County of Hawaii Announces Summer Fun Program

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 2020 Summer Fun program will begin Monday, June 15 for a minimum of five weeks, tentatively ending on Friday, July 17.  

The program will run from 8 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday and include a snack and take home-lunch. Enrollment is open to children who have completed 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th grade this past school year. The program will be hosted at 13 park facilities around the Island.  There is NO CHARGE for this program.

Enrollment will begin on Wednesday, June 3 at 7:45 a.m. and close on Thursday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. Enrollment will be accepted from parents/guardians via electronic submission at or by calling the Recreation Division at 961-8740 (During business hours only: 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Note: information left on voicemail will not be accepted.) 

Online enrollment is strongly encouraged as staff availability to take phone calls and process enrollments is limited. No walk-in enrollment applications will be accepted, participants are limited to enrolling at one site and each enrollment application allows for up to 4 children from the same household.

Participants at each site will be chosen via a random selection method as space is limited. Selected participants will be contacted by Recreation staff by Wednesday, June 10, at which time an appointment for submitting completed registration forms will be arranged.  All other enrollees will be placed on a waitlist should a program site determine it is able to expand or if prior selected participants exit the program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Summer Fun program will be significantly modified to address the health and safety of program participants and staff.  The program will adhere to all federal, state and county level rules and standard for safe operation, as appropriate. along with various applicable industries and organizations. 

This includes screening each morning prior to entry, a mandatory face mask/cover policy, physical distancing during program activities and enhanced sanitization procedures.  The State of Hawai‘i Department of Health’s “Guidelines for Child Care Facilities to Reopen or Continue Care” will be incorporated, as appropriate.

The Summer Fun program may be extended up to an additional 2 weeks, through July 31, at some or all the sites should resources become available.  Participants will be notified when a determination is made for their specific program site.

The following is a list of this year’s proposed Summer Fun program sites:

• Andrews Gym/Waiākea Waena Park
• Pana‘ewa Covered Courts / Pana‘ewa Park
• Kawananakoa Center / Hualani Park
• Pi‘ihonua Gym / Gilbert Carvalho Park
• Pāpa‘ikou Gym / Frank M. Santos Park
• Honoka‘a Gym / Honoka‘a Park
• Waimea District Park
• Ikuo Hisaoka Gym / Kamehameha Park
• Kekuaokalani Gym / Kailua Park
• Nā‘ālehu Community Center / Nā‘ālehu Park
• Rep. Robert N. Herkes Gymnasium & Shelter (Ka‘ū District Gym)
• Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility / Pāhoa District Park
• Herbert Shipman Park / Kea‘au Armory

For more information contact the Recreation Division at 961-8740 or via email at 

Grab-and-Go School Meal Program Extended at Select Sites

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Grab-and-Go school meals program will be extended at select meal sites for an extra four days beyond the end of the school year on May 28 and transition to the summer meal program which runs through July 17. The schools below will provide meals to children 18 years or younger, free of charge, regardless of eligibility for free or reduced price meals.

On May 29, some distribution sites will stop serving meals during the summer break. Kauai school sites will stop serving on May 29 and restart on Jun. 8. Sponsor sites at public agencies, churches and nonprofit organizations will begin serving meals to children at additional locations in communities to support keiki.

Parents are urged to check the revised lists below, as the Grab-and-Go sites they currently visit may be closing. Meal distribution will continue to provide grab-and-go servings in walk-up and drive-thru lines. Dine-in options will not be available. Children do not have to be enrolled at the school distribution site and do not have to be public school students.

For special diet accommodations, email

Student meals may be picked up without children present but parents and guardians must provide one of the following verification documents:

• Official letter or email from school listing child(ren) enrolled • Recent student report card(s)
• Attendance record(s) from parent portals of school websites

• Birth certificate(s) of child(ren)Student ID card(s)
• Driver’s permit/license(s) for high school students • State-issued ID of the student

DHS Releases New Guidance & Contract Opportunities for Child Care Facilities

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has released new guidelines for minimizing the risk of COVID-19 to children, staff and families when resuming or continuing child care operations. The guidelines are based on public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawai’i Department of Health.

Every child-care facility and home that continues to operate or reopens shall establish and follow written operational policies that address the guidelines consistent with Governor Ige’s Eighth Supplementary Emergency Proclamation. Minimizing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus to children in care depends on every facility and home consistently applying these public health practices.

The Guidelines for Child Care Facilities that cover public health measures include the following areas:

     1.  Cleaning and sanitizing     4.   Facility safety
     2.  Physical distancing     5.   Parent and child expectation
     3.  Health and safety     6.   Employee support

“As the state continues to re-open, we know that childcare is essential. Without a safe place for their children, many people will have a hard time returning to their work,” said Gov. David Y. Ige.

DHS Launches Contract Opportunity for Child Care Providers 

Eligible child care providers may now apply for $11.9 million of additional federal funds to increase the safety and protect the health of children in their care. Congress appropriated the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) block grant award as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March.

