Holiday benefit dinner for Alaka‘i O Kauai

KAPAA — If Alaka‘i O Kauai Public Charter School doesn’t get funds soon, it won’t open next year.

“We will have to delay opening,” said Kani “Dr. B” Blackwell, acting chair. “If we don’t open in fall 2019, we lose our charter approval.”

The school needs $200,000 to open. As of Thursday, $29,475 had been raised.

Right now, the K-4 school is slated to open in 2017. If all goes to plan, Blackwell expects 165 students to enroll.

“The community has been very supportive in the way of welcoming, but funds are slow in coming. Parents are elated that we are approved and are anxious to start enrolling their kids,” she said. “Parents seem to know that our project-based curriculum will be making a difference for their child’s education. I am just hoping that once our location has been identified and our enrollment starts, the funds will follow.”

Alaka‘i O Kauai Public Charter School was unanimously approved by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission in August. It will focus on project-based learning and will provide keiki with innovative ways to learn.

Another obstacle the school is facing is finding a permanent location. Officials hope to open a residence in Kapaa and are looking to acquire state land, Blackwell said.

The governing board has until Jan. 15 to decide if the school is ready to open in 2017.

”Now is a very crucial time for Kauai companies, businesses, and philanthropists to step forward and not let this opportunity of a new, innovative 21st century school, free to Kauai families, slip through our hands for lack of funding or community support for an additional school,” Blackwell said.

To raise funds, Alaka‘i O Kauai will be hosting a holiday dinner and dance party at Tree’s Lounge on Sunday.

Festivities include a belly dancing show, silent auction and music provided by D.J. Angel.

The party is slated 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 pre-sale and $60 at the door.

“Trees is located where there are timeshares within walking distance, so hopefully visitors will be up for a fun evening with ono food, entertainment and dancing,” she said.

Alaka‘i O Kauai Public Charter School is also looking to hire seven teachers to teach the seven classes — two kindergarten classes, two first grade classes, and one class each for second, third and fourth grade.

“We hope to not have to do combination classes but with the project-based model, the grade levels are not so much a real distinction as in traditional schools,” Blackwell said.

Teacher recruitment is expected to start in February.

For tickets, go online to alakaiokauai.org.

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