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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Seeks Students for Kaha Kiʻi Art Competition

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced that she is accepting submissions from Hawaiʻi high school artists in the 2nd Congressional District for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition:

Hayden was awarded a cash prize at the capital for his artwork in elementary school.

“Every year, I’m impressed by the talent and creativity of Hawaii’s young artists,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has hosted the Kaha Kii Art Competition for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. “This competition is a great platform for our students to showcase the beauty of our islands and communities from their unique perspective to people from across the state and in our nation’s capital. I’m grateful to the fine arts educators who inspire our young artists every day and encourage them to participate in activities like the Congressional Art Competition.”

The deadline to submit artwork to the competition is March 6, 2017. Semi-finalists will be announced March 18th and semi-finalists’ artwork will be hung at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on Saturday, April 1st. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will announce the winning pieces at an awards ceremony on May 13th at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol, along with winning artwork from all other congressional districts around the country that participate in the nationwide competition.

Interested applicants can find complete details regarding the competition by clicking here.

Hawaii County Nominations Sought for UH Board of Regents

The Candidate Advisory Council (CAC) of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has re-initiated the recruitment process for a Hawaiʻi County seat on the Board of Regents. Nominations are now being accepted for an interim appointment to the Board of Regents, to begin upon approval and ending on June 30, 2018. Candidates must reside in Hawaiʻi County.

Application materials, procedures and descriptions of regent’s responsibilities are available online at http://www.hawaii.edu/rcac. This information may also be requested by calling (808) 692-1218 or by email at borapp@hawaii.edu.

Applications must be completed and received by CAC by Monday, February 27, 2017.

Members of the UH Board of Regents as well as the Candidate Advisory Council, who represent various constituent groups, serve voluntarily and are not paid.

The advisory council was created by Act 56, 2007 Hawaiʻi Legislature, in conformity with the amendment to Article X, Section 6 of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution ratified by the voters on Nov. 7, 2006. The council is tied to the University of Hawaiʻi for administrative purposes. In 2013, Act 72 was passed to further define the candidate advisory council.

Eight members, including one ex officio, comprise the advisory council. They establish the criteria for qualifying, screening and forwarding candidates for membership on the UH Board of Regents. The council advertises pending vacancies and solicits and accepts applications from potential candidates.

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls for University of Hawaii Consolidation of Administration

Representative Kaniela Ing, a member of the House Higher Education Committee, responded to University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s decision to end the search for a Chancellor of the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus with a call to consolidate the administrative offices.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing stated that regardless of what Lassner intended, his decision to cease the search for a new chancellor raises some important questions on the efficiency and redundancy in the University of Hawaii’s administration.

“If the president or his administration can provide the services assigned to the chancellor, and the university can still function, why does the chancellor’s office even exist in its enormous capacity? This points to a probable waste of taxpayer and student tuition dollars,” Ing said.

Ing noted a stark change between his time as the Student-President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH) in 2009 and his experience as a legislator today.

“I always felt that the University of Hawaii administration was top-heavy,” Ing said. “When cuts were needed, students and faculty suffer through tuition raises and slashed salaries, while the administration remained bloated. President Lassner’s leadership, through his dual-capacity as Chancellor, has resulted in much greater efficiency.”

Ing is currently writing a House Concurrent Resolution calling for a study to explore the cost savings and other benefits of consolidating the chancellor and president’s offices. Ing claims that this is how the UH administration was structured for most of its existence.

“Tuition and taxes keep rising, making it harder for everyday people to get by. I just want to make sure that working folk’s hard earned dollars are ending up where it counts, and not being wasted in redundant, wasteful, administrative expenses,” he said.

“The last full-time chancellor made nearly $439,000 dollars a year before benefits. Imagine how many students that money could help?”

Hawaii Ranked 1st Nationally in School Internet Connectivity

Hawaii’s public school system is the top ranked school district in K-12 broadband connectivity according to the 2016 State of the States annual report released by EducationSuperHighway, an advocacy group dedicated to upgrading Internet infrastructure in K-12 public schools.

“In 2014 we accomplished our goal to deliver Wi-Fi to all public schools statewide, which was a huge undertaking by our Office of Information Technology Services and Office of School Facilities and Support Services,” noted Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work of our teams have paid off and we’re very proud to be recognized as number one in the country for our Wi-Fi connectivity.”

