Director’s Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

Many of our facilitators are parents too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Ms. Bailey Raines (Kindergarten)

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

The balance is delicate but attainable.

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

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

The adjustment is new but workable.

This is the new normal in 2020.

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

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

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

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

Mahalo!

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Distance Learning Enrichment Survey

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i families,

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

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

Mahalo!

Fred Birkett
School Director

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka`i O Kaua`i Families,

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

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

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

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

With gratitude,

Frederick A. Birkett, Ed.M
School Director

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

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

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

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

Amazon Smile

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

Kindergarteners Focus on Manners

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

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

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

4th Graders Create Projects on Women in History!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping Our Learning Community Connected from Home

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

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

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

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

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Families,

Tuesday, April 7, 2020, is the official Hawaii statewide start date for all schools to provide online educational enrichment. Unlike many of the public charter and traditional schools in our state, we come to online enrichment with the advantage of a relationship with iLEAD Schools, who provide support services to Alaka’i O Kaua’i.

iLEAD has online programs currently supporting ten schools across the United States. Our facilitators have spent the last two weeks receiving training, resources, and daily support from iLEAD to prepare to provide your children with a top-notch online education.

Since all facilitators have different educational styles, you should not try to compare one to another, especially if you have two children in your household at different grade levels. Most important will be the quality of the enrichment opportunities your child receives.

It is my hope that your children enjoy this experience. With approximately seven weeks left in the school year, our goal is to help your children finish strong academically. Let’s enjoy the rest of the school year with opportunities for growth for us all.

Mahalo!

Fred Birkett
School Director

Online Learning Success

Welcome to PowerSchool, an Online Enrichment Opportunity for Alaka’i O Kaua’i

Welcome to your Online Learning Enrichment Experience: PowerSchool! We are excited to provide enrichment opportunities to our learners on this platform.

If you are experiencing difficulty, please see the instructions here. To submit a request for help, please submit a Learner Technology Support ticket here.

PowerSchool Parent Training

Click here for a template to organize your learning enrichment opportunities.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

5 Ways to Set Up for Online Learning Enrichment Success!

Originally published by iLEAD Online

Online learning enrichment has many benefits. Flexibility in where and when you learn and the ability to design your own learning space are two of them. But successful online learning enrichment requires some thought. Unlike a traditional classroom, online learning enrichment requires learners to take more ownership of what and how they learn. For many, this is a big shift and takes some adjustment. Read below for some tips on how to make the transition easier and have a successful experience.

Set Up a Designated Enrichment Space

Where will you learn? Even if this answer may change from time to time, it’s important to set up a designated space in your home or where you plan to spend the most time.

For younger learners, think about a space where parent and learner can be together comfortably. A nook in the kitchen or living room with a small storage bin will do. Keep it simple. Minimize distraction. Make it fun and comfortable for both child and adult.

For teens, think about a space where you are really comfortable and feel like your best self. However, distraction is a problem. Do not set up your enrichment space near your TV or where you play video games. Your brain is already programmed in that space. Think about flexible seating options so you can mix it up through the day. If you have them accessible, hang a bulletin board or wall calendar for you to keep track of important things. Have snacks and water handy. Make it a place you really want to be every day. Check HERE for some inspiration.

Supplies to have at your enrichment space:

  • Pencils, pens, highlighter
  • Notebook for notes (one for each course or one large one organized by tabs)
  • Planner or calendar
  • Computer
  • Printer (optional)
  • Sticky notes
  • Something to do that doesn’t distract you from enrichment. A fidget spinner, jar of play dough, stress ball, or doodle pad are all great ideas.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to buy anything. Think about what you already have, and make it work for you!

Set Your Schedule

Plan out your learning enrichment times. Work with your parent/guardian and facilitator to brainstorm what will work best for you. Make sure to check each enrichment opportunity in PowerSchool for live virtual workshops and other events that you may want to schedule in.

Eliminate Distractions

It is so easy to get distracted when learning online.

StayFocused is a free Chrome extension that allows you to block certain websites, set time limits on others, and track your time. Limiting the time you spend on YouTube, Facebook, and other fun sites to 10 minutes gives you a quick brain break and then reminds you to get back to learning enrichment. Make sure you have Google Chrome installed as your internet browser, and then click HERE to install. Then change your settings by clicking the icon in the upper right-hand toolbar and finding the settings link.

