Frequently Asked Questions

Q & A

  1. What are charter schools? Charter schools are innovative public schools providing choices for families and greater accountability for results. Parents and teachers choose charter schools primarily for educational reasons—high academic standards, small class size, innovative approaches, or educational philosophies in line with their own. Charter schools are:
    • Public Schools
    • Open to all who wish to attend
    • Funded by tax dollars
    • Subject to state and federal performance standards

    Chartering allows schools to run independently of the traditional public school system and to tailor their programs to community needs. While not every new school is equally innovative and some school operations may mirror that of traditional public schools, policymakers, parents, and educators are looking at chartering as a way to increase educational choice and innovation within the public school system.

    Some common benefits of charter schools are:

    • They provide innovative alternatives
    • They tend to have small teacher to student ratio
    • They are able to have multiple-grade learning teams
    • They mainstream SPED students
    • In Hawai’i, they often use the increased educational and organizational flexibility to focus on Hawaiian language and culture

    Many other questions about charter schools can be answered on the following website:

  2. What is the advantage of bilingual education? At Kawaikini, we believe that bilingual education is cognitively advantageous. Several research studies have been conducted that support this educational belief. Following is a website that reports the results of research that explores the benefits of early language learning:
  3. Why Hawaiian Medium Education? The need for education that is grounded in Hawaiian values and culture is well supported – both on cultural and academic grounds. Immersion programs have contributed to cultural revitalization and positive self-identity not only in Hawai’i, but in many other cultures around the world (Keegan). In academic terms, research has shown that Hawaiian students in culturally based educational programs make significant gains in reading and math compared to their peers in traditional schools.Along with the cultural and academic benefits, Hawaiian-medium instruction offers advantages in a larger cognitive sense as well. Bilingualism has been shown to foster classification skills, concept formation, analogical reasoning, visual-spatial skills, creativity, and other cognitive gains.Particularly promising have been the positive results demonstrated by Hawaiian-focused charter schools. Research indicates that Native Hawaiian students in these schools demonstrate positive indicators versus their counterparts in mainstream schools in such areas as attendance, engagement, and test-taking performance (KS study). In short, we feel that the long-envisioned creation of our Hawaiian-immersion school represents a very real, and very positive, step forward for our children.
  4. Do charter schools charge tuition? No, charter schools are publicly funded and therefore do not charge tuition. Charter schools receive a per-pupil allocation that covers the costs of operating their educational programs.
  5. Is busing available for Kawaikini’s students? Yes, busing is available from Kilauea, through Anahola, Wailua, Līhuʻe and Hanamāʻulu to Kawaikini in Puhi and also, Kalāheo to Kawaikini.
  6. What is the meaning behind the Kawaikini name and logo? The name was chosen as a symbol of the island of Kauaʻi and for the significance of what this legendary peak means for our community: water from Kawaikini and Wai’ale’ale nourish the island’s communities. The water then flows into the sea and around the world. Ultimately, the water returns as rain to nourish the next generation.
  7. Where is Kawaikini located?  View a Google Map

    Kawaikini is located on a parcel of land adjacent to the main campus of Kaua’i Community College. This became possible on March 13, 2008, when the UH Board of Regents approved the framework for a 25-year lease to Kawaikini. This arrangement will provide long-term stability to the school and will allow Kawaikini to fulfill its dream of creating an integrated P-20 Hawaiian-speaking environment on a single campus.

    Other specific benefits of the site include:

    • Location on KCC campus allows Kawaikini to be part of a larger Hawaiian immersion setting
    • Location at KCC encourages involvement of the community in the school and vice versa
    • Location at KCC ties in directly with Kawaikini’s college-prep component
    • Creation of an integrated Hawaiian language environment from pre-K to college creates synergy and strengthens all programs (Punana Leo, Kawaikini, KCC Hawaiian Studies)
    • Ability to collaborate with KCC on existing projects (Rural Development Project, Na Pua, Noʻeau, Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program, Running Start, lo’i maintenance, ethnobotany, etc.) increases opportunities for Kawaikini’s students
    • Proximity allows for Kawaikini teachers to conveniently pursue professional development and advanced degrees at KCC (Teaching/Masters/Hawaiian Studies, etc.)
  8. How can I support Kawaikini? Contributions of information, time and resources are always appreciated. To make a donation, see our Donations page. For more information on how you can support Kawaikini, please contact Kahu Kaleimakame Kaʻauwai at 1 (808) 632-2032 or by e-mail at

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