EPA Awards $200,000 to Children’s Defense Fund – Will Advance Environmental Stewardship on the Big Island

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $200,000 to the Children’s Defense Fund for their “Mauka to Makai” project designed to improve environmental education in their summer learning centers and partner schools on the Big Island.
EPA LOGOThe “Mauka to Makai” (Mountain to Sea) project will incorporate environmental themes across all core and non-core academic subjects with an emphasis on resource management and habitat restoration.

“We’re pleased to be part of an environmental education effort highlighting flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The “Mauka to Makai” stewardship will increase the protection of Hawaiian ecosystems from threats like invasive species, climate change, and habitat loss.”

Using a combination of student learning experiences, professional development for classroom educators, and strengthened partnerships linking public schools and local environmental agencies, the project will implement an environmental education model to increase community-wide knowledge of important environmental issues and foster the skills needed to help students, educators, families and the community make decisions about environmental responsibility and stewardship. The Mauka to Makai project aims to increase environmental knowledge on the Big Island by educating more than 7,000 students, providing professional development to over 100 educators, and supporting community projects through sub-awards.

The larger goal is to make the Mauka to Makai a model program that can be replicated across the nation with local partners and national experts. The project can be replicated with a similar focus on land to water resource issues or its focus can change with geographic location to highlight the regional environmental priorities of any given area.

The EPA Environmental Education Model Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness about environmental issues and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Mauka to Makai project is one of two projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that received an environmental education grant.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since July

8/28/14 UPDATE – Hawaiʻi Island police have located 16-year-old Shania Akiona of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing.

She was found unharmed in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday evening (August 27).

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

Shania Akiona

Shania Akiona

Shania Akiona was last seen in Kailua-Kona on July 8.

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with long black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Governor Releases $39 Million for Facility Improvements at UH Campuses

As the fall semester kicks off, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $39 million to the University of Hawaii (UH) System for capital improvement projects (CIP) at various campuses.

abercrombieheader“These projects, at campuses from Lihue to Hilo, are long-term investments in our state university system, an anchor of our island community,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “They address needed repairs, maintenance and upgrades to ensure functional academic environments and accessible, affordable higher education opportunities for the people of Hawaii.”

$29,000,000 – Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements, statewide – Construction funds for health and safety projects at UH Manoa and UH Hilo. Projects at UH Manoa include accessibility improvements, sewer and storm drain upgrades, health and safety improvements at Lyon Arboretum, and walkway upgrades. Projects at UH Hilo include a lead roof replacement of Hale Kehau, a Kawili Street pedestrian overpass, an emergency shelter, traffic safety improvements at Panaewa Farms, sidewalk/crosswalk upgrades at Kapiolani and Lanikaula Streets, and emergency generators.

$10,000,000 – Minor CIP Projects for Campuses of the Community College System, statewide – Design and construction funds for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of UH Community College (CC) campuses, including the renovation of the cafeteria at Honolulu CC, refurbishment of Ohia Auditorium at Kapiolani CC, renovation of the Diamond Head portables at Leeward CC, renovation of storage space to science lab/classroom at Hawaii CC, renovation of the former Ceramics Building at Maui CC, and renovation of the Fine Arts I Building at Kauai CC.

Medical Grants Available for Children in Hawaii

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan or TRICARE.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have TRICARE or a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.UHCCF.org, and there is no application deadline.

In 2013, UHCCF awarded more than 1,700 medical grants, worth $5.6 million, to children and their families across the United States for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy.

UHCCF was founded in 1999. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 7,500 medical grants, totaling more than $23 million, to children and their families across the United States.

“Thousands of children struggle every day for something many of us take for granted – our health. That reality is the driving force behind UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation’s mission to help families in need access medical care that will improve their child’s health. Our medical grants have already helped thousands of children in need, and we are looking to help thousands’ more children in the future,” said David Heywood, president, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawaii.

New children’s book to raise funds

To help raise funds for its child medical grant program, UHCCF has published a new children’s book, “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” – the second book in the Oliver & Hope series.

Oliver

The new 32-page hand-illustrated book continues the story of Oliver the lovable bear and Hope the spirited butterfly as they join their friends Millie the barn owl and Chewie the English bulldog for their first camping trip. The night is filled with amazing discoveries and silly games that make the shadows a little less scary and the adventure a lot more fun. The book follows last year’s award-winning book, “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure.”

