Tech academy on the move

  • Courtesy Jill Catherine

    The Hawaii Technology Academy Kauai freshmen STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class gives a presentation on air pressure to one of nearly 800 students at a recent STEM night function at Wilcox Elementary School in Lihue.

LIHUE — The Hawaii Technology Academy, the state’s largest tuition-free, K-12 public charter school, has moved its location from Kauai Community College to its own space in Lihue at 4370 Kukui Grove Street, Suites 103 and 112.

The new space is an important part of HTA’s effort “to improve school culture, strengthen the school community and increase student voice within the Lihue campus,” according to a press release.

Since 2015, HTA Kauai had been using space at KCC, which served as a meaningful partnership that led to valuable opportunities for students, such as taking college-level courses at the college, the release stated.

As HTA Kauai experienced growth in students and programs, it was necessary to establish a space of its own.

Remaining within a central location was critical to the search so students across the island could continue to have the opportunity to attend the school. Being located in the middle of a professional building also provides a natural opportunity for student internships.

“Now that we have our own space, our science teachers are looking forward to creating labs and investigations that extend across several class periods,” said Traci Sullivan, director of HTA Kauai. “Our math and social studies teachers are excited about having a place to showcase student work, and our English classes are writing grants for educational equipment and science supplies.”

HTA provides middle and high school students on Kauai with an additional choice. Its innovative, blended learning model of face-to-face, virtual instruction and experiential learning provides students with some flexibility in their schedules, the release said.

This flexible approach empowers students to participate in interest-based extracurricular activities, and it also allows them to pursue internships and community service that applies what they learn in the classroom in an authentic way.

Classes are organized into block scheduling, and the school’s focus on the core values of communications, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and character provide students with the opportunity to practice essential life skills.

Students who graduate from HTA have completed a curriculum that meets or exceeds the state of Hawaii’s graduation requirements.

“Our students and teachers are happy at school,” Sullivan said. “Students are kind to each other. We aren’t perfect, but we are willing to take risks and try new things.”

HTA also has campuses on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island.

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