A Hero at Kaunakakai School

DeCourcy receives "Everyday Heroes"award.

Kaunakakai Elementary School has a hero walking in its midst. First grade teacher Malia DeCourcy received the “Everyday Heroes” award during a school assembly last week.

Everyday Heroes is a teacher recognition program that takes place throughout Hawaii and is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza. DeCourcy was awarded a $1000 check to spend as she chooses, as well as $100 Costco gift certificate to buy supplies for her classroom.

DeCourcy is one of 15 teachers selected from the over 600 who were nominated for the award. Janice Espiritu, the principal of Kaunakakai Elementary School nominated DeCourcy for the award because of her accomplishments in establishing community based education.

“Miss DeCourcy has truly inspired us all,” said Janice Espiritu, principal of Kaunakakai School.

In 2003 DeCourcy began a program known as FACT, “Families and Classroom Teachers.” The program is community based and focuses on getting family members to invest in their child’s education through actively participating in it. FACT strives to incorporate families into the classroom by developing relationships between the teacher and the student’s families, and  by providing resources to those families. Through this relationship the teacher and the family are able to better meet the needs of the student, which helps improve the child’s performance level.

Espiritu points out that DeCourcy proved her worth as an educator, not just because she accomplished something within a year, but by “sustaining what she started back in 2003 to what has become a school-wide effort in reaching out to our families, and to where each teacher values parents as contributing partners in their child’s education.”

Since the DeCourcy first implemented FACT in 2003, the program has continued grow at Kaunakakai School. As of 2006, every teacher in the school is using FACT.  Teachers say that they have seen a higher level of homework completion among students whose parents are involved with FACT.


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