From 2010 to 2015, the Hawaii State Department of Education increased its broadband at schools from 0.3 gigabytes/second to 8.0 gigabytes/second.

“Having access to the Internet allows our teachers to enhance classroom lessons and gives our students vast digital learning resources that make learning an interactive, hands-on activity. Complete connectivity is a large step forward towards 21st Century Learning initiatives and preparing our students for college and careers,” added Superintendent Matayoshi.

Hawaii’s national No. 1 ranking is based on full 100 percent scores in the report’s four criteria:

  • Connectivity, reflecting the percentage of school districts meeting 100 kbps per student;
  • Fiber, reflecting the percentage of schools with fiber optic connections needed to meet bandwidth targets;
  • Wi-Fi, reflecting the percentage of school districts reporting sufficient Wi-Fi in all classrooms; and
  • Affordability, the percentage of school districts maximizing their bandwidth within set budgets.

EducationSuperHighway is a non-profit advocacy group focused on providing equal access to high-speed broadband for all K-12 public school students.

Kupu Receives National Recognition with 2017 Project of the Year Award

Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, received The Corps Network’s 2017 Project of the Year Award at The Corps Network 2017 National Conference in Washington, D.C., last night. Kupu is one of four organizations in the nation, and the only in the state to receive this prestigious accolade. This year’s award recognizes the Kupu’s critical role in establishing youth-focused programming at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Kupu Receives The Corps Network 2017 Project of the Year Award in Washington, D.C. (L-R: Janice Kim, Kim Matsukawa, Kana Smith, Matthew Bauer, Bettina Mok, Luella Costales, Marie Walker)

“This award is a true celebration of our incredible team and partners, who helped strengthen our impact and create a robust platform of educational opportunities at last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “When we focus our efforts in elevating our youth, we’re establishing a new generation of stewards that will lead our communities towards a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Kupu played a significant role in developing and launching various youth-based programs during the 10-day conference, which helped to engage over 1,500 students from more than 20 countries throughout the world. The Congress included 10 education-focused events, including: He Puko’a Kani ‘Aina – Biocultural Conservation Stories from Pacific Island Youth; a youth symposium; student-guided media workshops; and eco-system restoration projects. In addition, Kupu kicked off the inaugural IUCN Students’ Day: Hawai‘i Youth Challenge 2020, which brought together 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers throughout the state. The program included conservation-related presentations and discussions, as well as a Design Thinking workshop led by Oceanit, which encouraged students to develop collaborative and sustainable solutions for their communities.

“Hawai‘i set a precedence for engaging youth in the IUCN Congress,” said Randall Tanaka, president of the IUCN National Host Committee. “Kupu’s leadership development program is second to none, and with their experience and partnerships, last year’s Congress was the biggest and most successful youth engagement initiative in the history of the IUCN. Through their efforts and our partners’, we were able to accomplish one of Committee’s critical priorities of building the next generation’s capacity, while integrating our unique culture and values.”

Kupu recently also helped to launch one of the 2016 IUCN Congress Legacy Initiatives – the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) is a new educational mini-grant program that provides financial support to environmental projects proposed by Hawai‘i’s K-12 students and educators. The HYSC was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

For the past decade, Kupu has served as a member of The Corps Network, which leads and supports over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps that engage participants in service projects, job training and academic programming. The organization delivers three distinguished accolades each year, chosen through a competitive nomination process: Corpsmember of the Year, Project of the Year and Legacy Achievement Awards. For more information about the organization and awards, visit http://www.corpsnetwork.org/.

Student Leaders From Hilo and Kalaheo High Schools Chosen for Week-Long Program in Washington DC

Jessica Valdez from Hilo High and Matthew Darrah from Kalaheo High have been selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program. The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C.

Jessica Valdez (Hilo High) and Matthew Darrah (Kalaheo High) Photo Credit: Department of Education

Jessica Valdez, president of Hilo High’s Student Association, and Matthew Darrah president of Kalaheo High’s Student Association, will be heading to Washington D.C. for the 55th annual Washington Week in March. The duo was selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

“Congratulations to Jessica and Matthew for being selected for this prestigious program,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This is a wonderful opportunity for these student leaders to see how their experience serving at their school and state councils could turn into a career in public service by seeing it firsthand in our nation’s Capitol.”