What other distractions do you want to eliminate? Make a list of possible distractions and and then brainstorm some specific ways to stay focused below.

  • List possible distractions:
  • List ways to stay focused:

Gather Your Technology

You don’t need much to learn online. A laptop or desktop will do. It can also be helpful to have a mouse (our wrists were not designed to use a touchpad all day every day). Using a mouse can eliminate wear and tear on your body. A printer may come in handy if you prefer to print out your assignments and write them by hand. You will also need steady WiFi. Contact your facilitator if you need support getting a laptop or WiFi for learning enrichment.

Set up your virtual learning enrichment space (AKA your computer)

Suggested Bookmarks

Suggested Chrome Extensions

  • Grammarly (helps you correct your spelling and grammar with one click of a button)
  • HERE are 10 more we love!

Google

We recommend learners have a Google Account. This allows them access to email, Google Drive, and more. Learners can use Google Docs for their enrichment. You can register for an account for free, or request one through the school.

Learn on the Go!

PowerSchool has an app for Apple devices. Click HERE to download to your iPhone or iPad. This is great if you want to check discussion boards, do some reading, or submit an assignment when you are not around your computer.

Use Accountability

Here are some things to think about to ensure you have lots of support:

  • Meeting with your parent/guardian: Set a regular (weekly or monthly) meeting time to go over your learning enrichment with your parent(s)/guardian. Talk about what you are doing really well and enjoying and where you want to grow. Brainstorm ways you and your parent can collaborate to meet your goals.
  • Meeting with your facilitator: Your facilitator is here to help you be successful in school and life. Make sure to reach out wherever you need support. They can help you brainstorm solutions and offer resources.
  • There are lots of online enrichment learners just like you! Reach out to your peers to find someone to connect with.
  • Reward yourself! Whether it is little rewards throughout the day (a gummy bear for every assignment completed) or big rewards, creating a system of external rewards helps keep you motivated.
  • Make checklists. Log in every morning to make a list of everything you want to do that day for learning enrichment. Here are some suggested daily to-dos for success:
    • Read your checklist from the previous day. Transfer over any tasks you did not complete to today’s checklist.
    • Check email and respond to each important one received.
    • Check announcements. Write down things you want to do.
    • Check for feedback and comments from your facilitators.
    • Check calendar.
    • Check agenda for that week.
    • Make a list of all learning enrichment, discussions, and projects you want to participate in today.
Remote Learning Alakai O Kauai

Organizing Your Remote Learning Schedule

After you have organized a space that works well for your child to access enrichment opportunities remotely, what’s next? Let’s talk about organizing your learner’s day! We’ve provided sample daily schedules here, including one that’s great for working families. Take a look, and you can start to work toward a routine that suits your family’s needs. Be kind to yourselves and have fun while you navigate this new approach to learning enrichment, and remember: we’re here to support you along the way!

Sample-Daily-Schedules

Online Enrichment Resources

Are you looking for some fun, enriching activities and learning opportunities for your kids? Take a look at the resources below!

Learning Enrichment Resources

Additional Free Online Resources for Extension Activities

Outdoor Learning and Challenges

  • iLEAD Through Play is the perfect place to learn about nature and join in on some fun challenges!

Digital Citizenships

Addressing Children’s Feelings about the Current Health Climate

Home Schooling Answers

Additional Free Enrichment Resources: Home Schooling Answers

For additional resources for learning enrichment at home at all grade levels, visit homeschoolinganswers.com. Home Schooling Answers is brought to you by veteran homeschool professional educators from nonprofit iLEAD Education and Maker Learning Network. This is provided as a public service to the community at large worldwide who find themselves suddenly homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources here are carefully curated for the parent who needs support fast, and they are compiled as a simplified way to design your homeschooling journey and begin today. We will be regularly adding to and updating the site with new resources during the pandemic.

Director’s Message

Aloha, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Families,

The health and well-being of our learners and staff is our number-one priority. As you’ve likely heard, the Governor has instituted a state-wide lockdown until April 30 to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 24, School Superintendent Kishimoto continued the closure of school facilities through April 30 but emphasized that traditional in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen. Please click here to read Superintendent Kishimoto’s letter.

In the weeks ahead until school reopens, all public schools, including public charter schools, will be providing students with academic enrichment opportunities, including online resources and instructional packets, to assist your children in maintaining what they have learned thus far. These opportunities are being offered but not required of students at this time. We are developing a plan to continue enrichment opportunities for all learners, and facilitators will send you information Monday morning so that your children can continue to benefit from and stay connected to our learning community remotely. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education has also provided learning opportunities and online resources to sustain your learner’s continuity of education: You may click here to access those.