Both “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” and “Oliver & Hope’s Amusing Adventure” are available on Amazon.com for $13.95 each. The first 250 people who purchase an “Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars” book will receive a Chewie the English bulldog plush toy, to be shipped separately.

Proceeds from UHCCF products, including the Oliver & Hope books, help fund UHCCF grants that help families pay for children’s medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by commercial insurance. Also, organizations and private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.UHCCF.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

Both books were written and illustrated by Meg Cadts and Samantha Fitch. Meg Cadts is the pen name for the UHCCF team of writers and contributors.

The Oliver and Hope characters also host their own page on the UHCCF website, Oliver & Hope’s Clubhouse (www.UHCCF.org/oliverandhope), which features free audiobook versions of the books, activities and games.

For more information on UHCCF and to visit the clubhouse, visit www.UHCCF.org.

 

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 15-Year-Old Puna Boy

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Puna boy who was reported missing.

Fernando K. Lopez

Fernando K. Lopez

Fernando K. Lopez was last seen at his Hawaiian Paradise Park home on Friday (August 15). He is described as Hispanic, 5-feet tall, 175 pounds with short black hair. He was last seen wearing blue shorts, shoes without socks and no shirt. He has a tattoo across his upper back that reads “Lopez.”

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 island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

All Public Schools Resume on Monday Except Waiakea High

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will resume regular public school schedules and student activities on Monday, Aug. 11, with the exception of Waiakea High.

DOE ReleaseDozens of DOE schools served as emergency shelters from Thursday, Aug. 7 through Saturday, Aug. 9. An estimated 400 individuals sought shelter at Waiakea High during those days. Waiakea High staff will report to work on Monday to get the school back in order for students’ return on Tuesday.

“Our employees, especially our Complex Area Superintendents and principals worked around the clock in caring for students and school communities during the stormy weather,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We appreciate their dedication in going above and beyond to help with the emergency needs of our communities.”

Hawaii Island facilities reported minimal damage due to strong winds; however, most of DOE facilities were not affected by the storm.

DOE officials continue to monitor Hurricane Julio, which is north of the state. Keep up to date with DOE’s latest announcements at HawaiiPublicSchools.org or on Twitter at @HIDOE808.

For information on Charter Schools, visit http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov/ or charter school parents are advised to contact their child’s school.

Hurricane #Iselle School Closures and Emergency Shelters Being Set Up

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is scheduling closures at designated public schools in advance of storms Iselle and Julio.

DOE ReleaseOn Thursday, Aug. 7, all public schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) will be closed. All other public schools will remain open and continue their regular school schedule and afterschool activities.

School closures are being made according to the storms’ paths and in preparation of designated emergency shelter sites.

“The force of these storms remain uncertain, however, we do not want to wait until last minute to close our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, many of our schools are designated emergency shelters and it is necessary to prepare these facilities as the storms approach.”

State and County Civil Defense officials expect Iselle to impact Hawaii Island and Maui County (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) on Thursday. Julio is forecasted to impact the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6: The following Hawaii County public schools, which are designated emergency shelters, will close at 2 p.m. This means all afterschool activities for students and staff are canceled at these schools, as well as any scheduled public meetings:

  • Laupahoehoe
  • Kohala High & Elementary
  • Kealakehe High (pet friendly)
  • Konawaena High (pet friendly)
  • Hilo High (pet friendly)
  • Waiakea High (pet friendly)
  • Keaau High (pet friendly)
  • Pahoa High & Intermediate (pet friendly)
  • Honokaa High & Intermediate (pet friendly)
  • Kau High (pet friendly)
  • Waikoloa Elementary

THURSDAY, AUG. 7: All public schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties (Maui, Molokai, Lanai) will be closed.

FRIDAY, AUG. 8: The schools in Hawaii and Maui Counties that are designated emergency shelters will remain closed on Friday. The Hawaii County schools are listed above, Maui County designated shelters are:

  • Baldwin High
  • Lokelani Intermediate
  • Kekaulike High
  • Hana High & Elementary
  • Molokai High
  • Kilohana Elementary

In Hawaii County, three complex areas serve more than 23,000 students: Hilo-Laupahoehoe-Waiakea (7,864), Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena (10,167), Kau-Keaau-Pahoa (5,414). There are more than 21,000 students in Maui County on three islands. Statewide, the DOE serves about 185,000 students at 289 public schools and charter schools.