The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C. where they will tour the national monuments and museums, as well as have the opportunity to attend meetings and briefings with legislators, an ambassador to the U.S., a justice of the Supreme Court and other government leaders.

“I was honored to be part of the program last year. It gave me a newly found sense of confidence, and once in a lifetime experiences that I’m applying in Hawaii as a college student and intern at the legislature,” shared Zachary Espino, 2016 USSYP Hawaii delegate. “My advice to Jessica and Matthew would be to take a lot of notes, and listen and engage in conversations with the other delegates. These are students who share the same passion and drive, and are valuable connections that you may rely on down the road.”

Valdez serves as the chairperson of the Hawaii State Student Council. She was elected to this position to effect positive change and promote the voice of Hawaii’s public school students. At Hilo High, she has served as vice president, recording secretary and representative of her School Council. Valdez has also held a variety of leadership positions including chair of the Inter-Club Council, and secretary, treasurer and president of the Rainbow Friends Club, which raises money for and awareness about a local nonprofit sanctuary protecting, caring for and sheltering the community’s animals in need.

Darrah serves as sergeant at arms of the Hawaii State Student Council, the secretary of his school’s organization of clubs as well as a member and representative of state and district councils. He intends to attend the University of Florida to major in environmental studies and minor in political science, with the hopes of a career at the Environmental Protection Agency or an environmental institute.

The USSYP was established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. For more information, visit http://ussenateyouth.org.

Parker School Dedicates Athletic Field

On Tuesday, January 31 Parker School’s athletic field was named “The Goodfellow Brothers Inc. Athletic Field” in a school-wide dedication ceremony.  This special ceremony honored the fourth generation, family-owned construction company Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for their continued commitment to Parker School and the Hawai’i Island community.

Parker School administration, board members, along with Chad Goodfellow and Ed Brown both of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. unveil Parker School’s newly dedicated athletic field.

All 340 kindergarten through grade 12 students, along with current and former board members, attended the dedication ceremony held next to the school’s athletic field.  Originally constructed in 2011, Parker’s athletic field was named in honor of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its generous support of athletics at Parker School, including a newly resurfaced basketball court completed last year.

Lower school students showed their gratitude by presenting Chad Goodfellow, president, and Ed Brown, vice president of operations–Hawaii of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. with an oversized, handmade thank you card.  Upper school students presented each with a taro plant and Parker Bulls Soccer Club players gifted a signed soccer ball.

“Parker School is grateful to Ed Brown, Steve and Chad Goodfellow and Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its support of our athletic programs over the past several years.  Goodfellow Brothers Inc. isn’t just a company that focuses on making money, but making a community.  This athletic field is a testament to that generosity,” says Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster.

Parker’s athletic field is also home to the Parker Bulls Soccer Club, a player development program for youth soccer players open to the Waimea community.

UH Hilo Adds Thai University to List of Collaborators

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will expand collaborative academic and research projects in Thailand with a new exchange program agreement, made effective February 8.


Khon Kaen University (KKU) in northeastern Thailand has become the fifth Thai university to sign memorandums of agreements (MOUs) with DKICP. Other Thai schools of pharmacy with similar exchange agreements include Chulalongkorn University (2011), Rangsit University (2013), Silpakorn University (2014), and Siam University (2014).

The formal arrangement between the faculty of KKU’s pharmaceutical sciences and DKICP states that the two universities will jointly develop activities based on their academic and educational needs. Collaborations may include the exchange or research materials, support for distance learning courses, organization of joint research programs and the exchange of students, faculty and staff.

“Multiple student and faculty exchanges and visiting lecturers help us broaden our reputation for global pharmacy education and helps our students gain international, inter-professional perspectives both culturally and educationally,” DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma said. “Mutual benefits include research collaboration projects, practice and innovation collaborations, and faculty and preceptor development programs.”

Ma met with officials from KKU late last spring when she was a keynote speaker at the 2016 U.S.-Thai Consortium for Pharmacy Education in Thailand. She was able to tour multiple cities there with Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit when they met with faculty, staff, and students from colleges of pharmacy from Thailand and the U.S.

