Mission, Vision, & History

The VSAS philosophy is that education is more meaningful to children when presented in an environment that is familiar, that relates to their home life, and that allows for discovery-based experiential learning and multi-sensory activities that reinforce curriculum instruction. Our mission is to provide an environment in which students are “Learning through Volcano’s unique natural and cultural resources to become creative global citizens.”

 

The vision of The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences is to:

 

  • Focus on the unique ecosystems and geology of the Volcano area

  • Cultivate responsibility for nature and the environment

  • Involve the community in ongoing partnerships

  • Provide a solid academic foundation for all students

  • Encourage creative problem-solving and critical thinking

  • Provide avenues for creative self-expressions through the arts

  • Teach practical life skills

  • Offer a rich multicultural program

  • Nurture respect for and understanding of Hawaiian culture

  • Foster social responsibility and respect for others

  • Impart a lifelong love of learning

  • Serve the Volcano community

  • Celebrate the learning successes of all children

 

All in a safe and supportive “learning village” environment.

 

Expected School-wide Learning Results

History of VSAS

What is a public charter school?

The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences (VSAS) serves about 225 students PreK-8. VSAS is a small community school of choice. K-8 Classes are capped at 18-20 depending upon the grade level.

 

VSAS is located in the rural town of Volcano, Hawai’i, adjacent to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The current campus straddles the westernmost edge of the Puna district, where 61% of our students live, and the easternmost edge of the Ka’u district, where 34% of our students live. The remaining 5% of our students live in the district of Hilo. Thirty-nine (39%) per cent of our students travel 25 miles or more each way to school. Sixty-four (64%) percent of our students come from families in low socio-economic conditions. Many of the families who send their children long distances to our school are actively seeking to break family and community cycles of lower educational achievement and poverty.

Ethnically, our students are about 41% White, 39% Native Hawaiian, with representatives of  many other ethnic backgrounds in smaller numbers (Black, Native American, Hispanic, Filipino, other Asian, etc.). About 19% of our students are eligible for special education which is higher than state averages for special education populations. 

 

The Volcano area is geographically and biologically unique. With Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in the school’s backyard, the students of VSAS study next to the world's most active volcano surrounded by many native, endemic, and endangered plants and animals. The park has been named by the United Nations as a World Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site, marking it as one of Earth's biological and cultural treasures. Using the National Park's geological and cultural resources as a locus and its community of scientists and specialists as mentors, the students of this K-8 school are able to have enriching classroom experiences with discovery-based learning outside the classroom. The school is supported by the diverse partnering organizations that make up the Volcano community, including Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea Military Camp, the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawai`i Volcano Observatory, the Volcano Art Center as well as other community resources such as agricultural entrepreneurs and senior citizens.

 

Volcano is also well known for its community of artists. The school provides an enriched arts curriculum, taking advantage of community experts and offering a spectrum of opportunities for learning and exploration through the visual and performing arts. Students experience the arts, both by being exposed to the artistic expression of practicing professionals and by expressing themselves individually and in groups through a variety of media and tools and in a variety of environments. Education focuses on experiential multi-sensory learning that is relevant to their daily lives.  In this way, VSAS is a learning community that is closely connected to our physical environs and to the values held by the larger community.  The Volcano School is a model for communities in Hawai’i that wish to take advantage of their own specialized environments to teach their children and to exercise local governance of the learning process.   

 

VSAS has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges since 2011. VSAS currently holds a 6-year status, which is up for renewal in 2023.

© 2015 The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences 

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