East Hawaii News

Transition Process to Begin for Pahoa Area Students

November 6, 2014, 5:03 PM HST
* Updated November 6, 5:07 PM
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Kea’au Middle School and Kea’au High School have prepared to welcome new students from the Pahoa Complex. The students, who will transfer on Friday, are leaving their home schools due to the ongoing lava flow.

Students originally attending Kea’au Middle and Kea’au High will return to classes on Nov. 10.

The Hawai’i State Department of Education announced the indefinite closure of Keonepoko Elementary on Oct. 29, as the campus is in the anticipated path of the lava flow.

Preparations have been ongoing since that announcement for the transition of those students as well as others in the complex.

Pahoa High & Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary, Kea’au Middle, and Kea’au High have been closed since Oct. 30 as the schools prepared for the incoming students.

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The DOE says that about 850 Pahoa students who reside north of the flow, including Orchidland, Ainaloa, and Hawaiian Paradise Park will be moved to the Kea’au Complex. Another 850 Pahoa students who reside south of the flow, including Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores and Nanawale, Leilani, Kalapana, and Pahoa will attend Pahoa High & Intermediate or Pahoa Elementary.

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“Our administrators, faculty and staff have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition,” stated Mary Correa, complex superintendent for Ka’u, Kea’au, Pahoa. “During this process, furniture was moved, school schedules has to be redone and other student services were adjusted. It is important that our transitioning students feel welcomed in their new school, as well as employees who have been assigned to other schools. Individuals and community organizations have also contributed to this effort and we are very grateful for their support.”

About 200 Pahoa High students will attend Kea’au High. Seventy-five students from Pahoa High & Intermediate, as well as another 75 sixth graders from Keonepoko or Pahoa Elementary, will attend Kea’au Middle School.

In addition, about 300 Keonepoko students will be attending “Keonepoko North,” which is the temporary school that has been set up in the Kea’au High School lower parking lot. One-hundred and fifty Pahoa Elementary students will also be attending Keonepoko North.

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The DOE estimates that 20 Keonepoko preschool students will go to Kea’au Elementary. Fifteen special needs students from Keonepoko and Pahoa Elementary Schools will transition to Mountain View Elementary.

Students who will be attending Keonepoko North will begin school on Monday, Nov. 10, along with students who are currently enrolled at Kea’au High and Kea’au Middle, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary.

A total of 1,700 students and 300 employees are being affected by the transition process.

DOE officials will be in attendance at Thursday night’s weekly lava community meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Pahoa High School.

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