Growing Pono Schools
FOCUSING ON PONO TO SUPPORT STUDENT SPIRIT
Are you searching for ways to help your students better understand themselves, relate and communicate well with everyone, and act with respect in all they do? Then check out the character education lessons and resources designed especially for Hawaii’s youth in grades 4-12 at the Growing Pono Schools (GPS) Project website: http://www.growingponoschools.com .
There you will find three main sections:
*Lessons that focus on understanding self, place, and community: http://www.growingponoschools.com/curriculum-home/
*Web Resources (videos & websites) to help teach about E Ola Pono (living pono): http://www.growingponoschools.com/web-resources/
*The E Ola Campaign, which encourages youth to do projects/activities that help improve their school environment: http://www.growingponoschools.com/campaign-home/
These resources are themed around the Hawaiian concept of pono, defined as: “goodness, uprightness, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being,” and more. (Hawaiian Dictionary, Mary Kawena Pukui)
This focus on living pono is based on work by Kumu Lehua Veincent when he took the lead at Keaukaha Elementary School in Hilo. Veincent was able to transform the school by helping teachers, students, and families understand about making pono choices. “Keaukaha Got Pono” was a slogan printed on T-Shirts to promote this idea in the community. With strong values and culturally relevant learning experiences, Keaukaha Elementary students began to thrive. It was evident that this foundation of pono was impacting students’ ability to learn.
Currently in its 7th year, the 2014-15 E Ola Pono Campaign was also motivated by Kumu Lehua and is designed to help teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade promote living pono. This statewide initiative encourages groups of youth to create a relevant activity or project of their own design that fosters respect for everyone and everything.
A wide variety of Campaigns have emerged from schools across the state, including presentations to community groups about pono and an elementary school campaign that distributed “kindness bugs” to reward students who were spreading pono. Videos have been collaboratively developed to educate about bullying, positive chalk messages have been written on campus to boost spirits, and a door-decorating contest provided a friendly competition along with students thinking of ways to represent pono.
Groups that submit entry requirements by May 15th become eligible to win a monetary award of up to $1000.00. Any project or activity initiated during the 2014/15 school year qualifies. The E Ola Pono Campaign will choose outstanding projects in the elementary, middle, and high school divisions to receive recognition before the school year ends.
“Research has shown that student led initiatives are very powerful in fighting bullying,” stated GPS Project and E Ola Pono Campaign Coordinator Sara Ka‘imipono Banks. “Teaching the whole child - body, mind, and spirit - is so important,” Banks stresses. “These lessons strengthen healthy spirits of students, which in turn has a positive effect on the school environment. Creating a welcoming, nurturing, respectful environment is foundational to learning,” she added.
The E Ola Pono Campaign is coordinated by UH Manoa’s Growing Pono Schools Project and co-sponsored by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. Lessons for the Growing Pono Schools Project were co-created by the Growing Pono Schools staff from the Center on Disability Studies along with cultural educators from ALU LIKE, Inc. and project teachers at selected Hawai‘i Department of Education schools. A 2011 U.S. Department of Education Native Hawaiian Education grant funded this project.