DOE officials continue to meet with State Civil Defense and are closely monitoring the storms’ patterns. Information regarding public schools and afterschool activities will be announced as needed.

For updated information, follow the DOE on Twitter at @HIDOE808.

HI-PAL Seeking Teams for Upcoming “Click It or Ticket” Tournaments

HI-PAL is seeking teams interested in playing in “Click It or Ticket” 5-on-5 basketball tournaments August 30-31 at Pāpaʻikou Gym and September 12-14 at Waiākea Uka Gym.

HI-PAL LogoBoth 5-6 division and 7-8 division teams are being sought for the August tournament. Both 9-10 division and 11-12 division teams are being sought for the September tournament.

Deadline to enter and submit all completed forms to participate in the tournament is September 1.  The age cut-off for the tournaments is December 31, 2014. Players are allowed to play on only one team per division.

All HI-PAL roster, waiver and seat belt forms are required for participation.  Interested teams may contact HI-PAL at 961-8121 to register.

Groundbreaking Held for $22.3 Million Pahoa District Park

The biggest single investment in recreational opportunity in Hawai‘i County history is coming to Lower Puna, following a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the $22.3 million Pāhoa District Park.

Photo Op

Photo Op

Mayor Billy Kenoi, Councilmembers Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern and County officials joined members of the Puna community to kick off the project, which will provide more recreational opportunities than ever before to the fastest growing region of Hawai‘i Island.

“We are committed to giving the families of Puna access to first-class recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Kenoi. “The facilities in this park will be safe places for our kids to learn good sportsmanship and teamwork, and to stay active and healthy.”

This $22.3 million, year-long project to deliver a district-level park to Lower Puna will include a covered playcourt building, two baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas. Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site immediately.

“This wonderful sports facility is going to really, truly benefit our children,” said Kel Lee, president of the Puna Panthers Pop Warner Football Association. “It’s a dream come true for Pāhoa.”

“Building this park, making this a better place for our children, is a collaborative effort,” said Councilmember Zendo Kern, who represents District 5 (Puna Mauka) and remembers playing in the existing Pāhoa Park as a youngster. “It was never a matter of if, and now it’s a matter of getting it done.”
Pahoa Park Rendering

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing facilities that include the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, Pāhoa Senior Center, and Pāhoa Skate Park.

“This park will be a place for our community to play, bond, and build memories for generations to come,” said Councilmember Greggor Ilagan, who represents District 4 (Puna Makai).

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

UH Hilo Trio Receive Scholarship Honors

Three University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students, including a pair of incoming freshmen, are among the 2014 recipients of two prestigious UH System scholarships.

UH Hilo Moniker

Brenna Usher and Ashley Laybon received the Regents Scholarship, which is awarded to 20 outstanding freshmen who earn minimum combined scores of 1950 on all three sections of the SAT test or 29 on the ACT, maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in academic subjects in high school, and whose extracurricular achievements are shown to be remarkable.

Usher, a Hilo High School graduate from Kea’au, maintained a 3.70 GPA and will major in Linguistics. Laybon, who will major in Biology, graduated from Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama, where she earned a 3.91 GPA.

Kendra Fujioka of Kurtistown is among this year’s recipients of the Presidential Scholarship, presented to 10 college juniors with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 for all college-level work, a record of sustained progress in academic courses, and evidence of superior academic achievement or creative endeavor.

Fujioka graduated from Hilo High School in 2012 with a 4.03 GPA and has maintained a 3.91 GPA at UH Hilo. She enters the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the fall.

Both awards include full tuition waivers and $4,000 a year for the length of the scholarship, along with a one-time travel grant of $2,000. The Regents Scholarship is a four-year award, while the Presidential Scholarship is for two years.

Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach Program

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is pleased to announce that it will begin its Marine Debris Keiki Education & Outreach “MDKEO” program on Hawaiʻi Island this Fall.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

Handpainted keiki output from the HWF workshop at the “GEMS” (Girls Exploring Math & Science) program in Keauhou last year. Photo by M Lamson/HWF

This program will bring two marine science mentors into 20 different elementary schools (K – 5th grade classrooms) to introduce topics like ocean circulation, marine ecology, and human impacts (like marine debris).  Mentors will work with receptive Hawaiʻi Island teachers to coordinate relevant student activities that meet the math and science benchmarks and “Common Core” standards for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education for each grade level.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point.  Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

HWF works with Imi Pono No Ka ‘Āina group from Kaʻū to float microplastic debris from the beach sand at Kamilo Point. Photo by M Lamson/HWF.

