plans for preschoolers
'Reach, readiness and return'By Rod Ohira
are the three Rs on which
the plan focuses
A strategic plan that sets a course for Kamehameha Schools through the year 2005 is designed to provide more educational opportunities at all levels, starting with preschoolers.
"The strategic plan is focused on the three R's, which is reach, readiness and return," Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey said. "From these three R's, we then generated some strategic goals, objectives and evaluation measures so that we could see if we were on target with the school.
Kamehameha President Michael Chun outlined some of the components of the plan already in place in a one-hour speech last night to about 250 people who attended an on-campus alumni meeting.
"On the reach portion, we're taking a look at how many students we serve and how we can expand the reach," Lindsey said. "We started this with our Go Forward program where we said we were going to have more preschoolers statewide.
"We found the preschool component was one of the most significant in preventing students from failing later on," she added.
The goal is 1,850 preschool students by the year 2005. The current enrollment after two years is 1,080, Lindsey noted.
The full-time preschool replaced a twice-a-week, two-hour traveling preschool, which was one of the programs scrapped when trustees adopted the "Go Forward" strategy.
"We're looking to reach more Hawaiian children by renovating our dormitories and making them accessible to more students as well as opening up a window of opportunity for fourth-graders and building neighbor island schools," Lindsey said.
New schools for students kindergarten through eighth grade on Maui and Hilo are operational, and plans call for permanent sites. The Maui school is expected to be completed within 21/2 years, Lindsey said.
The trustees have invested about $4 million to date in developing a telecommunications system. Some students have already benefited from it.
"We had the first Hawaiian culture class for credit this summer and had Kamehameha Schools students that have to take that class taking the class from the neighbor islands," Lindsey said. "They used a fax machine to send in their lessons, an 800 line to call and ask questions of the instructors, and watched the television program from 12 to 1:15.
"They were able to tape it if they couldn't watch it, but they had to view it before their next class," she added. "We're planning for three more credit classes this coming year, and hopefully, in about a year or two, we'll have our own channel."
The reach plan also provides financial aid for Kamehameha graduates as well as non-Kamehameha graduates of Hawaiian ancestry.
"We've increased out post-high school amount from $3 million to $14 million last year," Lindsey said.
The plan also provides enrollment opportunities for "orphans and indigent" in compliance with Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's will. Fifteen percent of the students admitted each year will fall into these categories. Orphans are defined as children who have only a single parent or no parents, and indigents as children from families on welfare or in great financial need, Lindsey said.
The readiness component deals with curriculum continuity.
"One major thing is that a student who entered in kindergarten will be able to go clear through to 12th grade, Lindsey said.
"It used to be that if they entered kindergarten, they would have to pass a test in the sixth grade to continue on," she added. "We also want to make sure that when a student comes in, the curriculum is set and articulated so that we will be able to have them exiting with great skills.
"We want to make sure they're ready for a four-year institution of higher learning.
"The return part is after they graduate," Lindsey said. "We want them to come back and return to the Hawaiian community some of their time and their talent to make this a better place to be.
"In order to foster that idea, a student must give so many hours of community service each semester as part of our financial aid component," she added.