Alaka’i O Kaua’i school will ensure that learners with disabilities have equal access to the same enrichment opportunities as their peers. We are working toward providing the most appropriate modifications and accommodations under the circumstances. Related services that can be provided via telepractice will be considered on a case-by-case basis for learners who have qualified for these services.

During the entirety of the COVID-19 emergency, our facilitators will continue to work remotely with me to plan and provide learners with enrichment activities. We will check in with our learners and maintain our connections as well as we can during this disruption.

If you do not have internet access, the following companies are pitching in to help:

  • Spectrum Hawaii – 60-Day Free Access: Spectrum Hawaii offers free Wi-Fi access to homes with students! To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Be aware that if you don’t cancel before the 60 “free” days, you’ll be billed for continuation of services. It’s not an automatic cancellation! Put it on your calendar to cancel services before the 60th day!
  • Hawaiian Telcom – 2-Month Free Access: Hawaiian Telcom offers two months of free Internet service to households with K-12 and/or college students who currently do not subscribe to Hawaiian Telcom Internet service. To sign up, families can call 643-8888. Installation fees will also be waived for new student households.

While we deeply regret the inconvenience this disruption is causing you and your family, our priority is the safety of our families. These are unprecedented and unsettling times, and we are all navigating the uncharted waters together. We’re incredibly grateful for our facilitators and staff who have worked tirelessly to prepare for ongoing enrichment opportunities for our learners. We are honored and inspired by our entire community and thankful for all of your support.

Throughout this process, we will continue monitoring the updates issued by the Hawai‘i Department of Education and continue working closely with health officials.

We remind you to please check your e-mail and our website frequently for updates. We will keep you informed as we receive new information from officials. In addition, please feel free to call us at 808-635-5110 or email info@alakaiokauai.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you all very much for your understanding as this situation continues to unfold — and while we work as one community to keep our learners and families safe.

Sincerely,

Fred Birkett
School Director

Alakai O Kauai Podcast POL

Third Grade PBL: Making a Podcast

Driving Question: How can we create a podcast for Alaka’i O Kaua’i that effectively shares the vibrancy of our learning with our community?

Learners found inspiration while listening to several other podcasts in class and learned concepts in each subject. Podcasts for children that brought us inspiration were as follows:

Throughout the project-based learning, experts in our community helped. Bandwagon Music Center owner Jeremy Hartshorn visited to show our class how to record vocals and music. Then we went on a field trip to KONG Radio, where hosts Ron Wiley, Lexi Jones, and Marc Valentin taught the third graders the importance of broadcasting, showed them how to edit vocals, and aired them singing a song on the radio.

Learners covered many Common Core standards while creating the podcast. One of the main ones was in “Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 3.5: Students can create interesting and understandable audio recordings of stories or poems and add visual displays when appropriate for certain facts or details.”

Alaka’i O Kaua’i focuses on the development of the whole child, including the academic, social, and emotional aspect of learning. A core belief here is that learning is more relevant to children when it engages them in projects that help solve problems important to them and their community. It is our hope that this project-based learning opportunity to create a podcast will help learners understand the value of sharing ideas in the 21st century. Whether it be with our small community or other areas of the world, making connections is a wonderful part of the human experience.

Together, the third graders recorded facts and jokes that pertain to island life, stories and poems that they have written, interviews that they conducted, and multiplication jingles that I wrote earlier in my teaching career.

We hope you are enlightened, entertained, and informed as you listen to the Alaka’i O Kaua’i podcast.

Kindergarteners Have Fun in Their Mud Kitchen and Learn New Concepts

In Alaka’i’s outdoor play-based classroom, we’re starting with a mud kitchen and a loose-parts center.

Mud kitchens are an excellent source of learning for children. There are several great resources on the Being Makers website that explain the benefits of mud kitchens and outdoor classrooms. Mud kitchens foster children’s creativity, social-emotional skills, problem-solving skills, and more.

When playing with mud, their fine motor skills and sensory exploration are also being utilized through pouring, stirring, scooping, and interacting with the texture of the mud. Kids also learn to work together. It’s fun to see children creating a pretend restaurant or developing a new mud recipe.

