

Thursday, August 20, 8:45 AM to Noon

  • All learners in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 with last names starting with the letters N-Z
  • All learners in grade 5 with last names starting with the letters M-Z
  • *All kindergarteners in Group Green*

*These kindergarten groups will be shared directly with the kindergarten parents.

Friday, August 21

  • No school due to Statehood Day.

Monday, August 24

  • Start of mandatory Distance Learning Program.

Tuesday, September 8

  • Safety evaluation day for return to on-campus face-to-face education. If we are all successful in flattening the curve of COVID infections, then we would move toward welcoming our learners back on campus.

Monday, September 14

  • Learners at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School are projected to return to on-campus face-to-face education at our school. Busing will resume for our learners.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will be providing busing for our learners August 17-21.

Drop-off area in the mornings will always be in the main traffic circle in the front of the campus, as we do our health safety checks in this area for every learner and staff member daily. Please do remain in your cars, and mahalo (in advance) for your patience, as this process does take some time.

Pick-up areas at noon will be as follows:

  • Grades K, 1 and 2: main traffic circle in front of the school
  • Grades 3 and 4: northeast of the gym (use the same road to come onto campus)
  • Grades 5 and 6: lower campus directly in front of the cafeteria
  • Bus learners will be picked up in the main traffic circle in front of the school.

Please practice “Aloha” within our learning community during the pickup and drop-off times, as our expanded enrollment will create greater traffic. In addition, we encourage people to try to carpool as much as possible to reduce the number of vehicles on campus and respect our environment.

Once again, we are all sad and feel this sense of loss in particular after an extremely positive return of our learners in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days, but we also understand and respect the importance of keeping all people on our beautiful island safe and healthy.

We appreciate your support of our school, and best wishes to you for continued health and happiness.

DJ Adams
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Kaua‘i Public Schools Transition to Full Distance Learning for First Four Weeks of 2020-21

Aloha ‘auinala to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness.

Shortly after 3 PM Tuesday, August 11, this announcement came forth from the Hawai’i Department of Education, and with a heavy heart it is shared with you:

Hawaii DOE _ Neighbor Island schools announce distance learning models to start 2020-21 school year

Although we have been the only Hawai’i Department of Education or Hawai’i Charter School to have safely opened for face-to-face education starting on August 4 as promised, we will abide by this decision to respect the health and safety for all on our beautiful island. Accordingly we will follow this directive starting tomorrow and postpone the remainder of our Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days until Monday, August 17. Further details will follow, but we are pleased to share that with this sad news comes some measure of joy as our amazing facilitators will be greeting our learners for these orientation sessions next week in their classrooms.

As we plan to return to face-to-face on-campus education hopefully as soon as September, we do ask all learners to please do continue to drop off their school supplies for the 2020-2021 school year. We continue to be actively setting up our classrooms, plus to avoid a morning drop-off gridlock next week, please feel free to come to campus on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday this week to drop off the school supplies.

This is clearly not the news any of us wished to hear, but the safety and health of all in our learning community and island of Kaua’i is of paramount importance. We look forward to continuing to provide a high-quality education for our keiki and embrace the time when we have moved through these challenging times on our planet.

Best wishes to you all. Be safe. Be strong.

DJ Adams
School Director

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Click here for the School Calendar

Click here for the Community Calendar

August 11-14: Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days continue

  • Tuesday, August 11: Grades 4 and 6
  • Wednesday, August 12: Grades 1 and 3
  • Thursday, August 13: Grades 2 and 5
  • Friday, August 14: Kindergarten

Please remember to bring your lunch and snacks!

Quick Links

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i learning community and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness. We greatly appreciate your support of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Orientation Days and are proud to share that we are the only public school in the state of Hawai’i that welcomed students back to campus this week. We had around a 75% attendance rate for these optional days, and the feedback from the daily learner surveys was extremely positive. We were able to make several key new discoveries as a staff around our driving question, “How does Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School welcome back learners safely?”