DHS has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Emergency Child Care Services and will award contracts to eligible providers to cover cleaning and sanitation of the child care facility or home or other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of the child care, including health and safety measures for the facility, health and safety measures for the child in care and for staff or caregivers.  All licensed and registered child care facilities and homes, as well as organizations contracted by the Department of Education (DOE) to operate A+ sites at elementary school campuses, are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020.

This RFP will help the state meet the goal of having every child care facility and home meet the standards established in the guidelines.

Documents below can be found on the DHS GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES FOR CHILD CARE FACILITIES AND HOMES DURING COVID-19 (click here) page on the DHS website.

  • The Application and Proposal form for DHS Emergency Child Care Services Contract.
  • The Agreement for DHS Emergency Child Care Services.
  • Frequently Asked Questions About the DHS Emergency Child Care Services Contracts.

“DHS values all that child care providers do for our families and children, and we recognize the vital importance of child care for Hawaii’s economic recovery. We look forward to partnering with providers as they take the necessary public health measures to minimize the risk of exposure to children, staff, and families,” said Pankaj Bhanot, director, Department of Human Services.

For more information, visit

Preschool Open Doors Program Deadline Extended to May 15th

Additional help is being offered for families in need of affordable preschool for the 2020-2021 school year.

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, DHS is extending the deadline to submit applications until May 15, 2020 for the Preschool Open Doors program.

DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot said, “During these challenging times, we will continue to serve our State with aloha. Together, we honor our commitment to supporting our collective community; individuals and families from keiki to kupuna.”

Both the application period and funding are limited, so DHS is encouraging families to apply before that May 15 deadline. To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2021-2022 DOE school year (born between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016).

If awarded a subsidy, families may use any one of the 426 state-licensed preschools. DHS also gives priority to underserved or at-risk children.

Top Youth Volunteers of 2020 Honored With $2,500 Donation for Local COVID-19 Response

Hawaii’s top two youth volunteers of 2020, Joie Agoo, 18 and Rylee Brooke Kamahele, 12, both of Mililani, were recognized this weekend for their outstanding volunteer service during the 25th annual, and first-ever virtual, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards national recognition celebration.

Joie and Rylee

In recognition of the spirit of service that they have demonstrated in their communities, Joie and Rylee – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – were also each given $2,500 to donate toward the local COVID-19 response efforts of a nonprofit organization of their choice. These funds come in addition to the $1,000 scholarship and engraved silver medallion they earned as Hawaii’s top youth volunteers of 2020.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Joie and Rylee Hawaii’s top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February.

“Over the past 25 years, this program has honored students spanning three generations, and the common thread between them has been the determination of young people to respond to the challenges of the moment,” said Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “Who better than this group of young leaders from all over the country to help identify and direct resources to community needs arising from COVID-19?”

As State Honorees, Joie and Rylee also earned an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the program’s annual national recognition events; the trip, however, was canceled due to COVID-19 and changed to a three-day online celebration this past weekend. In addition to remarks and congratulations from actress Kristen Bell, honorees had opportunities to connect with each other through online project-sharing sessions, learn about service and advocacy from accomplished past Spirit of Community honorees, hear congratulatory remarks from Lowrey and NASSP Executive Director and CEO JoAnn Bartoletti, and more.

“We admire these young leaders for their ability to assess the needs of the communities they serve and find meaningful ways to address them,” said Bartoletti. “At a time when everyone is looking for optimism, these students are a bright light for their peers and the adults in their lives.”

About the Honorees

Joie (pictured top), a member of the YMCA of Honolulu-Mililani West Oahu Branch and a senior at Mililani High School, worked with a group of friends to prepare and serve sack lunches with fresh produce once a week for 50 people who live in encampments or on the streets of her community. As members of the Mililani YMCA, Joie and her friends obtained a grant to identify a problem in their area and work to solve it. After some research, they decided to focus on providing local people experiencing homelessness with lunches containing fresh fruits and vegetables that they might otherwise not have access to. So in May of 2018, the group founded the “Houseless Project.”

Every week, the group plans a shopping trip to buy fresh food. After school on Wednesdays, they form an assembly line and prepare sandwiches, bag fresh produce, and stuff other items such as chips, fruit bars, snacks and water bottles into individual lunch sacks. They load the lunches into an YMCA bus and head to the places where they know they will find unsheltered people in need of something nutritious to eat. In addition to supplying a weekly meal to people often overlooked by others, Joie said her friends have established relationships with many of the people they serve. “It’s important for us to show them that people care about them, and that they are significant and shouldn’t be looked at any differently than anyone else,” said Joie. “We don’t just feed their stomachs; we strive to feed their hearts and souls.”

Rylee (pictured bottom), a seventh-grader at Mililani Middle School, launched initiatives that organize Christmas celebrations for children in need, facilitate a variety of volunteer opportunities for young people, and educate youth around the world about the effects of humans on the planet. Rylee grew up volunteering with her parents in a program for at-risk youth, but by age 8 wanted to start making an impact on her own. “We had to fight for me to get involved,” she said, “because programs didn’t want to babysit kids during community service.” But with a lot of persistence and hard work, she gradually persuaded charitable organizations to let her volunteer with them and recruit other young people to join her. 

