OHA grant to help promote Hawaiian language proficiency

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: May 5, 2008

Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) to promote language proficiency in elementary school children.

The ʻŌlelo Ola Oral Language Proficiency Project seeks to create a comprehensive system of services for the foundational grades K-3 to foster highly literate and orally proficient students in Hawaiian Language Immersion (HLIP) schools. The ʻŌlelo Ola Project is primarily funded through a United States Department of Education (USDOE) Native Hawaiian Education Act Grant. The OHA funding is a supplemental grant to finance a research trip to New Zealand for the project team, which will include five master‘s and doctoral candidates in Hawaiian Language and Education.

"The project team will be visiting Māori kura kaupapa schools across the country, and is looking forward to learning more about their most recent advances in program, curriculum and evaluation development of Māori language literacy," said Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, programs director of the Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center.

Skills acquired through the ʻŌlelo Ola program will help teachers increase K-3 HLIP student oral proficiency levels, while boosting literacy achievement in both Hawaiian and English, raise the oral proficiency, professional knowledge and teaching skills of HLIP teachers, and help revitalize the Hawaiian language in the community beyond the classroom. Given its expected impact on the students‘ families, ʻŌlelo Ola is expected to serve in excess of 1,000 native Hawaiians.