A Valley Isle couple commits to academics & nurtures Maui schoolchildren & families
The Lahaina Complex After School Enrichment Tutoring Project, founded by Richard and Pat Endsley of Lahaina over 13 years ago, helps students in the four public schools of West Maui. The project offers 3rd through 8th graders free after school tutoring in reading, writing, math and drama.
As former educational administrators in Berkeley, CA, the Endsleys moved to the Islands in 1992. Pat, 75, says, “Although we moved to Maui to retire, we purposely didn’t move into a retirement area. As educators, we wanted to be connected to our new community where students lived and we wanted to contribute in some way.”
In 2000, the couple started the tutoring project to increase literacy of schoolchildren in various subjects. They started with 50 middle school students and a handful of tutors — most of them retirees from the community. Today, the project has grown to include 300 students and 150 tutors of all ages. The tutors are comprised of 90 adults (about 65 percent which are 55 or better) and 60 high school student tutors. Many of the student tutors are in the honor society and use the volunteer experience to help them fulfill requirements for college and scholarship applications.
All tutors are trained to be curriculum specialists to ensure that the program meets the latest core standards in language arts/reading and math.
“By comparing standardized test scores, we know that the program is a success,” Pat says. “But for me, I know it’s working when I observe our tutors in action. We provide active learning and the kids look forward to it. This year, for the 6th graders alone, we have 16 students on the mathematics waiting list.”
The program receives no state or federal funds. It is run by all volunteer tutors and support staff and provides bus service and snacks, annual curriculum and incentives for students. “The project has been maintained completely by the county and two Lahaina non-profit foundations, along with donations from two Lahaina Rotary Clubs.” Pat says. “It is successful thanks to our dedicated and caring volunteers and donations from local citizens and businesses — restaurants, stores and hotels.”
As part of the unique after school program, theatre lessons were recently added to the curriculum. Theatre Maui presents drama lessons on Mondays at Lahaina Intermediate School. “We aim to build students’ self-confidence, self-esteem and leadership qualities,” Pat says. “Creativity is important in their school studies and in their everyday lives.”
In addition, last year a new program for English Language Learners (ELL) was initiated after the Endsleys learned that this group was identified as the most needy in the middle school. The pilot program for 20 students was so successful that this school year 42 ELL students will receive mostly one-to-one tutoring services.
“We always intended to be of service … Richard and I initially just set out to help the neighborhood kids. We never expected that the entire community would get involved. West Maui is quite unique in that way,” Pat smiles. We’ve had a very busy retirement …”