Hawaiian language immersion program

Since 1987, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education has managed the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) in its public school system. Accomplishments range from the simple growth and expansion of kaiapuni schools to a globally recognized indigenous language and culture revitalization program.

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Ka Papahana Kaiapuni​ (KPK)

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) contributes to Hawaiian language revitalization by providing for K-12 Hawaiian language education. The Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP), Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (KPK), delivers instruction exclusively through the medium of Hawaiian language until grade 5, whereupon English is formally introduced. All families residing in Hawaiʻi have the option to enroll their children in a Hawaiian language immersion program. Within the organizational structure of the Department, KPK is supported by the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) and other state offices as well its complex areas.

HIDOE also engages with the community, via the ʻAha Kauleo (‘AKL​), to collect stakeholder input on Kaiapuni implementation​. The ʻAKL is a community-based consortium of parent, teacher, and administrator representatives from each school, as well as collegiate level representatives and community partners, such as OHA, KSBE, and the ʻAha Pūnana Leo. The group serves as advisors to the Hawaiʻi BOE and Superintendent as well as advocates for quality Hawaiian Language Immersion education, and Hawaiian education in general. At the 2015 National Indian Education Association (NIEA) conference, the ʻAha Kauleo was honored with the William Demmert Cultural Freedom Award. In 2019, the Ka Papahana Kaiapuni program was also recognized with the NIEA award.

KPK standards


Ka Papahana Kaiapuni goals focus on the development of a Kaiapuni lens connecting future generations with Hawaiian ways of knowing and being. At urging of parents concerned with the need to extend Hawaiian language education for their keiki matriculating from the Pūnana Leo Hawaiian language immersion private preschools, HIDOE began implementation of the HLIP pilot programs at Waiau & Keaukaha Elementary Schools in SY 1987-88.

Current state

Since then, the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program has grown, providing families with a Hawaiian language option for K-12 public education. There are 22 HIDOE sites under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent and six charter school sites under the jurisdiction of the BOE (see school listings​). Through various models of Hawaiian immersion education at elementary, middle and high schools, 6 of the 8 major islands are able to provide a K-12 immersion experience.

The success of HLIP language revitalization is known globally. Other native peoples throughout the nation, as well as the world, seek out program educators to share their expertise through school visitations, conference invitations, and various venues.


The Office of Hawaiian Education recognizes its partnerships, commitment, and responsibility to the betterment and advocacy of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. A more detailed orientation to the program can be found by downloading the Foundational and Administrative Framework for Kaiapuni Education (FAFKE)​. In addition, click on the following link to review the current strategic plan for the ʻAha Kauleo (ʻAKL)​ as a way to understand the community driven priorities that started in July 2013. OHE sees HLIP's potential for innovation in Hawaiian education and seeks to foster responsiveness in the HIDOE system.


Related links

  • Foundational and Administrative Framework for Kaiapuni Education (FAFKE) [VIEW]
  • Kaiapuni schools [VIEW​]
  • History of Hawaiian Education [VIEW]
  • Office of Hawaiian Education [VIEW]​

Contact Information

‘Ānela Iwane

Phone: 808-784-6070

Email: anela.iwane@k12.hi.us


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