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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, July 19, 2013

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The campus of Pahala Hongwanji will be the site of a Pahala Learning Academy beginning Aug. 16, according to
pahalaacademy.org. Photo by Julia Neal
ORGANIZERS OF THE PROPOSED PAHALA LEARNING ACADEMY will host an open house on Saturday, July 27 at 4 p.m. at the Old Pahala Hongwanji School on Pa`au`au Street. 
      According to the Pahala Learning Academy website, the fall session will begin Aug. 16, and the school “is hosted through the generosity of the Pahala Hongwanji and supported by contributions from `O Ka`u Kakou and many community benefactors.” The president of both Pahala Hongwanji and `O Ka`u Kakou is Wayne Kawachi.
HAAS refers to its InDigital program as "Education with a Twist."
Image from haasindigital.org
      According to Hawai`i Academy of Arts & Science in Pahoa, which proposes to sponsor the charter school through its distance learning program, grades seven and eight will be offered online, and students will also be able to go to Pahala Hongwanji to use computers and for mentoring and classes. The onsite instructor will be former Na`alehu School teacher Kathryn Tydlacka.
      The open house on July 27 will be a special Italian Night dinner for enrolled and prospective students and their families.
      “If you are interested in learning what we have planned for the upcoming school year and how your child can benefit from our unique program of in-person and on-line education, join us as we explain how Pahala Learning Academy will offer a new type of learning experience,” she said. To attend, contact Tydlacka at 918-640-1267 or kathryntydlacka@hotmail.com.
      She said she expects about 35 students to enroll in the school for an inaugural 2013-2014 school year serving seventh- and eight-graders.
      Hawai`i Academy of Arts and Science’s website says its indigital program “offers motivated self-directed learners (grades 7-12) the chance to take responsibility for their education and attend school from anywhere with high-speed internet access. Successful self-directed virtual students are actively learning: working online 4 to 5 days a week for 4 to 5 hours a day, meeting and/or exceeding minimum progress requirements, posting and/or emailing required assignments in a timely manner, attending collaborative virtual and/or onsite activities, requesting and/or meeting for needed virtual and/or on-site tutoring with teacher, and attending quarterly InDigital Meetings."
    The Pahala Learning Academy website page entitled Now Enrolling for August Semester says that “founding Director and Teacher Kathry Tydlacka, M.Ed., brings vision and enthusiasm to education creating an environment for educational success. The Academy offers a unique hybrid approach to education combining an on-line curriculum with direct teacher instruction.”
      The website says: “We offer a variety of opportunities for Pahala Learning Center/HAAS students to socialize and receive direct teacher instruction: (1) Students are encouraged to work on site five days a week (2) Students can eat lunch on campus (3) On-site student collaborative days offer time to work with other students (4) Enrichment activities will be provided on campus, including gardening; theater arts; music; culinary arts; reading, writing, and science workshops, and various Hawaiian studies (5) Opportunities for community service will be provided.
      “We offer a variety of services to aid student achievement: (1) Daily direct teacher instruction and virtual meetings with distance instructors (2) Math Workshops including access to ALEKS (3) After-hour virtual tutoring creates 24 hour a day five day a week help options.
      “Pahala Learning Academy/HAAS hybrid program requires a high speed internet connection (provided on campus). The majority of Pahala Learning Academy/HAAS hybrid core content curriculum is online (lessons, quizzes, tests and projects) with bare minimum progress requirements. Assignments can be modified for a student who wants to accelerate beyond their normally assigned grade level. Quarterly meetings are held to discuss students’ strengths, needs, and goals,” the website says.
Kenyon Tam
      See more at pahalaacademy.org.
      Tydlacka said that the organizers of the school are applying for permitting for the facility.
      At a May neighborhood meeting on the proposed school, organizers promised more public meetings to discuss mitigation of any possible impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, such as traffic and noise. Several speakers brought up the issue of the Charter School possibly taking funding away from Na`alehu and Pahala public schools.
      Tydlacka said later, “It is all about choice” and providing an alternative for those children who may not thrive in the traditional public school system. She said there are many parents asking her for this option.
      According to the county planning department, the school needs a use permit, legal notification to neighbors, a public hearing and approval from the county Planning Commission.
      In addition to the use permit, the school seeks approval for funding by the state through the state Public Charter School Commission and Pahala Learning Academy’s host charter school, Hawai`i Academy of Arts and Science. The subject of the Pahala Learning Academy is on the agenda of the commission’s Performance and Accountability Committee next Thursday, July 25 in Honolulu. Testimony on the merits and also any concerns about the proposed school can be emailed to Kenyon Tam, communications and legislative coordinator, at Kenyon.tam@spcs.hawaii.gov. Call 808-586-3775 for more information.
      Tam said this morning that the Accountability Committee will make its recommendation to the Public Charter School Commission, which will decide whether to approve the new school within two weeks after next Thursday’s committee meeting. He said that satellite charter schools are required to meet all zoning and code requirements.
      He also said that whether a charter school takes away funding from a public school is not considered. “Charter schools are public schools,” he said.
      The site at Pahala Hongwanji has also been considered for a Boys & Girls Club, a boxing club and other multi-use functions.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks about her amendment
reauthorizing the Native Hawaiian Education Act.
Photo from gabbard.house.gov
CUTS TO EDUCATION FUNDING are opposed by Ka`u’s Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Today, she voted against final passage of H.R. 5, which she says is “a widely opposed bill that will lock in sequester cuts to education funding and lower standards and accountability for schools with underserved populations.” The legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 221-207, cuts funding for public schools. Gabbard said it targets programs for children with disabilities, children of color, children living in poverty and English language learners. 
      “While I was thrilled that my amendment to reauthorize the Native Hawaiian Education Act was included in the bill yesterday with a vote of 263-161, I could not support the final legislation and its damaging impacts on so many of our keiki,” said Gabbard, who also voted in favor of a Democratic substitute that would have strengthened the bill. “We need to make sure we are investing in the future of all of our children. Unfortunately, this bill makes permanent damaging cuts to education, eliminates crucial accountability measures and hurts disadvantaged and underserved children. In order to invest in our future, we have to provide adequate resources and meaningful accountability to ensure that all our students have equal access to quality education.”
      Groups from across the spectrum have voiced public opposition to H.R. 5, including business, civil rights, labor, disability, and nearly all education organizations. The Obama administration has also issued a veto threat for the bill in its current form, Gabbard’s staff reported.

