Currently Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo serves 283 students in grades K-12. Ninety-eight percent of them are Native Hawaiian with over sixty percent residing in Keaukaha or Panaewa Homestead communities and seventy percent qualifying for Free or Reduced lunch.
Ka ʻUmeke distinguishes itself from other Hawaiian language immersion and culture-based schools as a Papakū Makawalu Lab school, the first in the State of Hawaiʻi. Papakū Makawalu methodology organizes the world into three sections or houses: Papahulilani the study of the atmosphere, its energies, cycles and isochronisms; Papahulihonua the study of earth sciences; and Papahānaumoku the study of biological sciences. Understanding the world through the Papakū Makawalu way of thinking or methodology requires one to understand that each of these houses or areas of science affect and effect one another. As such the Papakū Makawalu methodology integrates each of the subjects that make-up the acronym S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) into an all-encompassing learning structure that requires understanding the world holistically rather than in bits and pieces.
Papakū Makawalu builds the following skills: critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, observation, collaboration, data collection, recordation, analyzing, information sharing, comparing, contrasting and promotes inquiry.
Papakū Makawaluʻs knowledge base primarily stems from traditional oli (chants), mele (songs) and moʻolelo (history). Ka ʻUmeke students learn the Hawaiian language in order to enhance their practice of this methodology and for them to build new knowledge in both the methods of their ancestors and their generation.