Construction Resumes On $22.3 Million Pahoa District Park

Fulfilling the County of Hawai‘i’s pledge to expand healthy recreational opportunities for the families of Lower Puna, construction on the $22.3 million Pāhoa District Park has resumed.

Pahoa Park RenderingPark construction was paused in 2014 due to a rapidly advancing lava flow threatening Pāhoa. After the lava flow threat level was downgraded, and after consultation with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense, the park project was given the green light to resume.

“Our commitment to the families of Puna remains strong,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “One of our priorities has always been to create more safe places for our kids to stay active and healthy. In collaboration with our Hawai‘i County Council, we are pleased to move forward with this project that will provide access to positive recreation for Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.”

When complete, this 29-acre first phase of the Pāhoa District Park will include a covered play court building, two baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, a playground, concession building, comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking. These features will complement Pāhoa’s existing recreational facilities that include the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, and Pāhoa Skate Park.

The park is also adjacent to the Pāhoa Senior Center, which reverted to its previous use as a fire station during the lava flow threat. That facility is currently being converted back into a senior center, housing senior activities for kūpuna in Lower Puna.

The Puna Community Development Plan, adopted by the Hawai‘i County Council in 2008, identified the need for a district park in Lower Puna. A comprehensive planning process involving the community, the County, and project designers began in 2012 to ensure these new facilities reflect the recreational needs of Puna’s residents.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at (808) 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

North Hawaii Students Learn Bike Safety from PATH and NHCH

Over the past three months, staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Program have partnered with Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii (PATH) to provide free bicycle training and safety education to more than 250 fourth grade students at Kohala Elementary School, Honokaa Elementary School, Kanu o ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School and Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.

Path kids

“Partnering with PATH offered an ideal opportunity to provide injury prevention and safety education to North Hawaii students,” says Kimberly Bastien, RN and NHCH Trauma Program Manager. “While PATH taught students proper riding techniques and skills through their Bike Ed program, we provided bicycle safety education and emphasized the importance of wearing a helmet.” Each participating student was properly fitted with a free multi-sport safety helmet, provided by the hospital’s Trauma Team. “Students were thrilled once they learned the brand new helmet was theirs to keep. It made bike education more interesting and fun for them.”

Tina Clothier, Executive Director with PATH added, “We are delighted to partner with North Hawaii Community Hospital’s Trauma Program in our mutual quest to keep North Kohala youth safe while they explore the joys of bike riding. The participants are excited about receiving their own brand new helmets and wear them with pride. Having the NHCH Trauma Program as our partner had raised the bar for our ever popular Bike Ed classes.”

PATH is a non-profit bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization dedicated to safely connecting the people and places on Hawaii Island with pathways and bikeways. PATH’s Bike Ed program is a bicycle skills program offered to all Big Island schools and youth clubs. During this three-day bicycle program, students learn important bicycle and safety skills, including: the fundamentals of traffic and road safety, hand signals, proper bicycle clothing, as well as how to navigate an intersection, to yield and to ride in control with others.

“Today, children are riding bicycles, scooters, skate boards and other ride-on vehicles,” said Bastien. “Wearing a helmet is crucial to injury prevention and results in fewer injuries in our emergency room.   Not only do helmets reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by 80 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but Hawaii State law requires kids younger than 16 years of age wear a helmet. We understand many families may not have the means to purchase a helmet; that’s why we’re doing our part to help keep our keiki safe.”

NHCH’s Trauma Team will offer free helmets to children ages 3 to 12 at the 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest on Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center in Waimea. NHCH was designated as a Level III Trauma Center in 2013, which allows the hospital to treat injured patients that would otherwise be diverted to trauma centers located over an hour away. The mission of NHCH’s Trauma Program is to continually improve and optimize the care provided for injured patients through an evolving multidisciplinary performance improvement committee, data collection, injury prevention, community outreach and education. For additional information about the hospital’s Trauma Program, please contact Kimberly Bastien, RN and Trauma Program Manager, at 808-881-4820 or Kimberly.Bastien@NHCH.com.

Hawaii Department of Education Releases Annual Financial Audit

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today released its Annual Financial Audit for the 2014 fiscal year (FY 2014) which shows the Department is doing a better job at keeping its finances in order.

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

The independent report analyzed financial statements of the public school system, including operating, capital improvement and federal funds. The DOE’s FY 2014 audit was submitted last month to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, which operates on behalf of the Office of Management and Budget.

The DOE’s financial audit provides an objective third-party examination of the presentation of the Department’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year, coordinated by the State of Hawaii’s Office of the Auditor​.​The DOE elects to maintain a separate, independent audit, rather than being incorporated with a single State of Hawaii audit.

“Annual independent audits are crucial to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being monitored and maximized to support teaching and learning in the most efficient way,” said DOE Senior Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Amy Kunz. “The findings validate our financial controls and provide guidance for improvement in some areas.”

The 65-page audit report published by Honolulu-based N&K CPA Inc. reviewed the DOE’s $1.494 billion general fund appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. It concluded internal controls examined are appropriately structured to prevent or detect financial misstatements, and found the DOE to be in compliance with requirements of major federal programs.

Auditors noted “opportunities for strengthening internal controls and operating efficiency.” Kunz says the Office of Fiscal Service has already moved to address the recommendations as outlined in the findings, including:

  • ​Adjusted the calculation of vacation and sick leave accrual for a small portion of  teachers to align with the correct fiscal year.
  • Strengthened accounting procedures for new federal grant payments to ensure  accurate reporting.

