fall 2010 note from richard

October  2010

On the heels of the Sir Ken talk in Oahu, a key meeting with the Hawaii Community Foundation and now with almost two months of the 2010-11 academic year behind us, I have a growing sense of the strengths and growth opportunities facing Kauai Pacific School.  Our strengths are in our people…charitable givers, a directed board, our strong faculty, and the daily energy that comes from our students and families.

While in Oahu we were led to the very leader of the revolution in schools, Sir Ken Robinson…if you haven’t already, please Google “Sir Ken Ted Talk.”  It was satisfying to be in the right place at the right time with the full faculty, and a collection of board members, parents and students to hear Sir Ken’s epic message.  Sir Ken made us laugh and reminded us that creativity is the defining feature of humanity. His message was that as humans are born to create things, we have throughout time looked to the horizon of time and actively shaped our future. He pointed out the that currant dominant educational approach was created during the industrial revolution as a factory model designed to standardize and that the crisis is being compounded by a digital world experiencing exponential population growth. His understanding is that the factory model approach to education stifles creativity and authentic learning and should be replaced by a new educational model.  

When a student asked him how he would go about designing the perfect future school, Ken remarked, “…the essential feature of anything lies in its elegance. The empty space in a painting, the pause in a poem, the relationship between an actor and the audience…in schools it is the ability of a student to learn what they love through a process of co-creating and anything that distracts from this should be left out of an ideal future school…”

I find the Kauai Pacific School faculty to be cohesive, flexible, and smart. They have a good sense of humor and are fluent in the implementation of the inquiry methodology. The love Kaua’i Pacific School and are willing to go the extra mile to see it thrive. The faculty have the important the ability to articulate gracefully constructive critique, a key part of the learning process. Our academic programs rest solidly upon the faculty’s ability to integrate conceptual and thematic inquiry-based teaching. Fortunately, they exhibit patience with a new leadership style.

Our board is focused, committed and small. I see the energy that daily spills out into the school grounds in direct relationship to the focus of our board of trustees on growing the school programs. The commitment of this group is remarkable and like the school it will grow significantly over the next several years. I see a growth opportunity in growth of this board in numbers, the capacity to fundraise, and in further demonstrated partnership with the HAIS through governance development.

The future of Kauai Pacific School is as a bright beacon for how schools can be. In fact, the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Association of independent Schools consider Kauai Pacific School to be a model prototype for school reform in Hawaii. Our faculty will soon skype with graduate students from the UH Schools of Architecture and Futurist Studies to discuss future school design. Their analysis will include recommendations for creating a sustainable school and what that might look like on the North Shore of Kauai by the year 2030. I have been humbled and awed by the quality work of the graduate students…it is a testament to their teachers, Jim Dator and Ray Yeh, and I look forward to the interaction of our faculty in this project. Professor Dator told us that he had selected Kauai Pacific School for this project because of our balance between sustainability and digital literacy. When discussing our themed inquiry methodology he commented, “I like your interdisciplinary, interactive, and intercultural approach.”

The great energy that comes to Kauai Pacific School comes everyday in the form of students. Being raised in such natural aesthetic as this spectacular place, these minds are truly full of wonder and awe. Daily I am struck by their creativity and excitement for learning about their world. Thanks to our parents, grandparents and friends for your intentionality and investment in the future through Kauai Pacific School. 

Aloha y Mahalo, Richard

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the future kps

here is what happens in a month in Kauai with the task of dreaming a dream school…
Kauai Pacific School
Academic Plan for Middle and High School

The annual KPS interdisciplinary academic experience integrates 6 project-based units per grade. Inquiry forms the basis for teaching strategies with emphasis upon digital technologies and multimedia via the KPS digital storytelling project.
Core Classes
a) Mathematics
b) Language Arts
c) Science
d) Social Studies

Specialty Classes
a) Music
b) Hawaiiana
c) Art
d) Technology

“A-G” Academic requirements:
The intent of the “A-G” subject requirements is to ensure that graduating high school KPS students can participate fully in the first-year program at an ivy-league university in a wide variety of fields of study.
a) Mathematics – Kauai Pacific School requires four years of college preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra, two- and three-dimensional geometry, trigonometry, and calculus.

