Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School Celebrates Growth and Potential

By Michael Niehoff
Education Content Coordinator at iLEAD Schools

Now in its third year, Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School — which translates to iLEAD Kauai — is still experiencing lots of new. The school, located at the beautiful Kahili Mountain Park and serving kindergarten through 6th grade, has a new director, new learners, new projects and renewed enthusiasm.

New Director

Alakai O Kauai Meet the TeamAbout his role at Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School, Director DJ Adams said, “It is refreshing to join a team of people with a shared vision of a high-quality, free public education infused with project-based learning. Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School has tremendous potential for continued positive growth, so it is exciting to be part of our journey ahead.”

Adams is impressed with so many things about Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi, whose staff have worked hard to safely accommodate face-to-face learning during the pandemic this school year. He said that Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi team members and families are grateful to live and work on a beautiful island that is almost COVID-free. But above all, Adams is inspired by the enthusiasm, engagement and attitudes of the learners.

“Our learners have been fantastic,” Adams said. “They have embraced the challenges and uniqueness to be on campus, and we are extremely proud of their efforts to keep everyone safe here at school and on our island.”

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi kindergarten facilitator Casey Zoppa said that, within a few weeks of Adams’ arrival as director, he’d learned the names of all the facilitators and learners and made his positive presence known.

“Talk about dedication to that job,” Zoppa said. “The man is always in sneakers because he is always on the run! And I love it!”

Outdoor Classrooms

Also new to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi are outdoor classrooms, which have added to the instructional environment and culture of the school.

Adams said that the outdoor classrooms create great opportunities, including safe social distancing, physical education and lots of play-based learning.

“The outdoor classrooms here in beautiful Kahili Valley are somewhat surreal, as the learners are surrounded by green, lush plants framed by the mountains,” Adams said.

The outdoor classrooms have also enhanced the school’s creative projects and learner inquiry. For example, Zoppa and the kindergarten learners are currently focusing on sound design and the driving question “How do we make sound?”

“We’ll be making instruments, learning about Hawaiian culture and seeing how native Hawaiians made instruments,” Zoppa said. “Music connects us around the globe, and this is a perfect time for connecting.”

Play-Based Learning

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter SchoolIn addition to project-based learning, the idea of intentional and learner-led play has become a foundational instructional element of Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.

Zoppa said that his kindergartners are learning school is not about sitting at desks but rather about being active and engaged in their environment.

“We have tremendous freedom here as facilitators, and we try to model that freedom for our learners,” Zoppa said. “We allow them to take chances, make mistakes and ultimately get messy. Authentic and deeper learning are messy.”

Adams said, “It’s so exciting to be part of new opportunities for our learners as they continue to be challenged in new ways by their amazing facilitators.”

Looking Ahead

Having achieved so much in only three years, Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi is just getting started. The team and families are making plans to continue to engage the learners and the entire community.

According to Zoppa, Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi is a special place with a strong foundation and exciting potential.

“We have come so far in just three years. I can’t imagine all the amazing things ahead for our learners, facilitators and community.”

Alakai O Kauai

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Optimism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is one of the core elements of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School approach to education. Through social-emotional learning, learners understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Academic achievement is only one aspect of a learner’s education at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We also deeply value learners’ development of emotional intelligence, life skills, and community engagement, and we support these through the development of character strengths, as defined by Character Lab. Social-emotional learning develops strengths of heart, mind, and will.

Today, we want to discuss a character strength of will: optimism. Optimism is being hopeful about future outcomes combined with the agency to shape that future.

When we embody the character strength of optimism, the following things are true about us:

  1. We attribute problems to temporary, changeable causes rather than explaining them in terms that author Martin Seligman calls “the three Ps” – permanent, personal, and pervasive.
  2. We expect good things from others, the world, and the future.
  3. We can overcome obstacles to reach goals.

