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Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we approach the midpoint of April. As we celebrate the character trait focus of ACHIEVEMENT in April, we wish to share a couple of examples of enhancing education on our campus.

Last week many of our learners were treated to Cap’n Mark from Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe who shared his marvelous skills in educating our students about sharks. To assist with the presentation, he actually brought a gigantic inflatable Tiger Shark to share with the students, and our learners were actually able to go inside to listen to some incredible tales about our island. This type of presentation touches the various learning styles of our learners and ignites their imagination to move deeper in ACHIEVEMENT in their education on campus.

The Grade Four students are about to embark on their study of the early Polynesian voyagers who learned to sail from the South Pacific islands to Hawai’i. Mahalo nui e Dr. Jon and Mr. Adam have constructed a scale model of the vessels that were used in these incredible acts of exploration. Kumu Chris officiated over a blessing of the boat prior to the adventure of virtual sailing that our students will take in the coming weeks. Our appreciation to Ms. Kate and Kumu Chris for their ACHIEVEMENT in creating such a fascinating project designed for deep learning.

Next week, we look forward to sharing an update on the great work of Grade One learners under the skillful leadership of Ms. Charton with their Bee Grant.

For advanced planning purposes, please mark Tuesday, May 14th as no day for students on campus as it is Hawai’i State Teachers Association Day. We thought it prudent to let you know as soon as possible in case childcare needs to be arranged in your household.

Mahalo for your contributions and support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message featured

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and we hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness as we move deeper into the month of April. A happy reminder that the character trait focus for April is ACHIEVEMENT which works perfectly as we head towards the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) state assessments later this month.

When we examine our School Mission Statement, one will notice a clear set of ideas for the programs we offer at our unique charter school. An expanding area of growth would be the arts, which would offer greater opportunities for our learners to experience exposure to fresh concepts. Earlier in the school year, we were treated to the talents of Mr. Cary and Ms. Ashiya through an Artists in the School grant that brought drumming and dance to our campus. This amazing program expanded the programs already in place on campus and empowered all the learners to explore these skills in new ways.

Last week, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School enjoyed the talented people from Kid Pan Alley coming to the school with a focus on music. In one short week, the students composed, practiced, and then performed a song that they had created. We wish to express our gratitude to Mr. Paul and Ms. Melinda for sharing their talents, skills, and expertise with our students in Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5. We certainly would have loved to include every single grade level in the school, but there simply was not enough time in the school day to accommodate this wish. Mahalo nui to all the parents and community members who attended the performance of the songs on Thursday in front of a live audience. There is clearly a vast amount of talent in our learning community and we look forward to our annual Talent Show to showcase these skills during the last week of school.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

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Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we transition into April. With a new month also comes a new character trait focus, and we will be recognizing ACHIEVEMENT on campus, so we wish to share a shining example with you all.

The American politician Robert F. Kennedy once wrote, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” These wise words perfectly capture the incredible work of our first Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Board of Directors Chairperson, Dr. Kani Blackwell, who dared to turn a vision into a reality in helping to create our unique charter school. DrB or “Tutu B” as she is affectionally known on campus worked for several years to get a charter contract approved even before we were able to open our doors to learners.

The idea of creating a high-quality free public education for the keiki of Kaua’i had actually been around for years, but it was the leadership of DrB that brought synergy and life to the notice. As far back as 2012, a group of visionary people came together and submitted an application to the Hawai’i Charter Commission to open the school in the 20213-2014 school year. The application was denied. In 2014-2015, under the steady guidance of DrB, the group came back again to apply to the Hawai’i Charter Commission to open the school. The application was denied. Despite these “failures,” the strength of DrB remained true, and the group came back with an application to open the school again in 2015-2016. On August 16th, 2016, the state of Hawai’i Charter School Commission approved the application, and then the process of starting up a brand new school from scratch commenced.

DrB clearly epitomizes the wise words of Robert F. Kennedy as she achieved greatly in taking the vision of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School to a reality. She openly shared her talents, expertise, and passion, plus she volunteered countless hours to contribute to building the school that we all enjoy today. We wish to publicly express our gratitude to DrB for all of her amazing work with our learning community and for helping us to become the unique school that we are.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School also wishes to express our deepest condolences to DrB with the passing of her husband, Paul Blackwell. Paul was a dear friend of our school and was immensely supportive of our growth of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We share warm aloha with DrB for peace and tranquility in her life and salute her role modeling of ACHIEVEMENT for our learning community.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message featured

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope your ohana enjoyed a restful and relaxing Spring Break Week. As we head back to campus on Monday, March 25th we find an unusual week ahead with Good Friday on Friday, March 29th so campus is closed. We are also closed on Tuesday, March 26th to recognized the amazing accomplishments of the great leader Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole.

Prince Kuhio’s birthday is celebrated each year on March 26. Born in 1871 on our beautiful island of Kaua’i, just down the road from the school, he played an important role in Hawaiian history. Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi got his name from his paternal grandfather Jonah Pi‘ikoi and maternal grandfather Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole but his aunt Queen Kapi‘olani (Kalaniana‘ole’s daughter) took guardianship of him after his parents died.

Prince Kuhio served a year in prison for rebelling against the Republic of Hawai‘i in 1895. Some of his compatriots, Robert Wilcox and Charles Gulick, were sentenced to death for treason, but they were pardoned after serving time in prison.

Prince Kūhiō was made prince under King Kalākaua, along with his brothers, David La‘amea Kahalepouli Kinoiki Kawānanakoa and Edward Abnel Keli‘iahonui. They passed away in 1908 and 1887, respectively. Kūhiō died in 1922 and is known as the last prince of Hawai‘i. Prince Kūhiō was the first prince in U.S. Congress, and he served as a Republican for 19 years until his death in 1922. During his time, he introduced the first bill for Hawai‘i statehood in 1919 and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (1920). Prince Kuhio also restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, established the first Hawaiian civic club, and got funds to construct Pearl Harbor plus create Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Prince Kūhiō was a proud Hawai’ian and attended Royal School, ‘Iolani, Punahou, Saint Matthew’s School in California, and Royal Agricultural College in England. He was skilled in many sports, including football, wrestling, boxing, track, baseball, rowing, and polo. These skills came to usage as in 1901, Prince Kūhiō threw an American tourist to the ground and punched him in the face after he spat a racial slur at the prince and cut in line at the barber of the hotel in which he was staying in Montreal. The man purportedly said, “I didn’t know, Your Highness. I got all I deserved.”

Although his passing is over a hundred years ago we still still the lasting legacy of Prince Kuhio on the lands that he loved in Hawai’i. Most notably the Hawai’ian Homes Commission Act of 1920 has had a significant impact on the past, present, and future for the people of Hawai’i.

Hopefully, you can take some time to reflect on the accomplishments of the last Prince of Hawai’i and celebrate the life of Prince Kuhio on Tuesday.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message featured

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we commence the annual Spring Break. It is hard to imagine that we have completed the first three quarters of the 2023-2024 school year and will be heading into the homestretch when we return to campus on Monday, March 25th.

The wise philosopher and writer George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” These clever words are important for lifelong learners and give us an opportunity to examine the short history of our unique charter school.

Four years ago to the month (March, 2020) the Hawai’i Charter Commission came to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and issued an official Notice of Concern that unless drastic changes were implemented the school would be closed at the conclusion of the school year. This troubling news brought about a whirlwind of immediate modifications that were enacted by a dedicated group of people who served on the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Board of Directors. Chairperson Indy and Treasurer Ben stepped forward and brought about the necessary changes at both the governance and operational levels and kept the school open so we could start the 2020-2021 school year together. The school stabilized at a population of 92 learners, the budget was balanced, and we headed boldly into the future.

Fast-forward four years to where Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School sits today. We will reach our maximum capacity of 250 learners as allowed under our Charter Contract 4.0, and our waiting list for new enrollments (over 100 and growing) now exceeds our entire school population four years ago (92 students). We have been recognized as the fastest improving public school in Hawai’i over the last three years, have added our Middle School up to Grade Eight next year, and achieved healthy financial status with strong stability of accumulated reserves.

None of this happy success story would have been possible without an engaged plus supportive learning community. The visionary Board of Directors took bold steps to save the school and empower it to grow to its new height. The parents stayed true and trusted a process of continuous improvement that is still in place today. The dedicated staff fully embraced all the unique facts of our charter school, such as project-based learning, socio-emotional learning, Hawai’ian cultural traditions, and the arts. Most importantly, the learners contributed deeply to the culture of our school and improved significantly academically, as verified by the outstanding results on the state of Hawai’i SBAC assessments required yearly.

Mahalo nui kakou to all in our learning community who contributed in great collaboration to create the wonderful success story of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Let’s all continue to work together to push for continued improvement and move our school from the state of Hawai’i notoriety to national prominence, as our learners deserve the best FREE public education we can provide.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

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Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and I hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we head into our next Spirit Week on campus tomorrow.

Due to the great efforts of collaboration between Mrs. Shay and Ms. Kate, our school will celebrate an infusion of Read Across America and Socio-Emotional Week together to create “Aloha Across America” Spirit Week. This week starts tomorrow and will feature the following events:

  • Monday is Akahai (Kindness) Day, and everyone is empowered by kindness to dress up as their favorite superhero
  • Tuesday is Lokahi (Unity) Day, and everyone is encouraged to demonstrate unity by wearing a school shirt
  • Wednesday is Olu Olu (Agreeable) Day, so everyone is challenged to find a friend to dress up like twins
  • Thursday is Ha’a Ha’a (Humility) Day, and everyone is asked to dress up in their talent gear or bring in a picture of their talent
  • Friday is Ahonui (Patience) Day, so please wear your best Aloha wear to school

On Friday, we will also hold our annual DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) Event, where everyone on campus stops their current activity and takes out their favorite book for 15 minutes of reading. We do hope that the weather cooperates again this year so we can head outside to read on our beautiful campus.

A helpful reminder that Friday, March 15th is also the last day of school prior to the annual Spring Break where there is no school for students or ten month employees so they can all enjoy a well deserved break.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school, and best wishes for another successful Spirit Week on campus. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and I hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we move into the new month of March. With a new month comes a fresh character trait focus for the month, and for March, it is the dual words of EMPATHY and CARING. We are fortunate to see examples of these traits on campus on a daily basis.

We definitely saw a great deal of CARING with a dedicated group of volunteers who came to campus to teach bicycle safety to our students. They created bike obstacle courses in the gymnasium and challenged our student’s abilities to be safe, cautious, and courteous while riding their two-wheelers. In addition, the essential understanding of the importance of a helmet was highlighted for all.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School also experienced a great amount of CARING on our recent visit from the Hawai’i Charter Commission Renewal Team who came to campus to work in collaboration on our Charter Contract 4.0. We visited almost all of the classrooms on campus and spent time in deep discussions about the addition of Grade Eight to our school next year. Our guests certainly enjoyed learning from our keiki all about their project-based learning activities currently ongoing at our school.

Speaking of project-based learning activities, we wish to express our gratitude to all who attended the Grade Three Presentation of Learning in the gymnasium last Wednesday. We were blessed with robust attendance from our learning community and the school as we learned about various countries from around the world. The tasty foods that were prepared and served were simply outstanding and certainly added a new level of engagement for everyone in attendance.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and best wishes to you all for a marvelous March. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message featured

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope that this message finds you all in good health and happiness as we head into the last week of February.

Mahalo nui kakou for your generosity in the “Change For Change” Maui relief campaign here on campus. You may recall that last August, the tragic wildfires swept through our neighbors on Maui, leaving us all wondering what we could do to help out. We started a simplistic program for our learning community called “Change For Change” to empower our engaged learners to find a way that they could make a difference for others. Although the program was voluntary and never run as a school-wide competition, “Change For Change” quickly grew into an opportunity for our creative students to help other people in need. Some of our students ran lemonade stands, some students did odd chores for extra money, some students emptied their piggy banks at home, and some students even went out seeking donations. We are immensely proud of everyone’s efforts and contributions, whether it was a penny or the bills that found their way into the collection.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School thought it important to follow up on this success story and share the outcome with our learning community. “Change For Change” raised just a touch short of $1000 due to the generosity of our learning community. Last week, the money raised was sent to the Hawai’i Community Foundation Maui Strong Foundation, where the funds will directly positively impact our neighbors on Maui with minimal administrative overhead.

