Chaminade University Offers Dual Credits to Kapa’a High School


Ren Tachino

Kapa’a High School students will be able to take advantage of Chaminade’s dual credit program for the second year in a row.

Chaminade University partnered up with Kapa’a High School from Kaua’i in August 2021 to offer a substantial opportunity for students to earn college credits for free while attending high school.

The program is set for Kapa’a high school junior and senior students to take college classes online from Chaminade while staying on their high school campus. There are eight courses that are offered and in each class, there is a Kapa’a teacher helping to conduct the class while the Chaminade professor teaches via Zoom or Google meet. The courses offered are Human Nutrition (BI 131/L), Composition I (ENG 101), Composition 2 (ENG 102), Precalculus (MATH 110), College Algebra (MATH 103), Communications (COM 101), Intro to Psychology (PSY 101), and Introduction to Sociology (SOC 200). The students can take two classes each semester and have the opportunity to earn 24 college credits by the time they graduate. This program started in August 2021. 

Kapa’a students also have the opportunity to come to Chaminade for a couple of days to check out the campus and stay in the dorms for a night for free.

Dr. Janet Davidson, Chaminade’s vice provost for Academic Affairs, is the facilitator for the program.

“I’m super proud of this program. It is one of the things I do in my job that brings me a lot of joy,” Davidson said. “Seeing the students really grow and learn and go to college has been really nice to see this past year and a half.”

The idea formed during the Covid-19 pandemic when everyone was forced to move to online learning. Chaminade delivered a “train-the-trainer” workshop for Kaua’i teachers on best practices in online instruction. From there, Kapa’a reached out to see if Chaminade would be interested in teaching early college classes. 

According to Davidson, Kapa’a High School did all the heavy lifting to get the program started. Kapa’a knew what kind of classes it wanted. Kapa’a knew that it wanted more of a general education kind of curriculum that will likely transfer no matter where students go. Kapa’a knew it wanted to do dual enrollment, there is a lot of work on the back end with the Department of Education to make that happen. 

“We just kinda had to show up and get faculty and teach our classes,” Davidson said. 

After one year, Davidson is proud of how successful the program has been. She said 23 students took courses through the program in the 2021-22 academic year. Of those, all 11 seniors graduated from high school and applied for college. Since then, the program has expanded with 31 students at Kapa’a High School in the program this fall semester. 

Kapa’a High School students get the opportunity to see what Chaminade has to offer. (Photo courtesy of Ren Tachino)

One major piece that brought the program together is generous donations from the Kosasa Foundation, which runs the ABC stores, and Kamehameha Schools. Kamehameha pays for the course, the books, and any fees. Kosasa donated $25,000, and that’s how Chaminade was able to fly all the students over to O’ahu last summer and have them stay in the residence hall, have food, and have t-shirts. Kosasa donated again this year and, according to Davidson, Chaminade plans to welcome Kapa’a students again next summer.

“The academic piece is one, but we want them to have that co-curricular campus-like college-ready experiences built in too,” Davidson said. 

According to Davidson, Chaminade University opens all of its classes to any early college student with a fee of $125 a credit, which is the state of Hawai’i’s going rate.

With Chaminade, Kapa’a is the only one with this unique program. Although, Davidson said Chaminade is looking for other schools to start a similar program. She said that it is also looking at starting a similar program with Sacred Hearts Academy. She also mentioned that Kamehameha Schools Maui has been taking some classes with Chaminade but does not have a unique program together. Davidson said Kapa’a high school’s structure of the program and the support of the school has been instrumental in their success.

“We want to continue, we want to expand,” Davidson said.