Hawaii, Mexico Students Explore Volcano in Virtual Field Trip

Clad in their fiery red uniforms, Keaau Elementary students stand at the edge of Kilauea Volcano and lead a chant in honor of the goddess Pele as they prepare to hike down the Big Island crater. Across the Pacific Ocean, students from Peterson Schools in Mexico City rise in their classroom, reciting the same Hawaiian words as they watch steam billow from the crater’s vents and listen to the gusty trade winds through a live video feed.

Dr. John Bailey with Keeau Elemantary students at the crater rim.

Dr. John Bailey with Keeau Elemantary students at the crater rim.

Dozens of public school students took part in a virtual field trip on Monday to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the latest example of how the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is using technology to innovate and expand learning opportunities at home and abroad.

Virtual ClassChildren from Nanakuli Elementary’s Immersion program (Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Nanakuli), Hale Kula Elementary and University Laboratory School also experienced the sights and sounds of Kilauea volcano, thanks to Keaau students and staff who wore Google Glass to broadcast their excursion online. The public and more than 50 educators worldwide were able to engage in the field trip, which was in part recorded from the students’-eye view via the “Grab & Go Glassroom” – a wired pack projecting a feed from the students’ Google Glass view into a livestream.

Virtual Class3

The DOE’s own digital curriculum program, known as Access Learning, has allowed eight pilot schools – including Keaau and Nanakuli – to explore exciting lessons that go beyond textbooks and classroom walls by equipping students with laptops and training teachers on the latest educational tools.

In February, for example, University Laboratory students live streamed their field trip to Honolulu Zoo to the laptops of Keaau Elementary students. Children from both schools partnered to produce videos and other projects about birds they saw at the zoo.

On Monday, Keaau students returned the favor by bringing other students along as they kicked off their volcano adventure by meeting with Matt Patrick, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

Hawaii and Mexico students quickly peppered Patrick with questions: “How do you know when volcanoes will erupt?” “What do you have to study to become a volcanologist?,” and “What’s the speed of lava?”

Students virtually joined their Keaau classmates on a bus ride to the volcano, then performed a chant together before watching their descent into the crater.

During a question-and-answer period, a Peterson Schools student remarked the experience “was awesome” because it allowed him to “see the things that we don’t have here in Mexico.”
Virtual Class2
University Laboratory teacher Marybeth Baldwin said students use Google applications to do homework, peer edit and collaborate on projects.  Her class will use the information from the volcano field trip to learn a new storytelling tool, called Tour Builder, which lets students create interactive maps of places around the world.

“They will take their own information, their pictures, links, and any text that they write, to build a map and – just like Google Earth – drop a pin with all the story they want to tell,” Baldwin said.

For more photos of today’s event, visit https://www.facebook.com/HIDepartmentofEducation.

Big Island to Launch Global Virtual Studio Transmedia Accelerator

Beginning April 11th, 2014 Global Virtual Studio (GVS), in partnership with the County of Hawaii and the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), and Creative Industries Division (CID) is set to launch the GVS Transmedia Accelerator.

Hawaii entrepreneurs in the creative industries are often forced to take their talents outside of Hawaii to create intellectual property (IP), only for it to be owned by someone else. The traditional Hollywood model is being challenged by the accelerator model, a disruptive concept empowering the creative entrepreneur to own their IP.

This cutting-edge initiative will empower Hawaii’s creative minds to realize and launch original transmedia franchises for commercial audiences with an investment of $50,000 and mentorship to each selected startup franchise.

Accelerator

The founder of the GVS Transmedia Accelerator is Big Island raised and Konawaena High School graduate, David L. Cunningham, a seasoned filmmaker in both independent and studio arenas. Cunningham made one of Hawaii‘s first independent films, “Beyond Paradise,” as well as the World War II drama “To End All Wars,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, filmed on Kaua’i. Cunningham says, “As a studio filmmaker I was constantly trying to find ways to live and work in the Islands. My wife and I wanted to raise our kids in the same environment we were fortunate to have. Dramatic shifts in the entertainment industry have now made it possible for myself and other filmmakers to work from our home state.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi stated, “The Accelerator Program will be the anchor activity of Honua Studios, newly established in Kailua-Kona with support from the Hawaii County Council. We envision this new facility being a creative hub to attract and support entrepreneurs and industry professionals and increase the number of productions here on Hawaii.”