We greatly appreciate the kindness, generosity, and support of this program from our learning community. We sincerely hope that our students have learned that even small, simple acts of kindness can quickly multiply into something much more significant and powerful.

Best wishes to you all for a happy end of February. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

monday message featured

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and I hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we move deeper into the year 2024 together.

Last Friday, our school was treated to a top-quality Makahiki Games right here on our beautiful campus. It was our third annual Makahiki Games, and this year was the BEST by far due to the selfless contributions of volunteers from our community. Mahalo nui loa e Kumu Norman and your team for coming to our school and deeply enriching the educational experience for our learners.

In April 2020, it was my great fortune in life to sign a contract to serve as your Director of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. In those almost four years together we have been able to accomplish an incredible amount of successes. Some of the high-level feats would include a five-year charter renewal, the addition of a Middle School, financial strength and stability, signing of a lease directly for the school, reduction of education service contracts, greater movement towards autonomy, and safely moving out of a pandemic. Our school population has moved from 92 students in March 2020 to quickly approaching our maximum capacity of 250 learners. It should come as no surprise that Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has been recognized as the fastest-improving Elementary school in the state of Hawai’i as well as the fastest-improving charter school in the state of Hawai’i over the last three years.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has moved from surviving to thriving, so the time has come for me to pass the torch of stewardship to a fresh Director. My last day of work at our unique charter school will be around ten months from now, on December 31st, 2024. The Board of Directors hopes to have the new interim Director start on July 1st, 2024, so we can spend many months together in collaboration and learning. Mahalo nui kakou to the dedicated people on our Board of Directors who have allowed me to join the Board in an advisory capacity starting on January 1st, 2025, once my employment at the school has ended.

Mahalo nui kakou for all the valuable lessons you have all taught me about life and for gifting me the opportunity to serve in a role that helps benefit our beautiful island for hopefully decades ahead. This school has sincerely been a labour of love for us all who care deeply about the success of our keiki.

My home will remain in Kekaha, where my career will shift over to continued work on improving the quality of education in Hawai’i, the United States, plus the world. In addition, my next adventure in life will also include embracing my newfound role of being Tutu Kane, projected in mid-July.

Our Board of Directors Vice Chairperson was kind enough to create a video message from the Board of Directors about the transition, and the link is included here:

Alakai Transition Video 24.2.9

I am looking forward to seeing how far we can push continued improvement at our unique charter school in the next ten months. Hopefully, my dream to live “E hele me ka pu’olo ” (Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always) has been fruitful as we built Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School together.

Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

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Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we move deeper into the month of February. My apologies for the miscue last week with mixing up the months. We are definitely in the month of February, which brings the character trait focus of RESPONSIBILITY.

Mahalo for your support of life long learning as it forms a critical component of our RESPONSIBILITY of working with our students. On Friday, February 16th, the curious teachers will be taking their turn going to school at their annual HSTA (Hawai’i State Teachers’ Association) Institute Day and finding new ways to improve their craft of educating our keiki. Accordingly, there will be no school for students that day, which creates an EXTRA long weekend for our learning community as all schools are closed on Monday, February 19th, in observance of President’s Day.

Speaking of the RESPONSIBILITY of continuous improvement, we have shared a couple of photos of the good work performed by “Dr.” (PhD in Fixology) Jon and Mr. Adam. We now have two full music racks to hold the guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles that were built specifically to house the instruments safely. Dr. Jon and Mr. Adam have also commenced the planning stages for the construction of the ‘Ike Hawai’i and Art Buildings that we plan to use for the 2024-2025 school year. The upcoming addition of the Grade Eight class next year finds us in the happy expansion stages of adding more educational space for our learning community.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is extremely proud of Omar and Tino, who competed at the Kaua’i Spelling Bee on Friday evening, representing our school. They have both spent countless hours improving their skills by participating in the Spelling Bee, and we applaud their diligence.

Best wishes to you all for a terrific week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

jog 2024

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the most generous people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and I hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness as we commence the fresh month of December.

Mahalo nui loa for your outstanding support of our annual Jog-A-Thon, which was held on Friday, January 26th, under near-perfect conditions on campus.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, due to your amazing kindness, raised $15,023.12 in donations to this fun event! WOW!!!!! This amount set a brand new record on campus for the highest amount donated to the running portion of Jog-A-Thon. In addition, due to the efforts of Mrs. Shay, an additional $6000.00 was raised in advertising support for the event teeshirts for a grand total of $21,023.12 raised altogether for the 2024 Jog-A-Thon.

Last Friday, we came together at the first annual Jog-A-Thon School Wide Prize Assembly to celebrate this incredible success together and to distribute the prizes. We will share those results in our learning community in a ParentSquare message as we had class winners, lap winners, and top fundraiser winners.

Our great appreciation to the Na Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network for their tireless efforts in supporting the “running” (pun intended) of the Jog-A-Thon again this year. Their work is a shining example of tremendous collaboration between all parts of our learning community.

Please accept our sincere gratitude for your generosity and kindness in supporting not only this event but our unique charter school. We will continue to prudently use these funds to provide financial support for supplies for our Enrichment classes, open opportunities for all classes to take multiple Field Trips, and continue to purchase electronic devices so we stay one to one ratio on campus.

Best wishes to you all for a fabulous February. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you well as we conclude the month of January. As we head into the month of February, on Thursday of this week, we will turn our character trait focus over to RESPONSIBILITY.

When we talk about Alaka’i O Kaua’i (leaders of Kaua’i) in our learning community, it should really include all the members of our learning community. We are pleased to share that our dedicated staff has lived up to that name with their work in “The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i” over the last few years. This program has been brought to our campus from Harvard University with some generous financial support from the Hawai’i Charter Commission, and we are one of only a handful of schools that participated in the state of Hawai’i.

The program was scheduled to conclude with the Culminating Event last November in Honolulu, where our school presented our learnings. Last week the staff at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School continued the program independently with a full on-campus “Snapshot” organized by the diligent Mrs. Shay. A “Snapshot” involves a group of teachers heading into another teacher’s classroom and observing the lesson. Afterward, everyone comes together and debriefs the experience to discuss best practices witnessed by visiting another classroom. We were extremely fortunate to have Board of Directors member Kumu Chris Town be part of the debrief last week, as he has decades of successful educational leadership that he shares with our school. As lifelong learners, we have also incorporated “The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i” protocols into our staff meetings so we can continue to “See, Think, Wonder” on how to improve education at our unique school.

Mahalo nui for your support of our annual School Choice Spirit Week on campus. We enjoyed all the fantastic events, creative costumes, Hot Lunch Day, the Board of Directors public meeting, the Na Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network Meeting, and the Jog-A-Thon as a few ways that we celebrated our unique approach to education on Kaua’i. A friendly reminder that the Intent To Re-enroll forms are now due so we can start planning our school enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year.

Best wishes for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

Zones

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we move deeper into January. We are excited to be celebrating School Choice Week on campus starting tomorrow and wish to express our appreciation to Mrs. Shay for her work in organizing this year’s events. Please check the ParentSquare messages for the Spirit Week activities that culminate with our annual Jog-A-Thon on Friday, January 26th, rain or shine at first recess.

School Choice Week is a perfect time to share one of the areas that make our unique charter school unique. In our School Mission Statement, one would find information stating that our school “teaches the whole child by combining academics, project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and the arts.” Social-emotional learning is taught in lessons on campus and displayed in the classrooms.

Our students and staff use Zones of Regulation to help communicate how each person is feeling at school each day. We all understand and respect that the world can cause various emotions and responses for individuals. By having the learners plus staff members clearly communicate how they are feeling by placing their name tags on the classroom Zones of Regulation Boards, we can determine the best course of support for each individual. This program is also a great tool for the school counseling staff, plus school administration, to do a daily check-in on each classroom and assist people when it is needed. You have even heard a learner from our school speak about being in a specific Zone of Regulation, so sharing this information helps build another important connection between the school and the home.

Best wishes to you all for a splendid School Spirit Week, and we hope to see you on campus for many of the festive events we will celebrate. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

collage of alakai cmapus and martin luther king jr

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this January message finds you in good health and happiness as we rolled back to campus this week with our learners.

Mahalo nui kakou for your support and assistance in making the transition back to school smooth and seamless last week. We were filled with joy to hear all the stories of student activities over the Winter Break and to see the campus come alive with their energy. We definitely did see many shining examples of RESPECT which is the character trait focus for the month of January.

Tomorrow (Monday, January 15th) is a day aside to remember the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this day that campus is closed for all students and staff let’s please all pause and reflect on his remarkable contributions to our society. Dr. King once wisely said “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” When we examine the core values that sit within our charter contract of project based learning plus socio-emotional learning we sincerely hope that Dr. King’s words lives on our campus today. Both project based learning and socio-emotional learning do require all of our creative students to think intensively and critically, and we have seen tremendous outcomes above state standards on performance assessments that indicate we are building both intelligence plus character. We appreciate your support in this journey of quality education that we all walk together.

In our bright future we all realize that our Grade Eight class addition is rapidly approaching in 2024-2025. As the Grade Eight class moves into lower campus it will cause displacement of the Art program. Mahalo nui e Board Vice-Chair Rafael, Mr, Jon, and Mr. Adam for meeting and creating a visionary plan for our bright future. We have included photos from mid-campus where we are planning to build a multi-use facility that will house both the Art and the ‘Ike Hawai’i programs. We are extremely excited about this addition and will share photos as the construction goes forward.

We also see continuous improvement on campus with facilities that connect directly with project based learning. Ho’omaika’i e Ms. Joeanne who successfully acquired a grant to grow food on campus which was quickly followed by the construction of a new garden area for the Kindergarten class. Mahalo nui e Mr. Jon and Mr. Adam for your work in putting this together for our learners.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawai’i

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

4 image collage of AOK campus and staff

Director DJ’s Message:

A belated Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope the first week of 2024 is off to a splendid start for you and your ohana. As we eagerly await the return of our learners on Monday, January 8th, we will take this opportunity to remind everyone that our character trait focus for January is RESPECT. Let’s pause in reflection to RESPECT the great improvements made to our campus by the talented duo of Jon and Adam.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is proud that our roots are deeply embedded in project-based learning and over the last six years we have all witnessed significant improvements in the quality of the projects. In many of these circumstances, the quality of the learning improved in these projects due to strong RESPECT for the commitment to continuous improvement to support our learners. Jon and Adam have consistently built infrastructure on campus at the request of our creative staff to expand the depth of the learning that occurs during the projects. They have built numerous garden beds for several grade levels that have direct connections to project-based learning activities.

Jon and Adam have continued to expand our learning spaces on campus with the building of outdoor classrooms for almost every grade level now. In the coming months, they will commence the construction of our ‘Ike Hawai’i and Art classrooms that will be used in the 2024-2025 school year due to our expansion into Grade Eight next school year. Rafael (our current Board of Directors Vice Chairperson), Jon, and Adam met and planned the new building and we wish to express our appreciation for their efforts to move us forward into our bright future.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is pleased to share that the friendly and familiar Ms. Jynatha will be taking over the Grade Two class for the remainder of the school year due to the unexpected resignation of Ms. Andra over the break. It is GREAT to have Ms. Jynatha return to us as we greatly RESPECT her knowledge, expertise, professionalism, and support of our learners. Please join us in welcoming back Ms. Jynatha to our learning community. We will also be welcoming back Ms. Whitney on a part-time basis to help support the emerging needs of our growing school.

Best wishes to you all for a joyous January and Mahalo Nui for your support of our unique school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

Image of happy new year 2023 in scrabble tiles with colorful border of ornaments

Director DJ’s Message:

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you enjoying the fresh start to the new year of 2024. We look forward to welcoming back our learners on Monday, January 8th to commence the second semester of the 2023-2024 school year.

The character trait focus for January is RESPECT and it connects perfectly with some upcoming school events, including the School Choice Week and Jog-A-Thon. This will be our 5th annual Jog-A-Thon and it is our primary fundraiser for the school. As you might know, charter schools in Hawai’i are funded at half the level of the public schools. This means that we have to pay for unfunded costs such as our facility lease, bus transportation, and campus cleaning. The annual Jog-A-Thon helps us shrink the gaps in finances and allows Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School to continue to offer a high-quality FREE public education for the keiki of Kaua’i.

