Kamehameha exceeds recruiting goals on Valley Isle

The Maui News
December 13, 2002

Staff Writer

WAILUKU - Thousands of dollars in advertising and a grass-roots recruiting campaign appear to have helped the Kamehameha Schools surpass its student recruitment goals on Maui.

Those efforts were lauded by some of the school's most vocal critics this past summer - petition organizers Dr. Maile Jachowski and Native Hawaiian cultural specialist Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.

"We've been monitoring it very carefully," Maxwell said this week.

The Kamehameha Schools reported this month that more than 963 applications were received to fill 232 vacancies at the Upcountry Maui school. The application deadline for school year 2003-04 was Oct. 15.

By comparison, applications for this school year 2002-03 numbered 493 for 272 openings.

This year's application figures were considered a positive sign, considering the school's controversial decision last summer to accept its first non-Hawaiian on the Maui campus.

It was not the first time a non-Hawaiian had been accepted to the Kamehameha Schools, but Maui critics charged that the school could have done more to recruit Hawaiians to apply.

The school would not say how many non-Hawaiians had applied this year, but Maxwell, who serves on the advisory board for the Maui campus, said he was told there were no more than five non-Hawaiians applying.

"It's very encouraging," Maxwell said. "The chances are very good" for Hawaiians to get selected for all of next year's slots.

Jachowski and Maxwell organized this past summer a statewide petition drive that called for changes in the admissions process and policies.

The Kamehameha Schools responded by instituting interim changes, including a one-time waiver of the $25 application fee for the Neighbor Island campus. In addition, school officials decided that applicants to the Maui campus would not be screened out in any preliminary evaluation process, and the school would suspend its use of any minimum scoring threshold.

Applicants will still be evaluated on the basis of test scores, grades, teacher recommendations and ratings by rating committees. The selected students are expected to get invitations to the school sometime next spring.

Maxwell, who also serves on the board of advisers to Kamehameha Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin, said the next step will be to see how evaluations are carried out during the selection process.

He said he would emphasize that the school look to serve Maui's neediest Hawaiian children. He said he would not put a lot of weight on test scores. "The ones that fail are the ones that need the most help," he said.

Maxwell said he would ask that admissions officials give lots of consideration to a student who's active in co-curricular activities like sports and hula.

Regarding recruitment, Maxwell said he believes the school's aggressive media campaign and its efforts to reach out to the community helped get more families interested in the school.

Kamehameha held open houses for the general public and allowed its students to invite their peers to dances on the campus.

Jachowski herself got immersed in the recruiting efforts, giving out applications to people at her private pediatric practice.

"I know the recruiting efforts were more hands-on this time, and people felt really happy and welcomed to apply," Jachowski said.

The Kamehameha Schools was pleased with the results of its recruitment efforts.

"Our objective in this admissions cycle was to achieve a ratio of at least two applicants for each space at every entry point for Maui and Hawaii campuses," McCubbin said in a prepared statement. "We have met and surpassed that goal at each grade level."

Openings for the 2003-04 school year are in kindergarten, and grades 6, 7, 9 and 10.

Ho`iho`i Mai