East Hawaii News

Big Island Charter Schools First to Offer Pre-K

July 27, 2015, 1:31 PM HST
* Updated July 27, 1:33 PM
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Four Big Island charter schools will be the first to offer pre-kindergarten under a recent $14.8 million, four-year Preschool Development Grant received by the State Public Charter School Commission.

The grant, received in December, will allow Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School, also known as Nawahi, and Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School, also known as Ka ‘Umeke, to provide the educational service. The grant is intended to serve 920 students over a four year period at 18 charter schools throughout the state.

Both Nawahi and Ka ‘Umeke are Hawaiian language immersion schools. Pre-kindergarten at those schools will also be in Hawaiian.

Families who have an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline in Hawai’i may be eligible for free pre-kindergarten. Pre-kindergarten is only available for children who are four-years-old and who have a birthdate that falls between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011.

The State Public Charter School Commission completed one of 18 grant applications approved to receive the grant. Of the 18 applications, Hawai’i was one of five states to receive the grant to open a new preschool program.

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“This grant enables Hawai’i to continue making progress with its early childhood education system,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton.  “By creating more high-quality pre-kindergarten classrooms in addition to those already operating on Hawai’i DOE campuses, our public charter schools are helping to ensure that more of Hawai’i’s keiki get the good start they will need in kindergarten and beyond.”

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To learn more about the commission’s pre-kindergarten initiative or schools participating, visit the Charter School Commission’s website.

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