This piece about the Private Schools with Public Purpose symposium was written by Supt. Kathryn Matayoshi, Punahou School President Jim Scott and Tim Cottrell, head of schools at ‘Iolani School. It ran in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
On March 6 and 7, 150 private and public school educators from across the country gathered for the
Private Schools with Public Purpose symposium hosted at the KEY Project in Kahaluu, Punahou School and ‘Iolani School.
Our purpose over the two days was to showcase examples of vibrant programs in Hawaii and the nation, and to discuss partnerships that promote the overall success of public school students.
Research has shown that students who do not engage in
summer education often return to school having lost the skills they attained the prior school year. Participation in a robust summer learning program substantially reduces that achievement gap and keeps students on track toward graduation and beyond.
The Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) has been actively engaged in such partnerships, and, with the support of community organizations and private foundations, has worked successfully with private schools to support a community of students from both rural and urban areas.
Punahou School's Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program and ‘Iolani's KA‘I program are examples of programs that have set a national standard.
PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) serves 300 middle and high school students, primarily from the Roosevelt, McKinley and Kahaluu districts, with a commitment over seven years to summer courses that offer them the opportunity to earn DOE credits. PUEO also provides individual mentoring by teachers and graduates throughout the school year.
‘Iolani's KA‘I (Kukulu Alaka‘i ‘Iolani) program serves students attending neighboring Jarrett Middle School with a six-week academic enrichment program for six summers from grades 7 to 12. ‘Iolani administrators work with these students throughout the year to encourage academic engagement and leadership.
In both PUEO and KA‘I, most students will be the first in their families to attend college. Spurred by a
McInerny Foundation-funded feasibility study to explore proliferation of these programs, Sacred Hearts Academy has made a commitment to implementing a similar program this summer.
The DOE is encouraged by these efforts to increase the engagement of private schools on behalf of Hawaii students. Community organizations such as the
KEY Project, YMCA, YWCA, Lawakua and many others have lent their expertise in helping create learning experiences that are challenging, engaging and rooted in understanding the unique gifts of Hawaii's cultural landscape.
Our shared objectives extend beyond summer programs for students. Public and private schools are collaborating to create professional development opportunities and curriculum partnerships in academic technology, STEM education and graduate training so that private and public school teachers can share learning materials and events.
The goal is to ensure that all Hawaii teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to take advantage of 21st-century learning opportunities, so that students thrive.
Our state is on the leading edge of modeling public-private partnerships that can raise student achievement and encourage student aspirations for college. National gatherings like the PSPP symposium allow us the opportunity to listen and learn from each other, and to understand the ways that we can work together to create programs that improve and inspire the learning experience for all our students.