These in-class lectures will conclude with student presentations of potential solutions to reduce marine debris here in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere throughout the Pacific Basin.

The program will culminate with a family “Beach Cleanup Day” at local marine debris hubs like Kamilo Point (Kaʻū), Pololu (North Kohala), Kānekanaka Point (South Kohala), Cape Kumukahi (Puna), Kaipalaoa (Hilo), and Oʻoma (Kona).  This MDKEO program began with financial support from a HWF t-shirt fundraiser and will now be sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

“Microplastics” photograph given with permission by HWF volunteer Sean P. King.

For more info about this marine debris prevention program or to sign up a classroom, please contact Catherine at spina.HWF@gmail.com; and for more info about volunteering for our next Kaʻū coastal cleanup event, contact Megan at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com  or 808/769-7629. Find additional resources and details about HWF’s ongoing conservation projects online at www.wildhawaii.org.

Successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp Concludes

A successful 2nd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp concluded Thursday, July 24, attracting nearly 150 keiki athletes and coaches to the four-day skills camp held in Hilo.

Can you find my son?

Can you find my son? (Click to enlarge)

Boys and girls 9 to 17 years old received personalized instruction from legendary former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo basketball Coach Jimmy Yagi, who helped guide the Vulcans-Hawai‘i Basketball School for 37 years.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation offered the camp for the first time in 2013 to honor Coach Yagi and provide a low-cost, end-of-summer program for kids to learn basketball fundamentals.

Teenage campers again played at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, while preteens were assigned to the Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts. Shooting, defense, proper basketball stance, footwork, dribbling, and teamwork were among the lessons taught to the keiki, who displayed their skills during games played each afternoon.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks Coach Yagi, lead clinician Bill O’Rear, UHH men’s basketball Head Coach GE Coleman, UHH women’s basketball Head Coach David Kaneshiro, Honoka‘a girls basketball Coach Daphne Honma, the County’s Mass Transit Agency for use of a bus, and all the other coaches who volunteered their time and expertise to help the keiki athletes.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Pāhoa District Park Project Groundbreaking to Be Held July 31

A public groundbreaking ceremony for the Pāhoa District Park project will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the park.

Pahoa Park Rendering

Join Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council members Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, Parks Director Clayton Honma, and other dignitaries as they signify the start of the biggest recreational project in Hawai‘i County history. The $22.3 million, yearlong construction project will more than double the size of Pāhoa Park and deliver increased recreational opportunities to one of Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.

Refreshments and light pupu will be served.

Contractor Nan, Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site on August 4. During the following 12 months, it will construct a covered play court building, two lighted baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, one of which will be lighted for nighttime use, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking areas.

Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing 15 acres of developed recreational facilities that include a 50-meter swimming pool, community center, senior center, and skate park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Resource Caregivers Receive Increased Board Payments

Families that care for children placed with the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Service (CWS) Branch will receive a foster board pay increase, effective July 1, 2014. Called resource caregivers, families will receive their first increased payment in August.

Department of Human Services

To ensure that resource caregivers receive the funds necessary to provide safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children awaiting permanent placement, the DHS requested a legislative appropriation of $8,502,936 in 2014. The budget request was passed in its entirety as part of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s 2014 executive budget package.

“Hawaii’s rate increase is based on the DHS’ review of foster care rates and practices in 46 other states,” explained DHS Director Patricia McManaman, “and the benefits that Hawaii resource families currently receive in addition to tax-free monthly foster care payments.”

Children enter and exit the foster care system throughout the year. They can remain in resource family homes for days, months, or years in some cases. While siblings are often placed together, resource families also may care for two or more unrelated children.  In 2013, the average number of children per month in resource homes was 1,096.  In June 2014, a total of 1,156 children were in foster care across the State.

Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, was a strong supporter of increasing foster board payments.  “The bill is a huge step forward to help support the foster families that are integral members of our communities.”  Her Senate counterpart, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland agreed.  “I am very happy with the passage of this legislation and am grateful to the Department of Human Services, Governor, Legislature, advocates and foster families for this team effort!”

