Extra Change of Clothing for Your Keiki

Now that we are in the heart of mud season here at Mount Kahili, please be sure to put an extra change of clothes in your child’s backpack so they are able to change if they get muddy or wet.

We are also happily receiving clothing donations of all sizes/genders for children who do not have extra clothes! Extra shoes/slippers are also welcomed and kept as loaners in the shoe rack right outside the main office.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree in our front office is to show our appreciation for all the hard work and time our facilitators at Alaka’i O Kaua’i invest with our keiki. In the main office, you will find a Giving Tree with paper ornaments that include teacher’s name and what they may be needing or hoping for in their classrooms. Pick up your ornament today, and please be sure to return it attached to your wrapped gift, to the large wrapped box located by the Giving Tree in main office by no later than Dec. 20th. Please join us in saying thank you to our awesome facilitators!

School Photos

Our Photo Retake Day has been rescheduled to Thursday, January 17th. If your child was absent on the previous photo day, or you would like a picture retake, please put this date on your calendar. Order forms will be available at the front desk once we return from Winter Break.

Volunteer Requirements

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, we love and appreciate all of our volunteers! If you haven’t already done so, please get a volunteer application and fingerprinting/background check packet if you intend to continue (or begin) volunteering with us in the school. We ask that everyone please complete these packets as soon as possible! We will also be holding a training for all volunteers in the beginning of January, when we get back from winter break. Anyone who has not completed a volunteer application/packet by January 11th will need to wait until it’s complete to continue volunteering. Thank you for your support and cooperation!

Reminders Regarding Arrival and Dismissal

Please note that school begins at 8:15 a.m. Please drop your child off by 8:10 a.m. so they make it to class on time. This is very important for the flow of our classroom schedules and their morning meetings.

Similarly, we want to remind you also that dismissal is at 2:25 p.m. Please do not sign your child out early unless absolutely necessary. We also discourage parents arriving early to pick their children and lingering in the corridor outside the classrooms before 2:20 p.m. — this is disruptive to the classes and distracting for our students.

In the interest of safety, please notify your child’s teacher or the office If your child is going home with someone other than the regular parent or carpool driver.

Please make sure that the valet sign with your child’s name and teacher is located in the upper right-hand corner of your vehicle so that we can easily read it to help facilitate the valet line. If your sign is missing or damaged and you would like a more durable laminated sign, just let us know. We will be happy to give you a new one!

Lastly, please DO NOT park in the front circle, especially during drop-off or pick-up — it creates blockages for the flow of traffic. Parking is to the side of the school building, up by the gym (the less muddy option), or down the hill in the lower parking lot.

Seeking a Few Winter Break Volunteers

Hanging out on Kauai for winter break? Looking for a way to support your school? We are looking for just a few volunteers to help paint and reorganize a certain space in our school (what will become the new teachers lounge!) If you happen to have paint brushes, paint pans or rollers we can borrow, or just some willing helping hands, we would greatly appreciate your support! This project will take place the first week of January. Contact Claire if you can offer a few hours of help January 2-4th.

We are also looking for several donated items for our new teachers’ lounge:

  • One comfy chair
  • One coffee table or a couple of small end tables
  • Shelving

Upcoming Events

(Please see the school calendar for more information)

Friday, Dec. 14, 12:30-1:40 p.m.: PBL Presentation of Learning (POL) – All Grades

Dec. 24-Jan. 8: Winter Break (no school)

Jan. 10, 2:45 p.m.: Ohana Network Meeting in the Library

Jan. 21: No School – Martin Luther King Day

Jan. 31: End of First Semester

Feb. 11: Reports cards sent home

Lights on Rice Parade

Alaka’i O Kaua’i participated in the Lights on Rice Parade on Friday, Dec. 7. We had a great turnout of families and staff draped in lights and wearing holiday apparel, with decorated scooters, strollers, and wagons, and the peace bus made an appearance, too, adorned with lights! It was great to see our school represented in this special annual event! Thank you to all who joined us. A great night was had by all!

 

Project Based Learning

School Garden

Our K-6th learners have been hard at work in the school garden this week in preparation for the Presentation of Learning on Dec. 14. Mr. Jon, our wonderful facilities manager, rototilled the soil, added amendments, and created rows so the ground was ready for our learners to plant seeds and plants. In the months to come, we will be harvesting various types of peppers, onions, lettuce, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and herbs.

Linda Krystek, the Interim Director, took Miss Katie’s and Miss Amy’s classes on walking field trips of our beautiful grounds, where learners discovered tangerines, oranges, bananas, guavas, grapefruit, ginger root, taro, and macadamia nuts growing at Mount Kahili Park. Each learner left with at least one sample of the produce growing here on the property!

Library Book Drive

We are actively working to expand our school and classroom libraries. We welcome new or gently used children’s books, ranging in level from kindergarten to middle school, of varying topics and genres. We are especially in need of chapter books. Just drop them in the designated box in the library!

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree in our front office is to show our appreciation for all the hard work and time our facilitators at Alaka’i O Kaua’i invest with our keiki. In the main office, you will find a Giving Tree with paper ornaments that include teacher’s name and what they may be needing or hoping for in their classrooms. Pick up your ornament today, and please be sure to return it attached to your wrapped gift, to the large wrapped box located by the Giving Tree in main office by no later than Dec. 20th. Please join us in saying thank you to our awesome facilitators!

School Photos

School photos went home yesterday with our learners. If you ordered photos and did not receive your child’s packet, please let us know.

Our Photo Retake Day has been rescheduled to January 17th (It is no longer on 12/12). If your child was absent on the previous photo day, or you would like a picture retake, please put this date on your calendar. Order forms will be available at the front desk once we return from Winter Break.

Writers’ Workshop

Writer’s Workshop is the framework for writing instruction and practice that is used in our Alaka’i O Kaua’i K-6th classrooms. The curriculum that will be utilized is the Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, where learners write frequently, for extended periods of time, and on topics of their own choosing. Using a workshop model format, which tailors and adapts instruction to specific learners and classrooms, writing instruction at Alaka’i O Kaua’i will include the following components:

  • Direct instruction/mini-lesson
  • Independent writing
  • Individual facilitator/learner conferences (during independent writing)
  • Shared writing experiences, particularly in the primary grades
  • Partner and small group work
  • Sharing

Trade books and mentor texts are often used during the Writers’ Workshop to model effective writing techniques, encourage learners to read as writers, and provide background knowledge. Facilitators will access prior knowledge through a connection, articulate and model the teaching point, engage the learners in the opportunity to practice, provide an opportunity for writers to share their work with each other, confer individually or in small groups, and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners including subgroups.

Volunteer Requirements

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, we love and appreciate all of our volunteers! If you haven’t already done so, please get a volunteer application and fingerprinting/background check packet if you intend to continue (or begin) volunteering with us in the school. We ask that everyone please complete these packets as soon as possible! We will also be holding a training for all volunteers in the beginning of January, when we get back from winter break. Anyone who has not completed a volunteer application/packet by January 11th will need to wait until it’s complete to continue volunteering. Thank you for your support and cooperation!

Seeking a Few Winter Break Volunteers

Hanging out on Kauai for winter break? Looking for a way to support your school? We are looking for just a few volunteers to help paint and reorganize a certain space in our school (what will become the new teachers lounge!) If you happen to have paint brushes, paint pans or rollers we can borrow, or just some willing helping hands, we would greatly appreciate your support! This project will take place the first week of January. Contact Claire if you can offer a few hours of help January 2-4th.

We are also looking for several donated items for our new teachers’ lounge:

  • One comfy chair
  • One coffee table or a couple of small end tables
  • Shelving

Upcoming Events

(Please see the school calendar for more information)

Dec. 4: Coffee and Conversation, 8:15 a.m. in the library

Dec. 5: Alaka’i Ohana Network, 2:45 p.m. in the library

Dec. 7: Lights on Rice Parade, 5:30 p.m. at Kukui Grove

Friday, Dec. 14, 12:30-1:40 p.m.: PBL Presentation of Learning (POL) – All Grades

Dec. 24-Jan. 8: Winter Break (no school)

Jan. 21: No School – Martin Luther King Day

Jan. 31: End of First Semester

Lights Lights LIGHTS! — Info on the Lights on Rice Parade

We hope that all our ohana can participate with us in the Lights on Rice Parade this Friday! This week we are collecting donations of Christmas lights, glow sticks, Santa hats and candy canes. Please bring donations to the main office.

At the parade, please wear your purple school shirts and lots of LIGHTS! School shirts for adults and children are still available for purchase in the school office.

On Friday, we will meet at 5:45 p.m. at Vindihna Stadium. The parade will line up at 6:15 p.m., and the parade begins at 6:30 p.m. If you have trouble finding us, there will be an info booth on the ballpark side of the stadium and they can help direct you.

Carpooling is recommended to either Vindinhna Stadium, or you can take the shuttle from Kukui Grove and “hoof it” to the stadium to line up.

This year we will not have a float, which is all the more reason to make sure we have a large group of walkers, wearing their school logo shirts, representing our awesome school!

Please RSVP to Claire or Gabby if your family will be participating in this event so we have a rough headcount of how many will be with us.

If you have any further questions about the Lights on Rice Parade please contact Gabby Sasil at sasil@live.com or Claire at claire.woolger@alakaiokauai.org.

For more information, click here.

Reminders Regarding Arrival and Dismissal

Please note that school begins at 8:15 a.m. Please drop your child off by 8:10 a.m. so they make it to class on time. This is very important for the flow of our classroom schedules and their morning meetings.

Similarly, we want to remind you also that dismissal is at 2:25 p.m. Please do not sign your child out early unless absolutely necessary. We also discourage parents arriving early to pick their children and lingering in the corridor outside the classrooms before 2:20 p.m. — this is disruptive to the classes and distracting for our students.

In the interest of safety, please notify your child’s teacher or the office If your child is going home with someone other than the regular parent or carpool driver.

Please make sure that the valet sign with your child’s name and teacher is located in the upper right-hand corner of your vehicle so that we can easily read it to help facilitate the valet line. If your sign is missing or damaged and you would like a more durable laminated sign, just let us know. We will be happy to give you a new one!

Lastly, please DO NOT park in the front circle, especially during drop-off or pick-up — it creates blockages for the flow of traffic. Parking is to the side of the school building, up by the gym (the less muddy option), or down the hill in the lower parking lot.

Take a Seat at the Buddy Bench

Our learners love hanging out together at our school’s buddy bench. A buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Alaka’i O Kaua’i wants to spread the message of inclusion and kindness! Girl Scout Troop 823 helped make this possible, and we thank them for this generous gift!

Click here to read The Garden Island’s article!

Walmart Foundation Grant

Alaka’i recently got a shipment of new iPads and Chromebooks for our keiki, thanks to a Walmart Foundation Grant of $32,500. We are so thankful for this generous gift, which has allowed us to purchase some much-needed technology for our school.

Seeking a Few Winter Break Volunteers

Hanging out on Kauai for winter break? Looking for a way to support your school? We are looking for just a few volunteers to help paint and reorganize a certain space in our school (what will become the new teachers lounge!) If you happen to have paint brushes, paint pans or rollers we can borrow, or just some willing helping hands, we would greatly appreciate your support! This project will take place the first week of January. Contact Claire if you can offer a few hours of help January 2-4th.

We are also looking for several donated items for our new teachers’ lounge:

  • One comfy chair
  • One coffee table or a couple of small end tables
  • Shelving

iLEAD Students Prepare for Launch to Space Station

A team of iLEAD students is preparing to send a science experiment aboard the SpaceX-16 Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled to launch on December 4.

The project is part of a partnership between iLEAD and DreamUp, the leading provider of space-based educational opportunities. The students’ experiment, which will be on the ISS for approximately four weeks, tests whether black coffee kills a type of bacteria found in everyday plaque on teeth in microgravity in the same way it does on Earth. This launch opportunity is made possible via DreamUp’s partnership with NanoRacks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA.

Click here to read more!

And click here to watch the livestream of the rocket launch on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. EST!

Upcoming Events

(Please see the school calendar for more information)

Nov 26, 2:45 p.m.: Alaka’i Ohana Network (Parent support organization)

Friday, Dec. 14, 12:30-1:40 p.m.: PBL Presentation of Learning (POL) – All Grades

Dec. 24-Jan. 8: Winter Break (no school)

Jan. 21: No School – Martin Luther King Day

Jan. 31: End of First Semester

Lights on Rice Parade

Alaka’i O Kaua’i will be participating in the Lights on Rice Parade on Friday, December 7th! Please join us for this fun event! We would love to have as many of our families possible walking with us to help spread the word about our school to our island community. We are looking for some donations to make our “float,” as well as decorate all our participants. If you are able to donate any of the following items, we will be so grateful:

  • Christmas lights of all kinds! Lots of lights are needed, including battery-powered Christmas light necklaces
  • Santa hats, elf hats, reindeer antlers, etc.
  • Santa suit
  • Cuties or Halos (mandarins) to hand out
  • Christmas tinsel garlands and garlands of all kinds

Alaka’i Ohana Network

We are very excited that our Ohana Network (our own version of a PTA) is up and running! We’ve had two productive meetings so far, and will hold our third on Monday, Nov. 26th, at 2:45 p.m., just after dismissal, in the library. We would love to have you join us!

Welcoming Our New Director

We are pleased to announce that our new director, Frederick Birkett, will be joining us this week. Mr. Birkett comes to us with many years of experience as a charter school leader.

Mr. Birkett spent 15 years as a charter school principal in Massachusetts, New York City, and Hawaii. In addition, he has a Master’s Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Fred spent eight years as a Captain in the United States Air Force and is author of two books, The Military Parent’s Guide to Public, Private, and Charter Schools; and Charter Schools: A Parent’s Complete Guide to Public, Private, and Charter Schools.

I am excited about the opportunity to bring my educational background, as well as my experience as a charter school leader, to help support teachers, students, and families at Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School,” he said.

We are so fortunate to have him join the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Ohana!

Lessons from the Character Lab

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, our goal is to make this vision a reality. Overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that character strengths like self-control, curiosity, and gratitude are critically important to social and emotional well-being, physical health, and achievement.

We incorporate the strengths, skills, and mindsets from Character Lab, an organization founded by Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. These traits, which include optimism, curiosity, purpose, grit, growth mindset, self control, gratitude, and social intelligence, are broken down into strengths of mind, strengths of heart, and strengths of will:

In the same month that we celebrate Thanksgiving, our school has chosen to focus on Gratitude.

