Kamehameha [Schools] sets new goals
By Vicki Viotti
Kamehameha Schools plans to launch a new initiative later this year to help with the educational and health needs of Native Hawaiian children 8 and younger, and in the next few months officials are due to pick communities with large Hawaiian populations for a pilot project.
Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive officer of the $4.2 billion trust, announced the project in her address yesterday to participants in the annual Native Hawaiian Conference, continuing through tomorrow at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Mailer said Kamehameha officials favor the early-education project — called Ho'omohala Kaiaulu, which means "to cause to blossom" — because of research indicating that an estimated 85 percent of a child's development occurs within the first five years of life. A failure to thrive during that crucial period affects a child's confidence to make further strides, she said.
The project would entail collaborating with community leaders to learn what work they're doing in this area and to support that effort, not duplicate it, Mailer said.
"If we're asked to lead the effort, we will lead, but if others are already doing the work we will provide the support, and bring our knowledge and experience," she said.
Kamehameha Schools is embarking on this program as part of a campaign the last five years to reach a larger proportion of the Hawaiian population than the 9 percent currently served on its three campuses.
Despite progress — programs assisting the public charter schools with a Hawaiian-focused curriculum, scholarships for preschoolers, extension education initiatives — much more work remains before the campaign bears measurable fruit, Mailer said. "We haven't seen measurable progress in the lives of the children," she said.
Mailer, who took over Kamehameha Schools' top management job in January, cited the growth of the campus population by more than a third, to the current total of 5,400, since the schools embarked on the strategic plan in 1999.
Among its educational plans, Kamehameha Schools intends to develop "career academies" on its campuses to provide better professional grounding.
"We hope that not only are the students prepared for college, but that they have a really good idea of the kind of profession they want to achieve," she said.
She said the schools want to do more to nurture native culture, including its plan to establish a gathering place for Hawaiian arts and culture to be practiced at one of its prime properties, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Mailer also presented the schools' Native Hawaiian Education Award to Kauanoe Kamana, president of 'Aha Punana Leo, the Hawaiian-language immersion organization.
Seen at http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Sep/02/ln/ln09a.html
Cross-posted to nativeamerican, to hawaiians, and to abouthawaii