“When DKICP became a member of the US-Thai Consortium in 2014, we committed to active involvement with colleges of pharmacy in order to give and receive the most out of our interactions,” Wongwiwatthananukit said. “It allows us not only to collaborate with our Thai partners but also to increase association with top U.S. schools, such as the University of Minnesota, University of Texas and Purdue University. The momentum we generate is a good direction for our students and faculty as well as for the visibility of UH Hilo.”

DKICP and KKU also are integrated by educational agreements with the Tsuzuki Education Group. In attending the 60th celebration in Fukushima, Japan last fall, Ma met again with KKU administrators to solidify their interest in proceeding with collaborations between the two universities.

“One great aspect about all these international ties is that we can share intellectual and professional ideas in true academic format. It helps us offer a broader global experience for everyone,” Ma said.

Roosevelt High School Wins Lifesmarts Hawaii State Competition

High school teams from across the state today participated in the 13th annual LifeSmarts Hawaii competition, held at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus Center Ballroom. The game-show style competition tested students on their knowledge of personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Pete Cagianno and Moanike’ala Nabarro of KITV News served as emcees of today’s competition.”

The final four teams competing today included Maryknoll, Pearl City, Roosevelt and Waiakea High Schools.  After testing their skills through written tests, a “speed smarts” activity, and gameshow style buzzer rounds, the team from Roosevelt High School emerged as this year’s state champion. Members of the team are: Bryan Kitsu (team captain), Zeheng Huang, Hajin Jang, William Li, and Elvis Tran. The team was coached by Brian Lock.

The winner of today’s state competition will now represent Hawaii at the National LifeSmarts Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 21 – 24, 2017.

“Participation in the LifeSmarts Hawaii program has increased over the years and it is very exciting to see these students take an interest in something that will provide them with valuable real-life skills,” said Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Director Catherine Awakuni Colón.  “Congratulations to all of the teams that participated today. I wish Roosevelt all the best as they continue on to the national competition.”

“We commend all the student competitors, their parents and coaches for the time, energy and support they dedicated in preparation for today’s competition,” said Acting Securities Commissioner Henry Tanji.

LifeSmarts is an educational program that prepares students to enter the real world as smart consumers by teaching them the skills needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The program is run by the National Consumers League and locally by the DCCA Office of the Securities Commissioner, in partnership with the Hawaii Credit Union League.

Local sponsors for the Hawaii State Competition include:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Foundation of Hawaii, Inc.
  • Coastal Construction Co., Inc.
  • Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Office of the Director
  • Experian
  • Hawaii Construction Alliance
  • Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters
  • International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1
  • Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 368
  • Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3
  • Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Union, Local 630
  • Hawaii Council on Economic Education(HCEE)
  • Hawaii Credit Union League
  • Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
  • Big Island Federal Credit Union
  • CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii State Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaiian Electric Employees  Federal Credit Union
  • Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Oahu Federal Credit Union
  • Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union
  • Schofield Federal Credit Union
  • Hawaii Government Employees Association, Local 152
  • Hawaii Prince Hotel
  • HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Foundation
  • HMSA
  • OtterBox
  • Pasha Group and Pasha Hawaii
  • State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General, Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division, Community and Crime Prevention Branch
  • United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Financial Literacy Program
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE)

More information about the LifeSmarts Hawaii program can be found at www.LifeSmartsHawaii.com.

Friends of NELHA Awarded Grant for Student Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) was recently awarded a $5,000 grant by the Kona Brewers Festival (KBF) to fund tours for young Hawai‘i Island students.

“There are so many forward-thinking, innovative applications in the field of science going on here at the Natural Energy Lab,” says FON Executive Director Candee Ellsworth. “Educational tours are a great way to inform and expose local youth to opportunities in STEM careers so close to home. This funding allows us to expand our reach to be more impactful within our own community.”

In 2016, FON presented tours to over 1,300 students.

Student tours begin in the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center for an overview of the technology and cutting-edge companies in operation at NELHA’s Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park. Keiki get a lesson on green energy, aquaculture and ocean conservation. Students also visit the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant to find out how it works. Finally, tours visit a choice of another HOST site such as the Kanaloa Octopus Farm or Ke Kai Ola Hawaii Monk Sea Hospital.

