Our five-year journey began with reflecting on the wisdom of our kūpuna, and the vision of our founder Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi Bishop – to strengthen the capability and well-being of Native Hawaiian learners through education. With that in mind, we developed a Hawaiian culture-based education framework that promotes the practice and perpetuation of Hawaiian worldviews, culture and ‘ōlelo (language).
The framework was strengthened by a statewide KS research study which confirmed that Hawaiian culture-based education is positively associated with student socio-emotional outcomes that support educational and lifelong achievements in learners.
What we are seeing in fields ranging from conservation to biotechnology is an awareness of the value of native intelligence. As such, Hawaiian culture is a competitive advantage for learners precisely because it taps into a wellspring of native intelligence that has evolved in these islands for thousands of years.
When asked to envision what a successful Kamehameha Schools graduate looks like, tri-campus leaders created the schools’ E Ola! Learner Outcomes. KS haumāna will become local and global servant leaders who are culturally engaged and play significant roles in creating strong ‘ohana and communities throughout ka pae ‘āina o Hawai‘i and beyond.
The metaphor of a Native Hawaiian forest conveys Kamehameha’s learner outcomes needed to achieve these goals. Students are likened to the array of plants thriving in fertile ‘āina – diverse individuals with unique talents nurtured by common experiences inherent in a Kamehameha Schools education.
For more than 130 years, Kamehameha Schools has dedicated its mission to meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. Most importantly, we keep our keiki at the center of everything we do, knowing they will lead our communities and the world for generations to come.
It takes many hands to raise a keiki. During the past five years, Kamehameha Schools and other early childhood educators teamed up to increase early education opportunities for Hawai‘i’s littlest learners. KS expanded funding and focused advocacy for public preschool by supporting House Bill 2543, which focused on providing access to early learning to more families.
To the ends of equity and justice, we believe the only sustainable solution is a universal public preschool system that affords all keiki, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian, wealthy and non-wealthy, with free, quality, public early learning programs. HB 2543 moves us in this right direction, with a clear commitment to solve it within 10 years. We are told there will be many obstacles for this Bill and that many will argue it is imperfect. We agree, and we support it, anyway.
Kamehameha Schools is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of its students. It is a privilege that parents entrust us with the care of their children and during the past five years we’ve doing everything we can do to make sure that trust is earned.
By taking a whole-child approach, we can better support and equip each student with the skills they need toward reaching their fullest potential. We all share in this kuleana. Support from ‘ohana and our lāhui help to reinforce all of these efforts so that our keiki and lāhui can thrive.
There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our keiki. That is not only our highest priority, it is a core value for this organization.
Our keiki must be healthy and safe to learn and succeed in school and life. By taking a whole-child approach, we can better support and equip each student with the skills they need toward reaching their fullest potential.
Building a thriving lāhui is a kākou effort. Kamehameha Schools cannot do it alone. With help from our educational partners we have worked steadily over the past five years toward advancing the most critical program and system changes to uplift and inspire our learners. Innovative educational collaborations have been vital to propelling our learners toward knowledge, a greater connection to their culture and the career paths of purpose and industriousness.
According to University of Hawaiʻi research, less than 3 percent of Native Hawaiian students transfer out of its community colleges system to attend UH Mānoa, and that only half of the university’s Native Hawaiian students graduate on time. A new partnership between Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaiʻi System will give Native Hawaiian students a solid cultural and educational foundation, preparing them for sustained success in college and in life.
Read more about some of our educational partnerships helping to provide quality education to more Native Hawaiian learners: