KEEP Pūnana Leo o Ko'olau Loa in Hau'ula Elementary

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***Please be advised!!!!! ----- Our petition is not seeking monetary donations. We are in need of signatures and testimonies of support. Your kokua is greatly appreciated and will surely benefit the future of Hawaiian Language education. Mahalo nui***

ISSUE

 On February 22nd, 2017, officials of the 'Aha Pūnana Leo Program (an early childhood education program based in the Hawaiian Language) held a special meeting with faculty, students, and parents of the local Pūnana Leo program currently located on the Hau'ula Elementary campus. The meeting was to inform all that an email sent by Hau'ula Elementary's Principal, U'ilani Kaitoku, to headquarters revealed that due to a recent growth in the student body population she has decided to evict Pūnana Leo and retrieve the room by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.  

This swift notice gives Pūnana Leo o Ko'olau Loa roughly three months to vacate the current classroom where their program has been since 2011. The difficulty of having to relocate this school, along with the extremely limited amount of time to find a suitable place for relocation, would result in the closure of Pūnana Leo until a new place is found and certified for the school. 

 Therefore, this petition serves as a way to share our discontent with the decision made by the Principal of Hau'ula Elementary and to create a line of communication between herself and our Pūnana Leo Parent Task Force in order to find sustainable solutions that will benefit the elementary and the Pūnana Leo program.  

   BACKGROUND

Pūnana Leo opened its Ko’olau Loa branch in 1997 at the Tongan Methodist Church in Kahuku. And in 2011, the program was strategically relocated to the Hau‘ula Elementary campus. The relocation was meant to assist in strengthening Hau'ula Elementary's Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. This was done through the cooperation of student families, and then former Hau'ula Elementary Principal Sam Izumi, along with former Complex Area Superintendent Lea Albert. 

Since that time, Pūnana Leo o Ko’olau Loa has been a feeder school and a crucial asset to the progress made by Hau'ula's Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. Pūnana Leo o Ko’olau Loa also offers an advantage to parents as the only available option for Pre-K education based in the Hawaiian Language within 30-miles by highway of each direction from the elementary. This option sets forth a foundation of preparing the young children to be successful in the classroom through the implementation of native Hawaiian values, and a successful approach at retaining the concepts of Hawaiian Language based learning. The Hawaiian Values taught through the Pūnana Leo program mirror those implemented by Principal Kaitoku at the public school level in both English-speaking and Hawaiian Language student bodies.

The Pūnana Leo o Ko’olau Loa program also strives to enable its students to participate in extra curricular activities to build an early framework of setting goals, identifying the means to accomplish those goals, and finally doing your best to achieve desired results. This can be seen in current Hawaiian Immersion Students who are products of the Pūnana Leo o Ko’olau Loa program and the avid participants they are in the school's extra curricular activities, both scholarly, and fitness oriented. Scholarly programs such as, Battle of the Books, History Day, Science Fair, Student Body Government. And pertaining to the Hawaiian concept of 'ola kino (bodily health), the same students are also active participants in the school's fitness activities such as, the Kūkini club, Physical Fitness and Turkey Trot.  

 

EFFECTS OF DECISION

If able to remain in its classroom at Hau'ula Elementary, the Pūnana Leo program will help to preserve a future for early childhood education based in the Hawaiian Language. Its existence on campus will continue to strengthen the foundation of students making the transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten into Hau'ula's Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. This will also eliminate the difficulties of having to relocate to a new facility, having it inspected and surveyed, undergo renovations (if needed), and finally to have it certified to the standards of both the Department of Health Services, and the USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture). 

If evicted, a severed stream flow in transition from one educational system to another will take place. Removing this program from this community, without any available options for another location would drastically affect the educational growth of the programs current students and would affect future family’s decisions to be a part of this program. Without this program in Hau'ula, accessibility to an early childhood education in the Hawaiian language is at an inconvenience.   

  

SIGN THE PETITION

This petition was created to address the issue of the Pūnana Leo eviction by forming a line of communication between our parent task force and Principal Kaitoku in order to resolve this issue and the student body growth within Hau'ula Elementary through viable solutions. 

Please support the fight to keep Pūnana Leo o Ko’olau Loa in its current classroom within the Hau’ula Elementary campus, by signing below with your name, date, and contact information. (It is highly encouraged to share this link with all and as quickly as possible. The more publicity and signatures we can get, the better.)  

For those seeking additional information or to provide more assistance, our task force is available to be reached by email: keeppunanaleohauulaelementary@gmail.com  



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