Noelani Elementary School
|Noelani Elementary School|
|Principal||Dr. Rochelle Mahoe Ph.D.|
|Location||Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA|
|Colors||Green and white|
|Distinctions||National Blue Ribbon School 2000–2001 SY|
Noelani is nestled in Mānoa Valley, a very old and established community. The school's address is 2655 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96822. The school has grown from a one building school in 1962 to its present design with over six buildings. Noelani School's enrollment of 536 students has become more diverse socially, economically, ethnically, and culturally. To address Noelani's increasingly diverse student population, the school has moved to a standards based system. Noelani Elementary currently teaches kindergarten through grade 5, having held its last sixth grade commencement ceremony in 2007. Through a multitude of resources such as Noelani's PTA, grants, and community/business partnerships, Noelani is committed to providing all students with innovative, authentic, student centered, and student driven learning opportunities.
Through project-based learning, students are given latitude to learn and express themselves in different modes, raising their enthusiasm for school and motivating them to become active learners and higher achievers. In recent years, Noelani students composed original scores, expressed their understanding of history through weaving projects, demonstrated their learning on stage, and web published their discoveries. Technology is embraced as a seamless tool to support, enhance, and demonstrate student learning. Noelani has in place the Comprehensive Student Support System (CSSS) to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive appropriate services and/or is able to participate in programs which address their needs.
The school's vision, created by the school community, "Noelani is our launching pad to the global community," steadfastly illustrates its purpose and mission of being "a learning community that nurtures responsible world citizens." With clear expectations attuned to its vision, it has initiated and carried through several reforms: moving from traditional education to a standards based system; from low technology to technology as a seamless tool for productivity, communication, research, problem solving and decision making; from teaching one way to all students to providing multiple approaches and views for diverse learners to learn in a variety of modes and rates, and from conservative schooling to a collaborative enterprise to ensure intellectual social, moral, and physical growth for all students to succeed in a global community. The school is reworking its programs to meet the needs of its changing population and to address local and national educational goals. The goals of the school are many. For the past five years, Noelani teachers have applied for and received grants to support classroom innovations and school wide initiatives. These grants provided the resources to move Noelani's educational system to one of vitality, a thinking and meaning centered curriculum, based on current research and practices, and aligned with the National Standards, Hawaiʻi Content and Performance Standards, and SCANS competencies.
Partnerships with organizations to help maximize the school's resources and support student learning have included: Mānoa Marketplace, University of Hawaiʻi Outreach Program, Kiewit Pacific, Grace Pacific Paving Company, Moanalua Gardens Foundation, Mānoa Valley Theater, State of Hawaiʻi Attorney General's Office, Lyon Arboretum, Hawaii Shotokan Karate, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and the Lions Clubs International. Logistically feasible, Noelani has extended its learning arena to the UH Mānoa campus enabling its students to operate real robots, experience hands-on bridge construction at the College of Engineering, attend an art exhibit in the UH Art Gallery, and enjoy a dance performance at the Kennedy Theater for free.
Noelani has employed a wide range of strategies to ensure that parent and community involvement continues to be integral to the school's established support system. Well developed involvement activities and events included: Kindergarten Coffee Hour, T-shirt sales, Open House, Grandparents' Luncheon, Geography Week, Parent/Teacher Conferences, Art Show, Book Fair, Craft Fair, Songfest, Keiki ID, Camp Erdman, Turtle Bay Sleep-over, Big Island Trip, Jogathon, Mayfair, Talent Show, The community walk, and Promotion Day.
Notable students and faculty
In 2009, Scott Inoue, a Noelani kindergarten classmate of Obama, said he found a small photo of himself and Obama against a background of Christmas tree drawings, with the words "Scott & Barry 3rd grade 1969" scribbled at the bottom by Inoue's mother, and claimed that Obama attended a least part of his third-grade year at Noelani in 1969, perhaps during a visit to Hawaii, and moved away. Inoue acknowledged that biographies of Obama say Obama lived in Indonesia from 1967 through 1971, and none mention a third-grade year at Noelani.
The lyrics to the Noelani alma mater were written by a former student:
Far above the heavenly mist
On the mountainside
There's a school that stands so noble
That we hail with pride
That's the school I see
Far above the mountain valley
That's the school for me
- Trifonovitch, Kelli Abe (October 2008). "Being local, Barry and Bryan". Hawaii Business Magazine. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Hoover, Will (November 9, 2008). "Obama's Hawaii boyhood homes drawing gawkers". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. A1. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Hoekstra, Dave (November 30, 2008). "Obama's Hawaii". Chicago Sun-Times. p. A24. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Dingeman, Robbie (December 3, 2008). "Obama childhood locales attracting more tourists". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. A1. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Nakaso, Dan (December 22, 2008). "Twin sisters, Obama on parallel paths for years". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 1B. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Nakaso, Dan (January 18, 2009). "An education to mold a president". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 11S. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
San Nicholas, Claudine (January 21, 2009). "Retired teachers on Maui recall young, 'cute' student Barry". Maui News. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
. (October 21, 2009). "Parents at Obama's former school protest furloughs". Honolulu: KITV (ABC). Retrieved March 2, 2011.
Nakaso, Dan (January 2, 2010). "Hawaii considering new holidays, parks to honor Obama". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 1A. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- Gee, Pat (December 28, 2009). "Third-grade photo captures Obama's grin". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved December 30, 2009.