Here is the schedule for this week:

  • Tuesday, August 11: Grades 4 and 6
  • Wednesday, August 12: Grades 1 and 3
  • Thursday, August 13: Grades 2 and 5
  • Friday, August 14: Kindergarten

Our apologies, but we can only accommodate learners in the designated grades on these days. We do love parents on campus, but please not at this time as we attempt to remain as safe as possible and reduce cross-contamination potential with larger groups of people on campus. We are excited and happy to be open for face-to-face education, and we wish to remain open for our keiki. We all understand the importance of social-emotional learning that best occurs in a face-to-face setting on campus.

During Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days, we are helping our learners understand the new policies, procedures, and protocols that we follow to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are also performing valuable assessments to determine the current educational level of our keiki, as they have been without face-to-face education since March. In addition, we are practicing our drop-off and pick-up procedures. During our Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days, our start time for all our learners is the regular start time of 8:45 AM, but dismissal is 2:50 PM for everyone. Please remember to bring your lunch and snacks!

Drop-off of educational supplies is also encouraged this week so we can speed up the drop-off procedures when we have all our learners arriving at the same time starting on the projected date of Monday, August 17.

Mahalo for your support of our school and best wishes to all for a healthy and happy day.

DJ Adams, B.Ed., M.Ed.
School Director

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i learning community and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness. Hopefully Hurricane Douglas decided to leave your family alone, and we were appreciative to have minimal impact on campus.

We did enjoy maximum impact on campus with all the great work selflessly provided on our School Beautification Day, as many hands and many hearts made significant changes. Mahalo to you all who contributed to this successful event, and it was wonderful to see Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School come together again as a community. It is amazing to see what can be accomplished when like-minded individuals come together to make our world a better place.

Last Wednesday we welcomed our dedicated staff back on campus, and we are excited to start our 2020-2021 school year with our learners soon. The facilitators and educational assistants are busy preparing their classrooms, planning curriculum, writing lessons, plus actively engaging in their own professional learning. Full compliments to our staff for their professionalism, flexibility, and adaptability in making the transition back to campus seamless and comfortable.

On Thursday late afternoon, the Hawai’i State Board of Education passed the conditional agreement between the Hawai’i State Teachers Association and the Hawai’i Department of Education, pushing back the start of the school year to Monday, August 17. We fully respect these decisions and understand the concerns raised in pages of testimony plus hours of deliberation. This agreement does have some impact on the start of the 2020-2021 school year for us here at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, as all of our facilitators are members of the Hawai’i State Teachers Association.

Our 2020-2021 school year will still commence on Tuesday, August 4, as promised to our learning community, but we will shift away from the half days model that was originally advertised. We will welcome back our keiki on campus for optional full-day education according to this schedule:

  • Tuesday, August 4, and Tuesday, August 11: Grade Four and Grade Six
  • Wednesday, August 5, and Wednesday, August 12: Grade One and Grade Three
  • Thursday, August 6, and Thursday, August 13: Grade Two and Grade Five
  • Friday, August 7, and Friday, August 14: Kindergarten

These full days on campus will be used as Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days. We will help our learners understand the new policies, procedures, and protocols that we need to follow to keep everyone safe and healthy. We will utilize this opportunity to perform valuable assessments to determine the current educational level of our keiki, as they have been without face-to-face education since March. We will also have a great chance to practice our drop-off and pick-up procedures. During our Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days, our start time for all our learners will be the regular start time of 8:45 AM, but dismissal will be 2:50 PM for everyone. Please remember to bring your lunch and snacks!

We also encourage all of our learners to bring their classroom supplies, including their masks, during the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Orientation Days. The productive use of these days will allow us all to be better prepared to welcome back to campus all our learners for full-day face-to-face education starting on Monday, August 17.

We will also commence our bus service for keiki on Monday, August 17. As the bus service is starting a little later, we will cheerfully prorate the fees for the month of August.

Now that we have had an opportunity to sit together in collaboration to examine the school year, there may be some greater detail for you all regarding new procedures at the school. The Fall Opening Plan and health check procedure are already on the website (see here), but coming soon will be written drop-off and pick-up procedures. We hope to be able to create an easy-to-watch video as well so visual learners can view to discover how the school day will begin and end. Please do check the website for these details.

We also wish to acknowledge the kindness of your patience in accommodating all the changes that have come forth with the opening of school for the 2020-2021 school year. We recognize the issues and challenges these have created for your families, and we are attempting to make the return to campus safe, enjoyable, and positive for all.