AOK Learners running on a green field for annual funderaiser, "Jog-a-Thon"

We appreciate the leadership of Mrs. Shay who is taking on the lead in several endeavors on campus including the Jog-A-Thon. She is examining approaches in the theme of continuous improvement and shares this message with us today: “Our 5th annual Jog-a-Thon is coming up in January and we are offering business owners a $500 sponsorship opportunity. In appreciation of your generosity, we will promote your business by printing the logo on the back of our 250 Jog-a-Thon shirts. If you own a business or know someone who does, please email Mrs. Shay at the school to donate.”

The start of the new year always brings some changes and our school is no different this January. We wish to express our deepest appreciation to Ms. Andra who has worked at our school for the last 1.5 years. Ms. Andra has resigned from her position effective today. We are fortunate to share that Ms. Jynatha who is extremely well known in our learning community for her excellent work as a substitute teacher will be taking over Ms. Andra’s class effective January 8th.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2024. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

image of a Santa Claus with presents for the AOK holiday break

Director DJ’s Message:

Mele Kalikimaka kakou e Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.

We hope this festive message finds everyone in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School enjoying the start of the annual Winter Break. In this season of giving we wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for your support of our unique charter school which is nestled away in a remote location in beautiful Kahili Valley.

We concluded the month of December with an abundance of CARING and festive school spirit on display. We were treated to several Presentations of Learning to conclude the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year that were well attended by our learning community. We also enjoyed a school spirit week with various Dress Up days and concluded with a marvelous set of performances from our Drama Club.

2 image collage of AOK learners celebrating the Christmas holiday

image of a large group of learners wearing red Santa claus hats

Best wishes for a wonderful Winter Break filled with food, fun, and festivities. We hope everyone enjoys their time away from campus. We look forward to welcoming back our learners on Monday, January 8th, 2024 to start the second semester. Malama pono.

Mele Kalikimaka kakou and best wishes to each of you for a Happy Holiday!

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

3 image collage of AOK learners and holiday hamper giving

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness during this festive season. We greatly appreciate your support of our unique school, especially in those times when there is such an abundance of activities on campus.

In the theme of our character trait focus for December which is CARING, the Holiday Hamper program will continue until Thursday, December 21st when the hampers will then be distributed within our learning community. The program allows those with more to share with those with less by dropping a non-perishable food item on the table located at the Main Entrance to the Main Campus.

The school-wide Spelling Bee champions were crowned after another grueling challenge for our talented spellers. Ho’omaika’i to Tino and Omar who will represent our school at the Kaua’i Complex Area Spelling Bee coming up in the New Year. We wish to express our appreciation to Ms. Giselle who started the program at our school and to Ms. Kelly Ann for carrying the program forward for our learners this year.

Despite all the wonderful additions to campus these days, it is refreshing to share that the importance of education is still the primary focus of our daily lives on campus. A wonderful example of this learning at work is the Kindergarten project-based learning activity on worms. Check out the fantastic display of their learning from the bulletin board posted outside their classroom below and enjoy this video that highlights their work with the worms.

AOK Learners PBL bulletin about worms

This is a cheerful reminder that the annual Winter Break, a time when everyone in our learning community can enjoy time together with their ohana, is just a few days away. We will have an early dismissal on Thursday, December 21st to commence the Winter Break and students will return on Monday, January 8th, 2024 to greet the New Year.

Mele Kalikimaka kakou and best wishes to each of you for a Happy Holiday!

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

white tent with green sign that reds "AOK" in long form with learners standing underneath the tent

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope the start of December has greeted you with happiness and health in this festive season. Mahalo for your support of the abundance of activities during the last few weeks before Winter Break begins on December 21st at 12:30 pm.

image of 5 AOK learners in front of Christmas tree and a photo on the right of an AOK learner

We are so incredibly fortunate to be part of a learning community that lives our character trait focus of CARING for December. Mahalo nui e Ms. Kelly Ann who spent numerous hours finalizing all the bills and coins that were graciously donated to the Maui relief program on campus called “Change for Change.” The program raised an amazing $977.62 that will be sent to our brothers and sisters in Maui so that they can help rebuild their lives.

We have now started another program of CARING called Holiday Hampers where people in our learning community with abundance can share with those in our learning community with less. Please feel free to drop off a non-perishable food item on the table in the Main Foyer at the entrance of the school. The items collected will be distributed anonymously within our learning community. If you or someone you know could use a little assistance then please let us know.

Mahalo nui e Na Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network for their creative efforts in building our school’s entry in the “Lights on Rice” parade. We greatly appreciate your sharing of talents and resources to make another opportunity for our learners to enjoy a fresh experience on our island.

Ho’omaika’i to the “Flying Lemurs” who were named the Bandwagon “Battle of the Bands” Champions at the finals held in Lihu’e. All the members of the “Flying Lemurs” are students of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School which is probably another reason that our year-end Talent Show is so amazing.

The school-wide Spelling Bee Championship was held last Friday and our profound appreciation to Ms. Kelly Ann for organizing and running this year’s event. We are all greatly saddened that the Spelling Bee marked the end of Ms. Kelly Ann’s on-campus employment as she is moving off the island. Ms. Kelly Ann knows that a job at the school awaits her when she returns to beautiful Kaua’i and we wish to express our deep gratitude for her work at our school.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

brown text "caring" with a background of the sun setting

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and welcome to the month of December. As we shift to a new month, we introduce the new charter trait focus, which is CARING. We see countless acts of unconditional kindness on campus daily but we would like to highlight two recent examples of our generous learning community.

Last Friday we concluded the “Change for Change” Maui relief program which started with the aim to empower our keiki to make a difference in the tragedies on our neighbor island of Maui. During the course of several months we consistently saw our learners donate monies and we witnessed great creativity by our keiki to actually RAISE money for Maui. Totally on their own initiative and off campus, there were several learner-led fundraisers such as selling lemonade in neighborhoods and soccer tournaments where the collected funds were donated to help our neighbors. All of which are clear actions of these inventive young people being “Alaka’i O Kaua’i” and living up to the name of our school.

Another great demonstration of CARING is the Holiday Hamper program that is now entering its fourth year at our school. Those in our learning community who have plenty are encouraged to share with those how have less by leaving non-perishable food items on the table at the front of the school. All of the donated food items are then distributed within our learning community. Please let us know if you or someone you know could use a little extra food assistance during the holidays.

2 image collage of an AOK facilitator near a donation jar and a an image of a table of food donations

As the Winter Break approaches, we thought it would be important to share with you now that school will end on Thursday, December 21st at 12:30pm (early dismissal time) which is an unusual start day to the holiday. Although we follow the Hawai’i Department of Education calendar, we realize that some of our learning community members have learners in different schools and so the congruence of dates is important to support the ease of families being together.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

4 image collage of AOK facilitator, Ms. Kelly Ann

Director DJ’s Message:

A belated Hau’oli La Ho’omaika’i kakou to all in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving break. We look forward to seeing our learners back on campus this week as we step towards the month of December.

The American author Tammy Cohen once wrote “A great employee is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” In this season of gratitude, we wish to express our deep appreciation for the work of Ms. Kelly Ann at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Sadly, Ms. Kelly Ann will be leaving the island and she wanted to share this message with our learning community:

Dear Alaka’i Learning Community: It is with sadness that I have to inform you of my departure from Alaka’i. Unfortunately, my family is relocating to the mainland in mid-December due to my husband’s new job contract. I will greatly miss everyone so much! Please know you have some amazing keiki, and I have enjoyed watching them grow over the years. Many of you have left a special imprint on my heart that I will take with me no matter where I go! I will deeply miss our school, the community, and this island very much. Sending each of you aloha always!

Ms. Kelly Ann was truly a four-leaf clover and contributed significantly to the success of our unique school. Ms. Kelly Ann has faithfully served as the Vice President for our Na Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network for the past two years. She has worked extensively as a substitute teacher on days when we had last-minute absences. She has invested countless hours in coaching basketball and Cross Country, supporting the success of many participants. She was a valued member of our “The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i” project and recently did an outstanding presentation at the culmination event on O’ahu. These are just a few examples of Ms. Kelly Ann’s outstanding work that speaks directly to her willingness to drop everything to help others.

We were fortunate to have Ms. Kelly Ann as a dedicated member of our team here at the school and she will definitely be missed. We wish her continued success in her bright future and Ms. Kelly Ann is keenly aware that a job awaits her back at the school should she ever return.

Please do consider spending some time in the coming weeks to share some aloha with Ms. Kelly prior to her departure from beautiful Kaua’i.

Best wishes to you all for a terrific week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii

“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always

2 image collage of learners participating in Turkey Trot 2020

Director DJ’s Message:

An early Hau’oli la Ho’omakika’i to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope that all preparations for a splendid Thanksgiving are going well in your lives. In this season of gratitude please accept our deep appreciation of your support of our unique charter school. Over the last six years, we have moved from a dream to a reality. This would not be possible without your engagement in continuous improvement at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We have opened the registration process for the 2024-2025 school year. Thanks to your kind support, we will reach our maximum capacity of 250 learners as per our charter contract.

In the shortened week ahead due to Thanksgiving Break, we look forward to hosting our fourth annual Turkey Trot on campus. The event has grown from modest beginnings in 2020 when masks and social distancing were the norm into a festive run that our learners look forward to each year. Enjoy the photos below from previous Turkey Trot events:

2 image collage of learners participating in Turkey Trot 2020

The 4th Annual Turkey Trot will be held on Wednesday, November 22nd during the first-morning recess. The event forms part of our curriculum taught on campus and all learners will participate, whether they walk, jog, or run. The 2023 Turkey Trot will feature a new course this year! Many thanks to Mr. Jon for his assistance in creating a new path through the grass.

The campus will be closed from November 23rd to November 26th. We hope that everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving Break away from school and we look forward to welcoming back our learners for a full day on campus on Monday, November 27th.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead and best wishes for safe travel for anyone visiting people elsewhere. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii
“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always
3 image collage of AOK learners and facilitators engaging in various activities

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and hope this message finds you in good health and happiness after a long weekend. Hopefully, you were able to spend some time in respect and gratitude to all of our veterans last Friday as the campus was closed for Veterans Day. We greatly appreciate the service and sacrifice of many people so that we can enjoy this amazing country.

Last weekend a team of people who work at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School traveled to Honolulu for The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i culminating event entitled REIMAGINING EDUCATION. The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i is a project that examines excellent teaching and is co-sponsored by the Hawai’i Charter Commission and Harvard University. Ms. Andra and Ms. Kelly Ann, two of our staff members, presented at the event on their findings and experiences at our school. Their presentations were outstanding and once again demonstrated that this school lives up to our name “Alaka’i O Kaua’i”.

Mahalo nui to Ms. Claire for starting a Drama Club at our school. They had their first session on Tuesday and the group is already at capacity which speaks highly of the engagement of our learning community. We are optimistic that this group, under steady guidance, will put together a performance for our school.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School continues to see a wide variety of project-based learning activities ongoing at our campus. In the theme of continuous improvement, sometimes these project-based learning activities also end up in facility improvements. Mahalo to Mr. Jon and Mr. Adam who are currently constructing a garden area for the Kindergarten class which will be a key part of their project-based learning activity infused with a grant opportunity.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed several incidents on campus this year with some of our younger learners making extremely inappropriate comments to others at school without them comprehending the severity of their words. To try and decipher the genesis of such outrageous statements, Ms. Miranda, our Graduate Counseling student, conducted an investigation and discovered a common denominator: the video game Roblox. We appreciate and respect that leisure activities at home are none of the business of our school, but we want to share these valuable learnings for parents from Ms. Miranda:

  • Roblox contains adult content. Roblox is a user-generated game platform, which means that users/players can create and play games with other users/players. These kinds of games can pose a risk for children as it is an open-world platform and anyone can create an account and play.
  • Parents can protect their children by making restrictions and monitoring children’s chats, followers, and game history. Roblox also offers a feature that allows parents to limit the ability to chat, and the types of experiences their children can access.
  • In case you are searching for other options, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has an i-Ready learning platform in place that features safe and appropriate learning games.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii
“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always
AOK Learners in costumes during the Trunk or Treat event

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope that this first Monday Message of November finds you all in good health and happiness to start a new month. The character trait focus for the month is ACHIEVEMENT and we were thrilled to celebrate the achievement success of many of our learners at the school-wide assembly held on campus last Friday.