From there, Rylee started an organization called “Love Is A Verb” that has organized numerous youth-run projects, including annual beach cleanups, working to protect animals, providing Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless, entertaining kids at shelters and engaging in other community service activities. Rylee also co-founded a “Secret Santa Project” to make Christmas brighter for children in need of holiday cheer. To do that, she held a donation drive and raised money to provide gifts for children staying in a shelter, and then began hosting holiday parties for them. This project has since expanded to include three shelters and one youth program, treating more than 300 kids to a memorable day with food, gifts, games, shave-ice trucks and slush machines. Rylee also co-founded “Promise To Our Keiki (PTOK)” an initiative that cultivates young leaders and raises awareness about the impact humans have on the planet. All of her initiatives are under the umbrella of “The Catalyst Club,” an organization she founded to equip young people to be agents of change.

DOH Highlights Importance of Children’s Mental Health Services for Awareness Month

May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Planning Group are highlighting special events to build awareness of the need for comprehensive, coordinated mental health services for children, youth, young adults and their families. Activities this year follow the theme: “Bringing Children’s Mental Health into Focus – Perfect Vision in 20/20.” 

“Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of ensuring access to mental health services for our keiki,” said Dr. Scott Shimabukuro, acting administrator for Department of Health (DOH) Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD). “As a result of COVID-19, the youth and families of Hawai‘i are having to adapt to unprecedented social distancing measures, and many struggle to cope with this new way of living. We want to remind families that our keiki’s mental wellness is as important as physical wellness, and to use the community resources that are available.”

Events to commemorate this year’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month have been adapted to promote social distancing and other guidelines during COVID-19:

  • A Facebook Watch Party on May 21 from 3 – 4 p.m. will showcase short films made by youth who participated online in the Reel Camp for Girls during the first week of stay-at-home orders. The mini-camp uses filmmaking to promote mental wellness. The Watch Party is hosted by Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking and will be accessible on the @HIWomeninFilmmaking Facebook page. A Q&A session with the filmmakers on Zoom will follow the showing. Email for the Zoom meeting invitation.
  • The Hawai‘i Arts Alliance and Mental Health America of Hawai‘i are hosting a Healing Arts Series called “A Look Within Through Creativity.” The series starts on May 6 and it will run every Wednesday in May at 12 p.m. For more information or to register, contact Sara Mizban at
  • Green is the color of mental health awareness, representing hope, strength, support, and encouragement for people who suffer from mental illness. In a show of support, the following buildings on O‘ahu will display green lights in recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month:
  • May 4-8: Aloha Tower; and
  • May 18-22: Honolulu Hale.

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health offers a variety of Awareness Month resources and activities to help families get involved throughout the month of May: Local resources regarding children’s mental health and evidence-based services can be found at and

If you or your child is experiencing a crisis, call Hawai‘i CARES (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System) for free, 24/7 support at 1 (800) 753-6879 or text ALOHA to 741741. For more information about the Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division’s services, visit and

Led by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Planning Group is dedicated to serving children and families and leading children’s mental health awareness efforts in our islands. Participating organizations include: The Bobby Benson CenterCenter for Cognitive Behavior Therapy-University of Hawaii at ManoaChild and Family ServiceHawaii Department of EducationEPIC ‘Ohana, Evidence-Based ServicesHale ‘Opio Kaua’iHale KipaHawai’i Women in FilmmakingHawaii Arts AllianceHawaii Families as AlliesKaeru ServicesKealahou ServicesMental Health America of Hawai’iParents and Children TogetherSutter Health Kahi Mohala and Wai`anae Coast Community Mental Health Center.

Child Care Connection Hawaii Subsidies

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for so many of us. Beyond keeping our families healthy and safe, we are all being affected economically in different ways. The Department of Human Services has made changes to one of their child care subsidies programs to help more families afford child care and reduce their expenses.

What’s Different? During this crisis, DHS is temporarily expanding eligibility for Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH). Some of the most notable changes include:

• No income cap – CCCH subsidies will be awarded to all families impacted by this emergency, with priority given to underserved and at-risk families, so long as money is available.

• Suspension of activity requirements – parents temporarily do not have to meet activity requirements to assist families who have lost jobs and are looking for new employment. • Suspension of subsidy co-payments – parents may have their family co-payment portion of the subsidy payment waived.

• Ability to hold spots – families who have kept their child at home during this crisis or whose providers have temporarily closed can still use subsidies to hold their child’s spot until their provider reopens.

These changes are meant to help families who are impacted by COVID-19. The department knows that our recovery as a community and state means that families need someplace safe to send their youngest children when parents start to go back into the office or look for new employment. Your ability to afford child care is essential to overall recovery. Please apply if you need help. Please apply if you need help paying for child care.

For more information click here.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast & Lunch Update

During the extended closure, the Hawai’i Department of Education will provide student grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at select schools to children 18 years and under. Children must be present.

The Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is working closely with the Hawai’i Department of Health (DOH) on COVID-19 guidance for our students, teachers, parents and staff.

In close coordination with DOH, existing HIDOE emergency response plans are being adapted for future implementation when needed. Detailed communications from schools are planned to keep parents notified should the situation arise.

