‘Exciting’ new model for education

LIHUE — Kristin Hoshino said she likes Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School because it promotes teamwork.

“It seems like it’ll cross over into the real world,” she said. “I’m a fan of new ideas and looking at the bigger picture.”

It’s a sentiment Karla Bolimann echoed.

“The school emphasizes project-based learning and leadership, which are needed to be successful in the 21st century,” she said.

Both Kapaa women are interested in enrolling their children at the school, which is planned to open in the fall of 2017.

“I was thinking about changing school districts to make sure my daughter gets the best education possible on Kauai, so the timing is perfect,” Hoshino said.

Hoshino and Bolimann attended a community meeting Friday night to celebrate the approval Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. The school was unanimously approved by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission in August.

About 100 people showed up to take part in the silent auction, entertainment and learn more about the project.

Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School will offer grades kindergarten through fourth grade. Officials hope to grow to 360 students in 10 years, said Kani “DrB” Blackwell, acting chair.

Eden Marie Peart, who worked as a teacher for 11 years on the Big Island before moving to Kauai, is interested in teaching at Alakai O Kauai Charter School.

“I love to see exciting, new initiatives,” she said.

Operating costs for 2017 are estimated to be $1.3 million, Blackwell said. While most of that will come from state funding, the school will have to raise about $250,000. The school won’t receive state funding until the first students arrive, Blackwell added.

Benjamin Prichard believes the school is on its way to becoming the best school on the island.

“The model will work well on Kauai,” he said. “Every kid learns differently.”

Prichard, who lives in Kapaa, said he plans on sending his two children, who are homeschooled, to Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School.

Another draw to the school is that it will teach students about interaction, Hoshino said.

“It puts an emphasis on emotional intelligence, rather than just memorizing facts,” she said.

As for the school’s location, Felicia Cowden, who serves on the advisory board, said officials are looking at sites in Kapaa and the North Shore. Cowden said they are hoping someone might donate property.

“We don’t know exactly where the school will be, but we know it’ll be somewhere,” she said.

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