Hugh Dunn
Dr. Hugh Dunn

Hugh Dunn, program director of the Pacific Literacy Consortium (PLC) in the College of Education’s Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), received a $2.9 million grant award from the Native Hawaiian Education Program (NHEP). Project ‘Aha Lamakū ‘Oia‘i‘o (ALO) is a culturally-responsive leadership development, mentoring, and transition support system for at-risk Native Hawaiian youth.

Dr. Dunn also serves as principal investigator of another federally funded project, Mohala I Ke Ao and is producer and host of the Pacific Education Pulse Podcast.

Building on the positive results of previous PLC and Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) joint efforts funded by NHEP and other funding sources, Project ALO is designed to ensure the timely completion of courses, promotion to next grade levels, graduation from high school, and successful transition into post-high school college or employment training.

ALO will target strategic support to underserved secondary students in four schools in Hawai‘i Island’s Ka‘ū-Kea‘au-Pāhoa Complex Area (KKP), employing the concept of ma ka hana ka ‘ike (knowledge is gained by doing) and integrating proven culturally-responsive approaches. During a three-year period, ALO’s coordinated services will directly benefit approximately 1,160 students and 800 teachers.

“This award speaks to a long-standing and exemplary collaboration between CRDG’s PLC projects and the Hawai‘i DOE,” Dr. Dunn said. In partnership with KKP complex- and school-level teams, we hope to employ a sustainable student-centered, culturally-responsive transition support system that positively impacts the life trajectories of ALO project beneficiaries.”

The project will deliver services through an array of venues, including one-to-one and small group classroom settings, field trips, community service, retreats, college tours, and employment training. Additionally, ALO will provide KKP teachers with professional development opportunities focused on deepening teacher knowledge of differentiating instruction to meet the unique needs of diverse learners.

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