Why does gratitude matter?

When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude — especially when it’s heartfelt — you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people — more cooperative, patient, and trusting.

How do I encourage gratitude at home?

Model it. Talk about the good things that happen to you: “I love this gorgeous spring day!” Reframe difficulties by highlighting positive aspects: “Work has been stressful lately, but I’m grateful that my boss trusts me with important responsibilities.”

Celebrate it. Acknowledge when someone demonstrates gratitude: “It makes me feel really great when you thank me for what I am doing.” Display thank-you notes you’ve received where others can see them. Post Three Good Things on social media.

Enable it. Keep stationary handy for writing thank-you notes. At dinner, make it a habit to begin by sharing one good thing that happened that day. Establish a birthday ritual to write notes of appreciation.

The Importance of Learning Outside

I love to see learning “al fresco,” as I call it, at Alaka’i O Kaua’i. This week, during my “rounds,” I observed a class doing a writers’ workshop outside under the big tree by the playground, another class solving word problems during math with writing outside under the awnings, and several other classes composting, preparing the soil, and planting new seedlings outside on our beautiful grounds. They even covered the new plants with netting to protect them from the ravenous chickens!

Why is learning outside so important? An article entitled 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:

  • 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

Literacy Instruction at Alaka’i O Kaua’i

Dr. Seuss sums up the magic of reading in the following quote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Learning to read for a variety of purposes is essential to success in school and to learning in general. As an elementary student, your child may be asked to read for pleasure, or they may be asked to read to learn new information. In both cases, solid reading skills are necessary for success.

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, reading instruction is accomplished through student participation in Daily 5, which is a reader’s workshop format that fosters literacy independence in the elementary grades. Daily 5 is not a curriculum or basal program. It is a research-based instructional model for reading that marries explicit instruction in reading strategies with opportunities for students to practice each reading strategy, not only independently, but with peers, in small groups, and with a teacher. Daily 5 engages every student in meaningful literacy tasks that are proven to have the biggest impact on student reading and writing achievement. These tasks also foster children who love to read and write! Just walk into a classroom engaged in Daily 5 on any given morning and listen to the chorus of children who eagerly ask, “Teacher, can I read to you today?”

Students receive explicit whole group reading instruction through a daily teacher read-aloud of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction text. During this time, the teacher models best practices in reading to the students. These strategies and practices are chosen from the Literacy CAFE Menu. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary.

Students are then given independent practice time to read and write, while the facilitator provides focused, intense instruction to individuals and small groups of students. The students are engaged in 5 different activities, which build their stamina as readers and writers.

These activities comprise Read to Self, Read with a Buddy, Listen to Reading, Work on Words, and Work on Writing. During the Read to Self block, students are building stamina as readers, choosing and reading books at their “just right” reading level. While participating in Read to Someone, they are practicing and sharing reading strategies, working on fluency and expression, and checking for understanding.

In Listen to Reading, students hear examples of good literature and fluent reading. They expand their listening and reading vocabularies, thus becoming better readers and writers. While they Work on Writing, students continue the work they have been doing during writer’s workshop, producing a piece of writing based on a strategy or genre being taught during mini-lessons. Lastly, Work on Words allows students to practice spelling patterns, memorize high-frequency words, and add to their knowledge and curiosity of unique and interesting vocabulary.

During reading conferences with individuals and groups, the facilitator gains valuable information about each child’s strengths and greatest needs as a reader, which helps her to better guide instruction. Conferring with students is a powerful tool for finding out what students are thinking as well as finding out what reading strategies they are employing.

Daily 5 is much more than a reading curriculum or management system, it is a structure that will enable students to develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working with peers that will lead not only to a lifetime of independent literacy, but more importantly, a love of reading and writing!

MAP NWEA Computer Adaptive Testing

Our learners were able to begin MAP testing last week, which will provide valuable information about the skills and concepts they have already mastered and what they are ready to learn next.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i partners with MAP NWEA to assess their learners three times a year. MAP, which is an acronym for Measures of Academic Progress, is used by more than 9 million students in the US and in 140 countries worldwide. MAP is a computer-adaptive test. If your child answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If they answer incorrectly, the next one is easier. This type of assessment challenges top performers without overwhelming students whose skills are below grade level.

MAP generates comprehensive student progress reports that predict projected proficiency on state tests, give a nationally normed percentile rank and projected growth target, as well as detailed information about the child’s strengths and areas of growth. These reports will be shared with parents upon completion of testing at the school. For more information about MAP, please read 12 Questions Parents Ask About the MAP Growth Assessment.

Heads-Up from the Health Office!

It’s uku (lice) season, and we wanted to share some information from the Hawaii DOE about prevention, identification, and treatment.

The school health practice for ukus will include:

  • Inspection by the school health aide of a student who may have ukus;
  • Notification of the parent/guardian that the student has ukus;
  • ​After the parent is notified, the student will return to class where they will remain until the end of the school day, unless the parent opts to take their child home to begin treatment;
  • Provision of information on home treatment to the parent/guardian.

Some tips on managing ukus:

  • ​Check your child’s hair at least once a week, and if ukus or nits (eggs) are found, treat promptly. You may call your child’s physician for possible treatment solutions, some of which may be covered by insurance;
  • Educate yourself and your child about ukus and how to treat them if they are found — these are the best prevention measures;
  • Consider keeping your child’s hair slicked back or tied up to reduce risk of acquiring them.

Multicultural Thanksgiving Feast

We will hold our first annual Multicultural Feast on Friday, Nov. 16, at noon. All families are welcome to join us for the festivities. This tradition will be a wonderful way to kick off the Thanksgiving week and allows us to build community and share foods that represent our unique family backgrounds.

Sign up here to volunteer or to bring a main dish, drinks, dessert, or side dish.

Please bring a food dish item that serving at least 6-8 people that best represents the culture in your family to share with our Alaka’i O Kaua’i community! We will set up a feast in each classroom and take our food outside to eat weather permitting. Feel free to represent your family by wearing cultural clothing, Alaka’i O Kaua’i spirit wear, or you can even bring an apron and step in to help serve food!

Halloween Fun at Alaka’i

We had such a fun Halloween at Alaka’i O Kaua’i. The 5th-grade learners put the finishing touches on the Halloween-O-Grams and personally delivered 171 treats to students and staff. Our costume parade started with Miss Casey’s class, and picked up each subsequent class until the whole school was circling the school. It was wonderful seeing so many of our parents and families coming out for our inaugural parade!

The parade then marched up the hill to the field for Trunk or Treating in the shadow of Mt. Kahili! Parents and other volunteers, many in costume, decorated their trunks and passed out treats to our learners. We are so grateful to everyone for making our first Halloween at Alaka’i O Kaua’i such a special day!

What is Morning Meeting?

Every morning, our learners gather together for Morning Meeting. It’s an engaging way to start each day, build a strong sense of community, and set children up for success socially and academically. Each morning, students and teachers gather together in a circle for 20-30 minutes and interact with one another during four purposeful components:

  1. Greeting: Students and teachers greet one another by name and practice offering hospitality.
  2. Sharing: Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions.
  3. Group Activity: Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social or academic skills).
  4. Morning Message: Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they’ll do in school that day.