Hawaii’s Public Schools Unveil Plans for Class of 2020 Graduation Celebrations

Public high schools across the state today announced the dates, times and formats of their respective alternative graduation ceremonies. The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced last week that traditional ceremonies at public and charter schools would be replaced with alternative celebrations for the class of 2020 due to safety concerns and social distancing guidance. 

HIDOE public and charter high schools have announced alternative celebrations for the class of 2020 according to safety concerns and social distancing guidance.

“Determining the appropriate ways to honor our graduating class of 2020 has been one of the top priorities for my leadership team over the past several weeks,” Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said. “While we are disappointed that traditional commencement ceremonies cannot be held due to COVID-19, the thoughtful innovation and care with which our schools and community partners have come together has been inspirational. Mahalo to all of the individuals and organizations who are continuing to work behind the scenes to make the 2020 graduation ceremonies truly special.” 

Schools have started to share logistics details with parents and guardians. An overview of statewide commencement celebrations is below. The list will continue to be updated on the Department’s website as more details become available. For more information, families are encouraged to contact their child’s school directly.

Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Kaimuki High
Principal: Jamie Dela Cruz

Senior count: 143
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony streamed and aired on select media outlets.

Security will be in place.
McKinley HighPrincipal: Ron Okamura

Senior count: 356
May 24Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed.  

Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers and security will be in place.
Roosevelt HighPrincipal: Sean Wong

Senior count: 309
May 20Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed.  

HPD officers and security will be in place.
Anuenue School
Principal: Christopher Yim

Senior count: 18
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.

Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Farrington High Principal: Alfredo Carganilla

Senior count: 556
May 23Virtual.Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed and broadcast on select media outlets.
Kaiser HighPrincipal: Justin Mew

Senior count: 277
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony  streamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.
Kalani HighPrincipal: Mitchell Otani

Senior count: 304
May 30Virtual. Produced video will be streamed via select media outlets. 
Hawaii School for the Deaf & BlindPrincipal: Kinau Gardner

Senior count: 9
May 27Virtual.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Leilehua HighPrincipal: Jason Nakamoto

Senior count: 332
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place. 
Mililani HighPrincipal: Frederick Murphy

Senior count: 638
May 17Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Waialua High & IntermediatePrincipal: Christine Alexander

Senior count: 100
May 23Drive-in theater program and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Aiea-Moanalua-Radford Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Aiea HighPrincipal: David Tanuvasa

Senior count: 256
May 20Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Moanalua HighPrincipal: Robin Martin

Senior count: 510
May 22-24Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Radford HighPrincipal: James Sunday

Senior count: 294
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Pearl City HighPrincipal: Joseph Halfmann

Senior count: 370
May 30Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.
Waipahu HighPrincipal: Keith Hayashi

Senior count: 607
May 29Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.

Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Nanakuli High & IntermediatePrincipal: Darin Pilialoha

Senior count: 

May 31Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.
Waianae HighPrincipal: Disa Hauge

Senior count: 370
May 22 and May 27-28.

Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup from May 27-28.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.

Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Campbell HighPrincipal: Jon Henry Lee

Senior count: 687
May 15Virtual.Livestreamed via select media outlets.
Kapolei HighPrincipal: Wesley Shinkawa

Senior count: 460
May 31Virtual.Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.

Castle-Kahuku Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Castle HighPrincipal: Bernadette Tyrell

Senior count: 253
May 23Virtual.
Kahuku High & IntermediatePrincipal: Donna Lindsey

Senior count: 211
May 21Drive-through diploma-cover pickup.HPD officers and security will be in place.

Kailua-Kalaheo Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Kailua High

Principal: Stacey Oshio

Senior count: 202
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Kalaheo HighPrincipal: James Rippard 

Senior count: 186
May 26-27Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Olomana SchoolPrincipal: John Secreto 

Senior count: 0
No seniors this year.

Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Kau High & Pahala ElementaryPrincipal: Sharon Beck

Senior count: 42
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Keaau HighPrincipal: Dean Cevallos

Senior count: 233
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Pahoa High & IntermediatePrincipal: Darlene Bee

Senior count: 85
May 24Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Hilo HighPrincipal: Jasmine Urasaki 

Senior count: 265
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.

Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed.  

Security will be in place.

Waiakea High Principal: Kelcy Koga

Senior count: 336
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.

Virtual ceremony will be streamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.

Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Honokaa High and IntermediatePrincipal: Rachelle Matsumura

Senior count: 120
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Kealakehe HighPrincipal: Glenn Gray

Senior count: 229
May 23Virtual.
Kohala High

Principal: Amy Stafford

Senior count: 58
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed. 

Security will be in place.
Konawaena HighPrincipal: Shawn Suzuki

Senior count: 187
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Virtual ceremony will be livestreamed. 

Security will be in place.

Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Baldwin HighPrincipal: Keoni Wilhelm

Senior count: 292
May 21Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.

Livestreamed via select media outlets.

Security will be in place.

Kekaulike High Principal: Amy Strand 

Senior count: 242
May 20Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Maui High Principal: Jamie Yap

Senior count: 420
May 17Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup. Security will be in place.

