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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

21st Century Skills Alakai O Kauai

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

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, social-emotional learning is integral to our whole-child educational approach. 

A whole-child mindset 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 Mindset: Learners with a growth mindset 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.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fundraising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

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

What does it take to really succeed? Some might call it drive or determination. At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we like to call it grit, and it is a crucial component of social-emotional learning.

We define grit as “having courage and resolve, and strength of character.” Someone with grit works hard and passionately, sets goals, and follows through. Why is grit important? Because to truly accomplish goals and thrive, we need the ability to persevere. Without grit, talent may be nothing more than unmet potential. That is why we believe it is so valuable to instill an understanding of grit early on in kids.

But how does one assess “grittiness”? A simple way is to see if you identify with some of these statements:

  • I enjoy projects that take time to complete.
  • I am working toward a long-term goal.
  • What I do each day is connected to my deepest personal values.
  • There is at least one subject or activity I never get bored thinking about.
  • Setbacks don’t discourage me for long.
  • I am a hard worker.
  • I finish whatever I begin.
  • I never stop working to improve.

Our approach to SEL has been deeply influenced by Angela Lee Duckworth, who has done extensive research in the area of grit. She suggests that one way to think about grit is to consider what it isn’t.

Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

Instead, grit is about having a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. Further, grit means holding fast to that goal, no matter what.

There are many practical ways to foster grit in learners:

  • Help them see how their efforts can contribute to the well-being of others.
  • Nurture a growth mindset; a belief that the ability to learn is not fixed.
  • Ask them to set their own long-term goals.
  • Focus discussions on effort, tenacity, and learning from failures.

We believe as part of a curriculum that’s rich in project-based and social-emotional learning, when kids learn to model grit in their academic pursuits, their mindset will positively affect every area of their lives.

Watch This: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 17th we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Observed on the third Monday in January each year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only national holiday dedicated as a day of service. On this day, we are encouraged to volunteer and help make our communities a better place. This is a great day to reflect on how you can help make a difference.

Please watch the video below if you would like to view his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Zest

“Enthusiasm is the electricity of life.” —Gordon Parks

Central to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i approach to project-based learning is a belief that education works best when it’s energetic. Rather than being stale and rote, it’s filled with excitement. That excitement, which we call zest, is a core element of social-emotional learning.

Individuals who approach life with zest tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They refuse to do things halfway or halfheartedly.
  • They are energetic.
  • They approach life as an adventure.

In the context of classroom learning, zest coupled with curiosity can help drive kids’ motivation to learn and press on even when things get difficult. Zest is enthusiasm in the face of challenges. It can help learners overcome challenges to find amazing rewards.

So what does developing zest look like in the learning process? Facilitators can leverage kids’ innate ability to learn by creating and maintaining environments that encourage their zest and curiosity and support their feelings of autonomy. We believe in framing mistakes as opportunities for learning and discussion, and we celebrate questions to drive learning. We also believe in kids taking ownership of the direction their learning takes.

Incorporating zest into learning means funneling energy into dynamic, project-based learning that brings concepts to life. Whether it’s conducting scientific experiments, engaging in historical research and reenactments, or enjoying play-based learning, our learners engage in vibrant methods of exploring, creating, and understanding.

For a facilitator — and families, too — it’s important to bear in mind that some children are not as naturally “zestful” as others. With these learners especially, keep in mind that enthusiasm isn’t taught as much as it is modeled and encouraged. Enthusiasm is infectious. If kids see your zest for learning, they can be inspired too. The goal is to help kids move along the spectrum of enthusiasm toward a more zestful attitude.

When the seeds of enthusiasm are planted early and take root in the soil of learners’ minds, they are empowered to approach challenges as opportunities to grow and succeed.

Embrace the Near-Win

Social Emotional Learning Alakai O Kauai

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Curiosity

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” — Golda Meir

Within the Alaka’i O Kaua’i education model, we believe kids are more empowered to learn and retain knowledge when learning means asking questions. That’s why we reinforce curiosity as a component of social-emotional learning (SEL).

Simply put, curiosity is a strong desire to learn or know something — a search for information for its own sake.

Curiosity is frequently the engine that drives learning and achievement. Children are curious by nature, and so much of life is a source of wonder for them.

For curious learners, it’s less important to have the “right” answers and more important to create an environment where questioning and learning can occur.

So how do we nurture curiosity in learners? We do it, in part, by modeling an interest in the world around us and asking open-ended questions. Through dynamic project-based learning, facilitators at Alaka’i O Kaua’i foster and develop kids’ natural inclination to be curious. Families and facilitators alike nurture curiosity when they encourage learners to identify and seek answers to questions that pique their interests.

A component of curiosity is uncertainty. While uncertainty often creates hesitation for learners, it’s possible for it to fuel the learning process. There are several ways to respond to uncertainty, according to Jamie Holmes, author of Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing.

  • Address the emotional impact of uncertainty: “The emotions of learning are surprise, awe, interest, and confusion,” according to Holmes. However, facilitators can help learners respond to these emotions by encouraging them to see uncertainty as an opportunity for learning.
  • Adopt a nonauthoritarian facilitation style to encourage exploration, challenge and revision: By facilitating learning with a sense of curiosity and humanity, facilitators can help learners find ways to think and learn. Holmes writes, “The best teachers are in awe of their subjects.”
  • Show how the process of discovery is often messy and nonlinear: Instead of simply presenting breakthroughs as logical results of long treks toward understanding, facilitators can share with learners how discoveries are often made — through trial and error, missteps, “happy accidents” and chance.

How do we pique learners’ curiosity? Developmental psychologist Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell has suggested several ways:

  • Value and reward curiosity in learners.
  • Give learners practice asking quality questions.
  • Notice when kids feel puzzled or confused.
  • Encourage learners to tinker with materials, thoughts, or emotions.
  • Use current events as launchpads for conversation.
  • Give learners opportunities to show healthy skepticism.
  • Explore a variety of cultures and societies.
  • Encourage curiosity outside of the classroom.

We believe when kids know how to be curious, they know how to think differently. When they know how to think differently, they’re empowered to be problem solvers who can change the world around them.

Still Curious?

“Curiosity. It’s the most powerful thing you own.”

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Self-Control

By definition, social-emotional learning (SEL) helps kids tap into their emotions and how they affect what they do. So it should follow that an essential component of SEL is an understanding of self-control, or self-management.

As defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) — which has informed the Alaka’i O Kaua’i approach to SEL — self-management is “the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.” In essence, it’s the ability to both set and work toward personal and academic goals without significant deviation from your charted course. 

Associated with self-control are many skills that, when developed, equip learners for academic success and overall life success.

  • Impulse control: The ability to distract oneself from a desire, to not act on immediate impulses, and to delay actions for a period of time.
  • Stress management: Having a solid foundation of self-awareness allows learners to determine when they are stressed so they can implement practiced strategies with more success.
  • Self-discipline: Often simply called willpower, self-discipline allows one to ignore other stimuli in order to focus on the goal at hand and follow plans in spite of distractions.
  • Goal setting: Research has shown that learners tend to achieve more success when working with their own realistic goals.
  • Self-motivation: This is one that can be difficult to teach. Learners must develop their own internal push that will keep them moving toward goals. 
  • Organizational skills – Particularly in light of current distance learning, keeping one’s work area uncluttered and organized allows for more productive work time. Filtering information to be relevant to the topic at hand with a clear big picture can help learners stay on track. Keeping track of time and commitments can help them reach goals.

Success in work and life is strongly influenced by self-management. When learners take ownership of their work and create norms for themselves, they are more likely to meet their goals.

An important function of education is to foster self-reliance and independence. This is why we refer to our teachers as facilitators. They are not simply talking at students; they are facilitating the process of learning. They are empowering learners to take ownership of and responsibility for their work and success. If kids learn these principles early on, there is no doubt they will stay with them the rest of their lives. 

Additionally, self-management plans can be instrumental in positively addressing behavioral issues. The intent of self-management strategies is to build a learner’s independence and ability to engage in self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-reinforcement. The true power of self-management is its emphasis on building that feeling of control over one’s own behavior. Teachers’ attempts to simply control a student’s behavior often decreases the power of a reinforcer, which in turn makes a self-management plan less efficient and problem behavior more likely to occur.

Everything is connected. When kids learn, understand, and adopt the principles of social-emotional learning, they’re not simply becoming better students — they are becoming the well-rounded leaders our world needs.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

Featured Video Play Icon

Announcing the 2021-22 DreamUp to Space Team

We’re over the moon to announce the top proposal in Alaka’i O Kuau’i Charter School’s DreamUp to Space Mission & Experiment Design Challenge, 2021-22.

