Education leaders from across the state come together to mark the signing of the Promise to Children.
One of the coolest parts of my job at Kamehameha Schools in the past few years has been the chance to become intimately connected to the Worldwide Voyage. Alongside the incredible kuleana as crewmember on several legs of the voyage, Iʻve witnessed the efforts of courageous educational leaders across the state working to transform education in ways that benefit our haumana, communities, and ʻāina. And little by precious little, changes in our educational systems are happening!
How change happens is a result of the collective efforts of many hands, some inspired by Mālama Honua, others by Nā Hopena Aʻo learning environments and Hawaiian culture-based education, and still others in their sustained commitment to strengthen community-school partnerships. Making change happen is through shared commitments guided by a navigator mindset, being courageous, and taking risks for a better future. Seeing change happen is an opportunity to say mahalo and remember the importance of shared values including the exchange of diverse perspectives, respect, and gratitude.
For example, after implementing nearly four years of lessons connected to the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (DOE) brought together education leaders, teachers and students to say mahalo and to celebrate the homecoming of Hōkūleʻa. They announced a newly signed agreement between the Department and Tahiti’s Ministry of Education that will carry on the mission of Mālama Honua.
In the last four years, students and kumu have been a part of the voyage right here at home. Many of us at Kamehameha and in our communities have supported the Promise to Children and its educational commitment to inspiring children to care for our island earth. The Promise to Children was established in November 2013 and signed by educational leaders and hundreds of individuals in support of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's worldwide voyage and the mission of Mālama Honua. The agreement emphasized the commitment to inspire students through education to explore, learn about, and protect Island Earth.
To recognize the many schools and partners that participated so enthusiastically, the DOE produced a fabulous little video, shared here, capturing the voices of students and teachers who have been engaged on this collaborative voyage. Take a minute to hear from them yourself.
King William Lunalilo Elementary Principal Amy Kantrowitz noted, "There has been a change in the mindset of our students, they are much more aware of their responsibility to care for our Island Earth, to care for our culture and each other. That's what we've been instilling these past few years – it's not just an activity, it's a way of thinking."
See more information about HIDOE's integration of the Promise to Children and Mālama Honua into its schools and curriculum.
Other changes have taken root in the University of Hawaiʻi (UH). For example, in the College of Education, under the leadership of Dean Donald Young, the entire faculty has embraced Nā Hopena Aʻo and Mālama Honua values in their meetings, planning, and coursework. As a system, UH strives to expand access to voyaging courses, which offer multidiscipinary learning spanning oceanography, astronomy, social studies, geography, anthropology, cultural studies, Hawaiian studies, and history. Another planning team of DOE, UH, and KS folks is developing voyaging courses for high school students that earn high school and, at the same time, early college credits that accelerate college completion.
At Kamehameha Schools, the awesome fifth graders and kumu put on their annual play featuring another leg of the voyage as they have for the past several years. High school students have the opportunity to take voyaging as an elective in Environmental Science, others developed global competencies and leadership through learning journeys to Aotearoa, Cape Town, the Galapagos, Rapa Nui, and Tahiti.
Classrooms from throughout all three campuses have been connecting to the Hōkūle‘a crew through a variety of wa‘a talks and visits, allowing students to see the relevance of their lessons first-hand.
The voyage has been an opportunity for many of our alumni to grow into leadership roles, several serving as navigators on legs throughout the voyage. The navigator on Hokule‘a’s journey home will be Ka‘iulani Murphy, a KS Kapalama 1996 graduate who has been working with PVS for nearly two decades.
The voyage does not end here, itʻs just beginning. When Hōkūleʻa returns home, she will embark on a statewide sail to visit 100 schools to mahalo them and to learn about and celebrate their stories and progress on this journey.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2020
SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.
The Promise to Children partnership addresses Goal 2 of SP2020 which calls for KS to contribute to collective community efforts to improve education systems for Hawaiian learners. It also supports Action 4 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2017, calling for KS to leverage community partnerships to improve educational success across the state.