Cathedral Catholic Academy Celebrate One Year of Student-Centered Learning with School Improvement Network

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After a one year of implementing a student-centered learning structure with the support of School Improvement Network, creativity is unleashed and motivation soars as students at this Catholic elementary school in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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The whole attitude has shifted. I don’t see students holding back anymore. They’re jumping out of their seats, proposing projects. Giving them that freedom has been incredible.

After a year of partnering with School Improvement Network to put students in charge of their own learning by shifting to a self-paced, project-based curriculum, Cathedral Catholic Academy of Honolulu has seen impressive results: Grades are on the rise, students are excited to come to school, and their creativity is on full display.

“The whole attitude has shifted,” said Principal Michael Paekukui. “I don’t see students holding back anymore. They’re jumping out of their seats, proposing projects. … Giving them that freedom has been incredible.”

The school, which serves just over 100 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, adopted a mission to personalize instruction for each child.

Students can progress through a project-based, blended-learning curriculum at their own pace, with teachers serving as advisors and facilitators. The students can choose for themselves the kinds of projects they will create to demonstrate their learning.

To help personalize instruction, Cathedral is using an online platform from School Improvement Network called Edivate Learn. Edivate Learn combines online content and assessment with features designed to help teachers differentiate their instruction, such as tools to create individualized learning paths for each child.

Students in grades 6-8 are given a Dell laptop for classroom use, while classrooms in grades K-5 have laptop centers for students to use in completing digital work. The school also has iPads for use in the earlier grades.

Using the Edivate Learn platform, Paekukui—who teaches sixth-grade English in addition to serving as principal—is able to assess his students’ vocabulary and grammar skills, then assign “playlists” of video clips and other digital content to help close their gaps in understanding. “It has made me a better teacher,” he said of the software.

And this personalized, self-paced approach to learning is paying off for Cathedral students as well: In the first year of the school’s new focus, the percentage of students with a straight “A” average increased from 10 percent to nearly a third.

“We’ve seen some incredible gains,” Paekukui said.

Click here to read more about Cathedral’s impressive story in an EdSurge article.

About Cathedral Catholic Academy
Cathedral Catholic Academy is a Catholic, co-educational parish school of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii, for students in grades K-8. Cathedral provides a high-quality education at a competitive cost, and it strives to reach every student through individualized attention in a caring, nurturing, and safe environment. Students are challenged by a relevant, project-based curriculum that develops spiritual growth, communication skills, critical thinking, and technological literacy. Cathedral Catholic Academy is completely student-centered, where students are given choices on what and how they learn. Students can go as far as they would like to in any field of study. Learn more at

About School Improvement Network
Founded in 1991 by teachers, School Improvement Network has spent decades researching and documenting the best practices in education. From this research, School Improvement Network has developed Edivate, a professional learning solution for educators, and Edivate Learn, a personalized learning platform for students. Research shows that schools using these tools experience dramatic increases in student achievement, driving up student proficiency by an average of 18% in a single year when compared to neighboring schools. School Improvement Network works with thousands of schools and districts in every state and around the world and has visited over 3,500 classrooms to document best practices in action. Learn more at

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Cameron Pipkin
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