By: Leland Kim
KALIHI (KHNL) - Students from sixth to eighth grades spend many hours in the classroom. Dole Middle School serves three public housing projects and has a high percentage of immigrant or second generation students.
And it has the task of meeting the challenges mandated by the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. But it's a school facing challenges head on.
This is the new sound of Dole Middle School. Students marching ahead with a purpose. Dole is one of 24 restructured schools, which means more funding for education.
Each classroom now has a greeter, who summarizes the day's curriculum.
"Our lesson objective is reading comprehension and making personal connections," said Leiren Noji, a sixth grader who is a greeter with Mrs. Kaneakua's language arts class.
Students notice the difference under this new "standards based education."
"Before things were out of order and unorganized, but now we have new requirements," Alyssa Ariola, an eight grade student.
The bar is higher now, but students give kudos to their teachers.
"It feels good knowing that I'm cared for," said Briana Sabado, an eighth grade student.
"It helps us with the future -- the strategies they teach us," said Valerie Paeste, a seventh grade student.
The person behind the new Dole Middle School is this man: Principal Myron Monte. Like the kids here, he grew up in a lower income neighborhood.
"Definitely a large part of myself is reflected in the kids and it's really a large part of what I try to do each day," he said. "To instill in them -- number one, they can do it."
This can-do spirit is rubbing off on the kids.
"I just feel more confident in life," said Samson Isaako, an eight grade student.
And teachers also ride the wave of this new "culture of achievement."
"My being part of this school-wide plan, there's no words to describe it," said Jorie Patalinghog, a social studies teacher. "It's just a really good feeling."
And Principal Monte hopes this plan becomes a blueprint for their lives.
"What we want to do really help them to be focused, capable, and develop that confidence so that they can meet whatever challenges that comes up in their lives," he said.
Meeting challenges head on as they march into the future.
This is Principal Monte's fourth year at Dole. He said parents are a big part of a child's success.