Pahoa High and Intermediate to Participate in New Reading and Math Tests

Approximately 25,000 Hawaii public school students will practice taking improved and more engaging annual state tests meant to better gauge their progress toward college and career readiness.

DOE ReleaseStudents in grades 3-8 and 11 at 91 schools statewide will participate in the field test of the new Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and mathematics between March 24 and June 6. The field test is a practice run of the Smarter Balanced assessments, which will replace the Hawaii State Reading and Mathematics Assessments in the 2014-15 school year.

Hawaii is a governing member of a multi-state consortium that has worked with teachers, parents and higher education faculty in the past two years to develop the Smarter Balanced assessments. Over three million students across the consortium will participate in the field test to ensure questions are valid, reliable and fair for all students. A small sample of students in grades 9 and 10 will also take the field test as part of a small study.

Students will complete the online test in either English language arts or mathematics, or both. Administered over multiple days, the tests are untimed, but each subject area is expected to take 2.5 to 4 hours to complete. Because questions may be revised or dropped after the field test, students will not receive scores.

Click to view

Click to view

The field test includes questions with the same features that students will experience in the 2014-15 school year, when Smarter Balanced assessments become operational, including accessibility tools for all students and accommodations – such as Braille – for those who need them. The work of Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help all students succeed – regardless of disability, language, or background. Additional information is available on the Smarter Balanced website:

About the Smarter Balanced Assessment System
The Smarter Balanced Assessment System is a key component of the Hawaii State Board and Department of Education’s Strategic Plan to prepare all students for college and career success. The new tests are aligned to the Hawaii Common Core Standards, a set of consistent expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade in order to graduate equipped with essential critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Over the past two years, the consortium has worked with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty from across member states, as well as national experts, to develop, review and test over 20,000 assessment questions and performance tasks and to build a digital library of instructional and professional development resources for teachers.

Once launched in the 2014-15 school year, the Smarter Balanced Assessment System will also provide information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are thriving and where they need help.

“This is a step forward in our plans to raise student achievement,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.” This comprehensive assessment system will provide meaningful information on student progress to educators, parents and the community. Not only will relevant and innovative test items engage and support students, but teachers will also benefit from actionable data and tools to help them maximize the impact of classroom instruction on learning.”

3.3 Magnitude Earthquake in the Leilani Estates Area Earlier Today

A 3.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Leilani Estates area of the Big Island this afternoon:
3.3 Leilani

National Science Foundation Renews UH Hilo’s $5 Million CREST Grant

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Program has been awarded a second $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) CREST (Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology) Program. The award represents Phase II funding of the original $5 million grant received in 2009, and covers a five-year period.

UH Hilo Moniker
The CREST: TCBES Project brings together a diverse, inter-disciplinary team spanning several natural sciences led by Principal Investigator and TCBES Director Dr. Donald Price, with Drs. Patrick Hart, Elizabeth Stacy and Misaki Takabayashi as Co-Principal Investigators. Other senior personnel on the project are Drs. Jonathan Awaya, Jie Cheng, Abby Cuttriss, William Mautz, Adam Pack, Jonathan Price and Michael Shintaku along with Terrilani Chong and Doreen Koizumi. The project’s overarching theme is Understanding Biotic Response to Environmental Change in Tropical Ecosystems Through a Place-Based Context.

“To fully understand the impact of climate change you need to start with the leading indicators, which are those life forms, whose well-being is tied to the state of their environment,” Price said. “The CREST team we’ve assembled will employ emerging genetic, physiological, bioacoustic and bioinformatic tools to examine various effects of anthropogenic change on animals, plants and microbes.”

The project is organized around three sub-components for which separate teams will be formed to develop interactive research programs with each team contributing to the overall synergistic center theme.

An Organismal Response to Environmental Change (OREC) team will analyze the short- and long-term responses of key organisms to a range of steady and fluctuating environmental conditions in their respective habitats, which will be incorporated into landscape-level response to climate change.

The Behavioral Responses to Environmental Change (BREC) team will examine how behaviors central to the survival and reproductive success of animals have evolve through natural and sexual selection in conditions that greatly differ from today’s ecological environment.

A third team will examine Dynamic Interactions between Symbioses and Environment (DISE), or how symbiotic relationships between macro and micro organisms can shift in response to environmental changes.

The results of the research is expected to produce a deeper understanding of the impacts climate change will have on the geographic ranges as well as social and symbiotic interactions of species in Hawaiʻi and the broader Pacific region.

“Hawaiʻi’s unique natural resources are our heritage, and it is our kuleana to be effective stewards to provide for future generations,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “The CREST: TCBES project will provide the next generation of scientists and professionals with the depth of knowledge and the inter-disciplinary perspective required to both study and effectively manage those spectacular, yet fragile, resources.”

Beyond its discovery value, the CREST Project is expected to enhance faculty research capacity and attract students from groups traditionally under-represented in the sciences, whose participation will open up opportunities in Ph.D. programs and professional careers. As involvement from students of native Hawaiian and Pacific Island ancestry grows, so too should the application of indigenous knowledge to environmental issues as they forge ties with federal and state agencies, along with researchers from Ph.D. granting institutions throughout Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland.

“In the span of its 10-year history, TCBES has established itself as a truly outstanding graduate program with both national and international distinction,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Matt Platz. “Through the CREST project, the program is taking another important step in its development as a center of excellence for research and training throughout Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.”

Third Annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Names Winners

Over 40 professional, amateur and high school contestants vied in the third annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest March 16 at the Sheraton Keauhou Convention Center. Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui campus and the Kealii Pauahi Foundation.

Poke in Cup

New to this year’s contest was a category for using Hamakua Mushrooms and a fun Poke Throw Down. The Throw Down pitted winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s preparing a quick poke in competition with Bryan Fujikawa of Sun Dried Specialties.

Poke Wontons

Florist Barbara Meheula won the Celebrity Poke Contest, besting pro football player Max Unger, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond.

Kila Pablo Tripe Poke

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Kamehameha School’s annual Kamehameha III celebration that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.


The contest is sponsored by presenting sponsor Kamehameha Schools, plus Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

2014 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Winners

Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke:

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Wade Tamura of Facebook
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Category: Cooked

  • 1st Peter Kaluna of UH Dining Services
  • 2nd George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Paul Muranaka of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Troy Cataraha of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Non-Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke

  • 1st Ryan Koyanagi
  • 2nd Chuck Okazaki
  • 3rd Pono Bintliff

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Keauhou Canoe Club Boys #1
  • 2nd Shane Lee
  • 3rd Cal Haena

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Punana Leo Team #2

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st Tori Koyanagi

Division: High School

Category-Traditional: 1st Konawaena #304

Category-Cooked: 1st Kealakehe #302

Category-Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st: Kealakehe #301
  • 1st Runner Up: Konawaena #305
  • 2nd Runner Up: Konawaena #303

Poke Throw Down

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Bryan Fujikawa of Sundried Specialties

Celebrity Poke Contest

  • Winner: Barbara Meheula, florist

Contestants: Pro football player Max Unger, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond