Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Immersion school
proposal advances

By Craig Gima


Norman and Pat Mersberg are hoping their children, Liula and Welina, ages 8 and 5, will not have to go all the way to town to continue their Hawaiian language immersion education.

"Why send them over on the other side of the island?" Pat Mersberg asked.

"It takes a lot of time away from the children," her husband added.

Liula and Welina are among 104 students who attend immersion classes at Nanakuli Elementary School, but unless a Hawaiian language school is established for upper grades on the Leeward Coast, the children may eventually have to take the bus to town.

"The concentration of Hawaiians is in Nanakuli," Norman Mersberg said.

The Mersberg family attended a meeting yesterday where the state Board of Education's Special Programs Committee passed a resolution to explore the idea of a Hawaiian language immersion school at the present site of Nanaikapono Elementary.

The resolution will also be considered by the Support Services Committee before going to the school board for a vote.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands lease on the land under Nanaikapono Elementary expires in 2002. Puanani Wilhelm, a Department of Education specialist in Hawaiian language immersion, said the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands wants the school board to pass a resolution indicating an interest in an immersion school before it begins negotiating for the future of the school.

School board members said the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate has also expressed interest in the school for a preschool.

The original resolution called for the establishment of a kindergarten through high school immersion school on the site. But the resolution was amended because some committee members wanted to work on an overall plan for a K-12 immersion school rather than picking one site on Oahu now.

Some board members also wanted an evaluation of the entire immersion program to get an idea of how students in the program are doing.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin