The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) celebrated the opening of the new Honouliuli Middle School on Aug, 3. Student leaders emceed the dedication ceremony for the first phase of the new Kapolei campus and provided tours of the facilities to guests.
"In the midst of a crisis there is great promise through our Hawaii public school principals, teachers, staff, students and community,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “This is a space where students can learn together, grow friendships together and develop the vision of their future together. As we move forward, schools like Honouliuli Middle will continue the representation of Hawaii public schools as the hub of innovation for our state."
Construction for the first phase of Honouliuli Middle began in May 2018 and cost approximately $77 million to complete. Phase one includes an administration building, library, cafeteria, classrooms, covered and open play courts, and a music building. The second and third phases will complete the campus over the next two to three years with two additional 16-classroom buildings, health and physical education facilities and an additional parking lot.
The campus, designed to support student innovation and collaborative learning, has science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and art classrooms as highly visible focal points of the school, with ample areas for indoor and outdoor learning and events. Sustainable building features include energy efficient lighting, both natural ventilation and air conditioning, as well as landscaping that conserves water and handles stormwater run-off, which may be used for curriculum integration.
“We’re hoping that through our project-based units, we can make a difference in the community and maybe even bigger, aligning to our vision statement of being a difference maker in the world,” said Honouliuli Middle School Principal Todd Fujimori. “In addition to academics, a big emphasis of our school will be on social-emotional learning so that during these times of uncertainty, our students will be able to put what they learn into practice with love.”
Honouliluli Middle is currently open to sixth-graders for school year 2020-21. Approximately 180 students from the subdivisions of Ho‘opili, Kauluokaha‘i, Keahumoa Place, Ko‘oloa‘ula and the Makakilo neighborhoods are enrolled. Upon completion of the master plan, the 21st-century learning campus is designed for an enrollment of 1,050 students in sixth to eighth grades, with plans for expansion to accommodate an additional 350 students.
“I always think of a new school, a new classroom, a new teacher as more family members,” said incoming Honouliuli Middle School sixth-grader, Chanel Taylor. “I’m excited about this school becoming my second family.”
The Board of Education in January approved renaming the campus, formerly known as East Kapolei Middle School, to Honouliuli Middle School, reflecting the name of the ahupua‘a the school is located in.
The new campus will welcome students on Aug. 17, following the Board of Education’s decision to push back the start date for all public school students. All HIDOE students will return to full days rather than two weeks of half-days, depending on the schedule for individual schools. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves or as new health guidance becomes available, HIDOE will adjust its Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan to ensure that a safe learning and working environment is provided for students, teachers and staff. Updates about the school year will continue to be posted on the Department’s website and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Photo credit: Ethan Toyota, Honouliuli Middle School