During the last four years, the DOE has also increased its internal audits to identify areas in need of improved controls. This move aligns with the DOE/Board of Education joint Strategic Plan​, which calls for effective organizational,​​ financial, human, and community resources in support of student success.

University of Hawaii Board of Regents to Hear More TMT Testimony

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents have scheduled another Special Board Meeting on the TMT issues.
tmt meeting

Many folks who wanted to testify at the last meeting on Thursday April 16th, weren’t able to because of the regents flight plans.
TMT HearingThis next meeting will be held on Sunday April 26th, 2015 at the University of Hawaii Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) beginning at 11:30 A.M..

Please see the above notice of the hearing for more specifications on how and where to submit testimony in advance or in person.

All Students to Return to Schools Affected by Puna Lava Flow

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today announced students in lower Puna who were reassigned in October 2014 due to the threat of a lava flow will be returning to their original school. Keonepoko Elementary will welcome back students to its campus in Hawaiian Beaches and all public school students in the Kea’au, Ka’u, Pahoa (KKP) complex area will start the 2015-16 school year in their geographically determined schools.

Pahoa High and Intermediate

“We realize that some families whose students were reassigned to another school may not want to return to their geographically determined school,” stated Chad Farias, KKP complex area superintendent. “However, those reassignments were made based on the pending lava flow. Now that the lava has been determined no longer a threat to KKP, students must go back to the school they came from for their education.”

DOE officials added that families may apply for Geographic Exceptions (GE) and follow the guidelines under Chapter 13 should they decide to make a change. KKP schools that experienced a shift in students and staff include: Pahoa Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, Kea’au Elementary, Kea’au Middle, Kea’au High, Keonepoko Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary.

“The Department is currently evaluating staffing needs and determining the appropriate processes to return the maximum number of employees to their pre-lava flow schools,” said Barbara Krieg, the DOE’s assistant superintendent for the Office of Human Resources. “There are a lot of details to be worked out and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our staff during this process.”

Decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. Information will be distributed to employees once details are finalized.

Kamehameha Schools Announces Four New Executives

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong today named four new leaders who will join his executive team in the next few weeks.
Kamehameha SchoolsEach brings strategic and innovative thinking to the leadership team, as well as substantial insight and career experience with Kamehameha’s educational mission and Native Hawaiian and Christian foundations.

The new leaders named today are: Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources; Darrel R. Hoke, Executive Vice President of Administration; Kevin N. Cockett, Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer; and Lauren S. Nahme, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.

“I am excited about how these new leaders will help transform the work we do, how we collaborate with others, and help drive sustainable impacts for improved Native Hawaiian educational success,” said Wong. “They all have proven leadership abilities, solid values, integrity and passion for our mission, and they will enhance the already resilient and dynamic leadership team we have in place.”

Kā‘eo Duarte, a 10-year KS employee, is promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources, a new executive position that demonstrates Kamehameha’s commitment to a community-based approach, which includes responding collaboratively to the specific needs of communities.

“The Community Engagement group is probably the most “unique and new” group in KS’ new organizational structure, but its purpose is an old one,” explained Duarte. “It is about engaging and elevating people and place . . . kanaka and ʻāina, and I am the first to admit we have a lot to figure out and even more to do, but I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard.”

Duarte will oversee management of KS resources in nine regions statewide, plus agriculture and conservation land programs, community resource centers and sustainability initiatives. Last year, Duarte was named Senior Director, West Hawaiʻi Region, charged with directing the combined endowment and education efforts in the region for more effective and efficient impact. Duarte has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S.E. in civil and geological engineering from Princeton University.

Kevin N. Cockett will join Kamehameha Schools in June 2015 as Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer. He is a 23-year veteran of the communications profession, with a strong blend of local and national experience in both corporate and agency settings. Cockett, a 1984 KS graduate, has operated his own communications business since 2011, and was previously a Senior VP at Communications Pacific, Inc., and in public relations for Best Buy Co., Inc.

“It’s a privilege to serve Kamehameha Schools in this capacity,” said Cockett. “I’m excited to join the organization at a time that feels like the dawn of a new era and to work alongside a group of such committed teams and individuals.”

Wong also named Darrel R. Hoke as Executive Vice President of Administration, affirming his extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of how KS’ support infrastructure and processes must enable KS to be a high-performing, mission-driven organization.  “I’m looking forward to moving all groups towards the strategic goal of operating as a high performing Native Hawaiian Organization,” said Hoke, “and building on the foundation established over the years, to ensure that KS is successful in delivering on our Strategic Plan targets in 2020.”

Hoke, a CPA and KS’ Internal Audit director since 2002, brings 27-years of experience in audit, accounting and finance to his new position. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. He will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Education Operations and Facilities Development and Support.

Lauren S. Nahme, previously director of Strategic Planning and Implementation, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Innovation. “Lauren brings seasoned expertise and a clear understanding of KS’ visioning and strategic planning processes to the executive team,” confirmed Wong. “She steps into this role already high up on the learning curve and with the ability and confidence to lead our current strategic planning efforts.”