The Accelerator is part of a surge of activity supported by the HI Growth Initiative (led by HSDC President, Karl Fooks) and Chief Officer of CID, Georja Skinner. Programs like Blue Startups, Hawai’i International Film Festival’s (HIFF) Creative Labs and more are designed to create a synergistic environment statewide.

The GVS Transmedia Accelerator will accept six entrepreneurial teams into the intensive program each year and will provide them with the seed capital and world-class mentors to develop their startup franchises into successful businesses. The goal is to see the best up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Hawaii reach their potential right here in the state.

Cunningham and several other active innovators, including Ralph Winter (Producer of “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” movies); Mike Frank (Co-founder of Level 3 Communications) and Grant Curtis (Producer of the “Spider-Man” Trilogy, “Oz: The Great and Powerful”) and others will serve as advisors.

The application period for the Program begins April 11th and the Accelerator is slated to launch its first cycle in June 2014. Qualifying applicants must have a commercially viable startup with at least three revenue-generating media platforms. For more information, contact accel(at)globalvirtualstudio(dot)com or visit http://www.globalvirtualstudio.com.

U Drive U Text U Pay – Big Island Police Increasing Enforcement of Distracted Drivers

Hawaiʻi Island police will increase enforcement of distracted driving as part of a national campaign called “U Drive U Text U Pay” which runs April 10 through April 15.

UDriveUTextUPayDistracted driving is a problem of national concern. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds that the task of driving requires a driver’s full attention in focusing on the roadway and driving maneuvers. Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the driver’s risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road or hands off the wheel.

On July 1, 2013, the State of Hawaiʻi enacted law prohibiting the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle (with certain exceptions) and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming and e-mailing, which take a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road and hands off the wheel.

Spot the International Space Station Tonight in Hawaii

If you live in Hawaii you can spot the International Space Station tonight at 7:15 PM.
International Space StationVisible: 6 min, Max Height: 40 degrees, Appears: SSW, Disappears: ENE

Parker Ranch Launches Paniolo Power Company

Parker Ranch has launched a new subsidiary, Paniolo Power Company LLC, Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch, Inc., announced today.
Parker Cows
“The preliminary results from our energy team, led by Siemens, tell us there is the real opportunity to attract capital to invest in our community grid concept,” Kuyper said.

Parker Ranch hired a consortium led by Siemens to evaluate the merits of a community-based energy solution for Greater Waimea and Kohala as well as prepare a utility-grade integrated resource plan.

Hawaii Island electric rates from Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO) are consistently more than 37 cents a kilowatt-hour, and often well over 40 cents, despite nearly half of the island’s electricity being generated from renewable sources. The national average for electricity rates last year was 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We think that the residents and businesses of the Big Island could be better served by a series of community solutions with regional level distributed generation focusing on our plentiful renewable resources,” said Kuyper.

“Because our island is so large, it is in a sense a few islands within the island.  Waimea is 55 miles from Kona and 60 miles from Hilo.  A combination of several regional solutions for the various parts of the island seems to make logical sense.”

Kuyper said that Paniolo Power has begun discussions with potential operating and capital partners to manage and fund the effort. “We are pleased and excited about the inquiries that we have received in recent months to co-invest in our concept.  My background lends itself to raise capital for these kinds of investments,” said Kuyper.

Parker Ranch will present the preliminary findings on its Integrated Resource Plan study to the Waimea Community Association Thursday, April 3, 5:15 p.m. in the Waimea School Cafeteria.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Praises Hawaii’s Education Leadership

Hawaii’s public schools can be a model for the nation, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who visited two schools today before returning to Washington, D.C. Secretary Duncan, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi spoke with media in reflecting on the progress made during the last three years based on the Race to the Top (RTTT) federal education reform grant.

 Secretary Duncan with Keith Hayashi, Supt, Matayoshi, Gov. Abercrombie in Waipahu HS aquaponics lab


Secretary Duncan with Keith Hayashi, Supt, Matayoshi, Gov. Abercrombie in Waipahu HS aquaponics lab.