Last week it was my good fortune to virtually attend the National Summit on School Safety and Security from Washington, DC. This helpful annual summit focuses on current issues facing schools in keeping our learning community safe plus shares best practices that have worked across our vast nation. One of the critical key areas for student success and safety at schools is forming a strong connectivity between the learners, the home, and the school.

Last Tuesday on Halloween we all witnessed this important practice of connectivity in action with our annual Trunk or Treat event in the field on campus. We were overwhelmed with the generosity, kindness, and creativity of our learning community as we set a new record of 34 vehicles for our learners to enjoy. We loved watching the Halloween Parade of our learners as they circled about the field to stop and be part of the Trunk or Treat stations. This event brought our learning community of parents, school, and students together and helped build a critical bond between us all in the best interest of our keiki. Mahalo for your contributions and support of this worthwhile event at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School.

3 image collage of Trunk or Treat event outside

One key learning from the event in the theme of continuous improvement is the recognition that not everyone in our learning community may have the financial means to afford a costume. We are asking anyone in our learning community who wishes to donate a used Halloween costume to please drop it off in the office in the coming weeks. We will use the costumes from our emerging Drama Club and store the costumes for next October’s Halloween celebrations to ensure inclusion for all in our learning community.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Mission Statement using the information sheet that was distributed via ParentSquare and the Green Folders on campus last week.

Best wishes to you all for a beautiful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii
“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always
AOK learners carving a pumpkin on campus

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and hope this last Monday Message of October finds you all in good health and happiness as we conclude the month on Halloween.

Mahalo for your generous response in supporting our fourth annual Truck or Treat happening on Halloween. The event will be held in the field on campus, rain or shine. We greatly appreciate the time, effort, and creativity that comes with this special event and we know that it contributes significantly to a positive culture for our keiki here on campus.

It has been my good fortune to have numerous discussions during the daily visits to the classrooms about Halloween costumes. A reminder that any fake weapons should be left at home. In addition, we ask that the Halloween costumes equate to a “scare factor scale” of Kindergarten as we do not wish to have any of our learners upset that day. A friendly reminder that October 31st will be an early dismissal day at 12:30 p.m. to ensure that everyone can be home in time to enjoy Halloween activities together.

Congratulations to Coach Kelly Ann and our Middle School Cross Country team on their outstanding success at the meet held in Lihu’e on Friday, October 20th. We appreciate the efforts of all the team members and here are the award winners from the meet:

  • 6th Grade Boys: Nathan Bennor – 2nd Place
  • 7th Grade Girls: Orah McGee – 1st Place
  • 7th Grade Boys: Koa Shay – 2nd Place and Max Israelsen – 3rd Place

It has been GREAT to witness study buddy classes working together on campus and this week we wanted to share an example from the Grade Three and Grade Seven classes working together. Under the skillful guidance of Ms. Chock and Mr. Logan, the learners from both classes came together to try and scientifically predict the amount of seeds that could be found inside a pumpkin. The three-day event concluded with the students working together to decorate the pumpkins which were used as decorations for the Grade 5-7 Halloween Dance last Friday. GREAT work by all involved and wonderful to see connections made between the different grade levels at school.

3 image collage of AOK learners at various campus events: day of the dead parade, safety talk and cross country team.

We also wish to share the incredible experience that occurred in the Grade One class as they concluded their project-based learning activity on the human brain. It was inspiring to see so many community members come to campus for the presentations of learning. We also had some special guests from the Queen’s Hospital on O’ahu visit the class. Our guests presented about the importance of wearing a helmet and donated a helmet to the students in the class. Mahalo nui for their generosity and a helpful reminder to everyone in our learning community to always wear your helmet when enjoying activities outside on bikes, skateboards, and all other items that could put your head at risk.

Best wishes to you all for a Happy Halloween. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’okumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School
Koloa, Hawaii
“E hele me ka pu’olo ”
Make Every Person, Place, or Condition Better Than You Left It Always
4 AOK learners dressed in orange standing behind a sign that reads "unity day"

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we made our return to campus last week after the Fall Break.

Mahalo nui kakou for your support of the smooth transition back to school life. The learners quickly adjusted to the routines, schedules, and culture of the school with minimal issues. We fully respect that this important collaborative relationship between the home and school makes this return to school positive and productive thanks to everyone’s efforts.

On Wednesday, October 18th Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School celebrated Unity Day on campus for the first time in our short history. This annual event encourages people to wear orange to school to unite in kindness, acceptance, and aloha while rejecting the unacceptable act of bullying. We were overwhelmed with the positive response from our learners and staff with all the orange clothing on campus. In addition, we distributed an orange bracelet to any learner or staff member at our school who wished to take one as a deeper level of support for this day.

3 image collage of many AOK learners dressed in orange clothing for Unity Day

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has become the fastest-improving charter school in the state of Hawai’i based on several key pillars in our charter contract. Socio-emotional learning is a key component of our school and we are extremely proud of the significant positive changes in the culture of our school. Unfortunately, we also understand that the action of bullying still occurs at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we request the gift of disclosure. Bullies will not change their actions without proper correction, education, and support so please let the school know if your keiki is experiencing this issue at our school.

The highly anticipated Trunk or Treat is rapidly approaching on Halloween morning on campus. Please feel free to connect with our Na Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network should you wish to be involved.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week. Malama pono.

Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
two AOK learners putting change in the change for change bucket

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds you rested, relaxed, plus ready to return for the second quarter of the 2023-2024 school year. We look forward to welcoming back our learners on Monday, October 16th for a full day on campus after Fall Break.

As you may know, the character trait focus for the month of October is EMPATHY and we have clear examples of how empathy shines on our campus. To take this character trait a touch deeper, we wish to let you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month across our country and we will celebrate a special day on campus this week.

Wednesday, October 18 is set aside as United Day to unite for kindness, acceptance, and aloha across the state of Hawai’i. We are encouraging everyone to wear orange to school on Wednesday to show support that all people in our society, including our talented learners, deserve to be safe at school and in our community. Each learner and staff member will also be given an orange plastic bracelet as a happy reminder that we can all make a difference in addressing bullying.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is already incredibly fortunate to have aloha in action on campus, as seen in the photos this week. An anonymous donor from our parent community donated a microwave oven to the school to help shorten the line-ups at lunchtime. Our learning community continues to give generously to the “Change for Change” Maui relief program. Our Grade Three class just completed a food drive with over 100 pounds of food collected for those in need. Every Friday we take the time to honor those people on campus both learners and staff who demonstrate kindness to others through our weekly “Kindness Matters” draw.

3 photo collage of various AOK learners donating and giving to the change to change campaign

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School also acknowledges that we may have people on campus who do not treat others with kindness, acceptance, and aloha from time to time. Should you or any of our learners be experiencing bullying, please connect with school staff. The only way to stop bullying is to address it directly. We embrace a practice of zero avoidance in which we will address the problem if we are aware of the problem. Sadly many individuals with bullying behaviour may do so in secret. Please let us know of any issues so that we can assist everyone involved.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and best wishes for a wonderful week ahead.

DJ Adams
Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
image of money collected in a blue jug for AOK change for change fundraiser

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we enter our annual Fall Break. A helpful reminder that our school is closed next week and we look forward to happily greeting our learners back on campus on Monday, October 16th.

The character trait focus for the month of October is EMPATHY and a clear example of this important practice can be found in our main office. The “Change for Change” program was introduced to empower everyone in our learning community to support our fellow citizens on Maui after the devastating wildfires destroyed many people’s lives. As you can see from the photo, the generosity of our learning community is amazing and we greatly appreciate your kindness. We will formally conclude this program at the end of October to ensure that the donated funds find their way to people on Maui. In addition, our Grade Three class ran a Food Drive as part of their project-based learning activity and donated 151 pounds of non-perishable food items thanks to their leadership and your kindness.

Mahalo nui e Ms. Anne who is volunteering her time and expertise to offer our learners a French Club. The French Club is held on Mondays after school in the Learning Commons and is free to learners. No previous understanding of the French language is required and the French Club is open to all students whether they are bus riders or ohana pickup. We are deeply appreciative of Ms. Anne offering this opportunity to our learners.

3 image collage of AOK learners engaging in project-based learning projects outside and in after school french club

The Grade One class continues to work on their bee project-based learning activity. Ms. Charton successfully acquired a grant last year and we have installed a fully observable bee hive in the gymnasium…but it does not have any tenants yet. Last week Kumu Chris, Ms. Charton, and the Grade One class started building bee boxes to help attract bees that could move into the observable hive. We love seeing the creativity and leadership of our learners under the steady guidance of our talented staff members.

Best wishes to you all for a festive Fall Break and we look forward to welcoming back our students on October 16th.

DJ Adams
Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
cut out images of 9 AOK learners with the word "empathy" in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we enter the month of October. The character trait focus for the month will be EMPATHY. The kindness of our learning community is currently on full display with the “Change For Change” Maui relief program on campus.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School opened six years ago with the promise of bringing project-based learning to the island of Kaua’i. There has been a steady growth and evolution in the quality of the project-based learning activities over these years especially as some of the learners are now in their sixth year at our school. For the 2023-2024 school year, we did not start with a school-wide project-based learning activity as was the practice in the two years previous. Our staff energetically commenced projects in their classrooms during the opening weeks and we now see some classes already doing their first Presentations of Learning. In my daily classroom visits, it is refreshing to witness the engagement and enthusiasm that our learners are bringing to their education in the vast array of talents that they possess.

group of AOK learners holding up their project based learning projects

 The creativity demonstrated by our curious learners is matched by the talented staff who help guide this journey of education in project-based learning activities. We wish to express our appreciation to our staff for their work with our learners daily as it certainly requires a special set of skills to successfully support project-based learning activities. In project-based learning, the star of the show is always the learner. We hope that many of you can make the journey to campus over the 2023-2024 school year to be part of their Presentations of Learning. A happy reminder that we will conclude the school year in late May with a school-wide project-based learning activity of Na Kupu Lau and once again all people in our learning community are warmly welcomed to attend.

group of 4 AOK engaged in a hand-ons activity with sand and paintbrushes

A helpful reminder that we are rapidly approaching the conclusion of the first quarter of the school year and there will be no school for learners during Fall Break from October 7th to October 15th.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams
Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
AOK Cross Country learners standing in a green field with a large mountain in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and we hope this message finds you well as we sail into the last school week of September. Mahalo nui loa kakou to all who could make it to campus or “visit” virtually as we hosted our annual Individual Learning Plan meetings on Thursday and Friday. We immensely enjoyed hosting our Enrichment Day on campus complete with the 4th annual Ninja Warrior competition. As always, we appreciate the collaborative relationship that exists between our school and your homes.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School was excited to offer another fresh program to our school this year for the first time in our short history. We secured an Artists in the School grant last year which enabled the introduction of music and dance to our learners. E komo mai e Mr. Cary and Ms. Ashiya to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we have already fully enjoyed your classes. The lessons started last week with an introduction to global music infused with the playing of the drums for our learners. This is an eight-week program and we are incredibly pleased to see a more significant expansion of fine arts for our learners.

2 side by side images of young AOK learners drumming during a special drumming class

We also began the first week of Cross County practice with our Middle School students. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is excited to take our Cross Country team to a meet in Lihue on Friday, October 20th. Practices run at lunchtime on Tuesdays and all Middle School learners are encouraged to join.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and best wishes for a happy plus healthy conclusion to the month of September.

DJ Adams
Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
image of the "AOK" sign with the school building in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and we hope this September message finds you all in good health and happiness. Mahalo for your unconditional support of our unique charter school.

We have a shining example of our incredibly generous learning community to share. Last Wednesday morning, just as the Morning Oli began, a parent showed up at the school and dropped off two microwaves as a donation to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. This wonderful act of kindness resulted from their learner sharing at home that one microwave needed repair and that one classroom was without a microwave. Unprompted and not seeking attention, the parent brought the microwaves, which both helped the school and shortened the lunch lineup to heat food. Wow!! Our school is fortunate to have parents like this supporting our school unconditionally. This is just one example of the countless acts of generosity from our learning community. Mahalo nui loa kakou.

On Monday, September 18th there will be no school for our students as we will be holding one of our Hawai’i State Teachers Association Union professional development days. The staff will be on campus that day to improve our school and work on the art of teaching. As Henry Ford once suggested “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young” and we are fortunate to have facilitators who role model the importance of lifelong learning for our keiki. The day will be dedicated to learning more about I-Ready, our new e-learning platform, in the morning, while the afternoon will be spent preparing for your visits to campus for the Individual Learning Plan Meetings on September 21st and September 22nd. As you can see from this week’s photos we have embraced lifelong learning on our campus even in the early pandemic days. This philosophy forms a cornerstone of school continuous improvement.

3 image collage of AOK facilitators in various discussions

The fourth annual Alaka’i O Kaua’i Ninja Warrior Contest will return to campus on Thursday, September 21st and perhaps the greatest challenge might lie in my feeble brain to construct another creative course. Please be assured that our amazing learners have improved year by year in this fun event and we look forward to hosting again outdoors, rain or shine.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week and we look forward to seeing many of you on campus for Individual Learning Plan Meetings. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
AOK learners running through a green field with a mountain and blue skies in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope the new month of September is treating you with kindness and respect.

Mahalo for your continued support of our unique charter school. We are pleased that as promised, we started further enrichment classes after the Labor Day weekend. We appreciate your patience as we were using the multi-talented Kumu Nouveau to support the transition to the new school year with our Grade Six class.

This week Kumu Nouveau started the ‘Ike Hawai’i classes on campus and utilized the outdoor classroom located between Lower Campus and Main Campus. There were some beautiful songs of both music and laughter coming from the classroom this week as our learners practiced their participation parts of the daily Morning Oli.

This week Kumu Nouveau also commenced the Physical Education classes on campus under warm conditions. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is excited to bring back Physical Education to our school as we have not had this program consistently since March 2020. A helpful reminder to please check ParentSquare messages to ensure that your keiki are properly attired for these classes.

Mahalo nui loa to our learning community for your generosity in purchasing Loofah Soap as part of Ms. Shay’s Grade Two class project-based learning activity. The students raised over $300 and we are happy to share that part of the proceeds will be donated to the Maui relief efforts.

2 photo collage- 2 AOK learners on the left holding honey samples and 2 a group of learners on the right selling soap

Under the steady guidance of Ms. Charton, the Grade One class continued to work on their project-based learning activities about bees. This week the class shared honeycombs filled with honey for all the learners on our campus to taste if they wished. Their project will continue forward and we hope to move a hive of honey bees to a safe special place on campus with a transparent window so that all learners can look inside the bee hive.

We also wish to share our gratitude for the strong improvement in school attendance thus far in the 2023-2024 school year. We perfectly understand the challenges of getting our learners to campus each and every day and your work is recognized and appreciated.

The next virtual No Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network meeting will be coming up next Wednesday, September 13th at 5 p.m. All parents are warmly welcome to attend. The Zoom link and agenda will be shared via ParentSquare in the coming days.

Best wishes to you all for continued health and happiness. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
AOK facilitator and learner talking to each other inside of a classroom

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope that this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we conclude the month of August last week.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and we will welcome the month of September by announcing the character trait of the month- RESPONSIBILITY. We see numerous examples of responsibility on campus each and every day and wanted to share this project-based learning activity from Grade One as an example.

The Grade One class has been studying bees and their positive impact on our environment. Ms. Charton has done an outstanding job of sharing all of our RESPONSIBILITIES to keep this important population of pollinators healthy. Last week, a special guest, complete in a beekeeper’s suit visited the class. The guest was our very own Kumu Chris. We greatly appreciate the good work of our dedicated staff to continue to provide a top-quality education for the keiki of Kaua’i.

Speaking of dedicated staff, we greatly appreciate the patience in our learning community as we searched for a new Grade Six teacher. Our former Grade Six teacher transferred to Kaua’i High School in late July and a search immediately commenced for a replacement. After weeks of work of diligent Human Resources work in vetting 27 candidates Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is thrilled to announce that Ms. MJ will remain in the role of the Grade Six teacher for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year. Ho’omaika’i e Ms. MJ!

As we explore the importance of RESPONSIBILITY this month we are moving into some old but new shifts after the Labor Day long weekend:

  • We will continue to operate as usual at drop-off in the mornings with the exception of requesting all parents to please leave your keiki at the Main Entrance and no more walking them to classes. This will assist with the unloading of the buses and also build the confidence of our learners to walk to class by themselves.
  • For pick-up procedures after school, we will continue to use Upper Campus for buses only. Main Campus will be for all learners in Kindergarten to Grade Five and we once again ask all parents to remain in their cars to keep the traffic flowing.
  • Lower Campus pickup is only for Grade Six and Grade Seven solo learner riders and no other grade, please.
  • Any Grade Six or Grade Seven students with younger siblings please walk up to Main Campus and join in the pick-up line there.

We wish to avoid having our younger keiki walking through traffic on Main Campus so we appreciate your spirit of aloha. Let us kokua!

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful long weekend and we will see everyone back on campus on Tuesday, September 5th. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
Kahili Mountain Park Campus

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we begin the last week of school in the month of August.

Mahalo nui for your support of the smooth transition thus far into the 2023-2024 school year. We understand and respect that adjusting to new schedules, routines, and procedures can be difficult for young people and we appreciate your work with your ohana in these changes. In particular, getting up early to head to school can sometimes be challenging so we greatly appreciate your efforts as attendance thus far in the month of August has been extremely positive.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will approach our school-wide project-based activity in 2023-2024 beginning with the end in mind. In the last two years, we have started the school year with a school-wide project-based learning activity but in 2023-2024 we will conclude with our annual Na Kupu Lau celebration in May. As you can see from the photo below, many of our classes have already commenced their first project-based learning activity. The Grade One class along with their “study buddies” from the Grade 4/5 class worked on revamping the garden area on campus last week. The Grade Two class started planting the loofah seeds at the beginning of last year. They plant, weed, and observe the loofahs. When the loofahs are dried on the vine, they harvest, peel, and “de-seed” them. They then cut the loofahs, create the soap, and pour it into molds that are later sold in our learning community. Amazing!!

Group of AOK Learners working outside in the school garden

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School continues to expand our team to best meet the needs of our learners. We are pleased to share that our staff has now grown to more than 30 employees who all come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, ages, and cultures.

  • E komo mai e Ms. Jess (pictured below with the ever-helpful Makoa) who has joined our team as a full-time Educational Assistant in the Special Education department. Ms. Jess has years of experience in the human service industry which is a perfect fit in her role to support our learners.
  • E komo mai e Ms. Jenny and Mr. Kahi who will support the Hawai’i Keiki Nurse Program. This is a pilot project across the state for the next two years. Ms. Jenny will be starting on campus in person in the coming weeks and will work in the office and look after the health needs of our keiki. Mr. Kahi is the supervisor of the Keiki Nurse Program here on Kaua’i and he will be on campus every several weeks to ensure that the program is meeting the needs of our learners.

Side by side images of AOK learners and facilitators, smiling at the camera

Our first school-wide assembly is scheduled for 9 am this Friday, September 1st in the gym. All parents and community members are always warmly welcome to attend and celebrate the successes of our learners.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.
DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director)
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i
“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.
white board with a message about Maui Donation Relief and several full bags of donations in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou 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 during these challenging times on the beautiful islands of Hawai’i.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school which features socio-emotional learning as one of the cornerstones of our state of Hawai’i Charter Commission contract. As the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King once said during a speech in Washington DC in 1968 “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” At our school, we are extremely fortunate to have amazing people who keep infinite hope despite the sorrowful tragedies that have unfolded in Maui. We know that the research is quite conclusive that building positive paths of empowerment for our learners is essential to reduce feelings of helplessness during a crisis.

We greatly appreciate all the items that were dropped off at the school early last week. Due to the vision of an ohana in our learning community, these items were quickly sent off via boat to make their way over to those in need on Maui. We trust that the prompt response allowed the donated items to find new owners swiftly.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School implemented a coin donation program entitled “Change for Change” to empower everyone to donate financially to the people of Maui. This non-competitive event will see all the collected monies donated to the American Red Cross efforts to support those people on Maui in crisis. We sincerely hope that our learners gain the understanding that an act as simple as donating spare change to others can have a profound impact on those people in need. Due to the overwhelming response on campus, we actually needed to add an additional collection jug to hold all the coins that have been pouring in.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will be opening our school and classrooms to accept displaced students from Maui on a temporary basis. Unfortunately, we do not have space at all grade levels but will work closely with those needing a high-quality free public education here on campus in those spaces where there might be some vacancies. If you know of any students that were displaced and are looking for a school to attend then please do contact the school so we can work together on making this happen.

Ms. Nicole has commenced a beautiful art project with the Grade Seven students. They are drawing the lokelani (Damask Rose), the official flower of the island Of Maui, as a measure of support and aloha to send directly to schools on Maui.

3 photo collage of Maui relief efforts at AOK school

We all understand that this recovery will be years to complete and Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will keep infinite hope in this journey to support our brothers and sisters impacted by this tragedy long into the future.

Please be safe, stable, and strong in these challenging times. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

4 photo collage of AOK learners back to school

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness at the conclusion of the first week of school.

Mahalo nui kakou for the incredibly smooth transition back to campus that we have enjoyed over the last week. The learners quickly adjusted back to the routines, expectations, and schedules that we follow here at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We also wish to express our gratitude to our dedicated staff who helped build a path for success for our learners to easily return to our school after the summer break. As mentioned previously Mr. Jon significantly renovated vast amounts of our campus assisted by Mr. Adam, Kumu Nouveau, and Ms. Barb to make sure that the school was prepared for many new keiki. The twelve-month staff of Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Patricia, and Kumu Nate also worked hard over June and July to build the infrastructure for everyone to be successful at our unique school.

We also wish to share our appreciation to our learning community for your unconditional support in this smooth transition as well. Our school recognizes the deep commitment that it takes for students to attend our school and love the collaboration that we enjoy together in the best interest of our keiki.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is pleased to be working with Akita Transportation again this year complete with an additional third bus to serve our wide geographic area as we currently have students from Kapa’a to Kekaha. Mahalo for your patience as the new schedules, stops, and timings are all worked out with the addition of another bus. A helpful reminder that our school does not know the location of the buses once they leave campus so please contact Akita Transportation directly with your questions, concerns, or comments in these circumstances.

A happy reminder that the state of Hawai’i has set aside Friday, August 18th as Statehood Day, and in accordance with the state holiday Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will be closed that day.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

4 photo collage of 4 AOK staff members

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness. Our staff joined us on campus last week and we eagerly await the arrival of our learners on Monday, August 7th. We have missed their infectious zest for life on campus over the summer.

The annual Campus Cleanup on Saturday, July 29th was a MASSIVE success due to the kindness and generosity of each of you. Although we do not have an official number of volunteers that showed up, we did see a record number of people volunteer to assist through SignUp Genius. Mahalo nui loa for your contributions to this annual event and for making the campus shine for our keiki.

Mahalo for your patience and understanding in the process to find a new school counsellor to replace the ever-energetic Ms. Giselle. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is pleased to share that Ms. Malissa will be the new school counsellor at our school. Ms. Malissa is well known in our learning community for her outstanding teaching plus strong academic support in her role as Assessment Coordinator. Ms. Giselle has kindly agreed to remain in place in a transition phase for the month of August as Ms. Malissa moves into this new role. As an added level of support, it will be my pleasure to work directly and mentor Ms. Malissa in her new duties as a Middle School Counsellor which was part of my journey in life.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is thrilled to welcome Ms. Madison James to our staff for the 2023-2024 school year. Ms. “MJ “as she is known to our learning community has roots in Koloa and joins our team as a teacher in our Special Education program assisting Ms. Cara. Ms. MJ has a friendly and outgoing personality which is a natural fit for our culture and she is a former NCAA Division One softball athlete. Wow!!!!

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is happy to reintroduce both Mr. Logan and Ms. Claire to you again as they join our team for the upcoming school year. Mr. Logan comes to us from Colorado and has been nominated for the state of Colorado Teacher of the Year a remarkable five times. Mr. Logan will be teaching the Grade Seven class this year in the newly created classroom on the lower campus. Ms. Claire rejoins Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and was actually one of the original people who worked at the school so she fully understands all the changes that have happened at our school in the last six years.

There have been numerous news reports swirling about the island about the significant lack of bus drivers which has caused many school bus routes to be canceled. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is pleased to share that Akita Transportation will once again be able to service our school this year PLUS add a third bus to our existing routes. The third bus will serve the Lihue area and hopefully eliminate the need for the Kapa’a bus to make stops in Lihue thus shortening their travel time.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is also facing higher contract prices for these bus services that need to be passed on to the consumers. Last year our school subsidized $79,000 out of our school budget to offset the losses on the bus routes as charter schools are not state-funded for transportation like our HIDOE colleagues. After much deliberation at the operational and governance level, our school will charge $98 for the first rider and $73 for additional riders for the 2023-2024 school year. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will continue to lose monies from our budget to run these buses as we feel a strong philosophical commitment to all of our learners to be able to enjoy a high-quality free public education regardless of geographic location on Kaua’i.

Mahalo nui kakou to everyone who attended the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Open House last Friday, August 4th from 9 am to Noon. This festive event is a perfect opportunity for everyone to come to campus, drop off their school supplies, and gain comfort and confidence for the upcoming school year. It was GREAT to see so many people come to campus and help orientate the learners to the new school year.

School will start for our learners on Monday, August 7th, and a cheerful reminder that the first day is early dismissal at 12:30 pm. We all understand that the transition back to school can be tiring for our younger learners so a shorter day helps everyone adjust to the new schedules.

Mahalo nui for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.
Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

4 picture collage of AOK staff and AK campus

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we happily approach the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

A sure sign that school is about to commence again was the annual Campus Cleanup that occurred last Saturday, July 29th. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School welcomed our learning community to campus for this festive event to help with the setup for the 2023-2024 school year. We have hosted this happy event for numerous years and once again we were blessed with an overwhelming response of unconditional support from our generous learning community. After Campus Cleanup concluded on Saturday, we also had an additional layer of preparation in place for both Sunday and Monday in anticipation of the return of our dedicated staff members on Tuesday, August 1st. Mahalo nui loa kakou to everyone who donated their time, expertise, hands, and hearts at the Campus Cleanup and you did a spectacular job of preparing the campus for our learners.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School wishes to share our public appreciation to Waimea Canyon Middle School for their generous donation of 12 full-sized cafeteria tables to our school. The tables are placed in the gym and will provide greater flexibility for our school to host even more people at festive events such as Na Kupu Lau.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School was informed on July 18th that Ms. Donna has resigned and will not be returning to our school for the 2023-2024 school year. We wish to thank Ms. Donna for her work with our Grade Six students over the last several years. The school immediately commenced a search for a high-quality teacher for the Grade Six class and completed the first round of interviews last week. In the short term, we are pleased to share that Kumu Nouveau will serve as the interim Grade Six teacher to start the 2023-2024 school year and ensure stability for our learners.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will postpone the start of Physical Education and Hawai’iana classes until Tuesday, September 5th when we intend to have the Grade Six teacher in place which will allow Kumu Nouveau to return to these duties. We greatly appreciate the flexibility of Kumu Nouveau to accommodate the best interest of our learners.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is disappointed to announce that Ms. Tessa Paillette has removed her agreement to join our school as the new School Social Worker, as communicated in a ParentSquare message last Monday. Ms. Tessa and her partner Ryan who had accepted a position at Kaua’i High School, need to stay in Oregon closer to their teenage daughter. We fully respect the importance of ohana. Having the best interests of our keiki in mind, we are working on both a fresh set of interviews for a new candidate and a transition plan from Ms. Giselle for the new counselor.

As a unique charter school that features socio-emotional learning as one of our charter mandates, we fully understand the importance of a smooth start to the new school year. Once again we will be hosting a Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Open House on Friday, August 4th from 9 am to Noon. This joyful event allows parents to come to campus with their keiki and physically walk the learners to their classrooms. The Open House is also a perfect opportunity to drop off the school supplies to avoid bringing them on the first day of school.

A helpful reminder that the first day of school will be Monday, August 7th and it will be an early dismissal day to help our learners transition back to school life smoothly.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

collage image of two AOK staff, side by side

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health as we move through the summer break.

Mahalo for your support of the fastest-improving charter school in the state of Hawai’i. It may be summer break but much has been happening at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School as we prepare for the return of our staff and learners in August.

Last Monday at our public Board of Directors Meeting, the ever-dedicated DrB presented her work on writing the rich story of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Dr. Blackwell who is also known as Tutu B was a co-founder of our school plus is a Past Chair of our Board of Directors. DrB created a beautiful book of over 100 pages entitled From Vision to Reality and many of you contributed to her work by sending back school surveys. Mahalo nui for your excellent work, DrB. Hard copies of the book are available for viewing in the Main Office.

The resignation of Ms. Giselle from her position as school Social Worker was also announced at the public Board of Directors Meeting. Ms. Giselle has been part of our school for five years and has worked tirelessly to improve Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Here is Ms. Giselle’s exit statement that was shared last night:

“It was with great ambivalence that I formally submitted my resignation from my position at Alaka’i. There were many factors that led to this decision, but foremost is the need to reprioritize, putting my family first, spending more time with my children, and working with my husband to get his business operational.

I am hopeful that someday funds will be available for me to work part-time at Alakai to help push the boundaries and raise our ceiling. Until then, I will do my best to make time to volunteer as much as I can. Every single one of these keiki are special to me and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of their life journey.”

We wish to express our appreciation to Ms. Giselle for her dedication to our school and wish her all the best in her new adventures ahead. We sincerely hope that our learning community will come together to support Ms. Giselle and the school with this transition. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is committed to continuing with a full-time counselor for our keiki. We are in the final stages of the Human Resources protocol to hire a new person in this role and plan to announce this information soon.

Speaking of hiring, the Hawai’i Keiki Nurse program intends to place a full-time keiki Nurse here on campus for the upcoming school year but they are currently suffering from a lack of applications. If you or anyone you should know might be interested, please contact the school and we can connect you with this program administration.

Mr. Jon and Mr.Adam worked magic this week and installed a new sound system in the gym. As we all know, the previous sound system was inadequate to support the overwhelming response from our learning community to participate in Na Kupu Lau. Mahalo nui Mr. Jon and Mr. Adam for this upgrade. With the newly installed Wifi in the gym, we look forward to improving the quality of events on our campus. In addition, the finishing touches are in place so the new Grade Seven classroom will be ready for Mr. Logan and the learners for the upcoming school year.

on the left, image of AOK staff standing and smiling and on the right, image of an empty classroom

Friendly reminder that the annual Campus Cleanup on Saturday, July 29th is rapidly approaching. Shifts are from 9-10:30 am and again from 10:30 am to noon. A SignUp Genius will be coming out soon via ParentSquare providing an opportunity for our learning community to come together in both work and celebration for the upcoming school year that starts for students on August 7th.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week ahead and hope to see you on Saturday. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i campus rainbow outdoors

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health during the last few weeks of your summer break from school.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and for being patient during the last five years of tremendous growth plus improvement that we have created together. One of the potential changes that may come forward is a shift from the current platform that is being used to distribute the Monday Message to a new one in the coming weeks. Please contact our school if the Monday Message no longer finds your inbox and we will rectify the issue. Once again, we wish to publicly acknowledge Faith and Brian and their good work and the sharing of their talents to support our Monday Message and make it all possible.

The outstanding preparation work on campus continues as we look forward to the return of our learners on Monday, August 7th. This week we can share that the desks and chairs for the newly added Grade Seven class are now assembled in their classroom under some helpful feedback from Mr. Logan, our Grade Seven facilitator. As we continue to expand our Middle School, Mr. Jon, Mr. Adam, and Kumu Nouveau, our ever-diligent work crew, have constructed a new breakout and conference room on the lower campus.

white chairs stacked on a desk in an AOK classroom       

Even though our keiki have not been on campus since May, we are pleased to share that several helpful staff members have continued to look after the garden area and garden beds. Mahalo e Kumu Nate for ensuring that this area continues to thrive and stay relatively weed-free.

       

A helpful reminder that you will have the opportunity to see this work yourself plus share your skills of improvement during our annual Campus Cleanup, scheduled for Saturday, July 29th. A SignUp Genius complete with specific tasks and times will be shared in the coming weeks for your planning purposes.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful week. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good happiness and health as we move into the month of July.

The start of the new month is a cheerful reminder that the start of the 2023-2024 school year is just around the corner. We look forward to the return of our learners on August 7th to kick off the new school year which will include the addition of our new Grade Seven grade level. In preparation for everyone’s arrival, there have been several key employees who have worked all summer to help ensure that everything is ready to roll.

Collage image of 3 AOK teachers

Ms. Patricia has done a magnificent job supporting our school since her arrival in the dual role of looking after Human Resources and Finances. Under her steady guidance, the school has moved into financial stability and currently exceeds all the monetary expectations of the state of Hawai’i Charter Commission. In addition, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has also moved into a high percentage of staff retention. This is a true credit to her work with our valued employees. Mahalo nui, Ms. Patricia.

Ms. Jennifer who is well known to all in our learning community also works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our school moving upward in a positive direction. Ms. Jennifer fills far too many roles to mention but a few key supports include School Registrar, purchasing plus invoicing, communication, phone messaging, and school tours. One of the key people who helped move Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School from surviving to thriving is the ever-helpful Ms. Jennifer and we are greatly appreciative of her work.

A little over a year ago, our school added a Learning Leader position to our staff and welcomed Kumu Nate to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Kumu Nate has been busy over the summer working on staff schedules, curriculum design plus ordering, technology, and student programs to mention just a few of the many highlights of his contributions. Mahalo nui for your work, Kumu Nate, and for raising the benchmarks of programming expectations at our unique charter school.

A helpful reminder to mark your calendars for Saturday, July 29th for the festive annual event of Campus Cleanup. A ParentSquare invitation will be distributed with a SignUp Genius in the coming weeks so you can sign up for specific tasks at the Campus Cleanup.

Lastly, please enjoy this preview of the newly created Grade Seven classroom with the desks being assembled by Mr. Jon:

image of large classroom space with several desks

Best wishes to you all for a safe and restful summer break. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

AOK staff members painting rooms at AOK school

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we move into the month of July.

Mahalo to our dedicated and talented employees who are working hard on campus to make the necessary renovations to prepare for the 2023-2024 school year. You may recall that last summer under the skillful guidance of Mr. Jon, the old Library, Meeting Room, and Storage area was converted into a Counsellor Suite and Learning Commons. This summer much of the effort is focused on preparation for the addition of another grade level to our school plus improving areas already in use.

Ms. Barb, Kumu Nouveau, and Mr. Jon have already significantly improved our campus. A former storage area that was unused on the lower campus has now been converted into a teaching space for our Hawai’iana classes. The need for this new teaching space is a result of the addition of Grade Seven who will move into the former Hawai’iana Room on Lower Campus. We will eventually house all of our Middle School students on the lower campus while the elementary section of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will remain on Main Campus.

The Grade Three classroom transformation is also ongoing with the removal of the old Science cabinets, the painting of the space, and the installation of new flooring. Mr. Jon has steadily, inch by inch, improved the school over the last five years to the point that he is now changing out the old flooring and replacing it with new. We will continue to work on this transition step by step, board by board, over the coming years.

We wish to acknowledge and thank Ms. Barb, Kumu Nouveau, and Mr. Jon for their work on improving our school. Mr. Adam will be joining this team in July to ensure we have as much completed by the end of the summer as possible.

Next week we will shift our focus to the other amazing twelve-month employees who work tirelessly behind the scenes to continuously improve our school, even during the summer break.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School may be transitioning to a new Monday Message platform. In the coming weeks, should the Monday Message not arrive on a Sunday evening, please send me an email indicating the issue and we will correct the error.

