Multiplying Success: KWON Summer Math and College Readiness Academy

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Multiplying Success: KWON Summer Math and College Readiness Academy

Photo: Participating studens and their ‘ohana with teachers and staff from the Academy.

Ka Waihona’s Summer Math and College Readiness Academy establishes a positive model for student engagement

Congratulations to Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao (KWON) public charter school on its successful completion of its Summer Math and College Readiness Academy. Through a partnership with the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, the intensive academic program was offered to current KWON students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The goal of the program was to help students prepare for high school mathematics and career requirements.

“The program had impact both academically, where students grew in math by 25% in assessments, and personally, with 100% of them committed to attend college after high school at the end of the program,” shared Keolani  Alejado, Summer Math & College Readiness Academy director. “Most parents were crying tears of joy as their children presented their 10 year plans. It was utterly inspiring.”

Students needed to complete a rigorous application process which mimics a college application process with recommendation letters, a personal statement, transcripts/report cards and waivers. The academy took place over 5 weeks in June and July with days split between math sessions in the mornings and college readiness seminars in the afternoon. Seminars cover a variety of topics from College & Career exploration to learning styles and time management. Students also participated in college visits to KCC, HPU-Hawaii Loa, BYUH and UH Mānoa.

The academy also hosted panels of current college students and professionals from the community. Students had lunch with the student/professional that is in a career path that he or she was most interested in. Panelists then presented their degrees and careers to the students in a formal panel presentation with students asking follow-up questions. Students were required to write essays for all college visits, panels and seminars. The essays are used for language arts instruction during the period or during lunch.

Students are also asked to complete a 10 year future plan, which starts with a “Reality Check” showing students what they would need to earn in order to maintain the lifestyle they select and what kind of careers they would need to achieve that. The reality check is followed by “Making it Happen”, an overview of college and what is expected. Students then “Dream a Little Dream”, an exercise identifying what they are like 10 years from now, answering questions like ‘where do you live’, ‘how do you get around’ and ‘how often do you go on vacation and where’.

Alejado added, “The parent component was an integral part of the program as well. Parents attended an informational session night, orientation night, back to school night and an awards ceremony.  Parents were also invited to attend the college [visits] with their children.”

Sponsored by Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao PCS and the UH Mānoa Office of the Vice Chancellor, the program was offered for free and provided students with breakfast and lunch along with a student designed t-shirt for college visits. Upon completion, students received Awards/Acceptance certificates with the official seal from UH Mānoa.

“The success that this program has had is really inspiring,” says Kalei Kailihiwa, KS’ Ka Pua Initiative director of community programs. “Ka Waihona’s program is a model which we’ll look to try and replicate throughout the Wai‘anae Coast.”

Fifty-seven students completed this year’s KWON Summer Math and College Readiness Academy.

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