Proposals and videos from seven finalist teams were reviewed by a panel of assessors, with one team selected for flight to the International Space Station in May 2022. Team Ko, the selected team, is interested in the affect that microgravity will have on sugar cane seed germination.

Team Ko’s hypothesis is that the sugarcane seeds will germinate faster in space than on earth.  They base their hypothesis on the fact that  sugarcane is a relative of bamboo which can grow hydroponically (in water)  

Persais Sasil, Grade 4  Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School     

Hudson Sherrill, Grade 4  Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School 

Omar Maes, Grade 4 Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School 

This year’s mission was offered onsite at two Maker Learning Network schools, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School and Colorado Skies Academy. As a whole-school project, Alaka’i O Kaua’i facilitators from Kindergarten through 6th grade led their learners in theDreamUp to Space Experiment Design Challenge. These skillful facilitators were instrumental in delivering inspiring and impactful project based learning experiences.The schoolwide endeavor was supported by Director David “DJ” Adams, Director of STEAM Initiatives, Kathleen Fredette, and STEAM Project Specialist, Shawna Brown, along with Makers Kendra Scanlon, Nicole Huguenin, and Linda Krystek.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is incredibly proud of every single learner in our school as everyone participated in this amazing project based learning activity ‘DreamUp to Space,'” Adams said. “The quality of all of the projects were outstanding which created the ‘good problem’ of some challenging decisions to determine the Finalist. We appreciate the expertise shared by the seven assessors and wish to send a hearty Ho’omaika’i (congratulations) to Team Ko on their exceptional project.”

Said Fredette: “The staff and learners at Alakai blasted the DreamUp to Space Design Challenge to an entirely different level! They’ve set a new ‘bar’ by running this project across all grade level K-7. Their creative thinking and willingness to try something new at their school is indicative of the kind of educational experience we want to provide to truly create life long learners.”

“The Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School has made history by running the DreamUp to Space Experiment Design Challenge,” Brown said. “The proposals that were created represent a community of bright and creative minds who are proud of their home; the Island of Kauai. Many of the proposals, including Team Ko, included plant species that were native to the Hawaiian Islands. It is clear that the learners at Alaka’i O Kuau’i Charter School have big plans to contribute to deep space exploration in their future.”

“It’s more than sending a test tube into space — DreamUp shifts the paradigm for when kids ask why they are learning fundamental topics in school,” said Space Force Major and DreamUp to Space Assessor, Kyle Woodard. “The value in learning math and physics is strengthened when students are seeing how they help humans explore our universe at such a young age. They’ll remember this forever, and so will I. This has been so much fun watching them think about our world differently.” 

Project partner Lauren Milord, DreamUp Director of Programs, said, “Congratulations to Team Ko! DreamUp looks forward to seeing how your experiment preparations progress over the next few months, and even more, we look forward to seeing your hard work pay off when your experiments launch to the International Space Station next year.”

The finalists were reviewed by a panel of assessors composed of scientists and aerospace experts. The selection process took into account the teams’ written proposals, video submissions, and responses to questions regarding how they will use this opportunity to share with other learners, families, and the community.

The next phase of the journey gives selected teams the opportunity to create a “DreamUp Launch Team.” The team leaders are tasked with offering the opportunity for Alakai learners to apply to be part of the launch team, which includes experiment optimization, outreach, and fundraising. If all goes well, our teams will have the opportunity to present their experiment design at Kennedy Space Center prior to the launch.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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 campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Alaka'i O Kaua'i learners chalkboard welcome

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 campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

Monday Message

Upcoming Events

November 24th – Multicultural Day – CANCELLED
November 25th – Thanksgiving Day – School Holiday
November 26th – School Holiday
December 1st – No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting 5:00 – 6:00 pm
December 3rd – Wala’au Meeting 10:00 am – 11:00 am
December 13th – Board Meeting at 5:00 pm

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Monday Message

Upcoming Events

November 15th – Board Meeting at 5:00 pm
November 19th – Turkey Trot
November 24th – Multicultural Day
November 25th – Thanksgiving Day – School Holiday
November 26th – School Holiday
December 1st – No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting 5:00 – 6:00 pm
December 3rd – Wala’au Meeting 10:00 am – 11:00 am
December 13th – Board Meeting at 5:00 pm

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

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 mindset 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 Mindset: Learners with a growth mindset 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.

