Group opening new Kona school

The closing of one school opened the doors to start a new one in Kona.

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The closing of one school opened the doors to start a new one in Kona.

Kuleana Education will begin classes this fall at a location in Pottery Terrace, parent and co-founder Dana Kern said this week.

Kern, whose son is attending kindergarten at Hualalai Academy, said she first brought up the idea in January. That’s when Kern and other parents learned the Kailua-Kona private school would be closing at the end of this academic year.

“I approached (Hualalai teacher) Alicia Hamilton and just said, ‘Hey, will you start a school with me?’” Kern said.

Hamilton said yes, and even though naysayers said it might take years get started, they quickly formed a business plan and began recruiting students. They sent their first student acceptance letters this week and plan to sign a lease for their location next week.

Kuleana parents and staff even pulled off their first fundraiser, an Easter egg hunt and carnival.

“It’s been a lot of work,” Kern said. “We’ve created this great concept.”

The school will incorporate weekly field trips, to get students into the community and use Hawaii as their classroom. The idea is to be very involved in the community, including community service, Kern said.

Each student will also have an iPad and each classroom will have a smart board. The technology focus is important for the school, too, Kern said.

Their goal is no more than 16 students per class. The classes are grouped — kindergarten and first grade together, second and third, fourth and fifth, and sixth, seventh and eighth.

Character values are particular important, Kern said. Take kuleana, the value for which the school is named.

“The kids have a responsibility, not only to themselves, but to their community,” she said.

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She felt a responsibility, too, “to bring a great school to the community. I just felt like I had a responsibility to do something.”

More information about the school is available online at kuleanaeducation.com, or interested parents may email office@kuleanaeducation.com or call 989-0986.

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