The increase in basic board payment also applies to families eligible for adoption assistance, permanency assistance, youth receiving higher education board allowance payments, and to young adults who choose to enroll in DHS’ new program of extended Voluntary Care to Age 21.

Foster board payment rates vary across the nation. Hawaii based its new rates on an age-tiered system indexed to documented costs contained in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families annual report.   The monthly per child payment to Hawaii resources caregivers has been increased from a base rate of $529 to $575 for 0-5 year olds, $650 for 6-11 year olds, and $676 for children aged 12 and above.

Similar to other states, Hawaii’s resource caregivers also receive QUEST health insurance benefits for their foster children, difficulty of care payments, and a clothing allowance. Difficulty of care payments are provided to resource caregivers that support children who require more intensive physical, emotional, psychological or behavioral care and supervision, as determined by a treating professional.

Resource families also are eligible to receive special circumstances or events payments, designated transportation costs (school bus fare or private car mileage, local bus fare) that effect child placement or promote family reunification, and $500 per child per year for extracurricular activities, social activities, hobbies, and camp funds.

Reimbursable costs include attendance at authorized meetings, respite care and child care coverage, limited liability insurance training, and  enhancements necessary for the child’s growth and development (e.g. Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, community soccer, community baseball, community swimming, Boys and Girls Clubs).

To learn more about becoming a resource care giver or attending one of the statewide informational briefings, please visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/ssd/home/child-welfare-services/foster-and-adoptive-care/ 

DOE Releases Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Copies of the policy are available at public schools.

Children from households with income at or below the following levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals:

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2014-2015) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and social security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a social security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Name of Hearing Official: Glenna Owens, SFA Director
Address: 1106 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816

Phone Number: (808) 733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845

In certain cases foster children are also eligible for school meal benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for them, the household should contact the school for more information.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

Report Shows Access Learning Pilot Enhances Teaching and Student Learning

A first-year report on the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) Access Learning pilot presented to the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) today shows the initiative is helping to reduce burden on teachers, increase student engagement and responsibility, and improve parents’ support of public schools.

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

Last year, the DOE unveiled Access Learning, a pilot project to study the impact of technology and digital curricular resources on teaching and learning, at eight schools. This initiative takes advantage of ongoing Department efforts such as new technology for learning while addressing challenges facing our public schools. Access Learning does not focus on the device, rather on how technology can be a tool to support teachers’ efforts to personalize instruction and engage students.

Monanalua Middle School Principal Lisa Nagamine told the BOE, “Access Learning has enhanced the collaborative learning environment of our school.”

Moanalua Middle is one of the eight Access Learning schools that has incorporated technology for learning at all levels within its campus, not just the student level.

“The dedication and commitment by the school leaders, staff, and students allowed us to see the full potential of this initiative and its impact on student learning,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We appreciate their input and based on the positive results, hope to increase access to digital learning in all schools in the near future.”

Information and data collected from the eight Access Learning schools from October 2013 through April 2014 revealed:

  • Teachers use computers in a wide variety of ways to improve job performance and teaching – and that usage has increased since an initial survey was done last fall.
  • Teachers believe access to technology will benefit English language learners and special education students.
  • Students reported having positive experiences with the program. More than 90 percent of students surveyed say laptops make schoolwork more interesting and better prepare them for the future.
  • Students reported computers help them to be more organized and finish work more quickly and with better quality. Access to technology also made assignments a lot more fun by creating blogs, slideshows, movie trailers, and usage of other media.
  • Laptops allowed for better peer collaboration during project work and completing homework.
  • Parents believe computers help students gain a better insight into the happenings of the classroom and learn essential skills to compete globally.

“The 1-to-1 laptop program has improved education opportunities for students,” noted one parent. “The school has finally caught up with private schools.”

“I have seen increased student engagement in classwork because their computer allows them to have a ‘voice’ at the same time as everyone else. Less students are distracted or off task. (This) has allowed students to work more collaboratively in and out of the classroom setting,” one teacher reported.

The 2013 Legislature appropriated $8.2 million to the DOE for the pilot, which funded computers for teachers and students, technical support, professional development, and also helped offset curriculum and implementation expenses. In addition to Moanalua Middle, Access Learning pilot schools include Keaau Elementary and Pahoa Elementary, Mililani Mauka Elementary, Mililani Waena Elementary, Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary, and Nanakuli Intermediate and High.