“When we first did the RTTT grant, there was a huge amount of skepticism in the outside world, and frankly, internally,” stated Secretary Duncan. “Hawaii initially had its challenges; they’ve shown amazing leadership, courage and vision. I can’t overstate how important the Governor’s leadership has been…the leadership of the State Superintendent…they are a profile in courage. The only way you get better is to challenge the status quo. The only way to accelerate the rate of change is to do something different. The progress has been extraordinary. Hawaii by any objective measure – is one of the fastest improving states in the nation – top five states, that’s top 10 percent in the nation.”

Ka Waihona student (newly accepted to Kamehameha) explains kalo to Secretary Duncan

Ka Waihona student (newly accepted to Kamehameha) explains kalo to Secretary Duncan

Secretary Duncan began the day at Ka Waihona o ka Naauao, a public charter school in Nanakuli, where he learned how to pound taro (paiai) and participated in a discussion about culture-based education with stakeholders and Kirin Ahuja, the U.S. DOE’s executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Secretary Duncan pounds kalo

Secretary Duncan pounds kalo

Secretary Duncan then visited Waipahu High where he participated in a Hawaii DOE and Hawaii State Teachers Association joint-committee meeting followed by a tour of the school with Gov. Abercrombie and Supt. Matayoshi.

Supt. Matayoshi and WHS students greet Secretary Duncan.

Supt. Matayoshi and WHS students greet Secretary Duncan.

Waipahu High is the second-largest high school in Hawaii with 2,450 students. About 70 percent of its students are of Filipino ancestry, while nearly 6 out of 10 students come from economically disadvantage backgrounds. Waipahu High Principal Keith Hayashi, who was appointed in 2009, has led a tremendous academic turnaround at the school. Reading proficiency among 10th graders rose to 69 percent in 2013 from 58 percent in 2011, while math proficiency jumped to 47 percent from 26 percent. College-going rate increased to 58 percent from 49 percent during the same period.

“We are proud to share the passion of what we do here at Waipahu with Secretary Duncan,” Principal Hayashi said.

Secretary Duncan with Andrea Gurado, WHS student with full ride to Columbia University, looking at her science project exploring synthesizing molecules.

Secretary Duncan with Andrea Gurado, WHS student with full ride to Columbia University, looking at her science project exploring synthesizing molecules.

One of the students who enjoyed lunch with Secretary Duncan at Waipahu was Andrea Jurado, who recently accepted a full scholarship from Columbia University. She arrived to the islands just four years ago from her native Philippines, and since then, she has taken advantage of opportunities that have helped her excel during her four years at Waipahu. She’s participated in internships with the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in Livermore, Calif. She will also represent Hawaii at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, Calif., which is the largest science and engineering fair for high school students from around the globe.

“Waipahu is very focused on students succeeding in post-secondary life,” said Supt. Matayoshi. “The school has a great early college program, and great opportunities for students to succeed. We’re very happy that Secretary Duncan can see the fantastic work being done here by our faculty, teachers, and students.”

“I ask anybody in the state, before you make a judgment about the public schools, see what’s been accomplished in the last three years. By any outside observation, Hawaii public schools are rising, and we’re going to keep on rising,” added Governor Abercrombie.

Principal Sheena Alaiasa of Castle High in Kaneohe was one of the educators selected to meet with Secretary Duncan during his visit. As head of King Intermediate last year, Alaiasa was named the 2014 National Middle Level Principal of the Year by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“It’s great for Hawaii as a whole for the U.S. DOE to see what we’re doing,” said Principal Alaiasa. “It means a lot to our students for them to meet and greet someone of such importance.”

Hawaii is the 50th and final state to welcome Secretary Duncan during his tenure. Prior to this visit, the last U.S. education secretary to visit the islands was Richard W. Riley in 1994 under President Bill Clinton. The last federal education official to visit Hawaii was Martha Kanter, U.S. Department of Education under secretary of education, who spoke at a September 2010 higher education summit in Waikiki. Also, in December 2009, Peter Cunningham, assistant secretary for communications and outreach for the U.S. Department of Education, visited several island schools.

