After the forced shift to full virtual instruction this past year in response to COVID-19, the word ‘change’ may stir up anxious feelings. The nation’s entire educational system including students, teachers, and parents had to adjust to the new normal: distance learning.
While this change was certainly unforeseeable, Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA) demonstrated its unique preparedness for the unpredictable. In fact, doing school differently is exactly what makes this school so special. HTA is a tuition-free, WASC-accredited, DOE public charter school serving more than 1,300 students statewide. Traditionally operating as a blended learning school, students at HTA engage in on campus face-to-face, virtual classes, and independent instruction.
As a result of this innovative academic approach, the use of technology and online learning are intrinsic characteristics of the curriculum. HTA’s experience with virtual learning spans just over a decade, which equipped them with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure their students continued their education uninterrupted. In addition to the virtual component of their blended learning model, HTA’s strong parent-teacher and student-teacher relationships kept students engaged in their learning and excited to be a part of the HTA ‘Ohana — even in the midst of a pandemic.
Recently, HTA’s Governing Board voted to introduce more face-to-face opportunities on their campuses while effectively maintaining social distancing. Students have already engaged in various outdoor activities, and, depending on their campus, have come to class for small group instruction. For the Maui campus, this is exciting news, as the school is currently negotiating the move to a new Kihei location for the next school year. The new site will offer a significant increase in space, allowing HTA to implement innovative future programs and expand on existing ones, such as their high school Work-Based Learning Program and project-based learning initiatives across the grade levels. Moreover, the additional space will allow students and staff to return to school safely.
Due to lack of space, HTA’s Maui Campus has operated as a grades 2-12 school for the past two years. The spacious new site, however, will permit the reinstitution of grades K-1. As such, the Maui Campus will now serve grades K-12 for the 2021-2022 school year. If you are interested to learn more, you can sign up for an Information Session on their website at www.hi.myhta.org/enrollment-information.html. Attendance to an Information Session is mandatory to begin the enrollment process for the school year 2021/2022. Enrollment will remain open until June 30th, 2021 or until spaces are filled.
Image Credit: HTA