Hawai'i is the only state in the United States that has designated a native language, Hawaiian, as one of its two official state languages. In 1987, in light of the Hawai'i State Constitution mandate (Article X, Section 4) to promote the study of Hawaiian culture, language and history and the persistent requests of parents and Hawaiian community leaders, the Department of Education established the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, Ka Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai'i.
The program has grown from 2 sites in 1987 to 19 sites with a student population of about 1,500 in grades kindergarten to grade 12 on five islands. In 1999, the first class of students, entirely educated in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, graduated from high school.
Ka Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai'i strives to provide a quality education based on knowledge of the Hawaiian language and culture as the foundation upon which indiviuals become responsible, sensitive and productive adults who contribute significantly to all levels of Hawai'i's community.
E ola mau ka 'ölelo Hawai'i! E ola mau ka hana a ka Hawai'i imi loa!
(Long live the Hawaiian Language! Shall our ancestors' great deedsknowledge and discoveries live on!)