Ho‘opili Program


Traditionally, Hawaiian Focused Charter Schools have lower achievement-levels than their public school counterparts due to the absence of curricula that seeks to integrate the Hawaiian culture and practices with the new western educational standards. In order for Native Hawaiian students not to fall behind their peers, they need both rigorous standards-based mathematics and science middle school education, and constructive exposure to the culture and practices of their homeland in a manner that enhances their standard education.

In September of 2013, the Mālama ʻĀina Foundation was awarded a Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) grant from the Administration for Native Americans for their new Hoʻopili Program. The Hoʻopili Program was designed to help facilitate a connection between native Hawaiian cultural practices and the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for Hawaiian Focused Charter Schools, specifically middle school students on the islands of Oʻahu, Molokaʻi and Kauaʻi. The Hoʻopili Program provides hands-on project based curriculum where by middle school students have an opportunity to interact with Hawaiian cultural practitioners while learning math, science, and language arts.

Project Goal

The goal of the Ho‘opili Program is to create a curriculum that will provide a bridge between Hawaiian culture and new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards to strengthen the ability of our future generations to exist successfully in both the Hawaiian and Western World.

Objective One

Over a period of 36 months, prepare up to 50 Hawaiian Focused middle school teachers and approximately 900 Hawaiian Focused middle school students for academic success by developing, implementing, and evaluating a Native Hawaiian culture-based curricula containing 120 lesson plans that will meet the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

Objective Two

Over a period of 36 months, enable up to 15 Hawaiian cultural practitioners to utilize part(s) of the Ho‘opili Program Curriculum with middle school students at specific cultural sites.


Sailing at Kaiona Beach, Oʻahu with star compass made by the students.


Makawalu O Nā Kumu


The Makawalu O Nā Kumu program is a rigorous project based experiential math and science class for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders up to the pre algebra-algebra level that incorporates equations from physics, chemistry, biology and statistics in lessons that cover the Hawai‘i Content and Performance Standards III math and science benchmarks and are assessed in both formative and summative methods that facilitate student success and ownership in the learning processes.

Watch the video to find out more about our program.


Pīkoi Ke Kaula Kualena


A program of the Mālama ‘Āina Foundation, in collaboration with Partners in Development Foundation, and the University of Hawaii College of Education

A natural extension of the Mālama I Ka ‘Āina program is Pīkoi Ke Kaula Kualena (Focus on the Essential Core: A Project to Develop Culturally Relevant, Standards-based Science Curricula For Teachers of Hawaiian and Part-Hawaiian Students). This program incorporates feedback from the Mālama program and focuses on two goals: Curriculum Development for teachers of K-12 Hawaiian and Part-Hawaiian students; and Development of School-Based Culture-Science Learning Centers on each major island (6 total) to support the unique cultural and educational needs of Native Hawaiian students, including those in the Gifted and Talented program.


E Ola Pono Me ka ‘āina a me ke kai

"Live Right with the Land and the Sea"


The Mālama ‘Āina Foundation is a curriculum development organization supported by the Consortium for Hawai‘i Ecological Engineering Education (CHEEE), which received a grant from the United States Department of Education under the terms of the Native Hawaiian Education Program. The Consortium was developed in order to maximize the cooperation of programs whose focus is primarily the curriculum development for K-12 native Hawaiian students, in the areas of science, mathematics, and the Hawaiian culture.


Mālama I Ka ‘Āina


A program of the Mālama ‘Āina Foundation, in collaboration with Partners in Development Foundation, and the University of Hawaii College of Education

Mālama I Ka ‘Āina, a 3-year U.S. Department of Education program developed at the College of Education and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, prepares teachers to develop, implement, and disseminate standards-based science curricula relevant to Hawai‘i and Hawaiian culture. The program equips teachers with the knowledge and experience needed to help their Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian students learn about their heritage, as well as connect traditional Hawaiian cultural practices to modern scientific principles and technologies to evaluate and remediate local environmental problems.

Thus far, 50 teachers have participated in the program, gaining hands-on experience in Hawaiian culture and practices, including restoring and replanting taro fields (lo‘i kalo), propagating ‘ōhi‘a lehua, and learning about the ahupua‘a, the basic Hawaiian land unit.