NHE Heluhelu Maoli Brief

Project Name

Heluhelu Maoli: Building Strong Foundations in Reading and Mathematics

Official Grant / Contract Title

Heluhelu Maoli: Building Strong Foundations in Reading and Mathematics

Principal Investigator(s)

Hugh Dunn

Subject Area

English/Language Arts and Mathematics

R&D Stage


Focus Area

Hawai‘i/Asia/Pacific and Diverse Learners

Target Population(s)

K–6 students in 10 schools with high percentages of Native Hawaiians

Funding Source

Native Hawaiian Education Act (USDE)

Funding Amount


Funding Duration


Date Completed

Expected end date: 08/31/2012


Hawai‘i Department of Education


Heluhelu Maoli is a three-year project designed to provide early and strategic supports that build important foundational reading and mathematics concepts and knowledge in K–6 Hawaiian students. The project is a partnership of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (project’s administrative home) and the Hawai‘i Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support (responsible for school-based activities). Heluhelu Maoli focuses on reading in grades K–6 and mathematics in Grades K–1 in ten schools with relatively high percentages of Native Hawaiian students and an overall poverty rate of 74% (This compares to the state average of 45%.).

The project utilizes a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, a comprehensive early-detection and prevention system that identifies struggling students and assists them before they fall behind. This system uses universal screening and high-quality instruction for all students and provides interventions targeted for struggling students. Ten elementary schools that serve high percentages of students of Hawaiian ancestry are participating in Heluhelu Maoli. The proposed activities will (1) continue to develop high-quality implementation of a school-wide reading program, (2) increase focus and resources for students who are in need of targeted reading interventions, (3) develop high-quality mathematics instruction and practices and place supports for struggling first graders, and (4) maintain an extensive database on K–3 reading and mathematics performance of Hawaiian children. Heluhelu Maoli annually serves more than 4,500 students, more than half of whom are Native Hawaiian.

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