Hana-Lahainaluna-Lanai-Molokai Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Hana High & ElementaryPrincipal: Christopher Sanita

Senior count: 23
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Lahainaluna HighPrincipal: Jeri Dean

Senior count: 209
May 24Virtual and pending details for additional plans. 

Streamed via select media outlets. 

Lighting of the “L” on Puʻu Paʻupaʻu on May 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Lanai High & ElementaryPrincipal: Elton Kinoshita

Senior count: 39
May 23Virtual. 

Seniors will be pre-recorded for graduation video.
Molokai High Principal: Katina Soares

Senior count: 73
May 23Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Kapaa-Kauai-Waimea Complex Area

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Kapaa HighPrincipal: Thomas “Tommy” John Cox

Senior count: 234
May 22Virtual and drive-in theatre program followed by diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place. 
Kauai HighPrincipal: Marlene Leary

Senior count: 272
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.
Waimea HighPrincipal: Mahina Anguay

Senior count: 155
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Charter Schools

SchoolDateCommencement ModelAdditional Details
Connections PCSPrincipal: John Thatcher

Senior count:  26
Hakipuu Learning Center PCSPrincipal: Michael Nakasato

Senior count: 4
Halau Ku ManaPrincipal: Keolani Noa 

Senior count: 14
May 23Virtual.
Hawaii Technology Academy PCSExecutive Director: Stacey Bobo

Senior count: 122
May 27Virtual.
Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science PCSDirector: Steve Hirakami

Senior count: 55
May 22Virtual.
Kamaile Academy Principal: Paul Kepka

Senior count: 31
May 21Virtual.
Kanu O Ka Aina PCSPrincipal: Allyson Tamura

Senior count: 13
Kanuikapono PCSPrincipal: Kanoe Ahuna

Senior count: 3
Kawaikini PCSPrincipal: Kalae Tanaka

Senior count: 6
Ke Ana Laahana PCSPrincipal: Mapuana Waipa

Senior count: 7
May 24Virtual.
Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau PCSDirector: Meahilahila Kelling

Senior count: 2
May 23Virtual.
Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha PCSDirector: Tia Koerte

Senior count: 2
May 26Virtual.
Ke Kula O EhunuikaimalinoPrincipal: Keli‘ikanoe Mahi

Senior count: 10
May 22Diploma-cover pickup.

Kihei Charter School PCSHead of School: Michael Stubbs

Senior count: 48
May 29Virtual.
Kua O Ka La PCSPrincipal: Kapoula Thompson

Senior count: 5
Kula Aupuni Niihau PCSDirector: Hedy Sullivan

Senior count: 1
Laupahoehoe Community PCS Director: Kurt Rix

Senior count: 12
May 22Virtual.
Myron Thompson AcademyPrincipal: Diana Oshiro

Senior count: 25
May 29Virtual.
University Laboratory SchoolPrincipal: A. Keoni Jeremiah

Senior count: 48
May 22Virtual.
West Hawaii Explorations PCSDirector: Heather Nakakura

Senior count: 34
May 22Virtual and drive-through diploma-cover pickup.Security will be in place.

Hotline Available for HIDOE Student-Related Health Questions & Telehealth Visits

Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) students and families will have access to a new health hotline and telehealth services provided by the Hawai’i Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program (HK), effective Friday, May 1. These new services will deliver equitable access to health resources and care for HIDOE students using mobile devices and interactive technology.

A partnership between HIDOE and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, the HK program offers school-based health services during the academic year and provides nursing coverage to every complex area in the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic moving classes to online learning, HK will offer a no-cost health hotline and telehealth visits as an extension of services provided to students in the traditional school health room.

“This partnership helps to ensure continuity of care for public school students during this unprecedented health crisis,” Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said. “Students and families can call the health hotline from anywhere. They will receive health guidance and may be scheduled for a telehealth visit when appropriate. Students will be referred to the appropriate medical and/or mental health care when indicated.”  

The health hotline can be reached at (844) 436-3888 (toll free) and is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays. HIDOE students and families who call the hotline will speak with an HK registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (APRN). The nurse will perform a basic triage assessment over the phone regarding the caller’s health concern or question about their child. The caller may receive basic health advice or information and, with parental consent, the student may be scheduled for a telehealth visit with an HK nurse practitioner. Nurses staffing the hotline have been working in schools statewide and are familiar with many families and students. Families may request to make an appointment with a specific HK nurse practitioner.

Callers scheduled for a telehealth visit with an HK nurse practitioner will receive a link by email or on their mobile phone prior to the visit. To connect with the nurse, the caller simply clicks the link.

Telehealth is the safe and confidential delivery of health care services using interactive technology. Students’ information will be kept private in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines. At a minimum, callers will need access to a telephone.

The health hotline and telehealth visits will be provided at no cost to HIDOE students. Families with medical insurance will be asked to provide their insurance information, but HK will not bill or collect co-pays from families.

In the last decade, telehealth has been integrated into school-based health care. “Nationally, many school-based health centers have transitioned to telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Margo Lalich, HK executive director. “Health hotlines and telehealth are innovative ways to continue to provide safe, quality care to students while they are away from school.”

HK nurses will screen for general health concerns and can connect students with other service providers such as HIDOE support staff such counselors, social workers, school psychologists or other medical referrals.