We can help learners build healthy optimism in the following ways:

  • Create a positive, stable, caring environment. We can create positive, stable environments where kids feel known and cared for.
  • Help learners develop more positive thinking patterns. For example, if a learner gets stuck and says, “I’m not good at this,” we encourage them to reposition the statement like this: “I need more practice or a new perspective to master this concept.” This takes consistent practice.
  • Give learners opportunities to learn from their mistakes. If learners experience failure and learn from that failure, they will develop resiliency when obstacles occur.

Character Lab CEO Angela Duckworth has said, “It stands to reason that even in our darkest moments, there will always be hope for humankind.”

That thought likely rings true for many of us as we survey a world gripped by multiple ongoing crises. We all need optimism, and we have a responsibility to help kids develop a healthy strength of optimism that will help them face the world.

Alakai O Kauai

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Dear Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

Once a month, we share a new Together Tuesdays video. Click here to submit your photos or short videos for the next edition! Submissions received by the Friday before each edition are eligible to be included.*

We can’t wait to see your contributions!

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

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Social Intelligence

In the Alaka’i O Kaua’i approach to project-based learning, which produces well-rounded kids, social intelligence is a key component of whole-child development.

What do we mean by social intelligence? It’s a person’s ability to interact well with others. It’s often simply called people skills, or tact. It isn’t necessarily a natural-born characteristic, but it can be learned. It involves situational awareness, understanding of social dynamics, and self-awareness.

In a nutshell, it’s the ability to recognize our emotions, exert control over them, show empathy for others, handle conflict well, and make good choices. By helping kids develop social intelligence, we empower them to build stronger relationships and lay the groundwork for bright futures.

Social intelligence isn’t static; it continually develops throughout one’s life. It’s never too late to sharpen it, and children are especially ready to learn. Educating children on healthy communication helps them to be a friend who is empathetic, generous, kind, and a good listener. There are four main characteristics of social intelligence:

Empathy: Empathy determines how well one relates to other people’s thoughts and emotions. Empathetic people consider and understand diverse perspectives, even if they don’t share the same ideas. They can pick up on a person’s mood and adjust their reactions accordingly.

Respect: Mutual understanding calls for a degree of respect. Respecting others can mean adapting communication styles to fit their needs, or finding a healthy compromise.

Behavior: This component concerns how people carry themselves in social situations. Are their actions appropriate for the setting? Do they make others feel relaxed or uncomfortable? A person must be able to adapt when necessary while maintaining their core values.

Self-efficacy: This characteristic refers to how a person judges themselves on their capacity to perform particular tasks. If someone has a stable sense of self-efficacy concerning social intelligence, they’re confident in their social abilities.

These skills are reinforced in school, but the foundations are set at home, which is one reason why Alaka’i O Kaua’i believes in strong parent/guardian involvement in the educational process.

We can do the following to develop our social intelligence:

  • Pay close attention to what and who are around us
  • Work on increasing our emotional intelligence
  • Respect cultural differences
  • Practice active listening
  • Appreciate the important people in our lives

Much like the other components of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i approach to education, the development of social intelligence builds strengths in kids, as well as sharpening all the other pillars of social-emotional and project-based learning — resulting in well-rounded kids who are ready for whatever challenges life may bring.

Alakai O Kauai

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Dear Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

Once a month, we share a new Together Tuesdays video. Click here to submit your photos or short videos for the next edition! Submissions received by the Friday before each edition are eligible to be included.*

We can’t wait to see your contributions!

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

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School

Remembering with Tutu B: How Alaka`i O Kaua`i Became a School

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

Time for a little mathematics! How long ago was the year 2013? How old were you? Do you remember where you were or what you were doing? Let’s find out why the year 2013 is important to the `Ohana of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School!

Ms. Moraes holds her certificate: “Thank you for your vision and insight to bring an iLEAD School to Kauai.”

In the year 2013, plans for iLEAD Kauai first began and our first application was submitted to the charter commission. Deena Fontana Moraes wrote the first series of applications with iLEAD cofounders, Amber Raskin and Dawn Evenson. Ms. Moraes now works as an administrator in the DOE as an educational consultant.