The Kauai Pacific School believes strongly that successful students are actively engaged in their learning. We design courses and choose textbooks that maximize student learning through active discovery. Daily homework, frequent student presentations in class, a wide variety of assessments, interesting electives, and regular opportunities for extra help combine to provide a rich mathematical experience for KPS students.

Math courses required:
7th Grade Pre-Algebra
8th Grade Pre-Algebra
9th Grade Algebra 1
10th Grade Geometry
11th Grade Algebra 2
12th Grade Pre-Calculus

Mathematics Electives:

b) Language Arts – Four years of college preparatory English Language Arts.
The Kauai Pacific School is committed to reflecting the school’s greater mission throughout our Language Arts curriculum, both in our teaching practices and in the breadth and quality of courses offered. Within each course we focus on the specific English skills necessary for success in higher education; students learn the fundamentals of grammar, usage and vocabulary, and standard narrative and rhetorical devices. In addition, students hone their critical thinking skills through vigorous classroom discussion and by constructing essays and research papers, learning how to express themselves effectively in myriad ways within a community of scholars. All students are enrolled in an English course at all times. All students must complete at least 12 credits of English in order to fulfill graduation requirements.

Language Arts Courses Required:
7th and 8th Grade Language, Literature and Composition
9th Grade Introduction to Literature
10th Grade English Seminar
11th Grade Nonfiction
12th Grade Fiction

Language Arts Electives:
Playwriting, Film, and Television
Autobiography & Memoir
c) Science – Four years of high school laboratory and field science providing fundamental knowledge in scientific systems and processes, earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics. Required core courses are Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. KPS takes advantage of Kauai’s physical resources and the schools digital resources to provide hands-on experience as a primary teaching and learning method.

Science Courses Required:
7th Grade Scientific Systems and Processes
8th Grade Earth Science
9th Grade Physical Science
10th Grade Biology
11th Grade Chemistry
12th Grade Physics

Science Electives
Anatomy & Physiology
Astronomy and Navigation
Climate and Weather
Medical Science
Organic Chemistry
d) Social Studies – Kauai Pacific School requires three years of high school level social studies, including one year of world human geography, one year of US history and government, and one year of economics and government. Through the KPS Social Studies classes apply reading comprehension, research, analysis, and synthesis of information into written, verbal, and digital presentations. Library and Internet research skills are also taught and practiced.

Social Studies Courses Required
7th Grade Polynesian Prehistory and History
8th Grade Asian History and Prehistory
9th Grade World Geography and History
10th Grade United States History
11th Grade Economics and Government

Social Studies Electives:
The History and Prehistory of Hawaii
World Religion
Cultural Anthropology and Ethnography
e) Language other than English – KPS requires 4 years of high school foreign language including two years of the same language other than English. The KPS foreign language program incorporates the immersion language methodology into the class options. Foreign language study begins on campus in Kindergarten through a method that exercises speaking and listening skills.

Foreign Language Courses Offered:
f) Visual & Performing Arts – KPS requires one year of high school art. At KPS the arts are integrated into everyday life, offering a wide variety of courses in Graphic Arts, Visual Arts, Industrial Arts, and Performing Arts. Whether your interests include boat-building, furniture making, experimentation with digital multi-media, singing, drawing, or painting, students can experience the arts in a variety of forms to expand their understanding of the world around them.
Architectural Design
Boat Building
Studio Art
g) College Preparatory Elective – One year (two semesters), chosen from additional “a-f”
courses beyond those used to satisfy the requirements above, or courses that have been
approved solely for use as “g” electives.

Study Hall
Study Hall is offered from 4:00 to 5:00pm and 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
Structured Study Hall provides a monitored study environment. Students may elect to participate; parents and faculty may require that a student attend.
Physical Education
KPS believes that regular physical activity enables a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind. The KPS extra-curricular sports teams equip students with leadership and teambuilding opportunities. Physical Education is ensured at KPS middle and high schools through before (7am) and after school (4pm) team practices. KPS requires participation in one season of extra-curricular sports per year and students may choose to participate in up to three extra-curricular seasons per year.

Sports Teams:
Sand Volleyball

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