Mahalo for your support of our school. Stay safe. Stay strong!

DJ Adams, B.Ed., M.Ed.
School Director

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Fred Birkett and DJ Adams
Aloha from Fred Birkett and Director DJ Adams!

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness.

We now find ourselves moving quickly toward school opening as the dedicated facilitators return to campus officially this week, although they have spent much of their summer preparing for the 2020-2021 school year.

We look forward to returning to on-campus face-to-face education at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School on Tuesday, August 4, following the Board of Director’s approved School Opening Plan. This plan can be found on the school website, along with details of the procedures and protocol that we will be following for the safety of all of our shareholders.

Social-emotional learning is a key cornerstone of our mandate as a charter school, and it is essential for proper learner development to provide this education face-to-face. Learners will be on campus for face-to-face education for half days August 4-14, followed by regular full-day education on campus for each learner starting on Monday, August 17. As a remote location surrounded by nature with large classrooms inside and newly created outdoor classrooms, we can meet the government and health requirements for physical distancing but also need the support of all involved.

As a project-based learning school, it is always important to remember that we have incredible inquisitive minds filled with creative ideas. Accordingly, the first driving question to start the 2020-2021 school year for us all is “How does Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School continue to operate safely on campus in a pandemic?”

Mahalo to Jon, Jennifer, and Giselle for their countless hours preparing our campus for the 2020-2021 school year. Jon has constructed outdoor classrooms and desks for each grade (WOW!), while Giselle and Jennifer have handled the challenges of a quickly expanding school population. We still do have some limited spaces in a few grades. Click here for enrollment information.

Mahalo also to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Board of Directors for their vision and leadership in signing a bus contract with Akita Transportation to provide bussing to the school. Should you need additional details on this new program, please contact the office to discover the pickup points, pricing, and other information.

We greatly appreciate your support of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we look forward to a promising 2020-2021 school year.

Mahalo,

DJ Adams, B.Ed., M.Ed.
School Director

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i learning community, and hope this message finds you happy and healthy during your summer. As we turn the calendar over to the month of July, it is important to share our plans for the start of school in August.

First off, it is my honor to serve as your new Director of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and mahalo to so many who have warmly welcomed me to the school. My journey in life has been blessed with the experience of being a principal at six different schools in three different countries, including our own beautiful island of Kaua’i. We wish to acknowledge and appreciate the work of retiring Director Fred Birkett for his contributions to our school, especially during the challenges of the pandemic.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School plans to return to on-campus face-to-face education for our learners starting on Tuesday, August 4. We will be offering half days on campus for our learners August 4-14 to ease the transition for all members of our learning community. On Monday, August 17, our plan is then to return to on-campus face-to-face education for full days, as our school is fortunate to have a remote location with expansive outdoor areas plus large classrooms to allow for proper physical distancing. We all understand that the Hawai’i Department of Health does have authority over this opening plan, but currently they are supportive of this initiative.

We understand that this back-to-school transition may require advance planning for some families, and accordingly this outline is being shared early in July to assist our families. Further details will be shared as we edge closer to Tuesday, August 4.

Mahalo for your support of our school, and look forward to seeing you in August.

DJ Adams, B.Ed., M.Ed.
School Director

Director’s Message

“Project-based learning (PBL) is an inquiry-based process designed around important questions or problems that need to be answered or solved. Throughout the process, students are compelled to acquire core knowledge and other information necessary to answer the questions or solve the problems. The overall process leads to deeper learning and enduring understanding.”

– Thom Markham, Project-Based Learning Design and Coaching Guide

As you know, Alaka`i O Kaua`i is a charter school with a focus on project-based learning. The quote above defines PBL as atmosphere of deeper learning with a level of understanding about a concept being taught. This year, your child has been involved in many different PBL activities, which is why many of you chose our school.

As I reflect on our school year, which is coming to a close this week, I am grateful I was able to witness firsthand the wonderful projects your children created. I was pleasantly surprised to see learners able to describe the projects they’d been working on for weeks with knowledge and understanding not usually seen by learners at such an early grade. Many families were able to see and hear the children explain what they learned from many different projects they worked on over the past year.

One of my favorite memories is when approximately 30 of our 5th and 6th grade learners were able to gain an understanding and appreciation of how a ukulele is made. They were given an opportunity over a three-hour period of time to make and design their own ukuleles. What impressed me the most was to see how each and every one of our learners enjoyed the process of building their own ukuleles from scratch, with the assistance of teachers from a charter school on the Big Island and a University of Hawaii professor. This process of building their own ukuleles represents the foundation of project-based learning, which is the hallmark and foundation of Alaka`i O Kaua`i. The pictures below show how engaged all of our learners were as they collaborated and worked together on this project.

I am grateful for the authentic learning experiences our learners have had this school year.

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Did you know you can help Alaka’i O Kaua’i grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alaka’i Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

We love to see learning “al fresco” at Alaka’i O Kaua’i.

Why is learning outside so important? An article titled The Benefits of Learning Outside the Classroom states that direct experience outdoors is more motivating and has more impact and credibility.

The results from learning outside the classroom can be instantaneous as well as active and, therefore, impact behavior as well as tap into the learning styles of the more kinesthetic learner.

Through skilled teaching, interpretation or facilitation, learning outside the classroom can readily become a stimulating source of fascination, personal growth and can lead to breakthroughs in learning.

Active learning readily develops the learning skills of inquiry, experiment, feedback, reflection, review, communication, problem solving, an enterprising attitude and cooperative learning.

Quality learning experiences in “real” situations have the capacity to raise achievement across a range of subjects and to develop better personal and social skills. When these experiences are well planned, safely managed, and personalized to meet the needs of every child, they can do the following:

  • Improve academic achievement
  • Provide a bridge to higher order learning
  • Develop skills and independence in a widening range of environments
  • Make learning more engaging and relevant to young people
  • Develop active citizens and stewards of the environment
  • Nurture creativity
  • Provide opportunities for informal learning through play
  • Reduce behavior problems and improve attendance
  • Stimulate, inspire and improve motivation
  • Develop the ability to deal with uncertainty
  • Provide challenge and the opportunity to take acceptable levels of risk
  • Improve young people’s attitudes

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Did you know you can help Alaka’i O Kaua’i grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alaka’i Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

Many of our facilitators are parents too!

After a weekly Zoom meeting with all Alaka’i O Kaua’i facilitators, I had this thought on my mind. I’d recently read an article in Chalk Beat, a webmag that focuses on teacher issues, about a woman who is both caregiver of two school-age children as well as a 5th grade teacher online:

School buildings are closed, but it’s still been a busy couple of weeks for Noriko Nakada, a Los Angeles middle school teacher.

She’s been attending virtual faculty meetings, receiving district training for remote instruction, and grading student essays online. On Monday, she held a class via Zoom for about 45 minutes, in which she checked in on her students’ mental health and introduced National Poetry Month. About 100 of her 170 students logged in.

Nearby through it all are her own two children, who are out of school as well. Figuring out how to teach online while making sure they’re occupied has been its own challenge.

At first we tried to make it clear if mom or dad have headphones and are staring at the computer, it means you can’t bug them,” Nakada said. “The 8-year-old can get that, but the 5-year-old has a hard time. Everyone is doing their best, and none of it’s going to be pretty,” she said.

A few of our facilitators are parents facing individual challenges in how to balance the two roles. Please take the time to read their stories, which should help you realize how difficult it is to be a teacher, and maybe take a moment to send them an email thanking them for what they do for your child(ren).

It’s no secret that being a teacher is a challenging job. Parenting is as well. At this moment so many parents have suddenly become their children’s teachers. I have found this a struggle for myself, although I have always been in the teacher role. Facilitating my class from home as well as teaching my two rambunctious boys has been fun but also challenging. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to balance all my responsibilities between these two important roles. It has felt like a constant power struggle at times, but at these times I remember why I chose to become an educator in the first place. I have the opportunity to lead so many children in my lifetime, and I treat them as if they are my own. Every year I get the chance to make a positive impact on “my children,” to encourage them to engage in lifelong learning, to build great friendships, and overall to grow into the best humans they can be!