Best wishes for a joyful July and see you at Campus Cleanup on July 29th. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Alakai O Kauai Charter School

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you in good happiness and health as we breeze through the month of June. We trust that your summer break is filled with fun plus enjoyment. We look forward to everyone returning to campus for classes on Monday, August 7th.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School wishes to spend this week’s Monday Message in appreciation for all the support behind the scenes that we have received from the Maker Learning Network. Most people in our learning community might not know that our modest beginning five years ago would not have been possible without the assistance of iLEAD/Maker Learning Network. Since that time, iLEAD Schools and Maker Learning Network have branched out in fresh new areas and we currently work with the Maker Learning Network only.

photo collage AOK with the words "thank you" in the center

We have greatly appreciated the knowledge that has been shared with our school by Ms. Linda, Ms. Nicole, and Ms Kendra. They have all come to our campus and worked directly with our staff on helping to support high-quality project-based learning. In addition, in our early history, Ms. Linda MOVED to Kaua’i and assumed the role of Director when the school was without one. Ms. Linda skillfully guided the school forward into our bright future and we would not be the fastest-improving charter school in Hawai’i without her leadership.

Behind the scenes is the excellent work of Brian and Faith who support our website, social media, and Monday Message. Both of them are as skillful as they are friendly and all of us in our learning community enjoy the fruits of their labors. Brian and Faith have implemented changes in the 2022-2023 school year to improve the website plus make the Monday Message much easier to access.

As mentioned a few short weeks ago, we also wish to acknowledge the outstanding service that Sean provides to our school. You probably recognize a picture of Sean and Jon from early June where they pulled HUNDREDS of feet of fiber optic cable to help improve technology on our campus. Sean consistently works remotely on keeping our technology functioning which can be especially challenging as we moved to one-to-one technology at our school this year.

We wish to share our appreciation to DrB, our former Board of Directors Chair. She forged this relationship together to get Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School opened. DrB collaborated closely with Ms. Dawn, the iLEAD leader at that time, and Ms. Amber, the Maker Learning Network leader to help us become what we are today.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School shares a hearty mahalo nui loa to both iLEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network for their support and service to our school.

A helpful reminder to mark your calendars for Saturday, July 29th for the annual Campus Cleanup which essentially marks the first event of the 2023-2024 school year.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

facilitator holding sign that read I believe in you

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kākou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds you all in good happiness and health during the summer break.

We greatly appreciate your support of our unique charter school, which has grown from a dream to a reality in the last five years. During that time, we were fortunate to be recognized in 2022-2023 as the fastest-improving charter school in Hawai’i (there are 37 charter schools in our state), and one key area that drives this data is test results. As promised, we will disclose the results from the latest State of Hawai’i SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) assessments that we wrote in April and May.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School had another impressive set of results in 2023, as verified that we were above both the state of Hawai’i and the complex area of Kaua’i in 16 out of 18 categories. In almost every case, our unique charter school was DOUBLE DIGIT results above our colleagues in both the island of Kaua’i and the state of Hawai’i. We are incredibly proud of our exceptional learners and congratulate them on this outstanding success.

We also wish to recognize that none of this incredible success story would be possible without the efforts of so many individuals to support our students. Our diligent Assessment Coordinator, Ms. Malissa, has spearheaded the work in our school to create a cultural value that writing assessments can be fun. The dedicated staff and knowledgeable teachers have deeply supported learning at our school and infused the state standards into project-based learning activities. Let’s not forget the essential role that the ohana plays in creating the value that education is vital to success in life. Mahalo nui loa to you all for your work in helping our students to be their best.

Here is the breakdown of the results from the 2023 SBAC assessments for our school:

Language Arts

Grade Three Language Arts
+11% higher than the state;
+20% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Four Language Arts
+18% higher than the state;
+24% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Five Language Arts
+16% higher than the state;
+19% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Six Language Arts
+39% higher than the state;
+42% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Math

GradeThree Math
+5% higher than the state;
+10% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Four Math
-6% LOWER THAN THE STATE;
+4% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Five Math
-5% LOWER THAN THE STATE;
+1% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Grade Six Math
+35% higher than the state;
+42% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Science

Grade Five Science
+17% higher than the state;
+20% higher than the complex area of Kaua’i

Going forward into our bright future, we have closed the gap in our Math results at the complex area of Kaua’i, but in the theme of continuous improvement, we still have much work ahead in those results at the state of Hawai’i level. These two deficiencies are identified in CAPITAL LETTERS ABOVE and will form part of our preparations for the upcoming school year.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful summer break, and I look forward to seeing you in August. Malama pono.

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to everyone in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness as we settle into the month of June.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and we are currently in full-on preparations for the start of the 2023-2024 school year on campus. We have over 20 projects that we will focus our time, attention, and expertise on in June and July as we explore the exciting additions to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School including 7th grade next year.

3 images of AOK staff working on various projects on AOK campus during summer break

We were fortunate to have the talented Sean from Maker Learning Network join us this week on campus to help improve our technology. Sean and our own Jon pulled hundreds of feet of fiber optic cable and we now have internet in the gym plus improved service on the lower campus. The phone system was upgraded to better ensure top-level communication on campus between all classrooms. Mahalo for your excellent work, Sean and Jon.

The ever-artistic Ms. Barb was on campus adding a fresh coat of bright school-colored paint to the benches, tables, and picnic tables that are found in great abundance on our campus. It is wonderful to see many of the drab colors removed and revitalized with vibrant new additions that go along with our school colors. Mahalo Ms. Barb for sharing your talents with us.

Our newly hired Hawai’iana and Physical Education instructor Kumu Nouveau also was on-site power washing away the remnants of the 2022-2023 school throughout the campuses. It is a massive task, especially considering that we use all three campuses daily and have an ever-expanding school population. Mahalo for helping us out on campus, Kumu Nouveau.

One of the major projects going forward will be the transition of the Grade Three classroom. The classroom currently is set up for a Science Lab but with expanding classrooms we now find the need to fully convert this space. The Grade Three classrooms will have all the old Science Lab stations removed. This change alone will double the learning space in this room.

image of a large empty room, the science lab at AOK, waiting to be remodeled

We will continue to post updates throughout the summer and share completed projects with you. We look forward to seeing everyone on campus in late July for the annual Campus Cleanup as well.

My apologies for the delay in sharing the SBAC results with you this week. We are simply awaiting the last of the state results outside of our school to be uploaded in order to share the most current data. The plan is to disclose the SBAC results with you next week in the Monday Message.

Best wishes to you all for a restful summer break. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

happy summer break beach

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds the summer break for our learners off to a splendid start.

Mahalo nui for your support during the extremely successful 2022-2023 school year as verified by the recent outstanding success that learners had in the state of Hawai’i standardized writing assessments. Next week we will outline the specifics of the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) results with you in the Monday Message but we can openly share that our school performed over double digits ABOVE the state and complex area results in 14 out of 18 categories. That is correct and not a misprint-DOUBLE digits above, but we still have much work ahead in the theme of continuous improvement.

Speaking of continuous improvement, it may be summer break but it never slows down here on campus. Summer break is a busy time as the twelve-month employees work through June and July to ensure that our campus is ready for everyone to return in August.

Two cornerstones of school improvement are Mr. Jon and Mr. Adam. They take on projects to improve our school while everyone is away. This summer they have an extensive list of over 20 projects that they will work on to help make our unique school even better for our learners. Mr. Jon has been the key figure in transitioning the school from surviving to thriving as he alone came to campus five short years ago and reclaimed the vacant school back from the jungle. We wish to share our appreciation for their work and hope you all understand that we could not be where we are today without their efforts.

3 images of AOK staff working on various projects on AOK campus

We have included the 2023-2024 school year calendar below for your planning purposes. We are excited to add a School Nurse on site next year who can help monitor student health and track student attendance for us.

Alaka_i_O_Kaua_i_2023-24-Official-School-Calendar-

Lastly, we fully respect that “life happens” but humbly request that you please book major trips away from school during the natural breaks of the school year. One area that our school needs to improve in is the state of Hawai’i tracking of chronic attendance issues which starts at 15 absences or more as we are currently above the state average in this metric.

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful weekend ahead. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

AOK learner on stage facing a large audience

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and welcome to the summer holidays for our creative learners and much of our dedicated staff.

Mahalo nui for your support of our unique charter school during the 2022-2023 school year. It was a noteworthy year in the short life span of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School as our five-year charter and the addition of our middle school were both unanimously approved by the state of Hawai’i Charter School Commissioners.

Although the significance of these accomplishments are important, the real work at our school always revolves around our inquisitive learners. We immensely enjoyed some wonderful events last week to conclude the school year. The third annual Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Talent Show once again showcased the amazing array of skills, talents, and abilities of our students over and above their classroom work. We successfully ran the first-ever Grade Six Overnight Trip to Koke’e and it was magical to watch our Grade Six leaders blossom in an alternative learning environment.

a group of 7 AOK learners sitting around a table working on school work

AOK learners standing around a table preparing food to cook

On Friday at the Grade Six Farewell Ceremony, our Grade Six students performed some poignant speeches that they wrote reflecting back on their school year which marked a perfect way to culminate the 2022-2023 school year.

large audience of AOK learners watching the AOK Talent Show

We hope that everyone enjoys a well-deserved summer vacation after all the wonderful growth we witnessed in our school since last August. We look forward to sending out an invitation to our annual Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Campus Cleanup on Saturday, July 29th which usually signals that school will be starting soon. For your planning purposes, please note that our ten-month employees return to campus on Tuesday, August 1st and our students return to class on Monday, August 7th.

There are a number of us who are twelve-month employees who will be on campus during the summer break. The office will be open during June and July on somewhat reduced hours. Please feel free to contact the school with inquiries.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, and safe summer break filled with food, family, and fun. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Kahili Mountain Park Campus

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou and hope this Monday Message finds everyone in the Alaka’I O Kaua’i Charter School in good health and happiness as we head into the last week on campus for our learners in the 2022-2023 school year. We greatly appreciate all the support our school received during last Friday’s Na Kupu Lau celebration on campus. This week we look forward to the first-ever Grade Six Koke’e Overnight Trip, the third annual Talent Show, and the third annual Grade Six Farewell. Those are only a few of the events coming up.Recently our school cheerfully signed our five-year charter renewal with the state of Hawai’i Charter Commission which solidifies our future from Kindergarten to Grade Eight. In recognition of this historic expansion, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has reached into our past rich history to find a high-quality educator to capture our fascinating history.2 AOK learners standing with a facilitatorIt is our sincere wish that you have been fortunate enough to meet DrB (or Tutu B as she likes to be called by the keiki) as she has been a driving force that turned our school from a dream to a reality. DrB was recently contracted to write a historical narrative that will chronicle the humble beginnings of the most improved charter school in the state of Hawai’i. DrB has a deep passion for the success of the school including spending significant time as Board Chairperson trying to get our first charter application approved. Most people do not realize that the dream of our school started well before we were granted our first charter contract five years ago and there were actually several attempts that were not approved by the state of Hawai’i Charter Commissioners.
two photos of AOK facilitator, DrBDrB will write the history of our school and then many decades in the future when someone ponders the origins of the school, the answer can be easily accessed. Those of you with greater experiences with the school over the last five years may be asked by DrB to be part of her research on Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School.We greatly appreciate the efforts and passion of people like DrB who spent countless hours volunteering to create a top-notch FREE public education for the keiki fo Kaua’i. Mahalo nui e DrB for your work on this written history of our school and we look forward to sharing the results in the future.Best wishes to you all for a wonderful last week of classes on campus in the 2022-2023 school year!

Mahalo nui for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Alakai O Kauai Monday Message

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope his message finds you all in good health and happiness as we reach the mid-point of the marvelous month of May. There is no question that May is marvelous on campus as we enjoy so many diverse experiences during the last month of the school year.

We wish to start with gratitude to everyone who volunteered their time and energy to the annual Kaua’i Charity Walk event. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has been the top Not For Profit fundraiser on the island in this event in 2021 and again in 2022, due to your efforts. In 2023, the school set new benchmarks for stations served, volunteers that stepped forward, and points that our school accumulated. The final number will not be announced for quite some time but in 2022 our school received over $27,000 from the helpful people at the Kaua’i Charity Walk. We wish to acknowledge Ms. Kalina, our No Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network President who signed up for shifts OVER AND BEYOND the school’s commitments and earned even more points for the school.