Nahme had an extensive background in finance and banking when she joined KS in 2006 as Controller. In 2010, she transferred to Strategic Planning and Implementation, and has led KS’ planning efforts for SP2020. Nahme is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “It has been an intense but rewarding experience for our planning team to work with Trustees, Jack and his leaders across the organization to develop KS’ path to 2020,” Nahme explained. “Our direction is clear, commitment is strong, and momentum is building to spur us forward.”

Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first part of Wong’s November 2014 announcement that he would reorganize and streamline his leadership structure to reaffirm education as the primary focus of Kamehameha Schools, and to strengthen the organization’s ability to execute its Strategic Plan 2020.

Kamehameha Schools’ executive structure now includes seven executives reporting directly to CEO Wong: Education, Finance, Administration, Community Engagement and Resources, Communications, Legal, and Strategic Planning and Innovation. Wong expects to name the Executive Vice Presidents for Education and Finance in the next few months.

Vice president profiles:

OHA Provides Funding to Support Na Pua No`eau

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is providing a total of $896,232 to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Na Pua No`eau program, the Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children.

Na Pua No`eau

Na Pua No`eau provides Native Hawaiian students Kindergarten through college with learning opportunities as a University of Hawaiʻi Center. Students have direct access to UH facilities and faculty where they are guided and supported in their educational and career goals. Na Pua No`eau has staff and offices at the University’s campuses on O`ahu, Kaua`i, Maui, Lana`i, Moloka`i, and Hawaiʻi Island.

In 2015, Na Pua No‘eau celebrates its 25th anniversary. Throughout the years, the Center has supported thousands of students in their educational and career goals. In Fall 2013, graduates made up 9% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled at UH. In Spring 2013, Na Pua No`eau made up 13% of the Native Hawaiian students who graduated from UH.

Along with the enrollment and graduation of Native Hawaiian students, Na Pua No`eau is also committed to creating opportunities and supporting Native Hawaiian students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health career pathways. In Fall 2013, Na Pua No`eau students made up 11% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled in STEM fields and 9% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled in health fields in the UH System.

For information or registration for Na Pua No‘eau, contact representatives on the respective campuses: UH Hilo: (808) 974-7678; UH Manoa: (808) 956-9410; Kaua`i Community College: (808) 241-8387; UH Maui College: (808) 984-3364; Moloka`i Education Center: (808) 553-9993; Lana`i High and Elementary School: (808) 565-9100; University Center West Hawaiʻi: (808) 322-4867.

Commentary – Students Rights Violation, UH Hilo Elections 2015

On April 2, 2015 we, University of Hawaii at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) candidates, Jennifer Ruggles and Briki Cajandig, were disqualified to run for elected positions by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin. We had been given permission to run for office by the UHHSA Election Committee and UHHSA Executive Board.

The news was a surprise to us because we are not only  unable to run for the seats we were approved to run for, but we are no longer able to run for any UHHSA seats whatsoever; we are not allowed to run for positions we would have been otherwise eligible for, according to the decision of the Vice Chancellor.  We received the notice from the Vice Chancellor 5 days before the election, long after our names had been listed on the official roster for this year’s election candidates.

We believe this decision violates our rights; we are appealing the decision with the Chancellor of UH Hilo (please see attached appeal). The 2015 election is taking place from April 7, 2015, and goes until  today, Thursday, April 9 2015.

UHHSA has a history of questionable election practices as can be seen here: www.stopuhcorruption.com/uh-hilo.

UH Hilo corruption

We are happy to meet with any members of the press to discuss our unfortunate situation.

Mahalo – Disqualified UHHSA candidates, Jennifer Ruggles and Briki Cajandig

Attachments:

A)

Aloha Elections Committee,

My name is Briki Cajandig and I am emailing you today because I believe my student rights have been violated. The Executive Board and Elections Committee of UHHSA requested to waive the requirements listed in our constitution due to my prior experience and successful contributions to the current senate. VCSA Gail Makuakane-London’s approval of the request was necessary for advancement as stated within our constitution, though this seems to be a requirement that only pertains to our campus. She has disapproved of the UHHSA Executive Board’s request to waive the UHHSA Constitution and this has led to the disqualification of my UHHSA candidacy for any position in the current elections. I find this to be a direct violation of my rights as a student given that both committees went through the proper, lengthy steps to waive this requirement; these steps are also documented within our constitution. I find that the VCSA’s decision directly negates the opinion of the Executive Committee and Executive Board. If both groups are willing to accept a student’s candidacy, the final decision should not be determined by one administrational figure. These rights should remain within the hands of the student body representatives. The VCSA announced her decision five days before elections, allowing no time for an alternate route of action. I believe that I should be allowed to run or considered as a qualified participant in this year’s Senate; listed below are the reasons why my eligibility is valid and justified.

