Kauai’s newest school has received 113 student applications for the 2018-2019 school year.
Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School will open its doors Aug. 28 to learners in grades K-6, with plans to grow each year through middle school. Organizers say it intends to be a model of creativity, problem solving and flexibility.
“We are approved for 165 learners in grades K-5. However, we have requested to the State Public Charter School Commission to open with K-6 grades this opening year,” said Indulekha Reeves, vice chair of the Alaka’i O Kauai Charter School board. “We received several requests from the community and also want to be able to keep up with the students who have been waiting for years for our school to open.”
Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Charter School began its mission in 2013, obtaining approval three years later from the Hawaii Charter School Commission.
“We know that together we can build an amazing school and community,” said Kani “DrB” Blackwell, governing board chairwoman.
Finding a home for their school was the biggest hurdle since the approval. At the 11th hour before charter approval termination, Kahili Mountain Park was secured with school buildings, gymnasium, orchard and gardening space on several lush acres.
The school has hired iLEAD Schools Development, a successful nonprofit, California charter school whose co-founder, Dawn Evenson, is from Kauai.
“They will come to hold professional development training for our teachers as well as ongoing support throughout the year,” Reeves said.
The new charter school recently held a meet and greet at Poipu Beach Athletic Club. Parents and students had a chance to meet and hear from the school’s interim director, Denise Trentham.
In March, Trentham attended training by the State Charter Commission on Oahu, toured the school, and met with iLEAD reps.
“Alaka’i O Kaua’i is going to be an amazing place for children to learn and grow,” Trentham said. “We will be a unique school of choice for families looking for a hands-on learning experience, a feeling of ‘ohana, and an emphasis on leadership development.”
Trentham holds a master’s in educational supervision and administration and a bachelor’s of science in education.
When iLEAD Schools Development was formed, she first became director of business services then director of business development.
“I can’t wait to hear the sound of keiki’s laughter echoing off Mount Kahili,” Trentham said. “I am absolutely delighted to be part of this effort.”
Alaka ‘i O Kaua‘i is in need of funding in order for the opening.
“We are prepared to bring about a change in education,” Blackwell said. “We now need community support to open and begin our track record that will truly transform education for Kauai. And if given that opportunity, we will join others in Hawaii who are also demonstrating that project-based education with the arts, and teaching to the whole child, will make a difference in education.”