In 1978 after over 100 years of linguistic repression by the government, Hawaiʻi amended its constitution and mandated in Article X,Section 4 the designation of Hawaiian language as one of the two official languages of the State of Hawaiʻi. Around this same time(1980) it was estimated that there were fewer than 50 Hawaiian language speakers under the age of 18 and that Hawaiian was a dying language.
A few years later (1984) due to lobbying efforts from Hawaiian families and community leaders, who were interested in increasing the number of young Hawaiian language speakers, the State removed the ban on the use of Hawaiian as a medium of education in Hawaiʻi schools.
In 1987, the Hawaiʻi State Board of Education approved the formation of the Papahana Kaiapuni ʻŌlelo Hawai'i (Hawaiian Language Immersion Program), and the first two pilot Hawaiian language Immersion Department of Education sites were established at Waiau Elementary School on Oʻahu and Keaukaha Elementary School on Hawaiʻi island.
In 1989, the Hawaiʻi Board of Education approved these two Hawaiian Language immersion programs as limited K-6 programs. As haumāna at these two programs moved up in grade levels, proponents pushed for the development of additional grade levels all the way up to grade 12, and permanent facilities to support this.
In 2001 a group of Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Keaukaha kumu, ʻohana and community members developed an Implementation Plan to become a charter school under the new State of Hawaiʻi Charter School program, and Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Keaukaha became Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Hawaiian Immersion Public Charter School (Ka ʻUmeke). Over the next nine years Ka ʻUmeke underwent incredible growth increasing each grade level to two classes of no more than twenty-four haumāna beginning at Papa Malaaʻo. In school year 2008 Ka ʻUmeke grew to include the first Papa ʻEhiku, and committed to increasing one grade level each year after. In 2013-2014 Ka ʻUmeke will have its first graduating class. In 2011 Ka ʻUmeke celebrates its 10th year of being a charter school and in 2013 Ka ʻUmeke underwent the WASC and HAIS accreditation process.