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

November 11th – Veterans’ Day – School Holiday
November 12th – Announcement Of DreamUp To Space Finalist
November 15th – Board Meeting at 5:00 pm
November 19th – Turkey Trot
November 24th – Multicultural Day
November 25th – Thanksgiving Day – School Holiday
November 26th – School Holiday
December 1st – No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting 5:00 – 6:00 pm
December 3rd – Wala’au Meeting 10:00 am – 11:00 am
December 13th – Board Meeting at 5:00 pm

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Gratitude

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you know that consciously practicing gratitude can help improve your physical and psychological health? 

Did you know gratitude can enhance empathy, reduce aggression, improve self-esteem, and increase mental health?

Practicing gratitude is another vital component of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s approach to social-emotional learning (SEL), which is focused on whole-child development. Gratitude begins with increased awareness of our own experiences, and as we become more mindful we realize we have choices when it comes to our emotions. 

And here’s the thing: Gratitude is not just about being thankful; it’s about showing appreciation and returning kindness to others. Another facet of gratitude is the expression of appreciation, when we become active by doing something to show we are thankful. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age five. By instilling in learners early on the importance of gratitude, we are empowering them for a much fuller life. 

There are four components to gratitude, as identified by UNC Chapel Hill’s Raising Grateful Children Project:

  • Noticing: Did someone do something nice for you? Did someone give you something or take you somewhere fun?
  • Thinking: What are all the reasons you’re thankful for this? Why do you think someone did something nice for you? Does this mean something to you? 
  • Feeling: When you think about these special things or people, how do you feel?
  • Doing: What can you actively do to express your gratitude for this person, place, or thing? 

Gratitude helps support social communication because it helps us understand others’ feelings, practice empathy, and learn the social power of kindness and appreciation. It also supports emotional development. Gratitude helps kids notice what makes them feel good and take time to focus on that. 

True gratitude isn’t an action that needs to be taken as much as it’s an attitude to be cultivated so that gratefulness and kindness can become natural responses in our lives. Gratitude doesn’t simply happen; it must be practiced. And when it is, it has the power to change lives. Kids who know how to show appreciation, thankfulness, and kindness are kids who can — and will — change the world. 

Watch: On Gratitude

Veterans' Day

Honoring Our Veterans

Veterans’ Day is a public holiday held on the anniversary of the end of World War I (November 11) to honor US veterans and victims of all wars. Veterans’ Day differs from Memorial Day in that is honors and celebrates living service members as well as the fallen. Below are some ways that you can show appreciation to service members:
  • Attend local Veterans’ Day events
  • Fly an American Flag
  • Visit a VA Hospital
  • Verbally thank a service member
  • Write a note or card and send it to an active service member (https://amillionthanks.org/letter/)
Social Emotional Skills Alakai O Kauai

Pumpkins for Science, Math and Social Emotional Skills

Recently, kindergarteners learn to use their senses to explore and learn about pumpkins. With support from their 3rd grade buddies, they worked on understanding number sense related to quantity, as well as more and less than. Additionally, they learned from 3rd graders who modeled skills in listening and following directions, as well as the importance of one person speaking at a time.

 Learners observed and explored the textures and features of three pumpkins. They discussed and predicted the height and circumference of each pumpkin. Facilitators and learners measured the height and circumference of each.  Next, learners predicted which pumpkin would have the most seeds and why.

 In small groups, learners took turns removing the seeds. They counted them by placing seeds in ten frames drawn on the table cover. Learners in 3rd grade helped their kindergarten buddies accurately count the seeds and articulate their thinking.

 The following day, learners tasted the fruits of their labor. The seeds were roasted and the pumpkin cooked in a crockpot with butter, honey and agave. It was served with a side of Craisins and marshmallows. While enjoying that delicious treat, the learners listened to Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and read by Alaka’i O Kaua’i Art Facilitator Ms. Nicole.

Check out the Pumpkin Seed Counting Video Here.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

Social Emotional Skills Alakai O Kauai

Pumpkins for Science, Math and Social Emotional Skills

Recently, kindergarteners learn to use their senses to explore and learn about pumpkins. With support from their 3rd grade buddies, they worked on understanding number sense related to quantity, as well as more and less than. Additionally, they learned from 3rd graders who modeled skills in listening and following directions, as well as the importance of one person speaking at a time.

