Education is a journey and not a destination.
Kihei Charter School officials believe in that and take it to heart, applying it to every one of our students.
Education at Kihei Charter School has never been about having a certain amount of time to get our students educated and prepared and then, when that time comes, whether you made the grade or not, you were moved along. That is not what we do and that is not why Kihei Charter School was founded.
The founders made it very clear that education is about the student. It is about how best to reach students and get them excited about learning. Get them excited about knowing the workings of the world around them and watching them realize that they can make a difference in their world.
We continually strive to improve our program at Kihei Charter School and always ask of ourselves: "Is this what is best for the child?" Not "what can we get done by the end of May?"
In order to prepare students for worthwhile rewarding lives post-high school, giving them the skills to access the 21st-century economy, to pursue and achieve worthwhile goals whatever they may be, is never going to be about when they graduated but with what skills they graduate.
Rest assured, Kihei Charter School embraces the belief that education is a journey and not a destination, and applies that measure to ourselves. We are bound to be innovative. We are bound to make education relevant to our students, which means that we are bound to change and grow with each new class that comes in the door.
Of course we want to improve our graduation rate - that would be the case no matter what score we achieved. Of course we enjoy being the public high school in the state of Hawaii with the highest scores in all proficiencies, but we are well aware of what happens next year. We intend to always do the best we can, not for the school to get a good grade but for the students to make the grade.
A Kihei Charter School graduate knows he or she is prepared, can handle the tools of the 21st-century, is civic- and social-minded, and is ready to move into the next phase of his or her life - be it college or career - ready to pursue the opportunities and happiness of his or her choice.
This past year we started out with 46 seniors. Kihei Charter School is proud of the accomplishments of this year's class of 44 graduates, our largest graduation class to date, and our two super seniors.
Kihei Charter School will be contesting the process and questioning the data that was used to arrive at the graduation rate as presented by the brand-new Strive HI Performance System (The Maui News, Aug. 24).
* Gene Zarro is one of Kihei Charter School's founders and its board vice chairman.