When asked if she liked to make mud pies, a kindergartener said, “I like making grass salads and mud pizza.”

Outdoor classrooms also minimize behavior problems, because children are highly engaged exploring and learning through play. In addition, outdoor classrooms help to meet state standards in a child-centered way. For example, kids can practice a math problem such as 5 + 3 using sticks or shells.

Modified Operations

We will update this page with new information as it becomes available.

Online Enrichment Blog


Updates


Meal Services

HIDOE: Grab-and-Go Student Meals

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Message from William N. Arakaki, Kauai Complex Area Superintendent

Aloha, Kaua‘i ‘Ohana,

We hope this message finds you and your ‘ohana well. We realize that the extension of spring break for our keiki will cause disruption to our meal services. To help alleviate this, three of our Kaua‘i Complex Area schools have been designated to provide free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for children 18 years or younger from public, charter, private and home schools. They will be able to pick up meals at the following:

  • Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School
  • Kapa’a High School
  • Waimea High School

Weekdays at the following times:

  • Breakfast: 7:30 to 8 a.m. Due to food safety, the meal must be consumed by 10 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Due to food safety, the meal must be consumed by 2 p.m.

All meals will be placed in containers. Meals will be located outside of the cafeteria, preferably closest to a driveway or other natural access point on the campus. There will be no access to the cafeteria.
For more information, please see the DOE’s COVID-19 updates webpage.

We will continue to support our keiki and ‘ohana to stay healthy and safe as we go through this difficult time TOGETHER!

William N. Arakaki
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent


Free and Low-Cost Internet

  • Spectrum: Free internet access for students. Beginning March 16, Spectrum is offering free internet for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don’t already have a Spectrum subscription. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395.
  • Hawaiian Telcom: Free WiFi for households with students for a limited time. Some restrictions apply. For more information, contact (808) 643-8888.
  • Comcast: Free internet essentials package. To sign up for a free internet essentials package for 60 days, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
  • Charter: Free internet for 2 months.
  • AT&T: COVID-19 response: Open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families
  • Verizon: Special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint: Following the FCC agreement, providing unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
  • T-Mobile: Following the FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge

Informational Resources for Families

Internet Safety

Raising Responsible Kids with Love and Logic: Making the Internet Safer for Your Kids

By Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic

Love and Logic is the school-wide discipline program embraced by Alaka’i O Kaua’i.

According to a survey from the Love and Logic Institute, one in five American parents is more concerned about the negative impact of the Internet than of television, friends, movies, or even popular music.

The World Wide Web contains some very real risks. But if parents follow several simple yet powerful steps, they can protect their children from inappropriate and potentially dangerous Internet content, while also allowing them to experience the benefits of a wired world.

The Internet is like any other powerful tool. It takes training and guidance to use it well and to use it without getting hurt.

As a teenager, I received my first lesson on the use of a very powerful and dangerous tool — a chainsaw. My father was careful to stand close by and guide me. Children need the same type of careful teaching and supervision while they learn to use the Internet. Here are some specific Love and Logic tips for keeping your kids safe and helping them make responsible choices about the Web:

Tip #1: Don’t rely on electronic safeguards. Will your child’s first car, his first girlfriend, or her first year of college be equipped with a device designed to limit harmful information or activity? Electronic safeguards are no substitute for good parental role modeling, supervision, and guidance. This approach also teaches children to learn how to make wise choices by giving them plenty of practice as they encounter tough choices on the Web and in the real world.

Tip #2: Keep the computer out of your child’s room. Despite children’s protests, parents have a right and a responsibility to have the computer someplace where they can stay in touch with how it’s used.

Tip #3: Have honest discussions and set positive expectations. One of the most powerful things a parent can say about the Internet is this: “There are a lot of not-so-great things on the Web. The good news is that you’re the kind of kid who can make smart choices about what he looks at and what he doesn’t.” Research shows children tend to live up to such positive expectations.

Tip #4: Set a reasonable time limit for daily use.

Tip #5: Expect your child to pay for excessive or inappropriate use of the computer. When your child exceeds the time limit you’ve set or views inappropriate material, he or she should be expected to pay for that time. Kids can pay with extra chores, money they’ve saved, or possessions.

The Love and Logic Institute has received many grateful phone calls and letters from parents who report this approach has changed their lives with their kids. One mother commented, “My boy sure is making better choices about the computer now that he knows I’ll hold him accountable for his poor ones.”

Give Love and Logic a try, and join thousands of parents who now have kids who are better prepared for the challenges of the real world.

Alakai O Kauai Presentation of Learning

1st Grade Presentation of Learning: Healthy Earth, Healthy Me

Before the break, Ms. Joeanne’s first grade class hosted their Presentation of Learning for Healthy Earth, Healthy Me. Their driving question was “How can we help keep our environment and ourselves healthy?”

Children began their investigation by going on a walking tour over the grounds of Alaka’i O Kaua’i with Mr. Jon. They investigated, observed, compared, and recorded things found in nature. Next, they went on a field study to Hokuala Organic Farm in Lihue. They identified what plants need for survival. They distinguished the different structures of plants. They investigated, compared, and discussed how the structures, parts of the plants, help them survive and grow. They noticed that plants have different-looking structures, and even some of the same plants have differences. They learned that getting fruits and vegetables harvested on a local farm could be healthier than going to a store.

These two field trips led learners to wonder about dirt. They collected and investigated soil samples from various locations around Kaua’i. Through experimentation, they noticed the similarities and differences of the various soils. The learners used simple tools, such as magnifying glasses, to sort and separate the particles of the soil. They observed the separation of the different layers in the soil, read books about soil, and learned what helps soil be healthy. Learners discovered the importance of worms and composting as opposed to throwing everything into a landfill. Composting helps grow healthy food for us and helps produce less methane gas in landfills, which contributes to global warming, and it causes less leachate, which contributes to ground water pollution.

As a cumulating activity, learners created posters encouraging others to compost their food scraps. The posters were distributed to local businesses for display. Additionally, the first grade learners gave a PowerPoint presentation to their families and other learners at Alaka’i O Kaua’i, encouraging them to compost food scraps at snack and lunchtime. An added bonus was when a volunteer from Kauai Worms came to Alaka’i O Kaua’i and provided information on how to establish and maintain a worm-composting bin. The children loved examining the worms and playing in the dirt. An awesome conclusion to our Project-Based Learning on Healthy Earth, Healthy Me!

Mrs. Joeanne Mick's first grade class recently held a Presentation of Learning for their Healthy Earth Healthy Me PBL…

Posted by Alaka'i O Kaua'i on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Project Based Learning at Alakai O Kauai

Alaka`i O Kaua`i Learners Present Their Project-Based Learning

We ended the month of February with our 5th and 6th graders displaying what they learned about Native Americans and how to make pop-up books through the use of mathematical concepts.

5th grade, Ms. Collette Oguin

Ms. Collette Oguin’s 5th graders studied the lives of indigenous Americans in the 1400s-1600s and how the geography of North America shaped the development of their societies. Through their Presentation of Learning, our 5th graders displayed the deep learning they’ve been doing in class. We are proud of our inquisitive, hardworking keiki!

6th grade, Ms. Donna Daum

Our 6th graders had a strong interest in creating flip-books, and we discovered how creative the learners could be! Research brought about engineering designs that they could use to build pop-up books. How fun! They followed step-by-step directions tirelessly, finding out what worked and what didn’t. They would design and redesign over and over again to get just the right angles and proportions for the pages to pop out correctly. They learned so much while having so much fun! They came up with the idea that these books should be marketed to a younger audience. Then they realized that because we also do so much math together, maybe we could share some of the math concepts with the other learners within the fun pop-up book! What an amazing project!

Spring Break Options for Your Learners!

Looking for fun activities for your children during Spring Break? We’ve included some options at Poipu Beach Athletic Club! (Note: Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School is not affiliated with this provider, but we are sharing the information as a courtesy to our families.)

Poipu Beach Athletic Club has two amazing programs happening during Spring Break.

Kid Camp

First is Kid Camp, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Kids ages 5-11 will enjoy a variety of activities, from crafts to sports, water play, pool play time, and a movie. Email Tiffany@poipuclub.com for questions or help with registration.

Swim Lessons

Second, Poipu Beach Athletic Club is offering swim lessons! Heather, an amazingly fun and talented swim instructor, will be offering two classes during Spring Break only (March 16-20).

Parent+Tot Class: ages six months to two years old; parent/guardian must participate.

Beginner 3-4-Year-Old Class: child only, and space for this class is very limited. If the 10:00 a.m. time slot fills up, then we will offer a second class at 11:00 a.m.

Please email Tiffany@poipuclub.com if you have any questions or need help registering!

HAPPY SPRING!