June and July marked the return of our on-campus summer school and summer fun programs, much to the delight of the 240 students who attended the 2021 summer session. Many classes filled up quickly as we attracted a number of students from DOE schools.
A dedicated team of teachers and leaders provided solid academic instruction in the morning as well as a variety of engaging activities in the afternoon. In addition to traditional summer fun activities such as cooking, crafts, tennis, and gymnastics, our program offered pickleball for the first time and a fun introduction to studio art (check out their virtual tour above!). As one parent shared, "We really liked the variety of activities [KCS] provided in the afternoons; it sounded like the kids had a chance to be kids and have fun." We are thankful for another wonderful Summer at KCS!
Another challenge, another goal met! The KCS 'ohana rose to the occasion once again, working together to raise approximately $45,000 for the Kyle-Lenn-Joey Scholarship Fund. Perhaps more impressive than this record-setting fundraising amount for the Walkathon is how students, staff, and families came together to remember the lives of Kyle Schumacher, Lenn Kawamura, and Joey Yoshikawa. This year's revamped "Walkathon Week" (April 26-30) proved to be a wonderful success!
From an impromptu promo video by teachers to a class-produced skit by the 8A Drama class, students and staff found unique ways to share the message and meaning of this 40-year tradition. Even students in Ms. Gene's Aloha class could share the importance of the Walkathon. When asked why KCS participates in the Walkathon, P2/3 student Jacob Chen replied, "Because we want to raise money and let other people come in." How exciting to watch a new generation of students have the Kyle-Lenn-Joey Walkathon become a part of their KCS experience!
Bolstered by the festive atmosphere of balloons and encouraging signs, preschool to high school students walked or ran various routes around the block or on-campus. They showed remarkable energy as they enjoyed this time outdoors with classmates during their P.E. or study hall periods. This matched the enthusiasm of donors, as gifts and messages of support poured in through our online giving site. We are overwhelmed by the incredible spirit of the KCS 'ohana!
A two-year accreditation journey culminated in this week's four-day virtual visit by the ACSI/WASC accreditation team. The team's visit, originally scheduled for April 2020, was rescheduled for October 2020 and then later switched to a virtual format. While this visit marked the third accreditation cycle for the elementary and secondary programs at KCS, this was the first visit for the preschool program, which was officially added to the school's accreditation status in February 2020.
Guided by the steering committee comprised of Mrs. Holm, Mrs. McClair, Mrs. Tomokiyo, and school leadership, teachers and staff worked in subcommittees to produce a self-study document during the 2019-20 school year. The ACSI Reach Standards provided the framework of standards and indicators to evaluate all aspects of the school's program. The steering committee concluded the rigorous self-study process with several areas of strength from which to build upon as well as areas to develop in the continuous school improvement plan.
Utilizing Zoom for meetings, interviews, and classroom observations, the five-member visiting team had the opportunity to validate the findings presented in the self-study. Throughout the week, the team also met with the school's various stakeholders: the school board, students, faculty, parents, and support staff. The experience proved to be an affirming time, as the visiting team could sense the unique level of love and support that surrounds the church and school community. On Thursday afternoon, the accreditation team shared their visiting team report, reading out major commendations and recommendations, as well as recommending that KCS be reaccredited.
In reflecting on her first accreditation experience as principal, Mrs. Ahn expressed her gratitude for everyone involved in the process. She shared, "It was reassuring to have the accreditation team recognize the many aspects that KCS does well, and it was also beneficial to understand how we can improve as a school."
On March 18, fifth grade students helped to load eighteen reusable bags filled with canned goods collected over two days from the KCS 'ohana. Mr. Pete Alpeter, Kaimuki Christian Church River of Life volunteer, delivered the canned goods to Mission's home base in downtown Honolulu. From summer fun excursion group tours to Student Council service projects, KCC/KCS has partnered with River of Life for many years in support of their mission to serve the homeless. In a social media post, River of Life Mission thanked the school for hosting the collection drive and acknowledged the church's support since 1987, expressing their gratitude "for all the love shown to [their] guests season after season." KCS is honored to continue to make an impact and share God's love in the community!