The health hotline and telehealth visits do not replace a student’s primary care provider but provide families with an alternative way to access health services while supporting social distancing. HK will be sending a note to primary care providers for the telehealth visit. By calling the health hotline, HIDOE students and families can be assured they will speak with a nurse who will answer health questions about their children.

UH Ventures Accelerator Announces Companies in Spring 2020 Cohort

The UH Ventures Accelerator, powered by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE), selected five Hawai‘i startups for its spring 2020 cohort. Designed for early-stage, University of Hawai‘i-affiliated ventures across 10 campuses, the accelerator provides tailored mentorship, intensive startup education and seed funding. Four of the five startups selected address challenges associated with COVID-19.

Five startup companies were named to UH Ventures Accelerator’s spring 2020 cohort.

“When we selected the companies at the end of last year, we had no idea that our reality would be so different today,” said PACE Executive Director Peter Rowan. “It’s exciting to be able to assist these promising startups scale their solutions to solve real challenges we’re facing because of COVID-19. The team of instructors, mentors, advisors and speakers we assembled bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help this cohort gain traction and realize their potential.”

“During the application and selection process, we were most encouraged by the diversity of startups being built by students, alumni, faculty and staff across the 10 campuses within the UH System,” said UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization Interim Director Steve Auerbach. “We look forward to supporting more entrepreneurial activity to help our economy get back on track after the current crisis.”

The companies chosen for the spring 2020 cohort:

Hawaii Innovation Lab – Led by Hawaii Natural Energy Institute post doctoral fellow Arif Rahman, the company develops low-cost, liquid metal, optical coating for flexible mirrors. 

Pharmacist First – Led by Shidler MBA alumnus Colby Takeda, the company provides a telehealth service that partners a clinical pharmacist team with primary care providers to better manage chronic disease.

Radial3D – Led by Shidler alumnus Evan Young, the company delivers 3D clinical lab experiences to medical schools online.

RendezView – Led by PhD computer science student Alberto Gonzalez, the company offers an online meeting platform that helps remote workers collaborate, create and edit in sync. 

Selective HA – Led by Honolulu Community College student Zoe Pastorfiled-Li, the startup began in 2019 and aims to utilize fashion waste and other aloha wear fabrics to make reusable, fashionable face masks. 

More information and applications for the next cohort are available at

DOE Adds Schools to List of ‘Grab & Go’ Meal Locations

The Department of Education announced that 19 school locations have been added to the current list for pickup of “grab and go” meals for all public and charter school students.

Parents or caregivers who pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m.-8 a.m. and lunch 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday through Friday. For food safety, meals must be consumed by either 10 a.m. (breakfast) or 2 p.m. (lunch).

There will be no personal interaction between DOE employees and the community. All meals are placed in containers. Meals will be located outside of the cafeteria, preferably closest to a driveway or natural access point on the campus.

** This information below was revised April 6, 2020

Board Approves HIDOE’s Request to Modify Graduation & Requirements

The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously voted today to approve the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) request to modify high school graduation and commencement requirements under Board Policy 102-15 for the graduating class of 2020.

This approval means the Department will be able to move forward with finalizing a graduation plan that principals, complex area and state leadership have been developing over the past two weeks. The plan recommends utilizing grades from the third quarter, which ended March 13, to determine the final grade for student courses.

For students who do not meet proficiency, an extension or other options will be available, and further considerations are being made for students within block or multi-track schedules. The plan also includes additional considerations for academic honors including Advanced Placement (AP) assessments, International Baccalaureate (IB) assessments and dual credit as well as workforce opportunities like Career and Technical Education and military designations. 

The full plan will be released early next week pending a final review and approval by Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto.

“Adjusting to this global crisis has required school districts nationwide to rethink how education is delivered. We understand that students, families and our teachers want answers and we’re hoping that today’s decision will provide some closure as the Department will now be able to move forward with sharing and implementing plans for the remainder of the school year,” BOE Chairwoman Catherine Payne said. 

There are currently 11,183 seniors, with approximately 90% eligible to graduate on time based on third quarter grades, which are still being processed. The Department is starting to identify and categorize students into four bands to provide necessary supports. 

  • Band 1: Students who are on track and will receive a diploma based on their third quarter grades. Enrichment and learning opportunities will continue to ensure they are ready for post-secondary opportunities. 
  • Band 2: Students who are not meeting proficiency based on their third quarter grades. They are targeted for intervention and remediation to help them graduate on time. These individualized plans will be developed at the school level. 
  • Band 3: Students who are not meeting proficiency based on third quarter grades and are unable to achieve proficiency during the fourth quarter time period. Supports being proposed include providing summer school or e-School options.
  • Band 4: Students who were failing by the end of the first semester and are unable to achieve proficiency during the fourth quarter and with summer options. Administrators, counselors and teachers will work directly with these students and their families to develop a personalized plan. 

“Our priority from the start of this crisis has been our students, staff and their families. Developing this plan was a heavy lift by school and complex leaders and was done so with guidance from our federal, state and county partners,” added Kishimoto. “This waiver does not relax our standards. It provides the flexibility to ensure our eligible seniors graduate on time and smoothly transition to their chosen path after high school.”

The Department will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a decision by April 15 regarding commencement ceremonies. School, complex area and state teams have started discussing alternative means of celebration in the event traditional ceremonies cannot be held. 

The BOE also unanimously voted to approve the Department’s waiver request to cancel federally required statewide standardized assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. This includes Smarter Balanced Assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics, Hawaii State Science Assessments and Biology 1 end of course exams; Hawaii State Alternate Assessments; and the Kaiapuni Assessment Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO). The public can submit comments until April 10 regarding this waiver through an online survey here. For more information as well as the anticipated impact, click here

School facilities have been closed to students since March 19, with traditional, in-school instruction temporarily discontinued until at least April 30. All HIDOE employees continue to work remotely with the exception of those who are considered essential and must perform their duties at a campus or office.

Schools have launched distance learning opportunities and/or learning packets were distributed via email, school websites and some in-person. Work packets will not be graded, but many teachers are identifying unique ways to provide feedback to students. The Department has also stood up a resource for parents available HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at

Hawaii’s First Virtual Hackathon

Billed as the Aloha State’s first virtual hackathon, more than 45 students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) and Hawaii Community College (HCC) will compete to develop app based solutions for lava recovery efforts from the 2018 Kilauea eruption. The hackathon will take place April 4-5, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 pm each day and present $5,000 in cash prizes to winning teams.

“While our hackathon was originally planned to take place on the UH Hilo campus, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced what is normally a live invention event to adapt as a 100 percent remote experience,” said Jason Ueki, Executive Director of the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan). “We selected, an online collaborative invention platform for students to run our hack on. With BizzyB, we’ve realized that we can connect students and mentors in deeper and more efficient ways as well as ensure more comprehensive coverage of innovate on concepts. This takes hacks and STEM education to new heights. I’m convinced that BizzyB represents the future of education, irrespective of the current Coronavirus threat.”

The goal of any hackathon is to challenge students to address real-world problems, in this case, conceptualizing app-based solutions to support the Kilauea Volcano eruption recovery effort facing Hawaii County. Teams will create app concepts with the potential to become real startups. By participating in hands-on concept development activities, students will learn creative problem-solving and other “Soft Skills” that are increasingly demanded in the business world.

“When schools began closing due to Coronavirus, we made BizzyB entirely free for the rest of the school year,” says BizzyB author and Bizgenics Foundation Chairman Steve Sue. “The HIplan Hackathon is a smart, forward-looking application of BizzyB’s Contest Module that was created to serve in-class challenges, hackathons, business plan competitions and accelerators. We’re happy to support HIplan and other producers of innovation-based learning programs.” 

BizzyB’s approach combines self-directed learning, 4Cs learning (Creativity, Critical-Thinking, Collaboration & Communication), STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). The result is an online innovation Concept Canvas where student teams collaborate on five essential themes of an innovation project. This canvas supports remote collaboration via sidebar comment channels, built-in feedback surveys, pitch deck builder and showcase presentation functions. Mentors can view team content and advise remotely from anywhere, anytime. Team members also experience corporate leadership roles serving as facilitators of the five themes. 21st Century Soft Skill measurement standards are measured in the system by pre- and post-project user surveys. Outcomes are reported through contest public pages and through individual student portfolios that feature project summaries, awards, certifications, badges and Soft Skill assessments.

Student admission to the hackathon is free, with signups available on a first-come basis. Educators are invited to watch the live showcase via video conference Sunday, April 5, 2pm Hawaii Standard Time. A recorded version of the showcase will be published following the event. For information, visit https://

The event is being sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, County of Hawaii, UH Hilo, and HCC. It is being produced by HIplanand the nonprofit Bizgenics Foundation.

Judges include State Senator Russell Ruderman, Dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services at HCC Melanie Wilson, Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at HCC Shawon Rahman. Mentors include Director of Accelerator Operations at Elemental Excelerator Sherrie Totoki in San Francisco, Americas Advisory Learning Leader Louise Lorton of Ernst & Young in North Carolina, and a team of coders in Bangladesh. Facilitators include local entrepreneur Mike Nakamura, former tech executive Wayne Morris, and retired tech professional Walter McCoy.

DOE Expands Grab-and-Go Student Meal Program

The Hawaii Department of Education has expanded the Grab-and-Go Student meal program to the following schools:

Note that breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to noon. For food safety, meals must be consumed by 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

New Funds to Assist UH Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation and University of Hawaiʻi have partnered to establish two new funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help those on our campuses.

“As we adjust to a new reality amid concerns about the novel coronavirus, friends and alumni have been asking us how they can help,” said University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner. “Many of our funders and donors have reached out expressing concern for the welfare of our students. They also want to hear what UH is doing on the research front to participate in the fight against COVID-19.”

Urgent Student Relief Fund

The Urgent Student Relief fund supports students statewide.

In times of emergencies like this, some students at UH’s 10 campuses find themselves in urgent financial distress. The usual pressures of finishing the semester are exacerbated by the pandemic’s pervasive upheaval of routines and constant concern for family and friends.