AOK learners on staff

AOK learner on stage performing a musical instrument

We also just completed our annual Penny Wars on campus and really enjoyed the fun we all experienced with the event. It is with great appreciation that we share that this year’s edition raised over $1,700.00 for the school. That is a LOT of coins. Mahalo nui to Ms. Kelly Ann, our No Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network Vice-President for running this event this year.

giant inflatable slide at AOK

The third annual Na Kupu Lau is this Friday, May 19th on campus. We recently completed the anonymous voting by the staff to select the Royal Court of King, Queen, Princess, and Princess who are pictured below. These fantastic young leaders were chosen based on academics, integrity, leadership, respectfulness, kindness, determination, open-mindedness, and generosity. We hope to see you all on campus to celebrate with us on Friday.

Photo of the Royal Court of King, Queen, Princess, and Princess at AOK

The Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Talent Show will run the last week of school on Monday (K, K/1, 1), Tuesday (Grade 2 and Grade 3), Wednesday (Grade 3/4 and Grade 4), and Thursday (Grade 5 and Grade 6) which is May 22-May 25 inclusively. A sign-up sheet and flyer will be coming home soon but a slight change is that our keiki are limited to only ONE performance please due to overwhelming entries and enthusiasm last year.

We look forward to the Grade Six Farewell Celebration on Friday, May 26th to conclude the school year. The Grade Six students will be preparing and then delivering a speech that day to share their learnings about the school.

Mahalo nui for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

AOK learners sitting in a field watching a presentation for Na Kupu Lau

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds you in good health and happiness as we conclude the first week of May.

Last Monday, May 1st was Lei Day in beautiful Hawai’i and we were pleased to see many colorful leis on campus to celebrate the day. Being the unique charter school that we are, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School did not host any Lei Day celebrations again this year as we focus our attention on a slightly different presentation.

Our third annual Na Kupu Lau celebration is scheduled for Friday, May 19th here on campus. This creative event has grown significantly from some humble beginnings three short years ago right in the middle of the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming any and all members of our learning community to attend and enjoy the artistic work of our talented keiki.

Once again, each of our classrooms will give a presentation during the celebration. We have included some photos from last year’s events so that those people new to our learning community can have a quick view of Na Kupu Lau. The celebration will include a post-event social with light lunch for all the participants and guests that join us.

AOK learners holding up a colorful large painting of a sunset

AOK community sitting outside in a field with a green mountain in the background for Na Kupu Lau

We want to share this invitation with you a touch early as we understand that prior planning might be essential in your busy lives to be able to attend the event here on campus with us. More details will be shared via ParentSquare Messaging for those who currently have learners enrolled in the school.

AOK learners dressed in purple standing in a field outside

Mahalo nui for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

blue poster that reads "shine bright like a diamond"

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community and we hope this message finds you all in good health and happiness as the calendar turns over to May tomorrow. Hard to imagine we are just about to start the last month of the 2022-2023 school for our learners.

As we conclude the month of April, it is a perfect time to reflect on the character trait focus of the month which was ACHIEVEMENT. Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is currently engaged in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) state of Hawai’i assessments which is a perfect way to celebrate achievement in our school. The SBAC assessments are administered in Grades 3-6 in our school are one of many areas of the data collected that helps guide future educational planning at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. As you probably know, our school was recognized as the fastest-improving charter school in the state of Hawai’i. One of the sources of data for rankings of schools comes from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessments.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School embraces the opportunity to discover the quality of the education we are providing for our learners. Writing the SBAC assessments is celebrated at our school and this involves all the keiki on campus and not just the learners in Grades 3-6. We philosophically enjoy coming together to support the learners and intentionally attempt to diminish any phobias of writing assessments or tests. The ability to write assessments without great fear is a lifelong skill that is important for success in life. This is demonstrated by the reality that even getting a Driver’s License involves testing.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School wishes to recognize the incredible efforts of Ms. Malissa in supporting our learners’ success through her role on campus as the Assessment Coordinator. Ms. Malissa works tirelessly to ensure that each and every learner is supported not only during SBACs but also during the entire school year. We continue to see our learners perform much higher on state assessments in most categories compared to other schools and much of this happy news is built on the efforts of Ms. Malissa. We greatly appreciate your incredible work, Ms. Malissa, and we know that you believe in all of our learners.

collage image of 3 photos at AOK

Mahalo nui kakou for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

Kahili Mountain Park Campus

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this late April Monday Message finds you all in good health and happiness.

As we roll into the last week of April, we are pleased to share some behind-the-scenes work in Human Resources and share some upcoming staff changes for the 2023-2024 school year. We appreciate all the people who applied to join our team and also wish to extend our gratitude to the people who worked with Ms. Patricia and me throughout the hiring process.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School congratulates Ms. Whitney who will be moving from an Educational Assistant at our school into a substitute teacher role for the 2023-2024 school year. Mahalo for your work with our keiki and we look forward to continued work with Ms. Whitney, albeit in a different role.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School warmly welcomes back Ms. Claire to our school to replace the vacant Educational Assistant position. Ms. Claire knows the school well already. She helped open the school five years ago while working in the office and currently serves as a substitute teacher at our school. It is wonderful to have you return to our school in a full-time role, Ms. Claire.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School wishes continued success to Kumu Kali who will be moving back to Moloka’i and rejoining his former school there. Mahalo nui for your contributions to our learning community and for helping us discover in a much greater depth, the incredible culture of where we live, Hawai’i.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is pleased to announce we will be expanding our offerings on campus next year and filling the vacant Hawai’iana teaching position with the same individual. A warm welcome to Kumu Nouveau who will join our team in the dual position of Physical Education teacher and Hawai’iana teacher for the 2023-2024 school year. Kumu Nouveau is already well known at our school as an excellent substitute teacher on campus and joins us full-time from the Hawai’i Department of Education where his last posting was at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is thrilled to introduce our new Grade Seven teacher to our learning community. After an extensive search, we can now share that Mr. Logan Hamzl will be joining our team to educate the newly offered Grade Seven at our school. Mr. Logan is currently teaching in Colorado and is moving to the island this summer along with his ohana which will include two new learners at our school. Mr. Logan has an impressive resume complete with years of outstanding teaching in project-based learning settings which includes nominations for the state teacher of the year a remarkable five times. We will arrange in the coming weeks a virtual meeting with the current Grade Six students and their ohana so everyone can “meet” Mr. Logan in advance.

collage of 4 new teachers at AOK

We anticipate that there are potentially more announcements in the coming weeks as we all understand that hiring GREAT employees is a global challenge even on beautiful Kaua’i.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

AOK school building in the forefront with a rainbow in the sky in the background

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha mai kakou to the good people in the learning community of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and we hope this message finds you well as we head into the last six weeks of the 2022-2023 school year. We greatly appreciate your support of our unique charter school and we have enjoyed a great variety of events on campus in the last ten days that enhance the quality of the educational experience for our keiki.

As mentioned last week, we were successfully able to host our second annual Makahiki Games on campus on Thursday, April 6th. Enjoy a photo from the fun event below. We wish to once again express our gratitude to the selfless volunteers who made these activities possible. Over a dozen individuals, under the guidance of a parent volunteer (mahalo nui Norman), helped us all learn much more about the games. Dreaming into the future, we hope that some of our learners will participate in the annual Makahiki Games on Moloka’i.

AOK learners in a field

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School was honored to host crew members from the Hokule’a to speak to our Grade Four and Grade Six students last Tuesday. They shared incredible stories of the bravery, courage, and fortitude needed to sail this ship in respect of the original Polynesian explorers. We look forward to their return again later in the school year to share more stories with our keiki.

AOK learners listening to a presentation in a classroom

Captain Mark visited campus this week and shared his talents of storytelling with the younger grades. He brought a “whale” for the keiki to sit inside while he shared a “whale” of interesting stories. Creativity and imagination were on full display for all involved in this exciting addition to our classes.

AOK learners sitting into a blue tarp, listening to stories

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is fortunate to be part of Hard University’s “The Thinking Classroom Hawai’i” sponsored by the Hawai’i Charter Commission. This incredible opportunity empowers our staff to examine the delivery of education at our school and to search for new lenses in the world of learning.

AOK teachers sitting around a table together

As you probably know, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School was recognized as the fastest-improving charter school in the state of Hawai’i in the 2021-2022 school year! As we roll toward the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year, our collected data shows steep growth, with the exception of one area. Student chronic absenteeism (which consists of 15 or more days of school missed) has increased this year and is projected to exceed the state average. Student chronic absenteeism negatively impacts not only the school’s STRIVE HI metrics but is also detrimental to the learning that occurs for our keiki. We respectfully ask everyone to be mindful of the importance of regular attendance at school.

Best wishes to you all for a terrific week. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

4 AOK learners at a table creating art

Director DJ’s Message:

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

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and it is wonderful to share all the various activities happening with our learners to start the month of April.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School participated in our first-ever attempt at the Mayor’s Track Meet last weekend. We are proud of our participants and look forward to distributing the ribbons for the top finishers at our next school-wide Assembly on Friday, April 14th at 9 am in the gym. Parents and community members are warmly welcome to attend.

AOK learners running on a red track

We held our second annual Makahiki Games on campus last Thursday. Mahalo nui to the dedicated community volunteers spearheaded by one of our parents (Norman) who came to campus to run the events. In preparation for the event, some of our Grade Five students volunteered their lunchtime to make leis for our guests.

College of AOK learners participating in outdoor event

The second annual Keiki Rainbow Wellness Challenge is still ongoing and our learners have until Tuesday to return their sheets to win a shoe sack backpack. Our learners could also earn the right to sign their name on the window in the Main Office. We wish to share our gratitude to the Grade One class and Mrs. Shay for bringing this event to campus again this year.

AOK classroom decoration

The next No Hoa O Alaka’i Parent Teacher Network Meeting will be virtual this Wednesday, April 12th at 5 pm. All parents and community members are encouraged to attend so please watch for a Zoom link that will be distributed in a ParentSquare message on Tuesday.

The Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) Collaboration and Planning Day will be tomorrow. Accordingly, while the staff is at school there will be no school for learners on Monday, April 10th. We look forward to seeing everyone back on campus on Tuesday, April 11th.

Best wishes to you all for a festive Easter Break. Malama pono.

DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.

"Achievement" text over a background of a sunset

Director DJ’s Message:

Aloha to the good people in the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learning community, and we hope this message finds you healthy and happy as we enter the new month of April. The character trait focus for the month of April will be ACHIEVEMENT and we are fortunate to see countless examples of this trait on daily on campus.

Our keiki had a marvelous experience with the talented Captain Steve on campus in our Hawai’iana classes during the last two weeks. Captain Steve volunteered his time and expertise to teach our learners about the Hokule’a, a performance accurate wa’a kaulua as he has experience working on the crew. We greatly appreciate him sharing his knowledge so that we could all learn about the early brave Polynesian voyagers.

AOK learners building mini boats

Ms. Nicole, our talented Art teacher, continues to offer high-quality classes to our learners. Anytime anyone wanders into her happy classroom, they are instantly overwhelmed with the ACHIEVEMENT and engagement of our learners.

AOK learners in art class

Mahalo nui e Kumu Nouveau and Ms. Kelly Ann for supporting ACHIEVEMENT at the Mayor’s Track Day(s) that were held over the weekend. It was wonderful to see our unique charter school participate in this event on Saturday (Kindergarten to Grade Five) and Sunday (Middle School) and we will share out the results in an upcoming Monday Message.

AOK learners playing in a open green field

This week we will also celebrate ACHIEVEMENT with the second annual Makahiki Games that will be held on Thursday, April 7th. We are fortunate to have a local group of volunteers who will come to campus and run the event with our learners. Parents and community members are welcome to attend to event and learn more about the activities.

This a helpful reminder that there is another long long weekend coming up around the holiday of Easter. On Friday, April 7th the campus will be closed due to Good Friday and Monday, April 10th is a Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) Collaboration Day with no students at school. We look forward to welcoming our learners back to campus on Tuesday, April 12th for the stretch run of the 2022-2023 school year. There are no other planned breaks from school for the remainder of the school year which concludes on Friday, May 26th.

An update to a miscommunication on our Instagram and Facebook accounts-we have NOT hired a Grade Seven facilitator for the 2023-2024 school year yet. We are still collecting resumes to fill the position and we will be vigilant and make sure that we have high-quality educators working with our keiki.

AOK learners building mini boats

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and malama pono.

Mahalo for your support of our unique charter school and malama pono.DJ Adams – Po’o Kumu (Director), Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, Koloa, Hawai’i

“Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.” There is life in a kindly reply.