LIHUE — As Dirk Soma prepares for the Native Hawaiian Educational Summit, he’s looking forward to informing Kauai’s people about educational progress throughout the island.
“We hope to accomplish a couple of things. The first is to provide information to our community about the status of Native Hawaiians in education,” said the Kauai Island Chair for the Native Hawaiian Education Council. “Two, we want to provide the community with information regarding policies about the Department of Education, the University of Hawaii system and at the national level.”
Set to take place at Kauai Community College’s Cafeteria and Business Education buildings on May 16, the summit is also meant to provide a forum to discuss the issues, challenges, successes and opportunities facing the community in regards to Hawaiian students and recommend possible solutions to help students grow, according to Soma.
“We also want to provide the community the opportunity to voice their concerns in regards to access to educational services, quality of education and educational opportunities,” he said.
The meeting will begin with a general session about the current state of Native Hawaiian education by Dr. Lisa Watkins Victorino, director of research for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The session will be followed by five breakout sessions that will run concurrently to discuss Kauai’s education in its five categories, which are pre-K, elementary education, middle and high school and post-secondary education.
The summit will continue with lunch and speeches by keynote speakers Kimo Perry, director of Project Waialeale, and Tia Koerte, the head of the charter school Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha, who will provide insight about education’s importance.
A second general session will include a panel presentation on educational policy. Topics will include current and future policy initiatives being introduced and implemented within the state Department of Education, the UH system and the nation that will impact Hawaiian students.
In order for people to register they must go to Native Hawaiian Education Council’s website as there is only room for 150 participants.
The summit will begin with registration and a continental breakfast from 9 until 9:30 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. Guest speakers will include Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki, KCC Chancellor Helen Cox and NHEC Executive Director Sylvia Hussey.