Lt. Governor Aiona earlier this month traveled to the Big Island to meet with officials with the Charter School Review Panel to urge them to reconsider its position and allow Laupahoehoe Elementary School to become a public charter school. Teachers, administrative staff and parents in Feb. voted overwhelmingly in favor of converting to a public charter school but had been denied.
"Hawai`i's charter schools offer important education alternatives as they continue to encourage community and parental involvement in the education of our keiki," Lt. Governor Aiona said.
In addition, Governor Lingle and Lt. Governor Aiona on Monday proclaimed May 2 - 8 as Charter School Week to recognize and congratulate Hawai`i charter school leaders, students, parents, teachers and supporters for their many accomplishments. By providing quality education, charter schools contribute to the statewide effort to improve public education in Hawai`i.
Hawai`i's first 25 charter schools were authorized during the 1994 legislative session. These student-centered schools are public schools that have their own local school boards. They operate under a charter, or contract, with the state.
Through careful planning innovation and flexibility, 17 of the charter schools are able to avoid taking any furlough days this year, nine are taking some furlough days and only five are taking all 17 furlough days.
For example, Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau charter school in Kane`ohe saved 12 instructional days by creatively using grant money, cutting classroom supply budgets and having teachers agree to temporarily forgo step increases in pay. The school added the remaining five furlough days on to Christmas break and the end of the school year to minimize disruption to family schedules.
At Kihei Charter School on Maui, flexibility leads to learning outside the classroom. Students receive traditional instruction at school, as well as home-based learning activities, with help from parents for the youngest kids, and online instruction for older ones, as well as internships and independent projects. On furlough days, half the staff reports to campus, alternating with the other half on the next furlough.
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