Ellsworth says the grant will fund up to 250 free student tours with a matching discount through FON.

Free student tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hawai‘i school administrators or educators seeking a student tour can contact Ellsworth for details and availability.

The Kona Brewers Festival, now in its 22nd year, has donated $965,000 to Hawai‘i environmental, cultural and youth programs. The goal this year is to distribute $100,000 to 22 non-profits; all volunteer in some capacity at the festival.

“The festival is more than a fundraiser, “ says KBF Executive Director Kate Jacobson. “It’s a community celebration of sustainable practices, collaboration and responsibility to future generations.  Every ticket sold contributes to Hawai‘i’s well-being.”

In operation since 1974, FON offers three different, weekday tours for the general public: Ocean Matters, Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Aquaculture.  Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point. Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

Inaugural Maunakea Speakers Series Begins

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), in collaboration with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy, is launching a new monthly lecture series giving community members unprecedented access to scholars and their knowledge-based work. The Maunakea Speakers Series brings scholars to Hilo to present on diverse subjects including fauna, biodiversity, climate change, botany, geophysics and other topics; all components of the immense resource diversity found on Maunakea.

“Our intent is to provide thought-provoking lectures and presentations while deepening our collective knowledge and understanding of the resources on Maunakea and strengthening educational opportunities —goals we all share,” said OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata.

Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawai‘i’s Birds

The first program under the Maunakea Speaker Series kicks off with a one-hour presentation, Birds of Paradise Lost: Evolution, Extinction and Conservation of Hawaii’s Birds by Dr. Rob Fleischer, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park. Dr. Fleischer will discuss Hawai‘i’s native birds and how he and his colleagues use DNA methods to study evolutionary relationships, population genetics, diet, and the impacts and mitigation of introduced disease.

Dr. Fleischer’s Smithsonian research involves application of DNA and genetic analyses to studies in conservation, evolution and animal behavior. His research often focuses on the use of DNA and genetics to document changes in genetic variation and to study the evolutionary interactions between hosts, vectors and infectious disease organisms (such as introduced avian malaria in native Hawaiian birds).

The Birds of Paradise Lost presentation will be held on Thursday, February 9 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the UH Hilo Science & Technology Building auditorium (Room 108) and is free and open to interested community members. On-campus parking is available without charge.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation in partnership with the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. For more information visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734.

Big Island Police Initiate First-Degree Terroristic Threatening Case at Honoka’a High and Intermediate

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a first-degree terroristic threatening case in connection with a threat to Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School on Wednesday morning.

No students were injured.

In response to a 10:48 a.m. call, Hāmākua officers learned that a threatening message had been left on a voice mail message earlier in the morning.

Out of concern for the safety of the students, school officials evacuated Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School and Honokaʻa Elementary School as a precaution. The students were taken to the Honokaʻa sports complex, where parents and school buses were able to retrieve them.

Police officers and school personnel checked every classroom and building but found no suspicious items. The investigation is continuing.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call Officer Blake Ragocos at 775-7533 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Parents Asked to Provide Feedback on Their Child’s Public School

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) begins its annual School Quality Survey (SQS) this week to gather important feedback from students, parents/guardians and staff about our public schools. The deadline to complete and return the SQS is March 17, 2017. All responses will remain anonymous.

The survey provides information on how schools are doing with respect to school culture, satisfaction, safety and engagement.  The feedback gathered is used to support school planning and improvement efforts, and meet legislative and Board of Education requirements.​

  • Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will take the survey online at school, as will teachers, administrative office staff, and instructional support staff.
  • A parent or guardian of the students in the surveyed grades will have the option to take the survey online or via a paper format.  Each school communicates to parents on how to complete the SQS whether digital and/or hard copy.

“We’re hoping to get more responses from parents this year, as last year’s return rate was only 25 percent,” said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance.  “This feedback goes towards improving our schools and the learning experiences of our children and we ask parents to take the time and submit their opinions.”

The public can view the SQS for their community schools and statewide results via the Report Finder on HIDOE’s website: bit.ly/ReportFinder. Search for “School Quality Survey” and add the name of a school for school-level results.