Alaka’i Ohana Network

We are gearing up to start our parent organization, which we are calling the Alaka’i OHANA NETWORK.

All parents or family members who are interested in joining are welcome! The purpose of this very important organization is to create community support for our school — organize events, plan classroom activities, fundraise for the school, etc.

Meetings will be held at the school on the second Thursday of each month. Meetings will also be held virtually through ZOOM, so that anyone who cannot physically join us is able to attend online. Our first meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 8th at 2:45 p.m. To join the meeting online with Zoom, click here. If you have questions about connecting virtually to the meeting, email claire.woolger@alakaiokauai.org.

Multicultural Thanksgiving Feast

We will hold our first annual Multicultural Feast on Friday, Nov. 16, at noon. All families are welcome to join us for the festivities. This tradition will be a wonderful way to kick off the Thanksgiving week and allows us to build community and share foods that represent our unique family backgrounds.

Please bring a food dish item that best represents the culture in your family to share with our Alaka’i O Kaua’i community! Feel free to represent your family by wearing cultural clothing, Alaka’i O Kaua’i spirit wear, or you can even bring an apron and step in to help serve food!

The signup sheet for volunteers and potluck food contributions will be sent out via Sign-up Genius this week!

Ways to Get Involved

Interested in being a “Class Parent”? We would love to have you! Anyone interested in helping support a specific class, please contact the facilitator.

Class Parents are there to support by volunteering in the classroom, organizing special activities, helping coordinate field trips or class parties — whatever the facilitator and class needs! A huge MAHALO to those who have already jumped in to help. We really appreciate you!

September 2018 Newsletter

Dear friends and supporters,

This is a time of many firsts for Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i. The first day of school for students has been the big one so many have been waiting for. Over the years there were times it looked like it might never happen; we are used to setbacks and have gotten even more resilient over time. So when Hurricane Lane approached the islands and forced everyone to stop what they were doing to prepare, our teachers and staff also took it in stride. Luckily, Lane appeared to spare us, until the lingering stormy weather dumped torrential rain and flooded the road to school on the morning of our first day! Our students’ and families’ safety is our number one concern and the reason we had to cancel school at the last minute.

First Day of School: 1st & 2nd Grades Combined Classroom

We were reassured to know that this is a rare occurrence, and only the second time Knudsen Trust had to close the road due to flooding like this. The following day, Wednesday, August 29th, can go down in history for us as our school’s opening day. For many, it was their first chance to meet their child’s facilitator (teacher) and see the classrooms.

 

The first week was a huge success and already parents and learners are raving about Alaka‘i. Check out what they are saying:

“We love the school, faculty, staff and families!”

“…I saw the biggest change in my children’s behavior when I picked them up from school yesterday. They were kind to each other!!!!!…I asked them what’s different about this school than (name withheld) School? They said, “EVERYTHING! We share everything.”…He was so encouraged. My son has always hated school he dreads and complains complains complains! He was so excited to get up and go to school this morning!…”

“My fifth grader went on and on during our ride home about how much he loves his class. Then I found him later looking forlorn. He wishes he was back at school!”

We hope these wonderful feelings of excitement, pride, success, fortitude and inspiration continue to fill our hearts and halls long into the future!

If you have had similarly good experiences with Alaka‘i, please visit our Facebook page to give a rating and review; this will help encourage others to inquire and apply. We currently have a few seats available in all grade levels and hope to fill them fast.

 

Preparing for Learners

August was a busy time for prepping. Our school building has been reawakened as classrooms were cleaned, painted, decorated and furnished. The campus was also part of the preparations as weeds were trimmed and the playground equipment repaired.

Since parents were eager to help ready the school, our first Aloha Day was organized on August 17th. Driving up to the campus you could hear the sounds of hammering, landscaping, and the buzz of many volunteers working up a sweat in the summer heat. Special thanks to the teachers, parents, children and community members who spent their Saturday helping our school!

Some of the many volunteers at our Aloha Day

 

Supporting Our Facilitators

Most of the island was busy preparing for a hurricane the week of August 20th, but our facilitators were immersed in their professional development, learning the iLEAD way of project based learning, social emotional learning and creating individual learning plans for every learner. Linda Krystek came from the iLEAD Schools Development in California to lead this week-long boot camp.

Linda Krystek leads our facilitators at professional development

 

Enrollment Update

There are currently a few seats available in all grades. Do you know anyone whose children might respond well to our unique learning environment? Share your knowledge about Alaka‘i with all your friends and family as well as on your social media! Our campus is open to visitors for anyone curious about enrolling their children. Applications are still being accepted at the school office and through our online enrollment portal:

ilead.schoolmint.net.

Once grades are full, applicants will be placed on a waitlist and will gain an invitation to enroll as soon as a space becomes available.

Board Updates

Our August board meeting was held on August 15th. Some things to note are…

 

School Logo: The board approved the school logo which features our pueo mascot. School shirts were also approved to be printed. The shirts display our school colors, purple and green. They will be available at our Back To School Night, Wednesday, September 5th. All learners will receive 1 t-shirt. Additional shirts will be available for purchase. Youth sizes are $10 and Adult sizes are $20.

 

Before and After School Care: The board discussed the implementation of before and after school care/programs. The need was acknowledged and became available from our first day. A survey went out to determine who and how many learners plan to attend an after school program. We have seats for 65 learners in the program for after school care and 15 seats in the before school program. Early drop-off for before school care is 7:00 a.m. Rates for before school care are $10 per week ($35 prepaid for the month on the first day of care) for the first child, $7.50 weekly for the second child ($25 prepaid for the month). Hours for after school care are 2:25pm to 5:30pm M-Th, 1:40pm to 5:30pm on Fridays. rates for after school care are $40 per week for the first child or $150 prepaid for the month on the first day of care. Rates for additional children are $30 per week or $100 per month prepaid on the first day of care. Late pick-up after 5:30pm is $5 per 15 minutes. Three late pick-ups may result in dismissal.

If you are interested in before and/or after school care, please stop by the office, call 635-5110 or email info@alakaiokauai.org

 

Our governing board meetings are every third Wednesday, held at the school from 5-7 pm. They are open to the public. If you would like to review the agenda and minutes of the meetings, you can find them on our website. The next meeting will be September 19th.

 

Money Matters

Some of our fundraising efforts paid off last month when we received a check from the Visitor Industry Charity Walk for $5,000.00. Even though our efforts at this year’s charity walk on Saturday, May 12, were challenged by our focus on opening the school and limited volunteers, we are so pleased and grateful for this donation! We are even more inspired for next year’s walk! This year’s Charity Walk money will be used for outdoor play equipment.

 

Donor Acknowledgement

During the month of August we received generous donations from the following:

Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Foundation

Rick Eckert

Sarah Salamey

 

Not all donations come as money!…

H Hawaii Media donated a 30 second commercial played on their radio stations twice a day.

Island Comfort Air Conditioning sent a work crew to help with landscaping and removal of old playground equipment.

The United States Coast Guard sent a crew on their day off to help clean and prepare the school facility.

 

Save The Dates

Wednesday, Sept. 5: Back to School Night

There will be 3 sessions for presentations and discussions: 5:30-6:00, 6:00-6:30 and 6:30-7:00. You can join in any session, that way if you have more than one kiddo you don’t have to worry about cloning yourself. We’re also cognizant of afternoon traffic.

