We're honored and elated to have helped launch the Waiʻanae Mālama ʻĀina Field School at Nānākuli, a summer school course of Nānākuli High & Intermediate School. This course is an outgrowth of ideas that we and our partners in the Wai'anae Wellness and Place-based Learning Alliance have discussed since 2012 to help the youth of Wai'anae succeed in school. Far too many get off track before they even reach high school. By providing a new type of program where classroom learning is directly tied to field work that incorporates math, science, and Hawaiian studies, perhaps more students will be motivated to attend classes and become "college and career-ready."
In 2016, for the fourth summer in a row, we had the pleasure of coordinating the Mālama ʻĀina Field School at Nānākuli High & Intermediate School. The Field School is a summer school program for students that provides course credits in math, science, English, or an elective through hands-on lessons to understand our environment, culture, and how we can be better stewards of the land. And best of all, it’s fun! That’s according to the 36 students from grades 7-11 who completed the program this past summer.
We use technology to make the classes virtually paperless by using Google Apps and a website. This is not only good for the environment, it also prepared the students for what will be the norm in classrooms of the future. We invite you to see theField School website and the videos (see below) to get a taste of the Field School’s impact that we know will be far-reaching for years to come because the students and teachers involved in the program are destined to be our leaders.
This program would not be possible without our invaluable Program Partners:
Nānākuli High & Intermediate School
Kamehameha Schools Ka Pua Initiative
Marisla Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, PALS/PLACES program
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge
University of Hawai'i at West O'ahu
MAʻO Organic Farm
Friends of Honouliuli
The Cultural Learning Center at Ka'ala
Mālama Learning Center and Hawaiʻi Green Collar Institute
as well as our dozens of speakers and site hosts. MAHALO A NUI!
This is a powerful program not just for students but also for teachers. For more information on the program and its curriculum, please contact Pauline Sato at pauline(at)malamalearningcenter.org.
Here are video clips from our summer 2015 program.
Background In the summer of 2013, we launched a six-week course for incoming 8th and 9th graders at Nānākuli High & Intermediate School from June 3 to July 12. Teachers Jewelynn Kirkland and Terra Wight, with whom we are very familiar, were the core teachers supported by Mālama Learning Center staff, interns, and many resource people. They piloted a new curriculum based on the weekly themes of:
Setting the stage and seeing the big picture
Water, watersheds, and waiwai (wealth)
Ahupuaʻa of Nānākuli - plants, animals, and people
Agriculture and food sustainability
Energy and managing our waste
Navigating our future
The curriculum utilized existing resources as well as new lessons to promote critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, good learning habits, and an appreciation and respect for the land, sea, and cultural richness of Wai‘anae – and Nānākuli in particular. STEM education was integrated into the curriculum through tools used by professionals such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and GIS (Geographic Information System). As a final project, students worked on a “Nānākuli Community Atlas,” which compiled data and stories from the various areas studied including geology and soils, winds/rain, native and invasive ecosystems, cultural history, mele and ʻoli, and agricultural systems. This atlas was presented in forms such as maps and a brochure.
In the summer of 2014, we coordinated the second "Field School" course at Nanakuli High & Intermediate School from June 6 - July 11. This time, we were able to expand the program to have two classes of students (incoming grade 8 and grades 9/10) taught by five amazing teachers and four UH West O'ahu interns who are prospective teachers. The curriculum was similar to the pilot program with some changes in site visits and speakers as well as classroom lessons, with a greater emphasis on math. Final projects for this course involved proposal to address the essential question of: How can we make the school a model of sustainability for the community? It was a completely enriching learning experience for students, teachers, and MLC staff.
Students from both summers wrote blogs to chronicle the Field School's activities. Click on the links below to see the blogs.