EFS in Schools: Kapalama Middle School

Aloha! Today, we’d like to introduce you to Kapalama Middle School, located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. This native Hawaiian middle school, on one of The Kamehameha School’s three campuses, “educates children of Hawaiian ancestry to become good and industrious men and women in spirit, mind and body and to use their talents and abilities to positively contribute to the world.” Kapalama’s unique building is designed with an open floor plan and giant common spaces. Innovation is a priority here, as the school embraces Education for Sustainability, curriculum mapping, effective instructional practices, character and student leadership.

A serendipitous beginning

The Cloud Institute’s relationship with Kapalama began almost by chance.  In the Spring of 2011, Dr. Pua Kaai, Principal of Kapalama Middle School  was inspired to explore EfS after reading Jaimie’s chapter, Educating for a Sustainable Futurein the book, Curriculum 21 Essential Education for a Changing World (Ed. Heidi Hayes Jacobs. 2010). Soon after, Dr. Kaai, Dr. Erika Cravalho, Middle School Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator and several other key members of the leadership team at Kapalama shared a meal with Jaimie at one of Heidi’s curriculum mapping conferences in Saratoga, New York and a productive partnership was born. Back in Hawaii, two enthusiastic Kapalama teachers volunteered to participate in The Cloud Institute’s EfS Curriculum Design Studio™ in NYC and followed that up with ongoing Skype coaching sessions with Jaimie throughout that Fall. Hoping to engage more members of the school community, leaders at Kapalama invited Jaimie out for a whole school professional development day that included a keynote address and the EfS Intro. She returned that next summer, taking the first full cohort of teachers through their own EfS Curriculum Design Studio™. Since then, Jaimie has been coaching the entire faculty and most staff members via SKYPE throughout the year. In addition, she has been making the trip to Oahu each February (someone has to do it!) to provide the full faculty PD day and to work on whole school sustainability on site. She returns  each summer to support Kapalama teachers during their Studio as they innovate, design, document, map and “sustainablize” their courses and units, assessments and performance criteria.

“This is something we have to do”

Sustainability holds special meaning for native Hawaiians, making EfS a great fit for Kapalama. “It has been about really getting kids to think hard about how to live well within the means of nature, which is very much, what our ancestors did and what our ancestors personified. When we met Jaimie in Saratoga, the more she spoke about the work of EfS, the more I realized EfS is so much of who we are culturally at our school, and our people.  It was nice to expand our understanding of sustainability beyond the concept of reuse, reduce, recycle to include the ideas of systems thinking, sense of place, and cultural preservation and transformation,” explains Erika. “We are starting to think about how we can get our students to think critically so they can thrive in, not just our current reality, but in the future we will invent together. Working with an indigenous population of children, this is something we have to do.”The school’s  long term commitment to this work has produced tangible results. “All of the teachers are at that point where EfS standards are part of their curriculum mapping every day. It’s operational,” describes Pua. “It’s been really interesting to see how the use of standards has evolved over the years. The trend has shifted from only focusing on content standards, like science or math, towards the EfS Standards and how the various disciplines can work together to achieve them.  It’s more holistic, culturally relevant, and it just makes more sense.” Stressing the benefits of including the whole school in this work, she says, “What we do is bigger than the classroom.  It’s about each of us shifting our mindset to thinking about our thinking, and the sustainability perspective.”

Erika points to one of Kapalama’s interdisciplinary exemplars: an extensive unit on Biomimicry that involves ELA, Science, Math, Social Studies and Technology. “It caught fire, which is a fantastic thing to watch.” Another exemplar includes a student developed planet-friendly app for increasing the regenerative capacity of the aina (Hawaiian for land). EfS at Kapalama doesn’t end when the students leave for the day. Recently a group testified about sustainable development issues at a local community meeting, showing that in-school learning has real life results.

Looking Ahead

Kapalama recognizes the importance of assessment and data collection in successfully doing this work. Jaimie’s most recent February visit focused on the question, “To what extent are we actually educating for sustainability, and to what extent are we assessing for it?”  To this end, a large scale analysis was initiated on their mapping software, Rubicon Atlas, seeking evidence of EfS content and performance indicators in the core curriculum. It took one second to “push the button” to get the data, and then Jaimie and the faculty spent the rest of the day analyzing the data and determining their strengths, gaps and next steps.

The results?  

In summary: Every team and every discipline is targeting EfS standards and indicators; all EfS standards (not all indicators yet) are being targeted in the Middle School; many but not all EfS indicators being targeted are being assessed for, and that will be the focus for the rest of this year and next.  “It was thrilling. The energy in the building was palpable,” says Jaimie. "There is so much is going on and more to do, as always." In addition to assessment, calibration and the development of EfS performance criteria, the rest of the remaining work in the sixth and final year of this long term contract will focus on fully passing the “baton” to the team who will carry the work forward in perpetuity.  Or in Hawaiian, Mau loa "forever"...

Hawaiian Student Shares Why Sustainability is Important

MAY 2013 UPDATE: In March we shared information about one high school student in Hawaii named Trevor Tanaka who had proposed to the Hawaii State Legislature a resolution to require that the Hawaiian Department of Education formally embed Education for Sustainability into the core curriculum. Resolution HCR178 HD1 SD1 was adopted by the legislature on April 24th!!!! We congratulate Trevor, the educators who inspired him, and the legislature who not only listened to him, but who agreed with him.

We are humbled by Trevor’s grace and tenacity, and that of all the young people who are accelerating the shift toward sustainability by showing up, standing up, and taking the lead. 


The resolution’s final language can be seen here


HCR178’s measure history and status can be seen here



Repost from: http://www.hawaii247.com/2012/09/12/student-shares-why-sustainability-is-important
Original Post Date: September 12, 2012

By Trevor Tanaka | Special to Hawaii 24/7

It was September 2011. The state was abuzz over the upcoming APEC meeting in Honolulu in November where President Obama and 20 other heads of state would be gathering. All eyes would be on Hawaii.

It was the first time, since 1993, that the U.S. would be hosting APEC’s annual meeting. In an effort “to engage our local youth and provide them with a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of APEC,” the host committee sponsored an essay contest open to high school students.

Five winners would have the amazing opportunity to attend this premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific Region.

While it sounded like an easy enough topic, I quickly realized that I really did not know enough about sustainability to write my essay. So that’s when my process of learning about sustainability started in earnest.

It also made me really think. Why would someone like me — a junior in high school, and a good student who had taken years of different science classes –- why was I having such a difficult time with this topic? Thus began my journey to learn about sustainability and the importance it plays in our lives today, tomorrow, and in the future of our world.

We all know that sustainability and clean energy are essential to Hawaii due to our location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Our current dependence on imports threatens our resources and our way of life. We also know that Hawaii is rich in renewable energy sources that have the potential to decrease our dependence on imports, especially imported oil.

I really believe that our ability to educate ourselves about finding the right balance of growing our economy, keeping our land healthy, and preserving our natural resources and culture is essential to our survival. In fact, our state is in a unique position to become a leader in our nation and possibly the world.

Through my research, I found out that some private schools in Hawaii offer courses/programs in some form of sustainable education (green technology, renewable energy, etc.). HPA (Hawaii Preparatory Academy) has its world-famous LEED-platinum certified Energy Lab.

Other schools incorporate sustainable education into existing courses, such as Environmental Science. Wouldn’t it be great if all students were given the equal opportunity to learn about the importance of sustainability and the role it plays in our lives today and will play in the future?

I decided to put my thoughts into action. I crafted Resolution No. 25 that requires all public schools in Hawaii to incorporate sustainability and clean energy units and related technologies as part of the Science curriculum.

In December 2011, I traveled to Honolulu to attend the 2011 Secondary Student Conference (SSC) held at the Hawaii State Capitol. The purpose of the SSC is to “provide secondary school students the opportunity to identify, discuss and arrive at recommended solutions to major youth problems, with emphasis on school problems that require the attention and joint action by the students, the Department of Education and the Hawaii State Legislature.”

At the Conference I presented the Resolution No. 25 to the 200 student delegates. I was very excited when 85 percent voted to support it!

This spring, I was nominated by Nancy Redfeather from The Kohala Center to serve as a youth delegate from the Big Island to the Stone Soup Leadership Institute’s 8th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development on Martha’s Vineyard.

Five of us from the Big Island traveled together, representing the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative (SHYLI).

Each SHYLI youth delegate created a power-point presentation on one aspect of sustainability: Agriculture, architecture, cultures, energy and environment. Mine was on Sustainable Education.

I expanded my research to learn about how other states and countries are involved with sustainable education. The New Jersey Sustainable Schools Network is promoting education for a sustainable future in all public schools in Jew Jersey.

The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: 2005-2014 is a global initiative with the goal of reorienting education worldwide.

China has designated 1,000 public schools for Education for Sustainable Development. Japan has included Education for Sustainable Development into its national curriculum guidelines.

Every university in Sweden is required by law to teach sustainable development. I felt empowered knowing this. Just think Hawaii could become one of the leaders of sustainable education!

At the Summit, I met young people from islands around the world who are championing green initiatives in their communities. I also learned how people throughout history have struggled to keep their dreams alive.

I was inspired by youth leader Amira Madisen from the Wampanoag Tribe Gayhead-Aquinnah, who shared how they lost their language and are now working hard to reclaim it.

I also had the opportunity to share my vision for Sustainable Education in all Hawaii public schools on a national radio program – “Keeping it Moving with Marsha Reeves-Jews.” The entire Summit experience gave me hope and inspired me to take the next steps to pass the Resolution No. 25.

We are now gathering letters of support – from our elected officials to business and community leaders as well as young people and educators. I believe we all need to be concerned about sustainability.

My hope is we will build enough support to pass Resolution No. 25. Here are some highlights:

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Science curriculum for all public high schools in Hawaii be supplemented by the integration of sustainability/clean energy units that include the development of Hawaii’s energy, environmental, ocean, recyclable and technological resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the integration of sustainability/clean energy units in the Science curriculum will help educate students about the role that sustainability/clean energy plays in balancing the needs of Hawaii’s growing economy with protecting its environment and resources in a socially responsible way.

I want to see that all high school students throughout the State of Hawaii have the opportunity to take classes in or be exposed to some form of sustainable education as part of their science curriculum.

This will allow Hawaii’s youth to have a better understanding about sustainability and the connection it has with our way of life, especially here in Hawaii.

It is essential that everyone understand that keeping our environment healthy, keeping our economy healthy, and keeping our people healthy are all interrelated and will ultimately allow our culture, traditions, way of life, and unique island home to not just survive but thrive for generations to come.

Trevor Tanaka,
Senior, Konaweana High School

Jaimie Cloud Presents at Amy Greenwell Garden in Hawaii

by Donna Mitts
(Reposted from: http://kohalacenter.org/schoolgardensblog/?p=803)

On January 10, 2012 school garden teachers along with others were fortunate enough to listen to Jaimie Cloud present at the Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook. Jaimie is a visionary leader in sustainable education.  The Cloud Institute “prepares K-12 school systems and their communities to educate for a sustainable future by inspiring educators and engaging students through meaningful content and learner-centered instruction.”
Through discussion and exercises in sustainability participants learned valuable tactics in teaching sustainability to others.  This was a wonderful presentation enhanced by the beauty of the Amy Greenwell Garden.