 

Saturday, Sept. 29: Alaka’i O Kaua’i Grand Opening Celebration

This will be a HUGE event and we will need a lot of help in the following areas: Opening Ceremonies, Entertainment, Food/Beverage (did someone mention luau?), Children’s Activities, Set up and Clean up.

If you’d like to lend a hand, please send a message to Claire at info@alakaiokauai.org and indicate event and job that interests you. Mahalo in advance for your support!

 

Amazon Smile

We are an approved NonProfit on Amazon Smile! From now on, make smile.amazon.com your Amazon shopping page so that a percent of all your purchases gets donated to Alaka’i O Kaua’i. Here’s how:

 

August 2018 Newsletter

Mission: Possible!

August 2018 UPDATE

Dear friends and supporters of Alaka`i,

Our mission to open a tuition-free project-based school is nearly accomplished!! In just a couple of weeks our classrooms and campus will be filled with the joyful sound of our learners’ voices as they experience a new and engaging way of education. The larger mission will continue as we shift away from start-up mode. And the new focus, as our director, Denise Trentham, puts it is to “Make sure these kiddos are crying on Friday because there is no school to come to on the weekends!”

Here is an update on what’s been transpiring this summer…

On June 28th, Alaka`i had its final pre-assurances reviewed by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission. There were quite a few very important milestones we needed to accomplish, and with a team effort, all pre-assurances were met. Thereby, the school was granted unanimous approval to proceed with opening this August.

Enrollment Update

Our goal of 165 learners was met by our June 28th commission deadline! However, as we approach opening day, spaces are becoming available as families change plans, move or for whatever reason decide to withdraw. Therefore, applications are still needed and accepted through our online enrollment portal:

ilead.schoolmint.net.

A few spaces are still currently available and some grades are full. Applicants are being placed on a waitlist and will gain an invitation to enroll as soon as a space becomes available. It is important that we keep growing our waitlist, so please encourage your friends and family to apply!

Facility Update

Repairs of the facilities are coming to completion. The roof is finished, the bathrooms are renovated, and all classrooms have been clean and sanitized. The gymnasium, however, was found to have more extensive needs than originally thought, and repairs will continue indefinitely.

In July we were able to acquire the contents of a few schools that were closing both here on Kaua`i and in California. A 400 square foot container arrived on Monday, July 23rd, and the next day – our “Moving In Day”- had a great turn out with about 40 adults and 15 keiki there to help unload the “School In A Box”.

Board Updates

It is with great gratitude that we announce our torch-bearing Board Chair, DrB, has stepped down from her post into a general director’s seat where she will continue to serve officially for one more year. You can read about her rich history of service to education in The Garden Island Newspaper here:

Talk Story with DrB

Governing board treasurer, Rick Eckert, will take her place as Chairperson. His past experience as chair of both corporate and volunteer community organizations makes him a perfect candidate. Mahalo, Rick!

New to the governing board in July is Jolleen Abreu. Jolleen was born and raised on Oahu and moved to Kauai in 2003. She is married to local fire captain, Kalani Abreu and they have two children together. Jolleen has an extensive background in property, resort & office management and specializes in early childhood education as a teacher & director. She currently operates an early preschool for 2 – 4 year olds and works as her church’s children’s ministry director. We are happy to have her kind of experience and enthusiasm on our team!

Our governing Board meetings are every third Wednesday, held at the school from 5-7 pm. They are open to the public. If you would like to review the agenda and minutes of the meetings, you can find them on our website.

At the July board meeting, Denise Trentham was officially offered employment. Her role as School Director has the authority to hire our staff, and she is eager to get her team activated! Teachers have already been selected and some are already showing up to help.

Important Notice For Submitting Enrollment Documents

Beginning July 30th, our school office is open from 7:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday. If you have not already done so, you will need to submit your enrollment documents before August 28th.

These documents include:


-Birth Certificate or Passport

-Proof of Residency

-Student Health Record and TB Clearance

-Optional Learner Support Fee of $50

Log In to your online schoolmint account to review your enrollment checklist and forms if you are not sure what you need to submit. Call our office at (808) 635-5110 if you have questions or need assistance.

FAQ’s

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

1) When does school begin?

School begins Tuesday, August 28th

2) What are the school hours of operation?

Monday – Thursday 8:15-2:25 pm

Friday 8:15-1:40 pm

3) Is there before or after school care?

The simple answer – We’re working on it Ideally we intend to offer both options. A survey will be coming soon to find out how many people are needing this service.

5) Will there be a uniform or a school t-shirt? When will we get these?

No, there is no uniform. Yes, we will have t-shirts for all our learners by the beginning of school, which are optional. The cost for these is included in the learner support fee.

6) Is there a school lunch program?

No, there is no school lunch program being offered this year.

7) What do I do if I can’t access my SchoolMint account, forgot my password, or am not receiving emails from the school?

Call Office Manager Claire at 635-5110 for any of these issues. It is easy to reset account passwords if this is the problem. If you are not receiving emails sent through SchoolMint there are two things you can do:

1) Log into your SchoolMint account. Go to “Parent/Guardian Info” and click the grey pencil button to edit. Under “Contact Preference” be sure to select the option to receive both Emails and Texts.

You MUST opt to receive emails, not only texts, as all our school communications will be via the SchoolMint server.

2) The other thing you can do to be sure you receive our emails is to search your “Junk Mail” inbox for SchoolMint. Make sure to mark those emails as “Not Junk”.

8) Is there a school supplies list?

Yes, school supply lists are being sent to everyone and will also be posted on our website.

School Bus/Transportation Update:

Efforts were made to contract a bus for our east side families, but unfortunately, there were not enough learners to fill a bus at an affordable rate. So for our first year, carpooling will help make the commute possible and less burdensome for many. Please work together and reach out to those who may need commute assistance.

Money Matters

On July 20th we received 60% of our annual budget from the state of Hawai`i! Each fiscal year the Hawaii State Legislature sets aside a certain amount of funds for Charter Schools. Then that total is equally divided among all learners enrolled in charter schools. This year we will receive $7,359.28 per pupil from the state. Our school’s budget has already been created and approved as part of our pre-opening assurances. This is little more than half of the per pupil amount given to DOE schools, so you can see why our need for private funding is very important.

Donor Acknowledgement

Some of our early donors we would like to thank this month are:

Kelsey Kirwan, owner of Elements Salon in Kalaheo, who generously volunteered along with her staff to hold a benefit, Haircut for A Cause, on Saturday, June 9th. At the same time, Kelsey organized an online auction via her Instagram account, @BeautyCallKauai. 100% of both benefits were donated to our school; Mahalo Nui Loa!

Many more donations were received from the following:

Steven Martin-Oldfield of Kauai Pacific Realty

Grove Farm, Inc.

Jonathan McRoberts

Peter and Linda Baldwin & Family

Gayle & Bart Naylor

Rick Eckert

Raymond & Sarah Salamey

Darcie Yukimura

Victor Lawson – Garden Island Auto Sales

Agnieszka Pinowska

Jolleen Abreu

Matson Shipping gave an in-kind donation that covered the cost of oceanic transport of our School-In-A-Box container!

Another thank you goes to the Princeville Public Library who donated children’s books to our school! Board member Nicola Sherrill organized a fun way to get our learners involved by inviting them to choose the books they want to see at their school.