Anyone with questions about the survey is encouraged to contact HIDOE at 808-733-4008 (Neighbor Island toll-free at 855-276-5801) or via email: SQS@notes.k12.hi.us.

University of Hawaii Keeping Close Watch on Impact of U.S. Travel Restrictions

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner and the chancellors of the 10 campuses shared a message on January 30 to UH students, faculty and staff.

UH President David Lassner

To our UH System ʻohana:

With the issuance of the recent Executive Order on travel, our first concern is for our impacted students, faculty and staff who are currently abroad or have plans to travel abroad. The situation is fluid as courts weigh in and different guidance is provided to holders of green cards. Out of an abundance of caution, the best advice as of this writing is that individuals with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or with green cards who are originally from the seven named countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) should defer travel outside the U.S.

Our international students and scholar support offices are already reaching out directly to the impacted students and faculty we know of with additional support and guidance. Faculty and scholars from across the UH System with specific questions and concerns about their situation can reach out to our Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services office. Students who have specific questions should reach out to their campus international student service office.

More fundamentally, we stand in support with the broader higher education community in our concern over the impact of this restriction on the free flow of information and ideas that is enriched by our international students and scholars. The University of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi and our nation have been immeasurably strengthened through the diversity of the students and faculty we attract. The fundamental values of our nation and our state have long supported the welcoming of others to our shores and embracing them into our communities.

Diverse knowledge, ideas, cultures and perspectives enrich us immensely as we work toward a better future for all. We will support our professional associations and colleagues who are working to promote more effective solutions to keeping our nation safe.

Aloha,
President and Chancellors

February 2017 Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017.

ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Ethnobiology of Hawaiian Feather Artifacts. Feather artifacts made by a variety of Pacific Island cultures are among the most beautiful of human creations, and it is often said that feather objects made by the Hawaiian people are the most stunning in existence. Sheila Conant, Professor Emerita of the Department of Biology at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, will discuss various types of feather artifacts, the animals and plants from which they were made and how different types of artifacts were constructed. She will also consider the possible impact of feather collection on native birds. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

  • When: Tues., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Twist a Hau Bracelet. Transform hau, used for traditional Hawaiian rope material, into a lovely bracelet, and learn how this strong and fibrous native plant has many versatile uses. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

The Hylaeus Project and the Newly Endangered Bees of Hawai‘i. Last October, seven species of Hylaeus, the yellow-faced bees of Hawai‘i, became the first bees to ever be listed as endangered. Natural historian Lisa Schonberg co-authored petitions to get them listed, and traveled to Hawai‘i with visual artist Aidan Koch. The pair documented Hylaeus from Kaua‘i to the Ka‘ū Desert via music, photography, writing and art to raise awareness of the endemic bees. Lisa will present their Hylaeus Project After Dark in the Park, an ongoing presentation series at Hawai‘i Volcanoes. Free.

  • When: Tues., Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Lito Arkangel in Concert. Entertainer and songwriter Lito Arkangel shares his original compositions and other Hawaiian favorites. Lito hails from the former sugar plantation town of ‘Ōla‘a, now known as Kea‘au. His love for Hawaiian music started as a young keiki, turning pages for his tūtū wahine (grandmother) while she played piano, and from decades of backyard jam sessions. Lito has since established himself as a popular entertainer throughout Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore the Upper Palm Trail in the park’s Kahuku Unit, and learn to weave a Hawaiian lei. Call (808) 985-6020 to register by February 2.

Families who visit Kahuku can look forward to uncrowded trails and excellent views of Kā Lae. NPS Photo/David Boyle

Bring lunch, snacks, water, light raingear, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Sponsored by the park and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Free.

  • When: Sat., Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Kahuku Unit

Weave a Tī Leaf Lei. Learn how to create a tī leaf lei, one of the most iconic and popular lei of Hawai‘i. Park rangers and staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association will lead the instruction and provide the materials. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Parent Workshop – “Social Media, Media, and Sex: Opportunities, Solutions, and Challenges Facing Kids and Teens and What Parents Can Do”

Hawaii Preparatory Academy welcomes Justine Finn, director of Relation-Shift, for a free parent workshop, Social Media, Media, and Sex: Opportunities, Solutions, and Challenges Facing Kids and Teens and What Parents Can Do.