Pilot schools received devices for every student and teacher equipped with Hawaii Common Core-aligned digital curriculum for English Language Arts. The DOE partnered with county police departments to safeguard the computers, all of which are equipped with advanced security tracking software. As a result, the schools reported a combined theft and loss rate of only six computers (less than 1 percent).

Due to funding requirements, the Department was given a very short window to implement the initiative and the report noted those challenges. Teachers expressed frustration with limited time for professional development sessions. View the full report here.

During the past legislative session, DOE requested funding for ongoing Access Learning technical assistance and professional development. The budget request was denied; however, DOE officials worked with and received approval from the BOE to expend funding to continue technical assistance for the pilot schools through FY15. The funding request to the BOE will provide customized professional development for schools, overall and school specific program evaluation for formative purposes, and support for project management. For more information about the program, see the DOE’s Access Learning page.

Free Kids Sports Physicals Available July 19th

Keiki up to 18 years old can receive a free sports physical on July 19 in Hilo under a partnership between Hawai‘i County, the nonprofit For Hearts and Souls and Sportz Viz.

countylogo

The “No Athlete Left Behind” sports physical program will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at Pana‘ewa Park. Lead physician Dr. Kirk Milhoan, a Maui pediatric cardiologist and medical director of For Hearts and Souls, will perform sports physicals and echocardiographic screenings to rule out hidden conditions that could cause sudden cardiac arrest during strenuous activity.

Sportz Viz will take reservations for 25 athletes for each of four, two-hour blocks. Walk-in patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Parents must bring the appropriate physical form for their child’s school or association.

Tax-deductible donations will be accepted and used to provide cardiac care to children throughout the world.

To reserve a space or obtain more information, please contact Thane Milhoan of Sportz Viz at (808) 938-6805 or info@sportzviz.com.

Hawaii State Department of Education Receives ESEA Flex Extension

As a sign of its continued confidence in the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), the United States Department of Education (USDOE) has extended the DOE’s waiver from some components of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

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The ESEA Flexibility Waiver includes the Strive HI Performance System, which replaces the NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress system and its other obligations around college and career readiness and teacher and principal evaluations.

“The extension validates our work thus far in our efforts to transform public education in Hawaii,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, it recognizes our strategic plan moving forward as we work tirelessly to elevate student achievement, and prepare all of our students for post-secondary success.”

The DOE initially applied for the waiver in September of 2012, and on May 20, 2013, it received conditional approval for one year – for the School Year 2013-14. Under the conditional approval, the DOE had to meet certain conditions to be granted an extension for a second year, for the School Year 2014-15. Among the conditions the USDOE required of the DOE for an extension was clear and compelling evidence of the DOE’s substantial progress with its Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. On July 29, 2013, the DOE was cleared entirely from “high risk” status with its RTTT grant.

The Strive HI Performance System not only reflects the State Strategic Plan, it aligns and connects with state education policies and initiatives including the Hawaii Common Core, updated assessments, more rigorous diploma and graduation requirements, successful school improvement strategies in the Zones of School Innovation and robust teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

More about the DOE’s Strive HI Performance System can be found here.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Keaau Girl

Hawaii Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Keaau girl who was reported missing.

Zeana Chong

Zeana Chong

Zeana Chong was last seen in Hilo on May 23. She is described as 5-foot-2, 180 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her 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. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

New Summer Program for Teens at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Teens will have an opportunity to soar at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s new cross-cultural Aviation Adventure program scheduled to launch this July. The three-day/two-night program will provide a sweeping view of aviation, from ancient Hawaii up to the present day. Two dates are available to choose from: July 15~17 and July 22~24, Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9am to 4pm.

Teen Aviation Program

Aviation Adventure is designed to immerse teens in the rich history of Ford Island and Pearl Harbor, as well as the science, technology, engineering and math concepts of aviation. Hands-on, practical experiences bring these principles to life in the Museum’s historic hangars and aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. This cross-cultural program is open to teens who have completed the basic Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Flight School program, or those who are at least 13 years of age. They will be joined by teens of the same age, from China. Overnight accommodations are provided onboard the Battleship Missouri.

Cost of the three-day program is $300, which includes all materials, meals, snacks, overnight accommodations, and an Aviation Adventure logo tee shirt.

For more information and to register for Aviation Adventure go to www.PacificAviationMuseum.org/Education/AviationAdventure or email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org.