Amazon Smile

We are an approved NonProfit on Amazon Smile! From now on, make smile.amazon.com your Amazon shopping page so that a percent of all your purchases gets donated to Alaka’i O Kaua’i. Here’s how:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

A lot of great things are happening to get our school ready to open!! Last week our container of school furniture arrived and was unloaded thanks to the many parent & keiki volunteers that came out to help us. MAHALO for your support!

This week our office is officially open. Everyone is welcome to bring their documents in and take a look at the school, which is still being set up by school staff and volunteers. The office is now open Monday-Friday from 7:30-3:30pm.

As the beginning of the school year approaches there are many questions coming in from parents. Thank you for your patience as we address your questions and concerns. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

1) When does school begin?

School begins Tuesday, August 28th

2) What are the school hours of operation?

Monday – Thursday 8:15-2:25 pm

Friday 8:15-1:40 pm

3) Is there before or after school care?

The simple answer – We’re working on it!! Ideally we intend to offer both options. A survey will be coming soon to find out how many people are needing this service.

4) When and where do I bring my child’s registration documents?

You may bring your documents in to our office any time that it’s open, Mon-Fri 7:30-3:30pm, before the start of school August 28th. *This includes: Birth certificate, proof of residency, TB screening, medical record, and the $50 learner support fee.

5) Will there be a uniform or a t-shirt? When will we get these?

No, there is no uniform. Yes, we will have t-shirts for all our learners by the beginning of school, which are optional. The cost for these is included in the learner support fee.

6) Is there a school lunch program?

No, there is no school lunch program being offered this year.

7) What do I do if I can’t access my SchoolMint account, forgot my password, or am not receiving emails from the school?

Call Office Manager Claire at 635-5110 for any of these issues. It is easy to reset account passwords if this is the problem. If you are not receiving emails sent through SchoolMint there are two things you can do:

1) Log into your SchoolMint account. Go to “Parent/Guardian Info” and click the grey pencil button to edit. Under “Contact Preference” be sure to select the option to receive both Emails and Texts. You MUST opt to receive emails, not only texts, as all our school communications will be via the SchoolMint server.

2) The other thing you can do to be sure you receive our emails is to search your “Junk Mail” inbox for SchoolMint. Make sure to mark those emails as “Not Junk”.

8) Is there a school supplies list?

Yes, school supply lists were attached in an email sent out. They are also posted HERE.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call Office Manager Claire at 635-5110

School-in-a-box Unloading Day!

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Founding Families!
What a great few days we’ve had!
We received our first allocation of funding from the state on Friday!
Our shipping container full of School-In-A-Box will be ready to unload Tuesday, July 24th. The fun will start at 9am and go until about 1:00pm or whenever we are finished or can’t lift one more box!! We’d love to have you join in the fun! We need strong people with dollies or carts to help unload; a crew to help assemble furniture with electric drills for screwing the legs back on the tables; a crew to help clean the furniture with dust rags, sponges and buckets; and other jobs that will be become apparent once we get started.
Keiki are welcome, but we can’t use the playground equipment yet, so we’ll set up a space for them to play and need some parents to provide supervision. If you are going to bring your little ones, we’d appreciate it if you brought some toys or activities for them. We have them—but they are buried in the back of the container!!
We’ll have a potluck lunch so if you’d like to join in please bring a dish to share. We’ll have plenty of water at the campus.
We are located at Kahili Mountain Park. The road to the school is off Kaumualii Highway in Koloa just west of the Tree Tunnel road. You’ll see the white Alaka’i school banner and the Kahili Mountain Park sign. Take that gravel road and in 1 mile you’ll find us! Plan on parking on the circular driveway in the front of the school.
So we can plan accordingly, we’d sure appreciate your RSVP, letting us know how many folks will be coming and whether you’d like to help unload, unpack, assemble furniture, supervise keiki, etc.
If you can’t come help us, be sure to send your good energy our way!
Mahalo!
Denise (Mrs. T)

Final Approval to Open!

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Families,
We are so happy and proud to inform you that on Thursday, June 28th, our school officially completed all of our pre-opening assurances and was given the final approval to open this August by the Hawai`i State Charter School Commission! The Commission acted on a unanimous decision of the Commission’s Application Committee to do so. The Commission action was approved unanimously as well. In making the motion, Commissioner Mitch D’Olier who also acts as Chair of the Applications Committee, expressed his gratitude regarding the hard work done in preparation for this opening year. Akaka`i O Kaua`i Board Chair, Rick Eckert and Executive Director Denise Trentham fielded additional questions regarding the school facility’s preparedness, satisfying a few remaining concerns of the Applications Committee as well as conveying the school’s appreciation for the Committee’s support. Also noted was the effort made by Knudsen Trust, owner of the school facility and iLEAD Schools, Akaka`i O Kaua`i’s services provider.
We would like to thank all of you, our founding families and learners, for your faith in us as a start-up school. We can all rest assured that Alaka`i will be ready to serve and provide the best education that research shows works!
We would also like to thank iLEAD Schools Development for their efforts to get the facilities requirements met and their overall well-wishes and support. Jon Horwitz and the Knudsen Trustees have also gone beyond our expectations to prepare the property for our school. A huge mahalo also to our school director, Denise Trentham, who has proved her worth a million times over! And of course, the stalwart Alaka`i governing board and team members, thank you!!
On the road to opening day, we will plan open house events during the month of July and will notify you again of those dates, as well as the days our office will be open for receiving your enrollment documents (birth certificate, health record, etc).
Share the good news!
Your friends at Alaka’i O Kaua’i

Letter from the Director

Aloha Families and Friends of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School!

So much is happening quickly now that we are only 3 months from opening! But in just 6 short weeks, we have our final deadline with the Charter Commission. On June 28th, our governing board members and Denise Trentham, our school director, will travel back to Oahu to present evidence of meeting our last pre-assurances. Two things need to happen to be successful: our building needs to be finished, including passing all required inspections; and our school needs to be fully enrolled. (For every learner short of our target of 165, the Charter Commission requires that $7,200 in unrestricted cash be set aside). This is our last hurdle to jump over before we open, but cannot open if we don’t meet these expectations. We have every confidence that the refurbishments will be completed and our classes will be full. Parents, community groups and civic leaders have expressed tremendous support for our project-based learning school. And now things are really shaping up for our school at Kahili Mountain Park!

For starters, the Knudsen Trust, owner of KMP, has been tremendously supportive. We can’t say enough good things about them! They are committed to infrastructure repairs before handing over the property to us. The estimate for the roof repair came in at almost double what had been planned for. They didn’t blink an eye at the cost because they believe in our school, and are moving full steam ahead. The work on the roof started Monday, May 14th.

iLEAD Schools Development has also committed amazing resources to support the school. They are helping with the cost of other repairs and restoration. Tradesmen are coming to the site daily to assess, give estimates, or provide services. We appreciate all the offers from our parents and community members to jump in and help. As soon as the trades are finished, we will have painting, landscaping and cleaning parties! We’ll be sending weekly newsletters to keep you up-to-date on our progress and hope you will be able to join in the fun!

