Five million four hundred thousand dollars in federal grants is going to 11 schools and programs on four islands to improve the education of Native Hawaiian children in his Second Congressional District.
I’m especially encouraged by this latest round of grant awards from the U.S. Department of Education because most of the grants are a direct result of workshops I helped to organize last March to get more organizations to apply for federal funds made available regularly to Native Hawaiian education programs.
I requested the workshops after noting low levels of grant applications for Native Hawaiian Education Program funds from schools and educational groups in areas populated with the highest concentrations of Native Hawaiians in his Second Congressional District.
The purpose of the Native Hawaiian Education Program is to support innovative projects that enhance educational services to Native Hawaiian children and adults. But after communicating with various groups, I found that not enough organizations were even aware of those specific sources of federal funds, much less of how to go about applying for them.
Earlier this year, I wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to request that the USDOE conduct an outreach program targeted directly to Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian communities. The result was a series of nine workshops organized by myself and the Native Hawaiian Education Council on the Native Hawaiian Education Program — established by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye — directly to constituencies on Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island.
I wanted to ensure that areas with significant populations of Native Hawaiians, particularly on the Waianae Coast and Molokai, received their fair share of attention and funds. The results are very encouraging, especially on Molokai where Kaunakakai and Kualapuu elementary schools and Molokai Community Service Council are receiving funds to improve student performance in the classroom through programs rooted in the Native Hawaiian culture.
In Waianae, Native Hawaiian Education Program funds will directly benefit students, teachers, and families. Until now, for example, Nanaikapono Elementary School, whose majority of students is Native Hawaiian, had never applied for these funds, but the school will now have money to enhance a literacy program.
The programs receiving funds are:
Nanaikapono Elementary School (Wai’anae) — Project Nana i ka Pulapula, $343,560. The project will enhance beginning reading and literacy among Native Hawaiian students in K-3rd grade and improve a teacher education program to ensure that 60 Nanaikapono teachers are well-prepared to address the unique needs of their 1,000 students, of which 650 are Native Hawaiian.
Waianae High School Alumni and Community Foundation — Waianae Coast Digital Media Halau for Native Hawaiian Youth, $471,350. This funding will go to a project which is the newest phase of an ongoing program providing at-risk Native Hawaiian youth opportunities to learn about digital media industries through the traditional and contemporary Hawaiian cultural practice of moolelo (storytelling). Students receive instruction and commercial production experience in digital media technologies, including digital video and audio production, computer art and animation, broadcast journalism, web application development, and video game design. The program’s overall goal is to increase the number of Native Hawaiian youth from the Waianae Coast in digital media arts education in high school and college and careers in digital media industries.
Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (Kapolei) — Keiki Steps, $566,823. This program addresses the need to improve the school-readiness of Native Hawaiian children, prenatal to age 5. Teachers will receive training and have access to instructional resources that meet the unique educational needs of Native Hawaiian students. About 400 families with one to five children, and who otherwise may receive no preschool experience, will be served at various sites.
University of Hawaii at Hilo Na Pua Noeau, — Project Hoomau, $574,844. This project will serve at-risk Native Hawaiian students in 11th and 12th grades by helping them to enter the university system and to increase their chances of earning college degrees. The program initiatives include social and academic support networks, career counseling, internship opportunities, and research seminars connecting them with university faculty and their research projects.
Ke Kula O Nawahiokalaniopuu (charter school, Keaau), $426,375. This grant will be used to develop student literacy in the Hawaiian Medium Schools through the development of traditional literature and resources in teaching reading and writing for children in K-6th grade. Funds will also be used to create assessment instruments to determine the academic progress of students in the Hawaiian Medium Schools.
Aha Punana Leo (Hilo) — Lamaku Project, $832,490. This funding will help to expand an existing Hawaiian Language Immersion Program whose ultimate goal is to perpetuate Hawaiian language and culture via the Hawaiian Medium Education system. This involves an instructional program in which children can meet the state’s education standards through the use of the Hawaiian language and pursue post-secondary education with the support of 25 scholarships. The program also supports Native Hawaiian educators with 90 scholarships and increases the number of qualified teachers eligible to teach in the system.
Kanu O Ka Aina Learning ‘Ohana (charter school, Kamuela), $1,033,899. The school’s LOI program will work toward the development and maintenance of a comprehensive Native Hawaiian education and care system. LOI fosters beginning reading and literacy in Hawaiian and English starting in pre-school, kindergarten through 3rd grade and, if necessary, beyond. The program will engage Native Hawaiian children and youth in cultural activities and usee the Hawaiian language in conversations, traditional practices and instruction.
Kaunakakai Elementary School, $281,187. This funding will help the school to extend learning time and support after- or out-of-school activities to boost student achievement. In addition, teachers will voluntarily conduct monthly workshops for parents to learn about their children’s educational experiences. The school projects reaching 240 children and their 200 family members outside of formal school hours with enrichment experiences to help student achievement.
Kualapuu School (charter school, Moloka’i) — Project OLELO, $197,782. This grant will expand the reach of the project to more students and access to culturally sensitive learning materials and resources. Also, more students will meet state proficiency levels in reading, mathematics and other areas.
Molokai Community Service Council (Kaunakakai), $190,838. This project at the Molokai Community Service Council’s new private high school, Ho’omana Hou, will train two Native Hawaiian teachers in a nationally-recognized instructional system for native communities. The instructional system requires hands-on culturally-sensitive teaching methods with emphasis on group activities and teacher-student dialogue. The school will improve the reading, math and science proficiency of its students by improving a curriculum that teaches these subjects inside the classroom and outdoors in the ancient fishponds of Moloka’i and their surrounding ecosystems.
Hoola Lahui Hawaii (Lihu’e), $622,880. With Native Hawaiians underrepresented in the health care and medical fields, this project seeks to increase the number of Native Hawaiians receiving health care training on Kauai through activities such as tutoring, career counseling, career development, mentoring, and family vocational training. The program will increase Native Hawaiian Educational performance levels of students at Kauai Immersion Schools (elementary through high school); provide a career development program from middle school through high school; create awareness of health care education opportunities; recruit students who need financial assistance into health professions; provide guidance to scholarship assistance; and provide parent activities such as small business development, computer training and allied health.
”’Ed Case, D-Hawaii, is the U.S. Congressman representing the Second District.”’
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