Big Island Television Going Digital

Big Island Television, iconic island information channel for almost 30 years, steps into the digital age on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, according to President A.D. Ackerman who founded the company in 1985.

The Big Island Television team, Vice President Noel Black-Ackerman, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Randall Quander, Office Manager Denise Lindsey, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Lyman Medeiros, "Discover Hawai'i" Hostess Cobey Ackerman, President A.D. Ackerman, Director of Sales & Marketing Rachelle Hennings-Newman

The Big Island Television team, Vice President Noel Black-Ackerman, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Randall Quander, Office Manager Denise Lindsey, Cameraman-Editor-Producer Lyman Medeiros, “Discover Hawai’i” Hostess Cobey Ackerman, President A.D. Ackerman, Director of Sales & Marketing Rachelle Hennings-Newman

Known for in-depth visitor information, as well as historical and cultural programming, Big Island Television (BITV) in its new digital format, will move from Channel 9 to Oceanic Time Warner Cable Channel 97.6 and Channel 130.

Customers are advised that if their TV cable goes from the wall directly to a newer television with an internal digital receiver, BITV can be located with a simple, one-time “channel search” from the television’s menu options.  The scan will quickly locate BITV on Digital Channel 97.6.

Those customers with an Oceanic Cable Box, will find BITV on Channel 130; a channel scan is not needed.

“Now, in this new environment, video images of our people, places, culture and history, will come to life like never before,” said Ackerman.  “People who live here say all the time that they watch BITV, and we hope they will continue to watch and enjoy the experience even more.  We have new programming every single week—and for me, I know I’m always finding something new to learn about our island home.”

Original weekly programs on BITV include “Hawai‘i At Its Best,” a one hour circle island tour, that highlights each district and businesses it contains, and “Discover Hawai‘i,” featuring in-depth interviews with interesting residents, chefs, artisans, musicians, community leaders and more.

Locally owned and family operated, Big Island Television offers 24/7 programming that highlights the unique culture, history and natural wonders of Hawai‘i Island, along with shopping, dining and activity options for visitors and kama‘āina.  An extensive video collection is available online at www.YouTube.com/user/BITVHAWAII and www.BigIslandTV.com.

For more information call 808-322-3672, click www.BigIslandTV.com, watch Digital Channel 97.6 or Channel 130.

Big Island Schools Join Forces to Host PBS Hawaii HIKI NŌ News Program

For the first time, students from four schools representing diverse, rural Hawaii Island communities will join forces to host an episode of PBS Hawaii’s student news program, HIKI NŌ:

  • Kau High School in Pahala
  • Kanu O Ka Aina Learning Ohana in Waimea
  • Kua o ka La Public Charter School – Milolii Hipuu Virtual Academy in Milolii
  • Volcano School of Arts & Sciences in Volcano

This will be the first HIKI NŌ appearance for all four schools. The episode is scheduled to premiere Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. on PBS Hawaii.

Hiki No

From March 31 through April 4, HIKI NŌ Executive Producer Robert Pennybacker, Managing Editor Susan Yim and Editor/Assistant Producer Lawrence Pacheco will visit each school to train students and teachers on their responsibilities as “home-base,” or host, schools. Photos from these sessions will be available for publication after the training period.

Among the students’ host duties will be to present notable facts about their communities.

“One of the key goals of HIKI NŌ is to teach students the skills to tell visual stories about their communities, especially remote communities rarely covered by traditional media outlets,” Pennybacker said. “It’s important for the people of Hawaii to get a glimpse of unique communities across the state, and to give students in those communities a voice.”

Other Hawaii Island schools participating in HIKI NŌ:

  • Connections New Century Public Charter School
  • Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science Public Charter School
  • Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • Hilo High School
  • Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Middle School
  • Kamehameha Schools Hawaii High School
  • Keaau High School
  • Kealakehe High School
  • Konawaena High School
  • Waiakea High School
  • Waiakea Intermediate School
  • West Hawaii Explorations Academy

Hawaiian Electric Company President and CEO to Speak at Next Exceptional Energy Lecture Series at NEHLA

Friends of NELHA (FON) will host the fourth in a series of free lectures regarding energy at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center on Monday, April 7.

