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KS and UH enter new partnership to increase post-high educational success of Native Hawaiians

Hui Ho‘opili ‘Āina (HHA) is a new partnership between Kamehameha Schools (KS) and the University of Hawai‘i System (UH), aimed at improving Native Hawaiian student success while creating a sustainable Hawai‘i.

“The purpose of this statewide partnership is to increase Hawaiian student success at the post-secondary level while advancing Hawaiian culture, language and knowledge,” said Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong. “Through this multifaceted collaboration, early college work is a top priority, offering Native Hawaiian students opportunities to earn college credits in high school and increasing rates of post-secondary enrollment and completion. Other aspects of this work include, ‘āina-, Hawaiian culture-, and language-based pathways.”

At the heart of HHA, is the desire of both organizations to foster crucial community collaborations with like-minded institutions to achieve mutual educational goals for their beneficiaries, using data to inform progress.

“This partnership is an important step in fulfilling our commitment to developing community partnerships that advance our indigenous-serving goals while developing Native Hawaiians for leadership roles in the University of Hawai‘i’s ten campuses and the community,” said UH President David Lassner.

As part of both organizations’ strategic plans, UH and Kamehameha Schools are committed to community engagement and partnerships that will result in increased access and success of Native Hawaiian post-secondary students.

“The goal of our vision for 2040 is a thriving Lāhui (people) within a generation,” Wong said. “With 14,000 Native Hawaiian students matriculating through the UH system each year, it is our kuleana to create the opportunity for each of those students to realize their fullest potential and to emerge as leaders for the next generation. Together with UH, this collaboration affirms our dedication to our Native Hawaiian students by creating a pathway to college that will prepare them to complete a higher education.”

For the UH, the partnership aligns with the university’s mission of being a foremost indigenous-serving institution and advancing sustainability.

“It really is about leveraging the investments that we’re both making toward our common interests,” said Lassner. “We are both committed to the success of Native Hawaiian students and to the preservation and support of Native Hawaiian culture and language and the environment. These are values that we share.”

Looking forward, this union will also be an important component in UH’s Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative and one of its goals of increasing the participation and graduation rate of Native Hawaiian students and preparing them for success in the workforce.

“This collaboration presents a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between a K-12 education and college attainment and completion for Native Hawaiian learners,” added Wong. “With a solid foundation in place for students and families to realize their dreams of a college education, we’re preparing them for sustained success in school and beyond.”