Moloka‘i High School Student Sabrina Curtis

The College of Education Center on Disability Studies’ (CDS) now serves five of Hawai‘i’s islands. The project, which began in 2014, provides an opportunity for qualified juniors and seniors to begin their postsecondary education while still in high school through the Running Start and Early Admission college programs. These are part of a statewide partnership between the Hawai‘i Department of Education (DOE) and the University of Hawai‘i system.

With more than 500 participants, Ho‘oku‘i works with students from public, charter, and Hawaiian immersion schools as well as academies and learning centers on O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i, and the recently added Lāna‘i. The project aims to increase enrollment of Native Hawaiian students in postsecondary education or in postsecondary education certification programs leading to employment.

Ho‘oku‘i is a federally funded U.S. DOE Native Hawaiian Education Program, directed by CDS Professor Kelly Roberts, coordinated by Assistant Specialist Lisa Uyehara, and evaluated by Associate Professor Hye-Jin Park.

“For some students, there are noticeable improvements in mathematics and English as a result of mentoring and tutoring,” Uyehara said. “Other students are setting academic and career goals for the first time. And some have already earned a semester’s worth of college credits prior to graduating from high school. This is evidence that education research has real world benefits for students and professionals!”

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