We were honored to be a part of the 10th Annual Hawaii Charter School Conference “Delivering on the Promise” this past month. What resonated the most…hearing personal stories directly from the leaders within the charter school network, both locally and nationally; and to be amongst the audience as they continued their dialogue discussing the successes and challenges of this movement…Inspiring! Here are just a few of the amazing individuals and their stories to share.
- Daniel Caluya, Principal of Waters of Life (Na Wai Ola). Principal Caluya’s school was awarded Most Improved Charter School for 2011 and this leader turned around a low-performing school to one that has met AYP. Putting service above self, Mr. Caluya’s recipe for success includes mandatory Saturday school, 5:45am “clock-in” as the first person on campus, and an empathetic heart for the students he serves including the substantial homeless population at his school- something he can relate to since he was in and out of several foster homes starting at the age of 2 and homeless, on the streets, at the age of 16. And this is just one “chapter” of this hero’s life story.
- Greg Hauptner, CEO/CFO/Founder of G Star School of the Arts for Motion Picture and Broadcasting. A West Palm Beach charter school doubles as a motion picture studio (largest movie studio in Florida–yes, even larger than Universal Studios) with graduation rates of 99%. Talk about thinking outside the box, this entrepreneur has mastered the limelight when it comes to college-and-career readiness (97% of its graduates are college bound), which builds mastery and sustainability in the film industry and boosts the state and local economy. Hawaii G Star School coming soon?!
- Nohea Kealoha, Federal Programs Manager of the Charter School Administrative Office (CSAO). Our very own local leader co-presented at the session, Common Core: Nationally and Locally. Participants learned about some of the key opportunities available for all charter schools when it comes to Common Core resources. Mrs. Kealoha was instrumental in initiating Hawaii’s first Common Core Black Belt Institute cohort. The participants in this graduate-level practicum include local charter school directors, curriculum coordinators, coaches, and teachers, representing about one third of all Hawaii charter schools. She also presented the rationale and the intended outcomes of the Black Belt Institute to include building mastery and capacity amongst our own experts on the national standards yet also providing a forum for collaboration and communication at the local, state, and national level, Think of it as the hybrid Professional Learning Community (PLC) model.