—Ms. Bailey Raines (Kindergarten)

“As a teacher and a parent, during this distant learning enrichment experience, it takes a lot of patience and time to make sure the learners, as well as my own children, are getting their needs met.

The balance is delicate but attainable.

The shift went from “work” on a timetable of 8:15 to 3:00 to “work all day and night.” Just adjusted to needs. My learners’ parents may text or email at any time. I usually respond immediately, unless I am meeting my own children’s needs academically and social-emotionally.

I’ve given a timeframe of 24 hours to respond to parents’ correspondence on weekdays and 48 hours on weekends. This seems to work well.

The adjustment is new but workable.

This is the new normal in 2020.

—Ms. Donna Daum (5th/6th grade teacher)

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to recognize the hard work all our facilitators have put into educating our children during the 2019-2020 school year, but especially now, when many of our facilitators are doing double-duty — and doing it well! I am sure each facilitator would appreciate a thank-you email to feel your appreciation for their hard work.

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Did you know you can help Alaka’i O Kaua’i grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alaka’i Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

We have approximately three weeks left to provide online instruction to our learners before the official end of the school year. This will truly be a school year to remember for all of us. I am certain after all is said and done and we are finally able to reflect on the year 2020, everyone will have a story to tell.

Recently I came across an article in the New York Times where children from around the world wrote about their day-to-day activities at home during this pandemic. An 11-year-old from South Korea wrote a short story about how he spends his day. He wrote: “I wish the pandemic would be over soon. At first, I felt happy not going to school, but now I want to go back to school. I miss chatting with my friends in person. I miss playing soccer every day. After my parents go to work at their respective hospitals, I take online classes. Then I eat lunch, like kimchi fried rice and stew and sliced apples. Twice a week, I go to the playground near my house. I play by myself for about 20 minutes, because I am an only child. There isn’t much to do, but it feels good to get a bit of fresh air. When I come home, I use a lot of sanitizer from the pumps placed inside our apartment elevator. I also wash my hands for a long time—not for three or four seconds like before the outbreak. I scrub all the surfaces of my hands and clean under my nails. I also change my clothes. I am so used to wearing a mask now that I sometimes forget to take it off.”

I highlight the above story to encourage Alaka`i O Kaua`i school learners to write a short story about what life has been like for them at home during this pandemic. It appears, based on the latest information from our Hawaii Governor, that the imposed lockdown might ease up little by little so that eventually we get back to living a life we are all used to. It would be good to hear from each other and read your story. Maybe eventually a book can be written on what we have all experienced as an Alaka`i O Kaua`i school community.

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Did you know you can help Alaka’i O Kaua’i grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alaka’i Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Distance Learning Enrichment Survey

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

We are requesting your participation in a brief survey so we can gain insight into your perception of our school’s effectiveness during distance learning enrichment. We need your feedback in order to continually improve in our mission to provide high-quality learning enrichment experiences that inspire our lifelong learners. Please click here to complete the survey (one time per child).

Your responses will remain confidential. The survey will be open through May 6 and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your valuable responses.

Mahalo!

Fred Birkett
School Director

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

Our facilitators continue providing your children wonderful online enrichment and support.

This week I want to take a moment to recognize our Special Education Coordinator, Ms. Myra VanOrnun-Deyden. Myra has been working with all of our learners during this past school year, with a special emphasis on learners who need support based on their Individual Education Plans (IEP). I asked Myra to provide me with a narrative on how she continues to support her learners online. Please read her comments below:

“This has been an exciting and challenging time in my 35+ year career as an educator. I am excited that I am finally allowed some creativity in planning for special education enrichment. I am able and encouraged to ensure happiness and participation in fun, academically oriented activities that are not metered out in timed increments to measure ‘progress’ but instead are aimed at enrichment. I am excited that my families can be more involved in their child’s learning, and that learning can take place in a much more relaxed home environment. Finally, I am excited that I’m now allowed time to focus on the child and not the paperwork and able to focus on the positive effects my teaching has on each child.”

At Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School, we believe in providing a “Free and Appropriate Education” for all learners who attend our school. Through the dedicated work of Myra and our facilitators and whole team, we are grateful to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of our learners.

With gratitude,

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Did you know you can help Alaka’i O Kaua’i grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alaka’i Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.