  1. Up until March 13th I believed that my run for data director would be acknowledged and approved. I was under this impression because of the reassurance I was given by members of both the Executive Board and Elections Committee.
  2. 13 March 2015: Submitted all required documentation and 30+ student signatures for nomination as Data Director
  3. 18 March 2015: was emailed an invitation to attend the mandatory candidates meeting, implying that I was indeed a candidate in this year’s elections
  4. 19 March 2015: submitted additional documents (resume, UHHSA Senator duties and accomplishments, etc.) to accommodate the VCSA’s review of my credentials
  5. I was listed as the unopposed candidate for Data Director on the following website: http://hilo.hawaii.edu/vote/ . This post was taken down 2 April 2015.
  6. 2 April 2015: Elections Committee Chair Jarod Campbell emailed me stating, “I’m sorry to inform you that you have been deemed by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs as ineligible to run for the position that you applied for in the UHHSA elections. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. The Elections Committee has taken all steps that were necessary to attempt to allow you to run for your position.” The letter Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin sent the elections committee is attached.
  7. On April 2nd, Jennifer Ruggles and I met with the Elections Committee and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin, where we presented a written request to understand our disqualification and discuss options that contained the possibility of rectifying the situation. When an election committee member asked Mrs. Makuakane-Lundin why she denied the suspension, she stated, “I went to your own guidelines, your guidelines are real clear, your constitution is very clear, because if others knew they could run for office without the same criteria, they should have also been allowed to do that, people didn’t know that.” The constitution’s eligibility article is referred to eight times in the election packet, (pages 1, 3 ,4, 6, 7, and 8) and made publicly available on the UHHSA website. Other students were given the same opportunity as me in regards to availability and comprehension of the constitution. Myself and all other potential candidates had the same criteria available for reference; everything Jennifer and I were able to access was just as attainable for the rest of the students at UH Hilo. Mrs. Makuakane-Lundin’s reason that students would not be able to infer that the constitution had the potential to be waived is inaccurate; therefore, her decision to deny the suspension and disqualify my candidacy is unjust.
  8. The Data Director slot I had been campaigning for was one that had no other contestants besides me; running unopposed meant that no one else wanted to compete for the seat. It seems detrimental towards the progression of the elections process by denying the only candidate that had shown interest in the position.

In the UHHSA By-Laws the following statement describes the responsibilities of the Elections Committee; they fulfill their duties by being in charge of:

“Facilitating all aspects of the UHHSA elections which take place every year during the Spring semester, for promoting UHHSA throughout the entire year in order to ensure candidate competition for each of UHHSA’s senator positions, and for filling any open positions on the UHHSA senate as they may or may not become vacant throughout the year.” (Bold added).

On April 2nd, Mrs. Makuakane-Lundin stated, “You were given the wrong information and can appeal which would nullify the entire vote or the election which may mean the entire election would have to be postponed to another period.”

I understand that the voting period has already begun, and that it will more than likely proceed without my name on the ballot. What I am requesting though, is a reconsideration of my disqualification and a rectified chance to ensure my candidacy. I am respectfully calling for the Elections committee to perform its duty to ensure candidate competition, and to fill open UHHSA positions through appropriately amending the situation.

Thank you for your time and undivided attention.

Mahalo,

Briki Cajandig

 

B)

My name is Jennifer Ruggles and I am writing to you because I believe I was unjustly disqualified for running in the student government election and should be able to run. Below is the sequence of events that brings this appeal to your attention:

  1. Article Two, Section B (4) b, of the UHHSA constitution states, “If applicants don’t meet the requirements for an open UHHSA executive position, the Executive Board reserves the right to request a suspension of Article Two, Section B, number 4 of the constitution with approval from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.”
  2. On Tuesday, March 7th I told UHHSA Election Committee Chair, Jarod Campbell, in person that I was considering running for President and that if he did not believe I could run for President, I would run for CoBE Senator instead. Mr. Campbell responded that he believed the ¾ year experience I had in UHHSA sufficed for the requirement and that I could run for President.
  3. On March 8th, I sent a letter of application and resume to the chair of the elections committee so that the committee could consider my qualifications and determine if my ¾ year CSO experience and related job experience would justify a suspension the constitutional requirement of 1 year CSO experience.
  4. On March 8th, I received an email from Chair Jarod Campbell responding: “I have spoke with the elections committee about you running for president. We agreed that you should be allowed to run for an executive position. You will be considered along the list of all the other applicants. Mahalo, Jarod”
  5. I turned in my completed election packet including 35 student nominations, (20 of which were CoBE students), for the President position, on the deadline, March 13th.
  6. On March 18th I received an email from the the elections committee inviting me to the mandatory candidates meeting which I attended on March 19th.
  7. On March 26th I was told by Jarod Campbell and Ardena Saarinen that her candidacy was confirmed in an UHHSA Executive Committee meeting.
  8. I was listed on the following website as candidate for UHHSA president: http://hilo.hawaii.edu/vote/ and was removed on April 2, 2015.
  9. On April 2nd, Elections Committee Chair Jarod Campbell emailed me stating, “I’m sorry to inform you that you have been deemed by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs as ineligible to run for the position that you applied for in the UHHSA elections. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. The Elections Committee has taken all steps that were necessary to attempt to allow you to run for your position.” The letter

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane Lundin sent the elections committee is attached. Mrs. Makuakane Lundin’s letter refers to Article Two, Section B (4) b of the constitution that requires 1 year CSO experience for executive positions and does not acknowledge that this same article provides an exception to this rule if certain requirements are met. The elections committee met the requirements outlined in Article Two, Section B (4) b.

