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The Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission Approves Two New Charter Schools
By News Release @ 4:03 AM :: 1500 Views :: Education K-12

The Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission Approves Two New Charter Schools

News Release from Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission, June 24, 2022

HONOLULU, HI - The Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission approved the applications of two new charter schools at its Thursday, June 23, 2022 general business meeting. The two newly approved schools are Namahana School, which will be located in Kalihiwai on the north side of the island of Kauaʻi, and Kūlia Academy, which will be located in Kalihi on the island of Oʻahu. Both proposed schools will have up to two years to open their doors to students.

Namahana School will serve the North Shore communities on Kauaʻi. When it opens its doors it will serve students in 7th and 8th grade and grow each year to ultimately serve students in 7th through 12th grade. In their application, Namahana School leader Kapua Chandler shared that they will utilize ʻāina-based learning - a dynamic approach to education where learners deepen their relationship with the land, cultivate connections within their communities, and build critical skills that can be applied to real-world issues and the needs of the community. Students will engage in project-based learning tied to the ʻāina. They will work in small learning groups, develop personal learning plans that reflect their interests and needs, and gain real-world learning experiences through mentorships, internships, and uluʻāina (field studies). Namahana will provide Individual Learning Plans for each student so parents and caregivers can have an alternative method of following student progress and growth.

Kūlia Academy will be focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specifically Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Kūlia Academy will serve students in 6th-12th grade. When it opens its doors, it will serve 6th grade students and grow to serve more grades each year. The new charter school will occupy the former site of St. Anthony School in Kalihi. In their application they wrote that they aim to help close the achievement gap in their service area through their instructional model and through using a robust response to intervention program.

The State Public Charter School Commission Interim Executive Director Yvonne Lau said, “The two applicants approved have met the Commission’s rigorous and high standards and will provide two more unique educational options to two different communities that share a common desire for high expectations and aspirations for their students. We look forward to working with these two applicants to open their doors to more families and to improve the academic outcomes for our children.”

This application process started in March 2020 with the release of the 2020 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Start-up and Conversion schools. Just a month later on April 23, 2020, the Commission took action to suspend the applications cycle due to funding restrictions imposed by the Governor in Executive Memorandum 20-01, Amendments to Executive Memorandum 19-02, FY20 Budget Execution Policies and Instruction. The budget restrictions were put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

When the 2020 applications cycle reopened in 2022, four groups chose to continue in the process; Kūlia Academy, Lima No‘eau Charter School, Maui Academy of Arts and Science, and Namahana Charter School.

The Commission thanks all the applicants for their hard work and effort in applying to be a new charter school. As the charter school authorizer in Hawaiʻi, the Commission’s mission is in part to authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout Hawai‘i by soliciting, evaluating, and approving public charter school applications. Rigorous authorizing is critical to ensure high-quality public charter schools.

KHON: Hawaii gets 2 new charter schools

TGI: Kauaʻi North Shore Namahana School gets green light

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