Pihana Nā Mamo: The Native Hawaiian Special Education Project

Since 1990, Pihana Nā Mamo, a joint project with the Hawai‘i Department of Education, has worked with Hawai‘i schools to identify, develop, and implement effective programs to meet the unique needs of students in Hawai‘i schools. Its mission is to improve education outcomes of K–12 special needs students of Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian ancestry. The current 5-year cycle, which began in 2000, focuses on these major components:

  • Heluhelu targets key beginning reading skills in grades K–3 and provides intensive interventions for upper elementary and secondary students falling below key reading benchmarks.
  • Kako‘o is a pro-social and culturally appropriate support system for secondary students at risk for school failure and dropout.
  • Mākua Hānai encourages and supports parent and community participation in the schools through a range of outreach programs.
  • New and adapted curriculum materials are being created to meet the cultural needs of Hawaiian students and their families

An on-going comprehensive evaluation, including multimedia documentation, tracks the project’s effects.