Welina mai!

In 2006, a group of parents, teachers and community leaders joined together to create a non-traditional public charter school in West Hawai‘i. Motivated by a desire to provide an innovative educational program to our rural, underserved community, the group founded Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

Friends’ 40-acre learning center site is located mauka (above) the Kona Community Hospital in Kealakekua. The Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s 2.5-acre campus is located here, along with an organic farm and several teacher and school staff residences.Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.55.05 PM

Friends works in support of Kona Pacific School, but the two entities are independent of each other. Friends is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and Kona Pacific is a public charter school, and therefore a sub-agency of the State of Hawai‘i. Together, the two organizations pursue parallel missions of service to the West Hawai‘i community.

Friends’ strategic plan leverages our 40-acre property, the Kanaueue Learning Center, to develop community-based educational initiatives that provide numerous educational benefits to the students of Kona Pacific and other schools, and a diverse range of economic and social benefits to our rural, underserved community. Together, Friends and Kona Pacific successfully:

  • Operate the WHOLE Food Service, West Hawaii’s only federally approved food service vendor, providing universal breakfast and lunch to 230 Kona Pacific students, 68% of whom qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • Feed an additional 400 at-risk West Hawai’i residents from age 9 months to 93 years old, with community partners Head Start, Early Head Start, Meals on Wheels, Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation, and Punana Leo o Kona preschool.
  • Serve as a model school for the national Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program.
  • Pioneer universal breakfast in the classroom. Kona Pacific is the first school in Hawai‘i where all students eat a nutritious breakfast for free at the start of the school day.
  • Implement a highly successful AmeriCorps program, with seven AmeriCorps volunteers providing labor for farm development while receiving valuable training.
  • Partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the development of the first commercial “food forest park” in West Hawai‘i.
  • Strengthen charter schools locally and nationally through leadership on the Hawai’i Public Charter Schools Network board, Hawai’i State Charter School Commission, and Alliance for Public Waldorf Education.
  • Create critically needed economic development for our community: 40 full time and 25 part time jobs and an operational budget that adds more than $2 million annually to our local economy.

For more information about Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School and our community projects and initiatives, email friends@kppcs.org

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