 Learners observed and explored the textures and features of three pumpkins. They discussed and predicted the height and circumference of each pumpkin. Facilitators and learners measured the height and circumference of each.  Next, learners predicted which pumpkin would have the most seeds and why.

 In small groups, learners took turns removing the seeds. They counted them by placing seeds in ten frames drawn on the table cover. Learners in 3rd grade helped their kindergarten buddies accurately count the seeds and articulate their thinking.

 The following day, learners tasted the fruits of their labor. The seeds were roasted and the pumpkin cooked in a crockpot with butter, honey and agave. It was served with a side of Craisins and marshmallows. While enjoying that delicious treat, the learners listened to Room on the Broom written by Julia Donaldson and read by Alaka’i O Kaua’i Art Facilitator Ms. Nicole.

Check out the Pumpkin Seed Counting Video Here.

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

November 3rd – No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting
November 4th – Dress Rehearsal for Presentation Of Learning – DreamUp To Space
November 5th – Wala’au Meeting from 10:00 am – 11:00 am
November 5th – Presentation Of Learning – DreamUp To Space
November 12th – Announcement Of DreamUp To Space Finalist

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

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. 

Podcasts

Podcasts Are Effective Learning Tool In Class, At Home

Podcasts have become extremely popular. But they are not only popular with adults. They can be very popular with young learners as well. Podcasts can provide new subject matter that not only keeps learners more engaged, but also allows them to experience exemplary communication outside traditional texts. Podcast topics are endless: fictional stories, educational and inspirational TED talks, current events/world news, history, sports, pop culture/entertainment, and investigative journalism. Podcasts are engaging and expose learners to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews. There are many worthwhile podcasts available for learners! We have listed ones that are highly recommended and cover a wide range of topics. There is something for everyone! Here you go:

Grades K-5

Reading Bug Adventures 

Wow in the World!  

Stories Podcast 

Circle Round  

Noodle Loaf

Brains On!  

Forever Ago  

Story Pirates  

But Why?

KidNuz

Saturday Cereal Bowl

Grades 6-8

 RadioLab 

 Forever Ago  

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 

Start Cooking

Science Friday  

Pants on Fire

Six Minutes

Flyest Fables

Eleanor Amplified

Book Club for Kids

Grades 9-12

Start-Up Nation                                                                                                            

RadioLab

Science Friday

DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar

History of the World Podcast 

Start Cooking

NPR,This I Believe

Killer Innovations

99% Invisible

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.

Podcasts

Podcasts Are Effective Learning Tool In Class, At Home

Podcasts have become extremely popular. But they are not only popular with adults. They can be very popular with young learners as well. Podcasts can provide new subject matter that not only keeps learners more engaged, but also allows them to experience exemplary communication outside traditional texts. Podcast topics are endless: fictional stories, educational and inspirational TED talks, current events/world news, history, sports, pop culture/entertainment, and investigative journalism. Podcasts are engaging and expose learners to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews. There are many worthwhile podcasts available for learners! We have listed ones that are highly recommended and cover a wide range of topics. There is something for everyone! Here you go:

Grades K-5

Reading Bug Adventures 

Wow in the World!  

Stories Podcast 

Circle Round  

Noodle Loaf

Brains On!  

Forever Ago  

Story Pirates  

But Why?

KidNuz

Saturday Cereal Bowl

Grades 6-8

 RadioLab 

 Forever Ago  

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 

Start Cooking

Science Friday  

Pants on Fire

Six Minutes

Flyest Fables

Eleanor Amplified

Book Club for Kids

Grades 9-12

Start-Up Nation                                                                                                            

RadioLab

Science Friday

DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar

History of the World Podcast 

Start Cooking

NPR,This I Believe

Killer Innovations

99% Invisible

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks are a terrific resource for learning. They are often entertaining, but they also open our minds to new ideas and life experiences. We have compiled a short list of some of our favorite talks for parents.  Take a listen to these when you can:

Sir Ken Robinson,”Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Rita Pierson, “Every Kid Needs a Champion”

Social psychologist Sonia Livingstone, “Parenting in the Digital Age

Temple Grandin, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”

Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

Julie Lythcott-Haims, “How to Raise Successful Kids — Without Over-Parenting”

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

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

Amazon Smile pageDid 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.