For the 2014-2015 application, Dr. B Blackwell (Tutu B — that’s me!) was added. A lot of volunteers supported this application and went out into the community to gather over 800 signatures in support of the school.

Nicola Sherrill, Tutu B, and Minna Freeman Prichard in 2015 at Kapaa Town Nite.

Three people who worked hard to gather signatures were Nicola Sherrill, Tutu B, and Minna Freeman Prichard, who also served as board members. Nicola had been part of the school effort since 2013 and still serves today as vice chairperson of the Alaka`i O Kaua`i Governing Board.

We held many community meetings, the first in May of 2014. The largest meeting was held January 8, 2015, at the All Saints’ gym in Kapa`a. Over 100 people attended, including the Mayor of Kauai, Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Superintendent of Kauai Schools Bill Arakaki!

Amber Raskin and Dawn Evenson,
cofounders of iLEAD Schools Development (now Maker Learning Network), our service provider.

In spite of the overwhelming community support, the charter commission denied iLEAD Kauai’s applications for both 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

So how did the community triumph with their third and final effort, when we submitted the application (now as Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School) for the 2015-2016 year?

This poster says, “Please join us for some free food and entertainment and learn about this innovative new K-8 charter school, proposed for the island of Kauai – Fall 2016.”

New rules stated that no director or group of people could submit an application. Only a governing board with officers could submit an application and a director had to be selected through an advertised and vetting process. Many times there were challenges that I thought we couldn’t overcome.

I spent many hours looking at my computer screen, answering the Charter Commission’s questions.

What got me through the process?

On my computer screen were the photos of the governing board members’ children, our school’s keiki (see our featured photo above). I wanted them to benefit from the alternative educational program offered by iLEAD Schools Development (now Maker Learning Network).

On August 11, 2016, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School was finally approved!

And did you know that the Hawaiian translation for Alaka`i O Kaua`i means iLEAD Kauai?

Here is our Kauai County Fair booth, designed by Indulekha Reeves with her keiki, Sylvan and Nimai and Minna Freeman-Prichard’s children, Anneli and Ipo.

Soon after we received the approval, we shared the news with Kauai through the Kauai County Fair. Our booth was designed by Indulekha Reeves, who was vice chairperson of our board at the time and is now the chairperson.

But wait! If our school was planned to be in Kapaa, then how did Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School end up in our beautiful Mount Kahili home? That story will be told in the next chapter of Remembering with Tutu B!

Alakai O Kauai Mud Kitchen

Inspiration: Mud Kitchen Fun!

By Nicole Huguenin
Director of Arts Integration and Play Maker, Maker Learning Network

Remember: Kids are 100% washable!

Are you running out of ideas to entertain your bright learners at home? We have just the thing for you: Why not build your family’s very own mud kitchen?

Mud kitchens are so much fun for your kids! Not only do they completely engage children and provide you with some much-needed extra time, but they also encourage the following:

  • Exploration
  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Social Skills
  • Role-Playing
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Math
  • Sensory Play
  • Wonder and Joy

Did you know that dirt is healthy for your kids? Find out “The Dirt on Dirt” and the many health benefits of mud!

How to Make a Mud Kitchen

Mud kitchens can be as simple as a bowl, a stick, some dirt, and some water. They can also be a little more elaborate. Click here for our collection of mud kitchen ideas on Pinterest! Let your child’s imagination guide them in their mud kitchen adventures.

Mud Kitchen Supply Ideas

Items for mud kitchens need not be new. They can be things from around the house, or you can ask friends and relatives if they have any. Thrift stores are also a great place to find things for mud kitchens. See what you can find from this list:

  • Cupcake Tins
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Mashers
  • Whisks
  • Spatulas
  • Metal Bowls
  • Wooden Bowls
  • Sifter
  • Small Pans
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Colanders
  • Ladles
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pots and Pans
  • Expired Spices
  • Dried or Old Flowers

Remember: “Kids are 100% washable!” —Lisa Latimer, iLEAD Agua Dulce School Director

Have fun! #GETMUDDY

Be sure to share your mud kitchen photos with us here!

Alakai O Kauai

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Dear Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

Once a month, we share a new Together Tuesdays video. Click here to submit your photos or short videos for the next edition! Submissions received by the Friday before each edition are eligible to be included.*

We can’t wait to see your contributions!

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

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

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

21st Century Skills Alakai O Kauai

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Whole-Child Development

Last week we introduced the importance of social-emotional learning at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Social-emotional learning is integral to our whole-child educational approach.

A whole-child mind-set means that we are focused on far more than teaching to tests or holding up state standards as the be-all, end-all of education. We believe in focusing on the whole child and promoting social-emotional learning, because education is about more than test scores.

Whole-child development empowers kids to be creative, engaged citizens. With that in mind, we believe it’s our responsibility to nurture learners’ creative abilities to express themselves, understand others, and navigate complex information so they can confidently solve the problems of an ever-changing world.

So when we say we focus on “whole child” development, what do we mean? We’re talking about an approach to project-based learning that emphasizes the following deeper-learning approaches:

Mastery of Core Academic Content: Learners lay their academic foundation in subjects such as reading, writing, arts, math, and science, understanding essential principles and procedures, recalling facts, and drawing on their knowledge to complete tasks.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Our learners understand how to construct effective arguments using their critical, analytical, and creative skills. They develop the know-how to come up with solutions to complex problems.

Collaboration: Learners embrace teamwork and consider multiple viewpoints to cooperate and achieve shared goals.

Effective Communication: Learners communicate effectively in writing and oral presentations. They structure information in meaningful ways, listen to and give feedback, and construct messages for particular audiences.

Self-Directed Learning: Learners develop the ability to set goals, monitor their own progress, and reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement. They learn to see setbacks as opportunities to grow and be more adaptive.

Growth Mind-set: Learners with a growth mind-set believe in themselves. They trust their abilities and believe their hard work will pay off; they persist to overcome obstacles. In the process, they also learn from and support each other and see the relevance of their schoolwork to the real world and their own future success.

Coupled with vibrant project-based education and social-emotional learning, all these elements work together to empower kids to overcome any challenge that comes their way academically; but more than that, they build the character to succeed in the 21st century.

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

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

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

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

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

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

But why is SEL so important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

COVID-19 Updates

We will update this page as new information becomes available.

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

Drop-Off Procedure
Drop Off Procedures 1

Health Check Procedure

AOK Procedure 1 - Health Check

Updates


Online Enrichment Tools

COVID Resources

Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Remembering with Tutu B: Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi’s Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tutu B with Minna Freeman Prichard

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

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

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School Culture: Real-World Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

Dreamup to Space Alakai O Kauai

Apply to Join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team!

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

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

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

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

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

Or feel free to apply for both!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Greetings, Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

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

Dreamup to Space Alakai O Kauai

Apply to Join a DreamUp to Space Launch Team!

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

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

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

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

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

Or feel free to apply for both!

Deadline to apply: September 25, 2020.

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

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

21st Century Skills Alakai O Kauai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Together Tuesdays: Share Your Photos and Stories!

Greetings, Alaka’i O Kaua’i community,

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
The iLEAD Team

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Project Based Learing

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Culture: Project-Based Learning

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

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

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

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

PBL provides the following benefits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DJ Adams
School Director

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Click here for the School Calendar

Click here for the Community Calendar

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

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

Please remember to bring your lunch and snacks!

Quick Links

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

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

Here is the schedule for this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahalo,

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

Many of our facilitators are parents too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Ms. Bailey Raines (Kindergarten)

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

The balance is delicate but attainable.

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

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

The adjustment is new but workable.

This is the new normal in 2020.

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director