Justine Finn

The interactive workshop, which runs about 90 minutes, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, at the schoolʻs Gates Performing Arts Center (Upper Campus). All community members are invited to attend.

“Teens in the United States spend an average of nine hours a day on a screen, not including for school or homework,” says Finn. “Socializing, exploring identity, and dating often occur between texts and social media, raising new challenges and positive opportunities.”

As young people begin engaging in romantic and intimate relationships, many experience violence, abuse, and harassment. How can parents guide, empower and mentor their children to engage in healthy media and relationship behaviors? Finnʻs workshop will reveal what children are learning about sex, gender, and relationships from social and traditional media, and will provide parents with strategies to address common problems (and opportunities) facing their children and communities.

Finn founded Relation-Shift at the Harvard Innovation Lab after receiving the 2016 Harvard Graduate School of Education Entrepreneurship in Education Award. Relation-Shift works with middle and high schools to address relationship and sexual violence amongst middle and high-school aged youth. For the past 10 years, Finn has worked to advance the equality of women and men, focusing on creating inclusive workplaces and school cultures and developing the capacity of young people to engage in healthy relationships. Finn facilitates classes, workshops, and seminars across the country on gender, media representation, and the prevention of sexual and relationship violence and bullying.

For more information, visit www.relationshiftproject.com, or call 808-881-4002.

Hawaii Keiki Caucus Sets Priorities in 2017 Legislative Package

Expanding the eligibility age for children to attend the preschool open doors program, support for teacher training on social and emotional learning, and funding to establish an after-school program for public middle and intermediate schools are just some of the measures included in this year’s Keiki Caucus Legislative Package.

Photo courtesy: House Communications

“These bills and resolutions address a variety of issues that assure Hawai‘i’s children and their families are happy, healthy and ready to learn and to succeed,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads (S Dist. 13 – Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown). “The work we do together as a caucus is an investment in our future.”

Sen. Rhoads and Rep. Matt LoPresti are this year’s co-conveners of the Keiki Caucus. Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of House and Senate members and is supported by dozens of community advocates. Since 1994, the Keiki Caucus has been working with the community to develop proposals and initiatives that address the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s youth.

“There is nothing more important in Hawaii than our keiki. As lawmakers, we need to do everything we can to protect and educate them,” said Rep. LoPresti (H Dist. 41 -‘Ewa, ‘Ewa Beach, ‘Ewa Gentry, ‘Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe). “This proposed legislation is thoughtful and proactive in reaching that goal. It’s never too early for social and emotional learning and anti-bullying education for our keiki – especially when children may be confused by current online rhetoric. They need better role models and we in the legislature can provide support to provide anti-bullying education this legislative session.

The Senate and House bills and resolutions submitted by the Keiki Caucus for the 2017 session include:

SB497/HB578  RELATING TO PRESCHOOL OPEN DOORS PROGRAM

Expands the qualifying age for the preschool open doors program to children four years old and younger.

SB 498/HB580  RELATING TO EDUCATION

Appropriates funds for the P4C Program of the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education and for teachers of the Department of Education to train with the P4C Program.

SB496/HB579  RELATING TO SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Requires the Department of Education to provide training on social and emotional learning to all youth-serving educators, health care professionals and counselors, and agencies and programs, as well as parents of students enrolled in public schools or public charter schools.  Appropriates funds to the Department of Education to conduct training on social and emotional learning.

SB499/HB581  RELATING TO THE ZERO TO THREE COURT

Appropriates funds for staff positions and various services to support the Hawai‘i zero to three court.

SB500  RELATING TO AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Establishes the R.E.A.C.H (resources for enrichment, athletics, culture, and health) program in the office of youth services to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools. Establishes that the R.E.A.C.H. program will be run by a program specialist to be appointed by the governor. Establishes a special fund to receive fees and other moneys to supplement the costs of administering and operating the R.E.A.C.H. program. Requires the office of youth services to report to the legislature.

HB577  RELATING TO A NON-BINDING REFERENDUM ON STATEWIDE COMMUNITY WATER FLUORIDATION

Proposes a non-binding, statewide referendum on whether the State should pursue policies and programs for community water fluoridation in order to improve the overall dental health of Hawaii’s children and adults.

