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Pictured left to right: KS Kapālama Kula Waena school counselors Tiffany Kanahele, Porsche Puʻulei-Storm, Ladd Akeo and Trent Koide. Far right: Stacey Makanui, dean of student well-being.

KS Kapālama Kula Waena school counselors earn prestigious national RAMP designation

April 23, 2024

A group of KS Kapālama Kula Waena staffers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to develop good and industrious haumāna have earned prestigious national recognition. The American School Counselor Association named Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School one of its RAMP schools for 2024. RAMP stands for Recognized ASCA Model Program.  

The designation recognizes schools that go above and beyond in delivering an extensive, data-driven school counseling program and a top-notch educational environment. KS Kapālama Kula Waena is among 138 schools to earn the honor this year, an effort that’s been years in the making. 

School counselors Tiffany Kanahele KSK'96, Trent Koide KSK'88, Porsche Puʻulei-Storm and Ladd Akeo KSK'82 spent countless hours compiling data and adjusting their counseling programs to fulfill the stringent RAMP requirements. With support from Stacey Makanui, the dean of student well-being, the counselors had to provide an extremely detailed account of various aspects of their counseling kuleana, like student goals and outcomes, lesson plans and classroom results.  

“We meet every single week with each core team, with the kumu and we talk about those things. We talk about academics, but we talk about behaviors. We talk about social emotional needs, because I think collectively, we do a really good job at not letting any of our students slip through the cracks,” said school counselor Porsche Puʻulei-Storm. 

And unlike their counterparts on the continent, the KS counselors also had to take on the role of cultural translators for the ASCA folks who understandably are not maʻa to Hawaiian culture and the KS foundation of Hawaiian Culture Based Education. 

“When we look at it from our lens as Kamehameha Schools, the difficult part in getting national recognition of this type is explaining our cultural values. E Ola! and HCBE are really aligned if you dive deep into it. The national recognition validates our efforts. It really elevates the world-class effort that our counselors and our team are doing,” said Kula Gaughen-Haili, the poʻo kumu of KS Kapālama Kula Waena. 

“I think anytime you go for a national recognition status, it's always a good internal check that you're doing what you say you're doing that you're doing what's right for the students at any given time. All of the data points that they mentioned in their work came directly from the teachers and the students we serve,” said Makanui. 

While this RAMP designation is a huge accomplishment for this humble hui of school counselors, they are all quick to point out that their ultimate success happens when their haumāna succeed. 

“We don't need recognition as individuals. We wanted that for our school and we wanted that for our program. The things that make us feel good are when we see kids be successful, independent and happy,” said Tiffany Kanahele, KSK Kula Waena school counselor. 

Fellow counselor Ladd Akeo echoed that sentiment: “The end goal is to help our young people become good, industrious young men and women. We're committed to doing that and getting better every year.” 

“You have to be committed to wanting the best for students, looking out for their best interests for us not necessarily my own individual interest, but their interests and what is important to for them to be successful. I think that sense of commitment is critical.” said Trent Koide. 

Achieving the RAMP designation also allowed these counselors to model to their haumāna something else; the importance of being lifelong learners. 

“I think it was a cool example of what we accomplished to show the haumāna that we're learning and growing as well even well into adulthood and to careers,” Puʻulei-Storm said. 

The KS Kapālama Kula Waena student counselors will be formally honored during a special ceremony this summer in Kansas City. The RAMP designation has a five-year term. The counselors all say that developing the systems of data collection and reporting will streamline the process when it comes time to seek the designation again in the future. 

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