Charter school moves on

Kala Hoe
Kala Hoe
Chiyome Fukino
Chiyome Fukino
Isaac Suehiro
Isaac Suehiro

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - While carpenters build an office wing next to the green cottage, inside the converted house school is in session at Hakipuu Learning Center.

"We've always had the culture of students stepping up and being responsible for themselves but even more so this year," administrator Kala Hoe said.

This school year started on a sour note.

Hakipuu had to vacate a building on state Department of Health land. It will be torn down so a company can build a skilled nursing facility.

"There needed to be no encumbrances, no occupants in the building in order for them to move forward with their financing," Health department director Chiyome Fukino said.

The public charter school moved forward, too.

It capped enrollment at 70 kids because of space constraints.

But it didn't lower expectations. The emphasis remains on project based learning.

"You can do a project on anything you want as long as you can set it up and you can execute it by yourself," eleventh grader Isaac Suehiro said.

The cottage belongs to Windward Community College.

Students shuffle between the house and a classroom in one of Windward's main buildings. They also go to two lab sites in Kaneohe.

"There's a lot of flexibility built in and it's purposeful. But without the central site and the multi-use space it's really hard," Hoe said.

Most of the school's library books are in storage. along with other supplies. There just isn't any room.

Hakipuu hopes to expand to two other cottages Windward owns.

"I would like to see that before I graduate," Suehiro said.

Someday, the school would like to see its sign hanging on a permanent home.

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