Maui complex opens specialized education center


Po'okela Maui celebrated its opening today. The center will serve the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex, and will assist students who have significant behavioral challenges with adjusting to a classroom environment. Po'okela Maui's focused programming and strategic environment will help students safely and solidly build these skills.

L to R: Lesley Alexander, Marcie Ventura, Paddie Tholen, Chad Takakura, Ruth Ballinger and Sandrina Redfern

Photo Credit: Department of Education

​​​After a year of planning, the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex celebrated the opening of Po'okela Maui today. The focus of the center will be to assist children who have significant behavioral challenges with adjusting to a classroom environment. Teachers will work on addressing any barriers to learning and helping each child with their social engagement and communication skills.

"This has always been a dream for our Maui Autism Team. We started a conversation about Po'okela in February and worked quickly to find a location and secure funding," said Leila Hayashida, Complex Area Superintendent. "Po'okela Maui was designed as training center to not only help students who are experiencing difficulty in a school setting but also to help teachers learn strategies to help students flourish in a classroom."

Students with autism and other developmental disabilities sometimes experience anxiety when they are unable to communicate wants and needs. They may also become frustrated when they do not have basic problem-solving skills, perseverance, flexibility and independence. Po'okela Maui will provide the focused programming and strategic environment that allows students to safely and solidly build these skills.

Students who qualify for Po'okela Maui services will be temporarily placed there for three months to one year. Students who are not flourishing in their home schools because their educational programs are not currently meeting their specific needs will be selected for the program. Po'okela staff along with school teams will select students based on the severity of their needs.

The center will be utilizing Catalyst data collection, a cloud based system that will help to analyze data and track student progress. The goal is to get students up to speed and ready for a classroom environment at a public school campus through the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment Program and Placement and Essential For Living Curriculum.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200



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