Fostering Unity: Community Schools Take Root and Flourish at Two Leeward Oʻahu Schools

In the ever-changing landscape of education, two schools, Barber’s Point Elementary and Nānākuli High & Intermediate, are pioneering transformative change in collaboration with INPEACE through their innovative Community Schools initiatives. These strategic approaches aim to cultivate a “Greater Together” mindset, harnessing the strengths and resources within their respective communities to empower students, families, and staff.

Community Schools, as described by Jayna Rivera, the dedicated Community Schools Coordinator at Barber’s Point Elementary, represents a strategy that fosters a unified mindset, utilizing community strengths to fortify conditions within the school. This sentiment is echoed by Kaui Asinsin our Coordinator at Nānākuli High & Intermediate, emphasizing the opportunity for everyone to take ownership of the future of the youth.

The home visits and continued support from her Parent Educator provides Chasity with a lifeline. Their partnership provides a safe space for open communication, goal setting, and access to essential resources. The Hiʻilei program helped Chasity discover her inner strengths. She is sure of her ability to make informed decisions and has further realized her capabilities and independence, dispelling the fear of postpartum depression that once loomed over her. The program’s support and resources enabled her to transition into motherhood with resilience and determination.

Jayna’s role is pivotal in creating sustainable success systems. Her duties encompass engaging community partners, conducting resource assessments, empowering families and students, and advocating for student needs. Additionally, she collaborates with parents to establish an official Parent-Teacher Organization. Jayna also orchestrated the successful Jets Jamboree, a student reward event, with the assistance of dedicated parent volunteers.

At Nānākuli High & Intermediate, Kaui spearheads the creation of sustainable systems supported by community resources, coordinating monthly meetings to boost student opportunities. Notable successes include the impactful Back to School Bash, engaging families with over 600 meals and 200 food baskets. Collaborative efforts have not only increased participation in events like ʻOhana Night and Senior Info Night but have also contributed to the uplifting Shine Movement, fostering a positive atmosphere through intentional interactions among staff, students, and families.

Crucial to the success of Community Schools is the involvement of the community itself. The coordinators emphasize that it’s more than just a strategy—it’s an opportunity to be greater within the community. Increased buy-in and support will amplify the positive impact of the strategy. As these initiatives continue to grow, the united efforts of Barber’s Point Elementary and Nānākuli High & Intermediate promise a brighter future for students and communities alike.