Up to March 13th I had to opportunity to run for CoBE senator and the sequence of events from March 7th to March 13th mislead me to believe I could run as President. On April 2nd, Briki Cajandig and I met with the Election Committee and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane Lundin and presented a written request to understand the disqualification and discuss options possibly remedy the situation. As Mrs. Makuakane Lundin addressed the elections committee she stated, “ when you reached out to me about the candidates and the Vice Chancellor Kelly Oaks and you asked us what did we think, and we went straight to your constitution and we also looked at your election packet, and we highlighted the statements about what you needed to perform…and if you

wanted to suspend the rules, you would have to follow that procedure and we left it at that” The Elections Committee performed their duties as required by the bylaws and followed every rule in the constitution related my candidacy. When an election committee member asked Mrs. Makuakane Lundin why she denied the suspension, she stated, “I went to your own guidelines, your guidelines are real clear, your constitution is very clear, because if others knew they could run for office without the same criteria, they should have also been allowed to do that, people didn’t know that.” The constitution’s eligibility article is referred to eight times in the election packet, (pages 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8) and made publicly available on the UHHSA website. Other students had same opportunity as me to know they could run for office without the same criteria. Mrs. Makuakane Lundin’s reason that others did not know they could suspend the constitution is inaccurate and therefore I believe I have been unjustly disqualified from the election.

Due to the sequence of events that occurred between March 7th and April 2nd, the fact that the constitution has been followed, and and the decision to disqualify me is unjust, I am hereby requesting to appeal Mrs. Makuakane Lundin’s decision.

I sincerely thank you for consideration and time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Ruggles

HPCSN Announces 4th Annual Hawaii Charter School Awardees

Hawaii Public Charter School Network (HPCSN) will honor charter schools and leaders at the 2014-2015 Hawaii Charter Schools Awards, taking place Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms at Dole Cannery from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Today, HPCSN announced a list of awardees, including:

voyager PCS

Charter School of the Year

  • Voyager Public Charter School, Honolulu, Oahu

Most Improved Charter School

  • Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Creating New Best Practices

  • West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kawaikini Public Charter School, Lihue, Kauai

Circle of Teaching Excellence

  • Mary Quijano, Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Mountain View, Hawaii
  • Heather Nakakura, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kananinohea Makaimoku, Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Governing Board Member of the Year

  • Philip Whitesell, PhD, Lanikai Elementary School, Kailua, Oahu

Charter Leader of the Year

  • Jennifer Hiro, Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

“We look forward to celebrating the innovation and achievement that happens every in charter classrooms across Hawaii,” said Lynn Finnegan, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

“This year’s theme, ‘Changing the Education Paradigm,” encompasses what charter schools are all about.  Despite many challenges, charter schools are doing more with less and delivering effective models of education.”

“Through our advocacy and support services, HPCSN works to help schools navigate these challenges, especially those unique to charter schooling in Hawaii, so that charter schools can focus on what they do best, educating students,” Finnegan added.

All awardees above as well as Legislators of the Year and Community Partner of the Year (yet to be selected) will be honored at the 4th Annual Hawaii Charter Schools Awards dinner.  The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by phone at 808-380-6403 or online at http://2015hawaiicharterschoolsawards.eventbrite.com/.

Canada Announces $243-Million Contribution for Thirty Meter Telescope Project

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will provide up to $243.5 million over 10 years for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the Government of Canada’s intention to provide significant support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an international project that will build one of the world’s largest and most advanced astronomical observatories in Hawaii. The Prime Minister made the announcement following a tour of Vancouver’s Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory. He was joined by James Moore, Minister of Industry.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

The Government’s support would provide resources over 10 years to enable Canada’s participation in the construction and commissioning of the TMT, alongside participants from the Japan, China, India and the United States.

The majority of the Government’s support for the TMT will be spent in Canada, creating high-quality jobs related to the construction and assembly of key telescope components, including a precision-steel enclosure by Dynamic Structures Limited, based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and cutting-edge adaptive optics technologies, to be developed by the National Research Council in partnership with Canadian companies. As part of the project, dozens of Canadian businesses are expected to develop advanced capabilities and products transferable to future applications in the health, defence and telecommunications sectors – helping to create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across Canada.

Canada’s contribution will also secure a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the TMT once it is operational in 2023-2024. This access will help to maintain Canadian scientific leadership in astronomy, paving the way to important scientific discoveries and helping to train highly-qualified personnel at post-secondary institutions across the country. Canada’s pursuit of new scientific discoveries will also help spark young Canadians’ interest in science disciplines for decades to come.

Quick Facts

Canada has world-leading expertise in astronomy and astrophysics, as noted by the Council of Canadian Academies in its 2012 State of Science and Technology. Canadian research publications in this field are highly impactful and Canadian expertise in astronomy is sought after internationally.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that Canada is first in the G-7 in terms of our support of research and development through our universities and colleges, relative to the size of our economy, since 1996.

Prime Minister Harper also recently announced a new $1.5 billion legacy investment to make Canadian research world-leading through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. This new program is for world-leading research that will raise Canada’s standing globally.

Canada’s Space Policy Framework positions our domestic space industry at the forefront of cutting edge space activities; it strengthens strategic relationships with international partners in the interest of science and technology; and it advances Canada’s excellence in the key capability of space optics.

The TMT will employ advanced adaptive optics systems that will allow for the correction of atmospheric turbulence (what makes stars “twinkle”) and enable the clear observation of some of the faintest celestial objects and bodies.

The TMT’s enclosure, to be built in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, will incorporate a unique design to protect the telescope both from temperature and winds.

When completed, the telescope will stand in an observatory 22 18 stories tall, with a primary mirror extending 30 metres across, giving it approximately half the surface area of a National Hockey League rink.