Enrollment is now at 142 learners. We still have a few seats open in all classes, grades k-5, but they are filling up fast. We are sad to report that the Charter School Commission, at their meeting on May 10th, denied our request to open with 6th graders this year. Our goal is to be

fully enrolled with 165 learners and a healthy waitlist by June 27th. If you find yourself on the waitlist, don’t despair! Some folks end up moving over the summer, so there is a very good chance we’ll be accessing the waitlist.

We are planning several school information events throughout May and June with governing board members and our school director. Our first one is at Lydgate Park (large pavilion) in the Kapaa/Wailua area on Wednesday, May 23rd from 4:30-6:00pm. We’ll be at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church Hall, 4364 Hardy Street, Lihue, on Friday, May 25th from 4:30-6:00pm. On Tuesday, May 29th, we will be at HA Coffee Bar, 4180 Rice Street, Hihue from 4:30-6:00pm. Come and learn more about our tuition free school and bring some friends who may be interested in enrolling their child(ren)!

Our fundraising team participated in the Kaua’i Charity Walk on Saturday, May 12th. Here’s a big THANK YOU to all of you who supported our walkers by donating! It was so fun, we plan to make it a yearly thing; even our youngest walker, 6 year old Colin, enjoyed and made it the whole 3 miles!

Our next big event will be the GoFundMe drive for school furnishings. The price of a 40 foot shipping container (which would hold everything we need to get our school started, including furniture, technology, curriculum, etc.) runs $7,800. All of our materials need to be purchased and shipped by June 15th to be sure they arrive in time for set up before school starts on August 28. It usually takes 6 weeks, but we want to allow a little extra time just in case. The problem is that we do not receive funding from the Department of Education until July 20th. Charter Schools in Hawaii do not receive start-up funds and are not allowed to go into debt, so we can’t borrow the funds needed for these items. We hope everyone will participate in the GoFundMe drive and share the information widely with friends, family, coworkers, businesses you patronize, etc. An individual may want to purchase a table and chairs for a classroom, a few bookcases to hold materials, bulletin boards, or maybe whiteboards. Families may want to sponsor a classroom, with aunties, uncles and grandparents helping out. You can donate for a specific purpose like purchasing furniture, or just for areas of greatest or immediate needs. Recognition plaques will be prepared and proudly displayed for families who sponsor a classroom, as well as any donation of $1,000 or more. All donations are tax-deductible and for a great cause—the benefit of our keiki!!! The GoFundMe drive kicks off Friday, May 25th.

As opening day approaches, and especially these next few week, let’s all work together to get over the last hurdle and open a wonderful school of choice for our keiki!

Mahalo!
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Governing Board:
Rick Eckert, Chairperson
Indy Reeves, Vice-chairperson
Nicola Sherrill, Secretary
DrB Blackwell, Member
Jesse Mahorney, Member
Mark Olson, Member

May 2018 Newsletter

April Showers…?

To everyone that was affected by the devastating rains in April, we send our heartfelt wishes for the strength, determination and unification necessary for responding in times of disaster. Families lost their homes, cars, and beloved pets. Such trauma can make you feel isolated and helpless, while those unaffected mobilize out of compassion to dig in, literally, with friends and neighbors on the road to recovery. It appears that our island community is chock full of caring, hard-working citizens. We are so proud to be part of a community that in the hardest of times can join hands to rebuild and give support to what we all cherish.

This is exactly the type of school ohana we aim to build. It requires dedication, time, and resources from each of us to not only get us started and become operational, but also to maintain our vision and grow towards bigger dreams through the future.

Knowing that Alaka`i will be made up of families who have proven community service, it is inspiring to imagine what we can all do for our children’s school.

Parent and Child Fair

On April 14, Alaka`i had a table set up at the Parent and Child Fair in Kukui Grove Shopping Center. It was a great turnout with many families attending. There were lots of community organizations set up who serve the family and keiki populations sharing their information and also providing activities to engage the keiki, all while being entertained by incredible young performers on the main stage. Showing up at events like this helps to raise awareness, boost our enrollment, and answer questions people have who heard about us and want to know more.

Marketing & P.R.

This is a crucial time for raising awareness of Alaka’i O Kaua’i. As you may already know, our school funding is predicated on how many pupils are enrolled. It is our mission to fill all 165 available seats with happy keiki. Look out for our ad in Kaua`i Family Magazine (p.54), articles in the Garden Island Newspaper, and other local digital sites. If you see them, please share them and tag us on your facebook and social media pages; let the community know you are looking forward to your children attending! If you are a blogger, vlogger, or know others who are, please contact us! We would love to work with you on content about our school.

On The Air

A huge Mahalo to George Hochman of H. Hawaii Media for their generous donation to our school of a complete advertising package with H.Hawaii Media radio stations. You might hear our ad played twice a day on all 5 of their stations: Jamz 98.1, Island 98.9, Rooster Country 99.9, Oldies 101.3, and Hawaiian 107.9. This example of donorship is a true testament to our Kaua`i Aloha Spirit!

Team Alaka`i: Outreach

DrB will be at Kukui Grove Shopping Center on April 28, 29, 30 Sat-Mon, 12-5pm, to help get the word out about our school. Anyone who would like to meet our Board Chairperson and ask your questions, even submit an application, she will be happy to meet and work with you. DrB has been a UHM professor since 2003, training future teachers. She loves to talk story and share how Alakai O Kauai Charter School is going to transform education. And your learners will benefit from this new way of teaching, teaching to the whole child with academic rigor, informed social-emotional learning, and an Individual Learning Plan. No child will be overlooked or will fall through any cracks. Their individual needs will be met and the potential of each child will blossom.

Our next outreach table will be at the front entrance of Wal-Mart on Saturday May 5th, 12pm to 5pm. We will have flyers for handing out and a donation basket. Inviting everyone to visit our website is an easy way they can get a good introduction to who we are.

Are you a member of an organized group who has regular meetings? If you would like for a school representative to attend your group meeting to share information about our school and the benefit of this school choice on Kaua`i, please email us and we can arrange that!

Team Alaka`i: Transportation

On April 10, the Transportation Team met in Kapa`a to discuss the best options and how they might be able to organize bussing for students. Focusing primarily on East side families, we hope a bus service will help gain more enrollment from that side. Research is still in progress on the issue; please stay tuned or email us if you would like to join that effort.

Team Alaka`i: Fundraising

Although they are state funded public schools, charter schools are still under-funded and they are not funded equitably. Until legislation is passed to improve this simple fact, all charter schools have a big responsibility to raise money to pay for amenities many people don’t realize. Whose responsibility is it to ensure we raise enough money to accommodate the ideals we aspire to provide? EVERYONE’S! Especially our parent volunteers who have the tangible motivation to get to work for their kids.

On Thursday, April 26th, the fundraising and community outreach teams met at the Koloa Neighborhood center

There are also great people working on the state level to get new bills passed that will secure more equitable funding for charter schools. You may receive notification of these and requests for more letters of support to our representatives on behalf of charter school funding bills.

Also, to remind everyone, we have created a “Founders Club” for donors who can make tax deductible contributions starting at $1,000. Special recognition and gifts will be offered at various levels of support. Please request our Founders Club invitation letter if you can pass it on to your friends, family, and others who can help.

Our Director, Denise Trentham, DrB, and a grant writer who volunteered, Rozetta Williams, have submitted a federal grant to assist the school as we open a new charter school. We will know July 2018 if we are one of the fortunate 40 recipients of this grant. The grant is specifically for new or charter schools just opening, so we definitely qualify and will look forward to receiving financial assistance from the Federal government.

