We're honored and elated to have helped launch the 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 Alliance for Wellness and Place-based Learning 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, career and community ready.
The summer 2017 program marked our fifth year coordinating the program. With a team of talented teachers, we served students from Nānākuli High & Intermediate School and Ka Waihona O Ka Na'auao Public Charter School. The Field School's curriculum provided students with content and hands-on experiences on understanding our environment, culture, and role as stewards of the land and sea. Upon completion of all program requirements, students were able to earn credits in math, science, social studies, English, or an elective. And best of all, they had fun! That’s according to the 40 students from grades 7-11 who completed the program this past summer!
In 2018, thanks to a grant from Kamehameha Schools, the Mālama ʻĀina Field School will expand to Waiʻanae High School! We can't wait for the summer!
The Field School uses technology to make the classes virtually paperless by using Google Apps and a website. This is not only good for the environment, it also prepares 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:
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.