Financially, many UH students who are already living on a shoestring are even closer to the edge. Students relying on jobs for tuition are being laid off. Others need childcare as schools temporarily closed, access to computers as classes moved online, transportation when living arrangements shift and food when their meals off campus may be in doubt.

“The type of assistance our students need is evolving, but UH is ready to respond,” said Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Hae Okimoto. “Additional resources will support our students to stay on track with their academic journeys so they can help us build the strong economy of tomorrow.”

COVID-19 and Infections and Emerging Diseases Research Fund

UH researchers are working fervently to detect, prevent and cure COVID-19, and other infectious and emerging diseases in the islands and abroad.

Among other efforts, scientists at the John A. Burns School of Medicine are expanding ongoing development of heat-stable vaccines for viruses, to include coronaviruses causing COVID-19. Success means rapid, efficient manufacturing of vaccines with broad application for the general population, including our children and seniors. 

Our experienced UH scientists are also working on the development of processes for rapid screening and surveillance of COVID-19 in the islands and abroad.

Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO said, “Our donors and community want to be part of the global solution. As the nonprofit that raises funds to support UH students and research, we are committed to supporting our community in every way we can. We are all in this together.”

More information is available at the UH Foundation website.

School Facilities Closed to Students Through April 30

School facilities closed to students through April 30 with the exception of grab-and-go meal sites

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today school facilities will remain closed to students through April 30, based on the latest guidance and information from health officials and elected leaders. Traditional, in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen. 

“I want to thank each and every one of the Department’s 44,000 employees for working in new ways during these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “These are uncertain and anxious circumstances for everyone in our communities and we sincerely appreciate your patience as our response to this health crisis continues to evolve and we make the needed adjustments for health and safety.”

The Department, along with charter schools, will be sending out information about enrichment opportunities, including online resources and printed material resources such as instructional packets. Parents and guardians are encouraged to look out for information from their child’s school and teachers. Tips and tools gathered by HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design are also available for the public at

Special education services
Schools will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the same enrichment opportunities as their peers. Schools are working toward providing the most appropriate modifications and accommodations under the circumstances. Related services that can be provided via telepractice will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students who have qualified for these services. When school resumes in its traditional manner, Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 teams will meet to determine if there was a loss of skills as a result of the extended school closure, and the need for compensatory education. 

Grab-and-go meal school sites
Nine additional sites will begin breakfast and lunch service Wednesday, March 25. Parents and caregivers who come to pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child. Meals will not be served Thursday, March 26, which is Prince Kuhio Day. For the complete list of sites, click here. 

By the end of this week, the Department will be sharing specific plans to ensure its 10,000 eligible high school graduates can earn diplomas. The Department will also provide next-level information based on the planning work accomplished by schools, complex areas and state offices for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We remain focused on and committed to our educational mission and we look forward to resuming instruction and a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible,” Kishimoto added.

HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at

HIDOE Receives Approval to Cancel Federally Mandated Testing

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced an opportunity for states to apply for flexibility around federal assessment and accountability requirements due to COVID-19 impacts. Within hours of filing with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) received notification that its expedited waiver request was approved.  

HIDOE’s expedited waiver allows for the cancellation of federally required assessments for the remainder of school year 2019-20. This includes Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics; Hawaii State Science Assessments and Biology 1 end of course exams; Hawaii State Alternate Assessments; and the Kaiapuni Assessment of Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO).  

“At this time, the top priority of our haumana and staff should be staying healthy and adapting to their new learning environments,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “In these unprecedented times with rapidly changing conditions, the Department’s efforts are focused on helping students continue to learn and grow through alternative instructional delivery methods.” 

The Hawaii Board of Education will be discussing the federal waiver at its April telemeeting. More details and an opportunity for public comment will be available here.

Administrative Leave Offered to County Workers

In a memo from Mayor Kim to Hawaii County Department and Agency Heads sent on Friday, March 20, 2020, Mayor Kim authorizes Administrative Leave due to closures of Schools or Child Care Facilities because of the current COVID-19 emergency.

Administrative leave of up to 14 calendars days was authorized.

HI DOE Extends Spring Break for ALL Public Schools

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) is extending its spring break through March 27 for all public and charter school students. The Department will use the additional time from March 23-27 to plan for implementation of social distancing within the school setting, arrange for professional development to support modified operations, and thoroughly clean schools.

Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle and Holomua Elementary will be off multi-track schedules for two weeks from March 16-27. Normal school operations for all schools are expected to resume Monday, March 30. Spring break was originally scheduled to run from March 16-20 for most HIDOE schools, and Thursday, March 26, is Prince Kuhio Day, which is a state holiday.

“We understand the impact this will have on our families. This was not an easy decision to make but we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and the broader community while carrying out our educational mission,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “Public schools serve as hubs of care in our communities, from access to health care to providing free and reduced price meals. We intend to restart school immediately once it is deemed safe to do so to reduce disruption to our school communities and provide consistency for our children.”

All planned school and Department-coordinated events of more than 100 attendees are being canceled, effective Monday, March 16, until updated guidance is provided by health officials. Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified; scheduling announcements will be made at a future date.

Official updates will continue to be posted on HIDOE’s website and social media.