Answers to our most commonly asked questions
Answers to our most commonly asked questions
Are you accredited?
Yes. We are accredited by WASC.
How many students are in a class?
In elementary grades, we keep classes at 18 students. In middle school, we keep classes at 21 students.
What grade levels do you serve?
Jr. kindergarten through 8th grade
What is the age cutoff for kindergarten?
We do not use an age cutoff. We will need to meet your child to see if they are developmentally and socially ready for kindergarten.
What is your philosophy?
We believe that children learn when they are having fun. We use hands-on, experiential, project-based learning opportunities to engage our students and keep learning fun. At Kuleana, kids love coming to school. They feel loved, safe, and happy at school, which fosters an environment where students thrive and learning is continuous.
What curriculum do you use?
We are a private school and thus are not bound by a specific curriculum. We follow specific standards (CCSS for ELA and math, NGSS for science, Hawaii for social studies), and our teachers have the freedom to create their own curriculum or pull from different curriculums to meet and exceed those standards. We follow evidence-based science of reading for teaching our elementary students to read and use a combination of Heggerty and UFLI along with supplemental resources. We also use Lexia Core 5 for elementary students who need extra support in reading.
What is this focus on love and happiness of students?
Just as Finnish schools have long shown the world, by focusing on the overall well-being and happiness of students, we will naturally see academics flourish. At Kuleana, we have a nurturing environment that focuses on the love and care for our students. When we were first accredited in 2017 as one of the youngest schools to ever be accredited in just our 3rd year (we opened in 2014), the accreditation committee told us the one thing they really felt on our campus was love. They felt it from the staff, the board, the students, and the parents. When the accreditation committee came out again in 2022, they ended their visit with, "That would be fun if all the schools we got to accreditate were as inspiring as you." This was again a tribute to the love they felt on our campus from all stakeholders. There is something special about our Kuleana community. We hope you will come and experience it yourself.
Do you do state testing?
No we do not.
Do you follow DOE requirements?
No. We are not associated with the DOE and are not bound by any DOE requirements.
How do you assess your students?
We use Dibels assessments for reading, Acadience assessments for math K-6, and easyCBM assessments for math 7-8 in order to ensure our students are successful in ELA and math. These are short nationally normed assessments that we do internally within our school so we know we are successful with our students and their academic growth.
What is social-emotional learning?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. In our social-emotional classes, students learn character traits such as empathy and responsibility, and they learn important skills such as communication and conflict resolution.
How long is recess?
We follow Finland's successful model for recess time. Our students get 15 minutes of every hour of recess time. This allows them frequent breaks throughout the day. Lunchtime is 30 minutes, so students eat and then get plenty of time to play. Studies have found that recess benefits students by improving their memory and attention, helping them stay on topic in class, reducing their disruptive behavior, and improving their social development.
Do you use ipads?
In lower elementary school, ipads are only used for reading and math intervention and to access reading material in social-emotional learning. If you do not want your child on an ipad in elementary school, please let your child's teacher know, and we will ensure they do not use the ipad.
In upper elementary school and middle school, students use ipads for research, for accessing reading material in social-emotional learning, and for accessing supplemental math material.
How much education do your teachers have?
Core subject teachers are required to have either a degree in education or a teaching license. Therefore, all core subject teachers have a minimum of a BA in education or a teaching license.
We travel a lot. Is that going to be an issue?
No. We are happy to work with you to accommodate your family's schedule.
We live down south and want an alternate schedule so we do not need to drive to Kona daily. Can you work with us?
Yes. Please reach out, and we will come up with a schedule that works for your family.
Can you support students with an IEP?
We are always happy to support students so long as we can support them with the staffing we have. Though we do not follow IEPs, we are more than happy to review them and let you know if we feel we can accommodate your child's needs. We will always be honest with you about what we can support and any concerns we may have. We do strongly believe in supporting all children whenever we can. Additionally, if your child has an RBT through your insurance, RBT's are welcome on our campus.
My child is behind in reading or math. What kind of extra support do you offer?
We have a reading interventionist on staff who works with students as needed. Additionally, depending on your child's address and if you live in a Title 1 district of a public school, your child can qualify for free after-school reading tutoring on our campus as well. For math, we will work with your child and their math teacher to come up with a plan to support your child.
Do you have field trips?
Yes. We have field trips throughout the year. Classes go approximately once every 7 weeks. We go to a variety of places depending on what field trips are available to us and what your child's homeroom teacher chooses to set up for the year.
Do you allow parent volunteers?
Yes! We love parent volunteers. We always need chaperones for field trips, help with our PTA, event help, and other volunteer opportunities that come up throughout the year.
Do you teach real-world skills?
Yes! We have a life skills week each year where kids learn everything from balancing a budget, to cooking, to cleaning, to changing a tire, to first aid and so much more! Additionally, we weave these skills into other classes throughout their time at Kuleana.
Do students have homework?
In elementary school, research shows no benefit to homework and actually shows negative outcomes due to homework. We believe kids should be kids and would much better benefit from other activities such as spending time with family or friends, sports, enjoying the beach, or learning new hobbies. We always recommend reading 20 minutes a night, if it is possible for your family.
In middle school, there is a small amount of homework that may be assigned, usually having to do with reading and reading responses. Occasionally, there may be projects that students may be finishing up at home, but that is rare.
If students choose not to do their work during class time, then teachers will send that work home to be finished.
What is the house system?
The house system, learned from Ron Clark Academy, is a dynamic, exciting, and proven way to create a positive climate and culture for students and staff. Similar to Harry Potter's houses, the house system builds character, relationships, and school spirit.
What kind of professional development do your teachers take part in?
We are always providing learning opportunities to our teachers. We ask them each year what they want to learn more about and do our best to provide those opportunities. Additionally, our teachers attend the Schools of the Future conference in Oahu each year to learn about the latest trends in education. In 2023, our teachers attended the impactful Ron Clark Academy teacher training in Atlanta, GA. In 2024, our teachers will be attending Get Your Teach On to learn about creating magic in their classrooms, standard-aligned content, data-driven content, new classroom strategies, and so much more. We are always bettering ourselves in order to provide the best possible education for your children.