SCR8/HCR11  ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES MED-QUEST DIVISION TO IMPLEMENT AN INCOME DISREGARD PROGRAM FOR WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES

The Med-QUEST Division of the Department of Human Services is encouraged to implement an income disregard program that will enable workers with disabilities to seek or maintain employment, while also retaining necessary Medicaid benefits and supports.

SCR9/HCR9  URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO CARRY ON ITS WORK TO BETTER ENGAGE COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HAWAI‘I’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Department of Education is urged to carry on its work to better engage community groups in the education of children and youth in Hawai‘i’s public schools.

SCR10/HCR8  REQUESTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION EDUCATION TASK FORCE

The Department of Education is requested to establish a Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Task Force.

SCR11/HCR10  ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, AND JUDICIARY TO PERMANENTLY ESTABLISH AND ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION IN THE HAWAI‘I INTERAGENCY STATE YOUTH NETWORK OF CARE TO BETTER SERVE YOUTH AND FAMILIES WITH COMPLEX NEEDS IN THE STATE

The Department of Education, Department of Health and Department of Human Services are encouraged to form the Hawai‘i Interagency State Youth Network of Care (HISYNC) to increase collaboration among state agencies and to develop a system of care for children, youth and families.

SCR12/HCR7  URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO EXAMINE THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE PRESCHOOL OPEN DOORS PROGRAM TO ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL FAMILIES

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is urged to examine the application process for the preschool open doors program to ensure accessibility for all families. DHS is also encouraged to consider a paperless or other, cost-free application process that is accessible for all families.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Kona Boy Missing Since November

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing.

Thomas Salonia

Thomas Salonia was last seen November 7 in Kona.

He is described as 5-foot-5, 125 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Invasive Beetle Species in Hawaii Can Now Be Identified Faster With New Genetic Test

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a new genetic-testing method for identifying the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle, which promises to be much faster than existing physical identification methods. The new tool, reported in the Journal of Economic Entomology, could be a significant step toward keeping the species–a damaging pest to coconut palm trees that was first seen in Hawaii in 2013–from becoming widespread.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle and a similar species, oriental flower beetle, are nearly indistinguishable until they’ve grown to their later life stages, which makes early detection difficult. Currently, egg or larvae samples from the field had to be raised in a lab until their third life stage, which could take several weeks, before insect scientists could determine which species they were looking at.

However, a genetic testing method known as a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, can be used to identify the species with genetic material extracted from samples of the beetles’ eggs, larvae, or excrement. Researchers Shizu Watanabe, Ph.D., and Michael J. Melzer, Ph.D., of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, at UH identified genetic markers in the beetles’ DNA that can be used for differentiation via the test. Once samples are received in the lab, the PCR assay can be conducted in just a few hours, Melzer says.

The new method will help “ensure that eradication efforts are being directed at coconut rhinoceros beetle and not oriental flower beetle. This assay will help to prevent any misidentification in the field,” Melzer says. “Such misidentifications might result in resources targeting oriental flower beetle, or worse, ignoring a coconut rhinoceros breeding site because the specimens discovered were identified as oriental flower beetle.”

“For species that require highly technical expertise for identification, molecular assays represent a reasonably straight-forward approach for identification, either as stand-alone assays or in parallel with morphological identification,” Watanabe and Melzer write in their article. “For pests of regulatory concern, rapid and accurate insect identification is essential, and molecular assays can address these needs.”

Open Application Period Underway for Preschool Open Doors Program

The Department of Human Services encourages families to apply for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program, which is currently open until Friday, March 31, 2017.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation during July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

This program, which currently serves more than 1,500 children statewide, provides child care subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life.

To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year (born between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013). Families are reminded that a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Families may choose any one of the 433 state-licensed preschools. Underserved or at-risk children receive priority consideration for the POD program, and funds are limited.

Interested families may request an application from the Department’s POD contractor, PATCH, by visiting www.patchhawaii.org or calling 791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620.  PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by March 31, 2017 to be considered during the July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 program period. Applications should be dropped off, mailed, faxed, or emailed to the following:

PATCH – POD
560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI 96817
Fax: (808) 694-3066
Email: PODAdmin@patch-hi.org

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed in HAR §17-799, which is available online at humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs. For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov