Saturday, May 22, 1999

Aikahi School
wins second Blue
Ribbon award

The national educational
honor recognizes quality teaching,
safety and more

By Craig Gima


When word came down that Aikahi Elementary School had been selected as one of only 266 elementary schools in the nation to receive a blue ribbon award, Principal Roberta Tokumaru announced the honor to the students in the cafeteria.

"They were all just screaming," she said. "They knew what it was all about."

She said the students, parents and teachers are proud of their accomplishment.

"Everybody was just so happy."

The award came after a rigorous selection process that included a site visit and lengthy application process.

Aikahi was chosen by a panel of educators from across the country. They looked at leadership, quality teaching, curriculum, family involvement, improving test scores and safety in the learning environment.

It is the second time Aikahi has been selected as a blue ribbon school. The school first received the award in the 1989-1990 school year.

"We had to show all the improvements we've made since the last time we won," Tokumaru said.

Aikahi has a number of innovative programs, including an environmental education program the teachers developed, based on the traditional Hawaiian ahu-puaa, a land division that extends from the mountains to the ocean.

There is also a character-education program that focuses the whole school on a specific trait like honesty or respect for a month.

Aikahi also has a strong visual and performing arts program.

The award will be presented in Washington, D.C., in October.

Aikahi was one of three Hawaii schools representing the islands in the final national award program. The other finalists were Nimitz and Kaiulani elementary schools.

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