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

COVID-19 Updates

We will update this page as new information becomes available.

We’re looking forward to seeing our ohana this fall! 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.

Fall Opening Plan (July 31, 2020)

2020 Opening Plan Letter

 

Drop-Off Procedure
Drop Off Procedures 1

 

Pick-Up Procedure
Coming soon.
 

Health Check Procedure

AOK Procedure 1 - Health Check

 

Updates


Resources and Tools for Families

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

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

Many of our facilitators are parents too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Ms. Bailey Raines (Kindergarten)

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

The balance is delicate but attainable.

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

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

The adjustment is new but workable.

This is the new normal in 2020.

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Distance Learning Enrichment Survey

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

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

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

Mahalo!

Fred Birkett
School Director

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

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

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

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

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

With gratitude,

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Kindergarteners Focus on Manners

Our kindergarteners spent the past week focusing on manners! During their Zoom meeting on Monday, Mrs. Raines read a book on manners called “Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green.” She asked the learners to choose one habit they would like to focus on using at home that week. Examples included saying “please” and “thank you,” chewing with their mouths shut, using an inside voice, and sharing with their siblings.

On Friday, Mrs. Raines asked the learners how well they did, and most were excited to announce they’d practiced their manners over the week. The learners also shared show-and-tell items.

Our kindergarteners have enjoyed seeing each other in our times of sharing some normalcy, such as listening to Mrs. Raines reading and sharing during show-and-tell. Each week, Mrs. Raines focuses on a different topic that allows the learners to use their imaginations to develop key skills that are important to them.

4th Graders Create Projects on Women in History!

Each of Ms. Kate’s 4th graders has been researching a woman in history and creating a video in which they conduct the STEM project that goes with it. We have seen stomp rockets for Sally Ride, paper airplanes for Amelia Earhart, and push cars for Princess Diana!

Communication is key right now, and Ms. Kate’s learners are making the best out of this situation!

 

5th and 6th Graders Make Progress in Science and Writing!

Ms. Donna Daum’s 5th and 6th graders are continuing their Edmentum online enrichment and making real progress! Many learners are taking an interest as Ms. Daum posts the top three learners’ progress each week.

The learners are also in PowerSchool and beginning science enrichment opportunities.

Our 5th graders have lessons in ecology, photosynthesis, ecosystems, and biomes.

Our 6th graders have lessons on energy, including light and sound.

In addition, learners are writing positive stories using the phrase “What if…” to spin any situation into a positive one!

Learners are adjusting well to Zoom and are becoming more comfortable with working online.

Keeping Our Learning Community Connected from Home

Our learners are having a wonderful time of online learning enrichment and connecting with one another online.

Ms. Jamilee Jimenez’s class is so grateful to continue to connect with one another and learn!

Educational Assistant Erika Bates met with her third grade small reading group class on Zoom. Before the meeting, Miss Bates challenged learners to write creative stories. She read her story to the group and then the learners shared their stories. Giving creative challenges like this one is what learners need to stay motivated and to keep their brains sharp during this time at home.

Mrs. JoeAnne Mick challenged first grade learners to make something out of three paper tubes. She sent them a package with school supplies plus the paper tubes and an encouraging note. Learners made towers, games, binoculars and cell phones, which they shared on Zoom. Her class also had a spelling bee on Zoom. Learners were happy to see one another and connect!