Kula School Agricultural Science Program

In May of 2017, we decided to expand our giving circle and give in a more committed, ongoing way. Kula Elementary School Principal Chris Bachaus began working on a project to help students that were struggling with STEM classes. Many of his students that will be moving on to middle school in the the next year or two just weren’t getting the basic concepts behind their classroom-based lessons, so he decided to take it to the real world and teach them in a functional, project-based environment: a farm…

Principal Bacchas convinced the DOE to allow him to use 6 acres they own in Keokea to build an Ag-Science Project for his students. This property was the site of the old Keokea School, abandoned when the current Kula School was built, and is historically significant. As this is NOT a DOE funded program, it must be completely funded from outside sources.

Historically, Kula has been involved in commercial agriculture and has an economic dependence on farming. Many of these students have a strong connection to the land in their family life, and by connecting student learning at school to something they already understand can reinforce a better understanding of science, math, and technology. This “farm” will provide a project-based learning opportunity for students that are struggling with these fundamentals.

This project will include basic animal care and management in connection with 4H. Natural resource and wildlife management, farming skills including crop sciences, food sciences, and hydroponics. Students will have the opportunity to apply their learning in a real working farm taking their harvest from planning to market to sales.…all are opportunities to expand understanding and self directed learning.

This program is also a means to connect these students to their sense of place…they’ll learn responsibility and respect for the land….gaining an understanding that will better prepare them as future decision makers and leaders in the community.

The opportunities for community involvement are endless. A lei garden is already being planned to bring hula halaus in to pick flowers and prepare for festivals while bringing the students in from their Hawaiian studies classes.

We wanted to help, so we jumped in and were immediately gifted a 2004 16-passenger van (thank you Goodfellow Bros.) to transport the students the 4 miles from school to the farm program. We will own the van and will need to raise funds for insurance as well as maintenance for the years to come. We kindly received a couple of monetary donations from members of 100 Women Who Care (thank you so much!) after doing a presentation at their quarterly meeting in July of 2017, and were also gifted a sign by Alison at Sign Solutions in Kihei, that we’re mounting to place on-site as we speak!

The program is set to begin in February 2018, so, we’re now focusing on fund-raising for the year to come to. Thanks so much for kindly helping us support this important program!