A green bean workshop took place this morning at Hawai`i Coffee
Association convention on Kaua`i. Photo by Lorie Obra
KA`U COFFEE GROWERS, PRODUCERS AND MARKETERS attended a green coffee bean workshop this morning on Kaua`i. Joining them are faces familiar in Ka`u for helping the farmers start their industry, including representatives from University of Hawai`i and the Department of Agriculture. On the agenda today are an Expo, Coffee Sampling, Label Compliance, a Reverse Trade Presentation and a Cupping Workshop. Tomorrow’s workshops include Roasting and Packaging Control, Grower Reports, a Legislative Update and a session on Coffee Berry Borer. Winners of the statewide cupping contests will be revealed Saturday evening. See haawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

OCEAN VIEW EVANGELICAL CHURCH is organizing its first community ho`olaule`a. The event is set for Saturday, Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The lu`au will include lomi lomi salmon, chicken and long rice, kalua pig and beverages.
      Organizer Mary Wheeler is asking for monetary donations and door prizes. “We will help meet community needs, while getting the opportunity to serve,” she said. For more information and to donate, call 990-3480.

VOLCANO ART CENTER OFFERS SEVERAL PROGRAMS TOMORROW. 
      Ni`aulani Rain Forest Guide Training takes place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village to prepare guides for bi-weekly Ni`aulani Nature Walks. Volunteers offer two hours per month to help guide people through an ancient Hawaiian forest. Register at 967-8222 or programs@volcanoartcenter.org.
      Halau Waiau, under the direction of na kumu hula Keikilani Curnan and Liana Aviero, presents a hula kahiko performance at 10:30 a.m. at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Hands-on cultural demonstrations take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on VAC Gallery porch.
      Auditions for LOL: Ladies Out Loud are set for 3 p.m. at the Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Women in comedy are invited to bring stories, jokes and skits under six minutes. Open to all women and even “wanna-be” women. Show is scheduled for Sept. 7.
      Puna Chicks: Another Night of Comedy begins at 7 p.m. at the Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village with “Puna Princess” Sherri Carden, “Puna Tita” Angie Libadisos and Tanya Anne, VAC’s chief entertainment officer. Tickets are $10 or $9 for VAC members.
      For more information about all events, call 967-8222 or see volcanoartcenter.org.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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