Polani shows off her niu. At Kanu o ka Aina
students learn about the world around them,
their culture, and it meaning to them.
Kanu o ka 'Aina New Century Public Charter School was established in June, 2000
and opened its doors in August that year with 120 K-12 students. The concept
for the school was based on the work of the Hawaiian Academy at Honoka'a High
School, which operated from 1997-2000. The Hawaiian Academy was a school-within-a-school
that used the ancient sciences and arts of the Hawaiians as a context for rigorous
and meaningful learning. Students blocked several core academic and arts and
culture courses, and used technology and public exhibition to demonstrate their
learning. When the opportunity arose to become a K-12 school, the Hawaiian Academy
staff (led by now principal Ku Kahakalau) applied for and received Hawaii Charter
School status. An enterprise at the school is Kalo, Inc., a student-run venture
focused on designing, producing, and marketing products relating to Native Hawaiian
language, culture, and traditions using cutting edge media tools.