New Year, New School


Kapolei Charter School (KCS) is a new public charter school located in Kapolei that believes in helping students succeed in the long run and is the only Goodwill funded school in Hawai’i.

And while based in Kapolei in Campbell Industrial Park, many students from Nanakuli and Waianae have chosen to attend this new school.

The mission of the school is to “interrupt generational poverty by providing customized, meaningful, and alternative educational opportunities to students who may not be successful in the traditional educational system.”

For Principal Wanda Villareal, the mission’s goal is to meet the needs of students after graduation.

“To provide a rigorous education for these students to make sure that they aren’t just getting a diploma but getting enough skills and knowledge to enter into college courses and not have to take prep courses.”

Having seen students finish high school and not go to college, Robyn Hartwell applied to work at Kapolei Charter School to help students carve pathways for their future career.

“As far as this school, I think I would’ve done projects that brought on a little bit more creativity verses so much maybe book work. I think in efforts to get out the black and white information, I skipped over some of the more investigative qualities. I’ve gotten some resources for inquiry-based learning.” said Hartwell.

Some students feel that this school’s education is similar to schools on the coast.

“I say that the education is very similar to KWON (Ka Waihona O Ka Na’auao). For example, the math here is similar. I did not go to a close school because my friends are here and I wanted to go to this school for the education, ” said Freshman Kanoa Koli’i

Hartwell feels that her students were prepared to come to KCS.

“I like teaching them, I think that you guys got, in the previous school you were at, you got a lot of really good learning practices, you’ve got a lot of creative not just ‘give me the answer and let me move on,’ but ‘I’m actually going to investigate this and understand this, this conceptual understanding,’ so I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Hartwell.

Although most students would not change much about the school, some feel that there isn’t enough room.

“The only thing I would change is the space because I think everything is so close together and is sharing one building is a little stressful,” said Freshman U’ilani Akamu.

The school’s long-term goal is to make sure that students stay with KCS until they graduate and ensure them going to college and getting a proper job.

“The long-term goal for this school is that all the students that come to KCS stay with us the entire time 100% of the students stay with us until their seniors, graduate and go to college have amazing jobs and become successful human beings,” said Villareal.

The short-term goal is to provide a rigorous education and modifying the curriculum while helping students through their struggles.

“The short-term goals make sure that we address all of the barriers that you meet so that you can be successful and just you know have a great school that we can be proud of,” said Villareal.

As for the students, although it is a longer drive to school, they feel it is a good learning experience.

“I would recommend this school to others because they have high expectations of education,” said Koli’i.