Member Profile- 'Iolani School and their KA'I Program

Monday, July 21, 2014

In 2010, as a result of a strategic planning initiative, the'Iolani School committed to providing its community with greater summer education opportunities. After careful consideration, the school decided to start a summer learning program that brought 12 Jarrett Middle School students to campus to take part in the summer school program. Known as the Kukulu Alaka'i 'Iolani (KA'I: the creation of leaders), the program is a six-week experience that includes educational enrichment, leadership team building and service to the community.

Build on existing summer success

Allison Ishii, Director of the KA'I Program, says, "If a school already has a summer school program and a meal program in place, starting a summer partnership with a neighboring public school is incredibly doable. Independent schools are meant to serve the greater public good and education is the number one way they can open themselves up to those in their community that do not have access to summer learning opportunities." Ishii explains that when starting the program the school made three key decisions:

  • Focus on students in one school.
  • Keep classes small.
  • Integrate the program into pre-existing summer school program.

Once selected to join the program, KA'I students come to 'Iolani for six consecutive summers and focus on the goals of graduating from high school, giving back to the community, and exploring post-graduate plans. 

With a 97% attendance rate each summer (only one or two students out of 60 are absent on any given day), nearly zero attrition (only one student has left the program) and all students still enrolled in high school, this program is already considered a success. 

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