Keonepoko Elementary School to Reopen – Lava No Longer Immediate Threat

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will begin the planning process to reopen Keonepoko Elementary School in Hawaiian Beaches now that lava is no longer an immediate threat to the area. The planning will also include addressing all of the adjustments made in October 2014 that affected 1,700 students and 300 employees.

Keonepoko

“Many families were affected by our contingency plans to safeguard access to education and we appreciate their cooperation and understanding through all of it,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We now have a ton of details to work out before making any official announcement on dates or assignments, however it is important to let families and staff know where we stand. The decision to reopen Keonepoko Elementary extends beyond just the facility. We want to be very thoughtful about our approach.”

The decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. In upcoming weeks, principals in the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area and DOE administrators will map out a course of action. The DOE is aiming to have details solidified by May to provide families ample time to plan for School Year 2015-16.

In late October 2014, DOE closed Keonepoko Elementary in response to the rapidly advancing lava flow. It was determined then that the lava would be crossing Highway 130. DOE built a temporary facility in the Keaau High lower parking lot and adjusted classroom assignments for students and staff within the complex area.

Recently the lava flow changed in threat status from ‘warning’ to ‘watch.’ Hawaii County Civil Defense has informed the Department that based on the most current information available the lava is no longer headed toward Pahoa.

Complex Area Superintendent Chad Farias stated, “We continue to evaluate what all possible futures might be for the education of children within Puna and are thinking not just about the current situation, but how to provide quality education to all of the families in our area for years to come.”

The DOE will provide more information to its staff and the public once it is available.

 

DLNR Statement on Arrests of “Protectors” of Mauna Kea

Today Department of Land and Natural Resources, along with Hawaii County Police and assisted by Public Safety Department, took necessary action to preserve and protect public safety and public access on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Arrest

We are working with the University of Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope project to ensure that the Mauna Kea summit road remains clear for workers, and to ensure access to Mauna Kea for other public use. Persons expressing their views may peacefully protest if not blocking the road. Anyone impeding public safety or public access will be arrested.

In addition to enforcement action by Hawaii County Police, DLNR enforcement also arrested eight (8) adults who were obstructing the road for disobedience to police officers, and another eleven (11) adults were arrested for trespass after refusing to leave the TMT construction site at the summit. The arrests were peaceful, and there were no injuries or medical issues.

DLNR will be working closely with its partners to monitor the situation.

UHHSA Approves Permaculture Parking Lot Unanimously

The University of Hawaii Student Association (UHHSA) voted unanimously to support the Permaculture Parking Lot (PPL) at last Thursday’s senate meeting (see video here).
permaculture

The bill will fund the creation of the Permaculture Parking Lot in the UH Hilo Science and Technology Building Lanikaula Parking Lot adjacent to the Kumukoa House.

The project is supported by the UH Hilo Sustainability Committee, UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Global HOPE, The Agriculture Club, and over 500 students and faculty members: see supporter video here

“The purpose of this project is to create an educational venue for the different edible plants that can grow in Hawai’i. The Permaculture Parking Lot will inform and inspire students and community members,” said principal project designer Wade Bauer. Over 80 different types of edible plants will be going into the parking lot (for complete list see below)

Earth Day Fair founder a professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez fully supported the project. “Students could gain both skills and a way to lower their food costs,” she said.

UH Hilo neighbor Justin Avery jokingly said, “It could be a parking lot and we’ll put up a paradise,.” “This project has been a team effort to grow food on campus and be an example for the community, it’s a real win-win“ Avery said.

Over the past 3 and a half years The Kumukoa House has been organizing ‘yard days,’ where students and community members work in the gardens all day with trained gardening and landscaping experts. In the past 2 years, with the blessing of UH Hilo, the project has extended to the parking lot. “This is using the momentum we have from the past years to launch this project,” said Avery.

Agroforestry and permaculture consultant Dave Sansone said, “It’s not often that you have people who know what they are doing stepping in and offering free services and free labor. I see a real win-win. This project goes from having this idea on paper to lead the way in sustainability to actually doing it.”

UH Hilo is joining the national trend by moving in the direction of sustainability. Alex Lyon, University of Massachusets student and Kumukoa House resident, sees how permaculture gardens can serve as a recruitment tool for the university. “From 2010 UMASS started a permaculture garden at the university and has attracted considerable amount of students to enroll. The food goes straight from the campus gardens into the dining hall. You look outside of the dining hall and see 6 permaculture gardens. Students enroll in UMASS because of the garden, it has become a center of the university,” Lyon said.

The Kumukoa House invited everybody to come out for Yard Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday from 9am-3pm. Mahalo!

23rd Annual Hawaiian Family afFAIR at UH Hilo

The 23rd annual Hawaiian Family AfFAIR at University of Hawaii Hilo happens this weekend.
2015 Family Affair

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest Coming Up

The 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center.

Keiki Fest 2015

Designed for children ages 3 to 12, our keiki along with their parents will spend the day exploring a variety of free, hands-on activities addressing environment, fitness, health, mind, nutrition and safety.

