The Kapaa High School Foundation awarded two teachers $1000 each for being chosen Educators of the Year at the annual Welcome Back assembly held on July 28th of this year. Calvin Paleka and Kahele Keawe were recognized for their efforts to make Kapaa High School a better learning environment. According to Principal Daniel Hamada “their hearts are in the right place in working with other teachers and the students.”
Mr Paleka and Mr. Keawe were instrumental in implementing and managing the highly successful Hui Academy or Freshmen Houses; Hui Ikaika and Hui Onipaa for incoming 9th graders. It is a school within a school concept that provides academic and moral support for new students. Up until 2010, a lot of Freshmen students felt overwhelmed by the academic and social pressures of becoming high school students. Average grades were low and students were failing and dropping out at an alarming rate. The Hui system’s goal was to help the young students feel like they “belong” in school. They decided to keep all Freshmen classes in the lower campus and focused on ways to help students make a smooth transition to high school. The teachers would collaborate and share ideas on how to improve the learning experience. They established a curriculum that includes technology(learning how to use Google Drive), push for literacy, leadership, service to community, and college and career planning. Last year’s graduating Class of 2015 represents the first group of students that were part of the Hui Academy. The data is impressive. They had a graduation rate of 99% with 71% of the seniors going to college!
The success of the program was so impressive that other school administrators from around the State have invited Mr Paleka and Mr. Keawe to their schools to talk about the Hui concept and how it has made Kapaa High School a better place.