LIHUE — The Wai‘ale‘ale Project at Kauai Community College provides financial, academic and other supports to reduce barriers for students who otherwise were not bound for college.
The Wai‘ale‘ale Project is among more than a dozen programs on Kauai and Niihau in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools to strengthen the achievements of Native Hawaiian learners.
Kamehameha Schools has awarded more than $1.9 million in community-investment grants to support collaboration partners on Kauai and Niihau for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. For the Wai‘ale‘ale Project, that means tuition assistance for the first year of college for 150 Native Hawaiians, increasing the potential for post-high school success.
“These grants support areas such as Hawaiian cultural-based immersion and charter schools, early-education programs, ‘aina-based learning opportunities, vocational training and undergraduate and graduate internships,” said Lauren Nahme, vice president of strategy and innovation. “As part of our Strategic Plan for 2020 and Vision 2040, we join with these community collaborators in working toward building a thriving lahui.”
Overall, Kamehameha Schools has awarded $24 million in grants statewide for this fiscal year.
The grants target four primary priorities statewide — $4.6 million for early learning, $12 million for kindergarten-to-grade-12 education, $4.25 million for college and career focus, and $3 million for ‘aina and community engagement — with the goal of improving Native Hawaiian learner outcomes in kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading scores, eighth-grade math scores, on-time high school graduation rates and completion of post-secondary education.
Statewide, several organizations received grants for multiple projects.
Investments in programs and projects on Kauai and Ni‘ihau totaled more than $1.9 million with awards going to organizations such as:
• Waipa Foundation for the Waipa Ahupua‘a Learning Center.
• Kanu I Ka Pono Inc. for Kanuikapono Public Charter School’s per-pupil funding and program development.
• ‘Aha Punana Leo Inc.’s support of Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha for per-pupil funding and growth development.
• Supporting the Language of Kauai for Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School’s per-pupil allocation and for the Manokalanipo Curriculum Stabilization Project.
• Kanaka Aupuni A Ni‘ihau Aloha to support the Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) New Century Public Charter School’s bilingual educational program (Ni‘ihau dialect and English) and the pre-kindergarten through grade 12 bilingual education curriculum for Hawaiian and English.
• Kapaa Elementary summer school program provides literacy support and culture-based enrichment to approximately 124 students in grades K-5.
“From ‘olelo Hawai‘i to ‘aina-based education, these investments strengthen knowledge through the uniqueness of Kauai and Niihau, enabling Native Hawaiian identity and educational progress to flourish,” Kamehameha School Regional Director Buffy Ofisa said.