Families will have the opportunity to explore more than 30 hands-on learning booths offering activities designed to develop healthy brains, healthy bodies and healthy beings. Activities include:

  • Free bicycle helmets from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Team
  • “Glow Monster” hand hygiene education with NHCH
  • Bike safety course by Lex Brodie’s, PATH, South Kohala Traffic Safety and NHCH’s Trauma Team
  • DIY paper volcanoes with Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes
  • Veggie stamp art with Kohala Village Hub
  • Car seat fitting by the Department of Health – Public Health Nursing
  • Collage making art activity with the Waimea Arts Council
  • Many more hands-on activities

Each child will receive a “passport” to track their participation at each learning booth.  A completed “passport” offers keiki the opportunity to choose from a host of activities, such as a turn on the rock climbing wall or bounce house, or receive an airbrush tattoo.   This event’s mission is to bring the schools and communities of North Hawaii together to celebrate the health and safety of our greatest asset, our keiki.  All activities are free.

This year’s Keiki Fest is brought to you by North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) and Tutu’s House. This event supports the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition”.   The umbrella topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition” allows NHCH to touch the numerous health disparities found within the community. The Parker Ranch Center is located at 67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.   For more information and to learn how you can support this hands-on kids’ event, please contact Laurie Edmondson, Community Outreach Coordinator at North Hawaii Community Hospital, at 881-4425 or at Laurie.Edmondson@NHCH.com.

Hawaii Principal Survey Results – Only One in Nine Principals Has Confidence in Board of Education

The Hawaii Education Institute (EIH), an independent think tank, has released the results of its 2015 Public School Principals Survey.

Education Institute

Methodology.  To participate in this on-line survey, principals were required to identify themselves to EIH.  This ensured that only principals completed the survey, and that no one principal completed the survey more than once.  Some principals chose not to participate because they did not want anyone to have the ability to link them to their opinions about the DOE.  But a majority of principals (144 out of 256) trusted EIH’s promise not to reveal the names of participating principals.

Complete Results Available.  The complete survey results, including the written comments of every survey participants, are attached to this news release.  They also can be found at http://www.edthinktankhawaii.org/.

Major Findings

Climate of Fear.  The climate of fear that was apparent in the 2014 EIH Principals Survey continues to exist.  For example, only two in five principals (41%) say they can express concern or critique DOE policies and practices without fear of reprisal, retaliation, or being unfairly evaluated on their performance evaluations.

Poor Implementation.  Principals give low marks to state DOE leadership for faulty implementation of Common Core and other recent initiatives:

  •  While most principals (70%) think Common Core has been good for their students, less than one in five (18%) thinks that state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing it.
  • The percentage of principals who think state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing the new testing regime is even smaller (8%).
  • Three out of four principals (78%) think the DOE’s implementation of the new teacher evaluation system (EES) has adversely affected morale at their schools.

Agreement with Governor Ige: Principals overwhelmingly support school empowerment and the governor’s plan to increase the percentage of DOE funding that is allocated by Weighted Student Formula (WSF) to 75%.

  • Only one in twenty principals (5%) disagree with the following statement:  “The share of DOE funding covered by WSF should be increased to 75% or higher.”
  • Only one in five principals (18%) say that the schools are already “empowered” to an appropriate degree.
  • Seven out of eight (87%) think school-level personnel should be allowed to control the means by which statewide standards and policies are achieved.
  • An even higher percentage of the principals (91%) think a principal who is not satisfied with support services from the DOE should be able to seek comparable services from a different provider.
  • None of the 144 principals disagreed with the following statement:  “I would like more flexibility in determining who will and will not work at my school.”

Lack of Support from DOE Leadership:  Only one in five (18%) thinks the DOE is providing the “system of support” that it is contractually obligated to provide, and the principals who say t DOE leadership treats them like partners are greatly outnumbered by those who say they are sometimes treated like servants.

  • Only 21% think that DOE leadership treats them like a partner.
  • Less than one in three (28%) disagrees with the following statement:  “DOE leadership sometimes treats me and other members of my school community like servants.”
  • Only one in three principals (32%) has confidence in the Superintendent.
  • Only one in five (21%) has confidence in the Assistant Superintendents.
  • Only one in nine (11%) has confidence in the Board of Education.

Observations of EIH leadership:

EIH President and Board Chair Roberta Mayor noted that “survey results indicate that principals are overwhelmingly in favor of Governor Ige’s school empowerment agenda.”

“Leading research indicates that principals are a key factor for student achievement, according to EIH Executive Director Darrel Galera.  “Supporting and empowering principals to be instructional leaders must be a priority, if it is ever to happen.”

EIH Vice-President and Board Vice-chair Ray L’Heureux said EIH’s goal is to add some transparency to the public school system, and added, “We also plan to survey teachers, parents, and state-level administrators in the near future.”

Purposes of the survey include the following:

  • To determine if principals have a collective voice, a shared perspective, and common agreement on relevant issues including school empowerment;
  • To provide feedback on the implementation of required policies, procedures, and initiatives that affect principals and their schools;
  • To provide feedback that can help to improve Hawaii’s public education system – so that principals can:
  1. Be student centered in meeting student learning needs
  2. Be more effective instructional leaders that support classroom teachers
  3. Build and sustain a positive school culture evidenced by high achievement and high morale
  4. Empower their school communities to provide for innovative and effective teaching and learning.

National PBS Documentary Features Local Efforts to Perpetuate Hawaiian Language

What does it take to save a language? Poet Bob Holman travels across the globe to uncover answers – including a stop in Hawaii to feature ongoing efforts to perpetuate our native language. Language Matters with Bob Holman makes its Hawaii broadcast premiere Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii. language matters

Filmed around the world, the two-hour documentary features Hawaii in the third of three acts. Among those featured: Puakea Nogelmeier (pictured in attached photo with Holman), Pele Harman (pictured in attached photo with students from Ke Kula O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u), Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, Kepa Maly, W.S. Merwin, Lolena Nicholas, Keali‘i Reichel and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

Holman makes two other global stops:

  • In Australia, Holman visits Charlie Mangulda, an Aboriginal songman (poet), who is the only person left on the planet who speaks Amurdak. With linguist Nick Evans, Holman also flies to Goulburn Island off the coast of Northern Australia, where he meets a community of 400 people speaking ten languages, many endangered, all vulnerable.
  • In Wales, Holman explores the humor, rage and lyricism of the Welsh people, who brought their language back from the edge of extinction. Currently, three million people live in Wales and speak the native language.

Language Matters with Bob Holman is a co-production of David Grubin Productions Inc. and Pacific Islanders in Communications. For more information, visit the film’s website: www.languagemattersfilm.com

20th Annual Kick Butts Day in Hawaii

Kids in Hawaii will stand up to Big Tobacco on March 18 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned nationwide for this day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (See below for a list of local events.)

toll of tobaccoOn Kick Butts Day, kids encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free, demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly, addictive products to them and encourage elected officials to do more to reduce youth tobacco use.

This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how the tobacco industry still spends huge sums on marketing and is adopting new strategies to reach young customers. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – to market tobacco products. In Hawaii, tobacco companies spend $26.9 million annually on marketing efforts. The industry’s tactics that entice kids include:

  • Splashy ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and Rolling Stone.
  • Widespread advertising and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
  • New, sweet-flavored tobacco products such as small cigars and electronic cigarettes. The latest surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed.

In addition to organizing events, kids are standing up to the tobacco industry on social media through the #NotAReplacement selfie campaign. The tobacco industry’s own documents reveal that they have long targeted kids as “replacement smokers” for the more than 480,000 people their products kill each year in the United States. Kids are taking selfies to say they’re not a replacement and sharing the photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the #NotAReplacement hashtag. (view the #NotAReplacement selfie gallery)

“On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can make the next generation tobacco-free and end the tobacco epidemic for good. Elected officials can help reach that goal by standing with kids and supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws and prevention programs.”

Health advocates in Hawaii are urging state leaders to increase the legal sale age for tobacco products to 21 to reduce smoking and save lives. In Hawaii, tobacco use claims 1,400 lives and costs $526 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.4 percent of Hawaii’s high school students smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids engage in creative events that range from small classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to large rallies at state capitols.

In Hawaii, activities include:

Youth with the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii in Honolulu will hold a major event at the State Capitol to educate and empower their peers to advocate for a bill to raise the tobacco age of sale in the state to 21. Youth will create signs, post to social media, and meet with legislators in support of the bill. Time: 10 AM. Location: 415 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu. Contact: Mary Goldsworthy (509) 710-4298.

Students at Helemano School Age Center in Wahiawa will learn about the dangers of smoking and create a short phrase about staying tobacco-free to display in the youth center’s fence with cups. Time: 3 PM. Location: 327 Kuapale Road, Wahiawa. Contact: Rebecca Staggs (808) 653-0724.

The U.S. Army Hawaii Youth Sports in Honolulu will hold a day of activities for youth to stand up to tobacco, including a fun run, a dance performance to ‘Thriller’ and informational activities. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 4725 Bougainville Drive, Honolulu. Contact: Brittany Bigham (808) 426-8790.

All events noted above are on March 18. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Hawaii, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

National Science Foundation Awards UH Hilo $622,175 for STEM Scholarships

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo a $622,175 grant to support the Scholarships for STEM Program (S-STEM), which provides scholarships for academically talented, economically disadvantaged high school seniors who major in one of the following STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines–astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geology, marine science, mathematics and physics. The application deadline is April 15, 2015.

UH Hilo Moniker

Raina Ivanova, UH Hilo professor of mathematics, principal investigator and director of the program, said, “The S-STEM Program will provide much needed support for our deserving students who have demonstrated academic potential, but due to financial difficulties might not be able to consider a college degree. We are excited to be able to help our talented youth and enable them to pursue meaningful careers in STEM here in Hawaiʻi.”

S-STEM Program details

The S-STEM Program will provide each scholar with a $20,000 scholarship for four years of undergraduate studies (up to $5,000 per year), provided that the student maintains good academic standing and remains a STEM major. The program will also integrate and expand existing educational services for STEM students at UH Hilo.

Students will be selected on the basis of academic potential, motivation and interest in the STEM disciplines, as indicated by their high school GPA, standardized test scores, a letter stating interests and letters of reference.

Academic support services for the program include:

  • Faculty mentoring
  • Peer-tutoring for introductory STEM courses
  • Summer and academic year research support on campus
  • Opportunities for research internships
  • Advising and support to participate in summer research programs at U.S. mainland universities
  • Participation in a newly established freshman STEM course
  • Opportunities to present research in campus-wide, state and regional venues
  • Participation in a community service program in which students will provide math and science tutoring for K–12 students

To apply go to the S-STEM Program website.