US Grant Awarded to Explore Laupahoehoe School Conversion

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Media Release:

Laupahoehoe Alumni/Community Association (LACA) dba Save/Improve LHES has been awarded a 3 year U.S. Department of Education grant of up to $150 K per year to continue the process of converting Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School (LHES) to a public charter school. This funding will support planning activities for approximately 12-18 months and implementation tasks for 18-24 months. In a highly competitive process, the U.S. DOE Charter Schools Program awarded only 17 – 23 grants nationwide for this purpose. Save/Improve LHES was the only Hawai`i applicant to be funded this year.

The overall goal of Save/Improve LHES is to convert the existing K-12 DOE school (Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School) to a K-12 public charter school and to create an innovative educational program, open to all students, that will insure success for a diverse student population using a Community School Model and Project-Based Learning curriculum approach.

Two circumstances led Save/Improve LHES to advance conversion of Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School to a public charter school.  First, declining enrollment at LHES has lowered its revenue, resulting in staff layoffs and reduced electives and after-school options for students. Second, the Hawai`i Department of Education has placed LHES on its study list for closure. Given these scenarios, converting LHES to a public charter school emerged as a viable alternative to losing the school, and an opportunity to bring new and innovative educational and enrichment programs to the students as well as other resources the community deems important.

With this end in mind and the financial and programmatic support from the U.S. DOE, Save/Improve LHES plans to involve teachers, school staff, and parents in preparing a draft Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) for a conversion public charter school, and initiate an open, community process to refine the DIP and leverage support and enthusiasm for the plan. A DIP must be prepared in order for a charter school applicant to receive permission to operate a charter school. The DIP would outline the curriculum, electives, after-school activities and other aspects relating to operation of a public charter school.  Save/Improve LHES encourages community members, school staff, teachers, and parents to get involved for the future of our school, our children and our community.

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