KEA'AU, Hawaii - Kea'au Middle and Kea'au High tomorrow will welcome new students from the Pahoa Complex who are transitioning schools due to the ongoing lava flow. The remainder of the students will return to classes on Nov. 10.
On Oct. 29, the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) announced the indefinite closure of Keonepoko Elementary as the campus is in the anticipated path of the lava flow. Since then, preparations have been made for the transition of those students and others. On Oct. 30, schools closed for students at Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea'au Middle and Kea'au High to allow for preparations and transitions.
About 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow (Orchidland, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Paradise Park) are moving to the Kea'au complex. About 850 students who reside south of the flow (Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana & Pahoa) will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary.
The transition of the complexes includes:
- About 200 Pahoa High students will go to Kea'au High.
- About 75 students from Pahoa High & Intermediate and another 75 sixth graders from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will attend Kea'au Middle.
- About 300 Keonepoko students will be attending "Keonepoko North,"which is the temporary school that has been set up in Kea'au High's lower parking lot. In addition, 150 Pahoa Elementary students will also be attending Keonepoko North.
- An estimated 20 Keonepoko preschool students will go to Kea'au Elementary.
- Fifteen special needs students from Keonepoko and Pahoa elementary schools will transition to Mountain View Elementary.
- On Monday, Nov. 10, school begins for students assigned to Keonepoko North, and students who are currently enrolled at Kea'au High and Kea'au Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary.
In all, 1,700 students and 300 employees are affected in this transition process.
"Our administrators, faculty and staff have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition,"stated Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka'u, Kea'au, Pahoa. "During this process, furniture was moved, school schedules had to be redone and other student services were adjusted. It is important that our transitioning students feel welcomed in their new school, as well as employees who have been assigned to other schools. Individuals and community organizations have also contributed to this effort and we are very grateful for their support."
DOE officials will once again be in attendance at tonight's weekly community meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Pahoa High. Schools have also held parent meetings throughout this process.
Pictures of faculty and staff moving into Keonepoko North, as well as a look at Kea'au High staff meeting in preparation of new students, can be viewed in the links below: