The Education Laboratory School

The Education Laboratory: A Hawai‘i New Century Public Charter School (ELS) is in its fourth year as a public charter school. It is unique among schools in many respects.

ELS is operated by CRDG as a K–12 laboratory for researching, designing, testing, and evaluating effective approaches to improving learning, teaching, and assessment.

Students are selected to create a student body, evenly distributed by gender, that reflects the ethnic distribution of Hawaii and includes a broad range of student academic achievement and family socioeconomic levels.

All students are in school for 7.5 hours each day, and take a challenging comprehensive curriculum that includes English, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, performing arts, foreign languages, and athletics, as well as electives, each year. All students take the identical core program in non-segregated classes. All students graduate ready for college, work, and responsible citizenship.

The school curriculum is built on multi-year sequences of learning emphasizing creativity, inquiry, problem solving, and active learning. In most cases, students and teachers use CRDG-developed programs and approaches. The school serves as a demonstration site for these programs, hosting observers, researchers, and educators-in-training.

The broad range of activities included in the school’s core curriculum allows its students to excel in state and national level programs in all areas. Approximately 75% of ELS students participate in activities outside of school in visual and performing arts, speech, mathematics, music, writing, and athletics. This year ELS students participated in the following programs:

National Merit Scholarship Program
1 finalist and 1 semi-finalist

2004 National Scholastic Art Exhibition
1 Gold Medal award
1 Silver Medal award
1 American Visions award

2004 Hawaii Regional Scholastic Art Exhibition
12 Gold Key awards
8 Silver Key award

Kaha Ki‘i Congressional Art Exhibition
12 works selected for exhibit

Hawaii Education Association Essay Contest
2 1st place awards
1 2nd place award
1 3rd place award
5 Honorable Mentions awards
2 Special Merit awards

Hawaii Speech League Speech and Debate Championship Tournament
Extemporaneous Speaking State Champion, National Championship Tournament Qualifier

2 2nd place winners
3 4th place winners
1 5th place winner
3 6th place winners

American Mathematics Competition
3 Gold Certificate winners
5 Silver Certificate winners
5 Bronze Certificate winners

Hawaii Regional Ocean Science Bowl
2nd place and 5th place teams

O‘ahu Band Directors’ Association Select Band
13 students

O‘ahu Band Directors’ Association High School Solo & Ensemble Competition
5 Gold awards
5 Silver awards
4 Bronze awards

Hawai‘i Youth Symphony
15 students

First annual State Spanish Poetry Contest
1 Level One 1st Place award
1 Level One 2nd Place award
1 Level One 3rd Place award
1 Level Two Honorable Mention award

Pacific and Asian Affairs Council China Study Trip Scholarship
4 students

Hawaii History Day
District winner, Essay Division

3rd place, Essay Division

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Outreach College Summer Scholars program
34 students

Interscholastic League of Honolulu
Students participated in 17 sports
2 All-State 2nd team awards
1 ILH All-Star 1st team award
2 ILH All-Star 2nd team awards
10 State Tournament qualifiers
2 Nissan High School Hall of Honor nominees
15 3-sport athletes

• Model United Nations
• Japan Bowl
• World Quest
• Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Program
• 2004 Kennedy Center/National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute

Each year the school recognizes a department that has done outstanding work. In 2004 this award went to the Performing Arts department. Included in this department are the orchestra program led by Kevin Olafsson, the band program led by Ira Wong, the choral program led by Debbie Kelsey, and the ELS Funk Band and elementary music programs led by Chris Zorn. In addition to performing 9 concerts, both at school and in the community, the school had 15 students selected for the Hawaii Youth Symphony and 13 students selected for the Oahu Band Directors’ Association Select Bands.

The ELS Community Service Club began in 2003 after a small group of students attended a presentation by Free the Children where they heard students their own age speak about their experiences growing up in Bosnia. This year the club grew to 40 members who worked on a variety of student-initiated projects in the community with the help of faculty advisor Suzanne Acord. In 2004 students volunteered at the Institute for Human Services family shelter where they played with and read to the children, decorated the Hawaii Kai retirement home for Christmas, participated in the Great Aloha Run food drive, and organized collections of necessities and money for victims of the typhoon in Yap and the tsunami in Southeast Asia.