Despite having to conduct its summer program virtually, Punahou’s Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program enjoyed a close to 92% average attendance among its 320 students in classes and activities during the five-week program. PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) also was able to introduce three new courses, which were adapted to distance learning. These include a financial literacy course for rising sophomores that was developed with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE); a forensic science and math session piloted with rising eighth graders to reinforce math skills with inquiry-based learning; and a performing arts elective, with a focus on improvisation to promote self-awareness, growth, self-management and collaboration.
The program, which ran in June and July, proved to be a beehive of activity and learning, in spite of the online format, capping with a lively Webex celebration. The summer began and ended with technology and food pickup and dropoff events for PUEO families, with community partners, faculty and student volunteers taking part. To ensure technology preparedness for the program, Punahou’s IT staff prepped 320 computers to loan to participants, while Hawaiian Telcom and Spectrum provided wireless connectivity for families who lacked internet access. Members of the Pili Group and Chef Hui sourced almost 8,000 pounds of food to distribute to PUEO families.
Now in its 16th year, PUEO is a partnership between Punahou and the DOE, in which approximately 320 public school students with high academic potential, but limited economic opportunity, attend summer sessions at Punahou. The goal is to graduate scholars with the skills, confidence and resilience to be college ready. PUEO Director Kehau Kealoha-Scullion ’80 has called PUEO 2020, “equity in motion.”