Amazon Smile

Who on Kaua`i doesn’t shop on Amazon? Living on a remote island, it can be hard to find exactly what we need sometimes. Well, now you can feel really good about your Amazon purchases when you shop through Amazon Smile. The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Every item available for purchase on www.amazon.com is also available on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) at the same price. On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you are prompted to select a charitable organization from their list of eligible organizations. You can change your selection at any time, so if you are already using Amazon Smile for another organization, consider including Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School as your first choice or into an alternating schedule with another organization.

6th Grade Update

The State Charter Commission has been deliberating on whether to approve our request to add 6th grade this year. We asked for letters of support and had a great response, thank you! These letters were read and noted at the Commission’s Application Committee meeting on Thursday April 26th. Despite the support, the Application Committee deferred their vote to May 3rd. They may be trying to outlast us, but we will persevere and keep advocating for 6th grade this year (Fall 2018)

Enrollment Update

Every month we submit an enrollment update to the State Commission. Although we have received nearly 140 applications, half of them have not completed enrollment/registration forms. The state does not recognize our applicants until their registrations are complete and we have been on a mission to get all applicants through to completion. If you have received a notification about this, please respond ASAP to help boost our enrollment numbers. Little by little, we are approaching our goal of 165 learners. However, our enrollment target is much more than that; we need to also see a strong wait list. We know that a new school like ours may not be for everybody, and there may be scheduling or transportation conflicts that result in student withdrawal. So to be sure there are keiki ready to fill every open seat, a waitlist will be necessary. Please tell all of your friends, post on your facebook page, about Alaka’i O Kaua’i and why you want your kids to attend, or why we are a great addition to Kaua`i!

Before and After School Service

There has been a great deal of questions about whether or not, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will have before and after school care. The answer is “YES!” We have had strong interest in the service and also have had people contacting us wanting to apply for this position. We will be advertising this position soon and will select the best possible candidate to care for your child or children before and after school.

April 2018 Newsletter

First Meet and Greet A Great Success!!!

Thank you ALL for attending our first Meet & Greet last weekend! We were thrilled to have such a great turn-out. The Poipu Beach Athletic Club was a gracious host despite the high numbers overflowing their restaurant! Thanks go to John Horwitz for sponsoring the pupus and refreshments! Future events will need a bigger location, for sure. We are glad you had a chance to meet and hear from our director, Denise Trentham. We recorded her presentation and after it is edited, we will post on our facebook page. (Be sure and follow us there!)

Meet Our Interim Director

Denise Trentham was visiting Kaua’i this month and was able to attend the training required by the State Charter Commission on Oahu, see our school site and meet with iLEAD reps. Although she will be heading back to the mainland for the next few months, Denise will continue working on our behalf remotely and in person as she meets and plans with iLEAD Schools Development with whom we have contracted for office support, business services and professional development.

A little bit of background:

Denise holds a Master of Arts in Educational Supervision and Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Education. She has taught special education grades K-8, general education and gifted learners in grades 3-6. Seeing a need to support new educators, she created and administered the Beginning Teacher Support Program which included 160 new teachers and 80 experienced mentors. Denise has been a middle school assistant principal and principal of an elementary school with 1,000 at-risk learners. She has published articles and been a presenter at local, regional and state conferences for teacher support and special education. Following her career in traditional schools, Denise served on the governing board of the 2nd iLEAD school. When iLEAD Schools Development was formed she first became Director of Business Services then Director of Business Development. Her lifelong mission has been to transform the educational experience for K-8 students by preparing them academically and providing an engaging environment in which to learn and grow. Coming to Alaka’i O Kaua’i is an opportunity to use all facets of her experience to get our school off to a great start and establish a firm foundation of excellence.

Enrollment Update

We have received 109 applications to date. All have been offered enrollment but many have still not completed their enrollment registration. Some grades are close to full, so be sure to complete the registration process as soon as possible. Please log in to check your status and complete your registration. If you need help, please call 635-5110.

Below are listed some upcoming enrollment outreach dates. Please email us any other events you hear about that we may participate at.

 

Announcements

Save the dates for our upcoming events! We now have our calendar of events up on our website, www.alakaiokauai.org. We really need help with the Swap Meet and STEPS at Kukui Grove. Can you donate an hour or two of your time to make these events a success? E-mail us with your availability and we’ll get you dialed in.

4/7 Swap Meet: We will have a booth at Grove Farm Swap Meet Saturday April 7th from 8 to 1. We will get the word out about our school to recruit learners and raise money for our school.

4/10 Transportation Team Meeting: All are welcome to attend the first organizational meeting to begin the research and development of student transportation to be held at Kapaa United Church of Christ, 4-5:30pm.

4/14 STEPS at Kukui Grove: A fun event for young keiki and their parents to learn about local resources for children. We will have a table set up for enrollment outreach and an activity for keiki. Event is from 9:30am to 1pm. If you can volunteer to help tend the table, please email us.

Board Meetings: Thanks to KIUC, we have a great public location for our board meetings until our school is open. Every third Wednesday our meeting will be held at KIUC from 5 to 7pm. Our next meeting is on April 18. We hope to see you there!

Getting Organized

We are starting to organize teams with specific interests: Community Connections (to get the word out about our school), Fundraising (to raise money for start-up expenses and other needs), and Transportation (to find creative ways to get our keiki to and from Kahili Mountain Park). Community Connections team members plan and attend outreach activities such as tabling at swap meets, setting up meet and greets, walking neighborhoods to distribute info, hanging posters in businesses and community centers, etc. The Fundraising Team plans events such as The Charity Walk, benefit concerts, donation drives, etc. The Transportation Team is exploring options for all learners (particularly those from the East Side) such as carpooling apps, bus donations, grants, partnerships with local transportation agencies and businesses, etc. By joining together our networks and resources we can make our school an amazing place to learn and grow. It is time to get creative and do what we can for the benefit of our keiki! Don’t rely on other parents! We need you!

The efforts to get our school started initially fell on our six board members. Now that we have so many families interested in being part of our school, we can and should all get involved and begin to build our ohana. Interest forms were distributed at our Meet and Greet. If you were not able to attend, please follow this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VM9rDV5NpIoUjptzU1gUZSL3N7UsCMLQu91BfhGUYm4/edit

Fundraising Update

The new Alaka`i Founders Club welcomes donors, businesses, and philanthropists who can support the opening of our school. For Alakai Founders Club, we want to give special recognition by acknowledging each donor’s name or company name on plaques that will be prominently displayed at our school. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated; plaques will vary according to the level of contribution. We will be sending out an email on behalf of the Founder’s Club that we hope you can share widely.

If you signed up to join our fundraising team, be on the lookout for an invitation to an upcoming organizational meeting in mid-April. We need volunteers to help organize our participation in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk which will be held at Vidinha Stadium on Saturday, May 12. Please email us if you can help!

Social Networking

Are you following us on Facebook? Please do! We always post our newsletters and announcements there: https://www.facebook.com/AlakaiOKauai/?ref=bookmarks.

We also have an Instagram account you can follow: alakai_o_kauai

Don’t miss a chance to tell friends, neighbors, family members, businesses you patronize, church members, parents in line at the local market, etc. about our wonderful school!