BRYANT NGUYEN / KAIMUKI HIGH SCHOOL
One of the career focus academies proposed for next year is the Performing Arts and Media Academy. One of the goals of academies such as this is to give students a better idea of how their education relates to the real world.
Changing to learn
An extra period added to the schedule allows students to take more electives
At the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year, Kaimuki High School underwent a major change from six periods to a seven-period schedule. This was a drastic change for returning students and teachers.
Kaimuki High School
2705 Kaimuki Ave.
Gold and kelly green
Many students had mixed feelings about the new schedule. Junior Uyen Vong said, "With the seven-period schedule, there is one more class to worry about."
But senior Lika Smolina thinks the seven-period schedule is "incredibly helpful since there are more elective classes that can be taken."
So why the change?
School administration and faculty members wanted to give freshmen a better chance of passing after studying their first-quarter grades and seeing how a majority of them failed one or two classes.
To do this, administrators wanted to add another class to the schedule. Not only would it mean one more credit that would go toward graduation requirements, but it would also mean more electives for every student.
This would not only help freshmen, but upperclassmen as well because they could get the electives they wanted and be exposed to more job fields and skills.
In addition to the schedule change, a new advisory period was added this year.
According to Gary Oyler, advisory program coordinator, "The advisory period was added to help the freshmen get to know each other better."
By meeting once a week, the students can form a trust with their advisory teacher. Important announcements can also be made since each advisory class is made up of the same grade level.
"Smaller learning communities will help personalize a student's educational experience through rigor and relevance in classroom instruction," said Billie Lueder, grant coordinator for smaller learning communities. "Students will feel like they belong, and this will give them a better idea of how their education relates to the real world."
Smaller learning communities would not only prepare the students after high school by providing them with internships and career shadowing experiences, but it would also encourage teachers to become more creative with their teaching. Kaimuki, along with seven other schools, is sharing a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Lueder said. Schools were approached based on their demographics and school population.
Kaimuki is in the third year of its move toward smaller learning communities. This year, the change was apparent with freshmen and sophomores being put into teams. These teams enable the freshmen and sophomores to share three teachers in common.
"Next year, Kaimuki will add to its move toward smaller learning communities by adding career focus academies for the 11th- and 12th-graders," Lueder said. "These would consist of performing and media art, technology, human and public services, and health and fitness."
The goal of smaller learning communities is to improve student performance and prepare students for their post-secondary options.
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Arts program covers all aspects of staging plays
The Kaimuki High School Performing Arts Center has presented many acclaimed plays to the public over its 19-year history, including its most recent production, "The Golden Slipper: A Chinese Cinderella Story."
"In the summer of 1986, the Board of Education decided that to promote centers of excellence at different schools, each school could choose its specialty," said drama teacher Peggy Ann Siegmund.
Besides onstage performances, KHSPAC also emphasizes all parts of stage production. The faculty includes Siegmund, who has recently directed plays such as "Whassup Fables," a re-creation of Aesop's Fables; "Hansel and Gretel"; and "Godspell," a musical. Dance instructor Deanna Luster, vocals instructor Jenny Kimura and stagecraft instructor and KHSPAC coordinator M.J. Matsushita also contribute to the success of the center.
Last month's "The Golden Slipper: A Chinese Cinderella Story" was written and directed by Siegmund. The play targeted preschoolers and elementary school students. Tickets sold out to public elementary schools before the last school year ended in June.
"The Chinese Cinderella tale is the original and the oldest Cinderella story," said Siegmund.
Siegmund incorporated ghosts and incarnation, which frequently occur in ancient Chinese legends.
"The students really seemed to blossom onstage, coming out of their shells," Matsushita said.
"I hope this production encouraged people to re-examine their cultural roots and pass to their children the rich heritage of ethic folk tale," said Siegmund.
KHSPAC joins with the English Department to do the Shakespeare Festival every April. The festival allows students to learn Shakespeare's plays through acting.
"It is a celebration of our school honoring Shakespeare. The person learns confidence, mastery of early modern English and oral communication," English Department head Mary Ann Akamine said.
But the Shakespeare Festival is in jeopardy.
"In the years past, the money was verbally committed to the festival, but this year there is no such verbal commitment," said Akamine.
The festival would like to hire professional director Eden-Lee Murray, who has been with KHS for four years.
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"What do you think of the seven-period schedule?"
Tony Chinh Pham
"I think the seven-period schedule is great. It gives me a chance to get all the electives I wanted. Many people don't realize that it can be an important chance to get enough credits to pass high school."
"I feel that the seven-period schedule is difficult to organize because the class time is shorter and our days are longer. In addition, it would make a shorter summer vacation, and we would have to begin school earlier."
Quirino Sercy Jr.
"The seven-period schedule is the best change the school has ever made. I don't know why people would complain. It gives everyone a chance to catch up if they're short on credits. The best thing is the teachers have to cut down on the things to teach. It's a win-win situation!"
"I think the seven-period schedule is OK. It lets students take more electives and lets the students that need to make up credits while also taking electives that they want. However, it gets a bit hectic sometimes, especially on Mondays, with all the classes."