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Hale Kuamoo awarded grant for Hawaiian Oral Language Development


The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Hale Kuamoo Hawaiian Language Center at the Ka Haka Ula O Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language has obtained a three-year grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Native Americans (ANA) for oral language development, effective Sept. 30.

The federal share totals $888,000, but grows to more than $1.1 million when combined with matching funds.

The Ka Olelo Oiwi Hawaiian Oral Language Development Project will focus on the oral language abilities of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) for K-6 students at 15 schools on five islands.

By building collaboration between Hale Kuamoo, HLIP schools and families, the project aims to develop the Hawaiian oral language proficiencies of grammar, fluency and cultural perspectives.

“These categories were identified as the areas of greatest need and potential for growth in a recent proficiency assessment developed, piloted, implemented and analyzed by the Center involving 270 HLIP students in grades 1-3,” said Principal Investigator Alohalani Housman. “For the purpose of this project, our emphasis will be on the resource needs of grades 4-6, which have been underserved in recent years.”

Project participants will include 85 teachers, serving 1,450 students in the 15 HLIP schools and 430 family members. An estimated 67 percent of the students and their families served by participating teachers are expected to demonstrate increased proficiency in at least two of the three targeted domains at the conclusion of the project.

“Language revitalization is always a work in progress,” said Dr. Kalena Silva, director of Ka Haka Ula O Keelikolani. “We constantly look for ways to do things better and believe the anticipated outcomes from this project will help us to strengthen and improve our teaching model.”

By the end of the third and final year, project leaders will develop, print and disseminate 30 oral language literacy resources for grades K-6 teachers and families focusing on development of the three targeted areas, provide teacher training on best practices in fostering and assessing oral language development for the 15 participating HLIP schools, and conduct oral language literacy workshops for families of students in those schools.

Established in 1989 by the state Legislature, Hale Kuamoo is tasked with supporting the expansion of the Hawaiian language in Hawaii’s HLIP schools, communities, and beyond.

The Center has extensive community partnership experience collaborating with teachers, students, and families who comprise an important segment of the language revitalization movement in Hawaii.

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