NEHLA

Makai side of the NEHLA plant

Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., President and CEO Dick Rosenblum will be the featured speaker and presenting “Energy Resource Optimization:  What’s Best for  Hawaii?” The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series events start at 5:30 pm and admission is free.

Dick Rosenblum was named president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian  Electric Company, Inc. in 2009. He has 32 years of experience in all facets of the utility business at Southern  California Edison (SCE), one of the largest electric utilities in  California. He retired from SCE in June 2008 as senior vice president of generation and chief nuclear officer responsible for all power generating facilities, including nuclear and related fuel supplies.

During that tenure, Rosenblum helped initiate one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic projects which aimed to install 250 megawatts of solar generating capacity on commercial rooftops in Southern California.

Previously, he served as senior vice president of SCE’s transmission and distribution business unit, responsible for high-voltage bulk transmission and retail  distribution of electricity in their 50,000 square mile service territory of 4.6 million customers.  He has also held the positions of vice president of engineering and technical services responsible for engineering construction, safety oversight, and other engineering support activities; and vice president of SCE’s distribution business unit, including responsibility for customer service.

Originally from New York, he has also been a part-time resident of Hawai‘i Island for more than 20 years.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree as well as a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Rosenblum serves on the board of Aloha United Way (Board Chair); Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America; Hawai‘i Business Roundtable and High Technology  Development  Corporation.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of five lectures on energy issues. The series is sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development.

Call FON at 808.329.8073 for more information on the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Share Daily Solar and Wind Power Data

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are now sharing “Renewable Watch” for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, online displays that show the daily contribution of solar and wind generation on each island and how energy from these resources changes throughout the day.

The orange line measures the amount of energy produced by PV throughout Hawaii Island. The green line measures the wind energy production from wind facilities on Hawaii Island. The blue line represents the net system load, which is the amount of energy met by utility generation. The light blue line is the gross system load, which is the total demand, or the total amount of electricity used by customers, on the system. This demand is met by a combination of what is served by the utility and what is provided by local distributed systems, such as PV on rooftops. The difference between the blue and light blue lines represents the estimated aggregated distributed generation produced by local PV generation. This estimate provides a good estimate of how much energy is being produced by rooftop PV systems without our having to meter every rooftop PV system. This perspective provided operations and planning personnel with the information to gauge the impact of rooftop PV on system load and helped explain the decrease in mid-day load. (Click to Enlarge)

The orange line measures the amount of energy produced by PV throughout Hawaii Island.
The green line measures the wind energy production from wind facilities on Hawaii Island.
The blue line represents the net system load, which is the amount of energy met by utility generation.
The light blue line is the gross system load, which is the total demand, or the total amount of electricity used by customers, on the system. This demand is met by a combination of what is served by the utility and what is provided by local distributed systems, such as PV on rooftops.
The difference between the blue and light blue lines represents the estimated aggregated distributed generation produced by local PV generation. This estimate provides a good estimate of how much energy is being produced by rooftop PV systems without our having to meter every rooftop PV system. This perspective provided operations and planning personnel with the information to gauge the impact of rooftop PV on system load and helped explain the decrease in mid-day load.
(Click to Enlarge)

Displays for each island can be found on the homepage under Clean Energy Future at www.hawaiianelectric.com for Oahu, on www.mauielectric.com for Maui Island and www.hawaiielectriclight.com for the Island of Hawaii.

Each island’s display shows the measured output from large wind and solar facilities combined with the estimated output from residential rooftop PV systems. These sites graphically show how renewable energy resources can vary significantly by region, day, and time of day due to changes in weather, such as wind strength and cloud cover. (Non-variable renewable energy generation — such as geothermal on Hawaii Island, bagasse-fired generation from HC&S on Maui and HPOWER on Oahu — are not shown.)

“Hawaii is blessed with abundant sunshine and strong winds. With the ‘Renewable Watch’ displays, anyone can see at a glance that these are extremely productive resources with output that varies throughout the day,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy resources and operations. “With the help of these resources and others, we reached a record 18% renewable energy percentage in 2013.”

The Solar Electric Power Association ranks Hawaii number one in the nation for solar watts per customer. At the end of 2013, over 40,000 solar installations across the three companies’ service territories had a combined capacity of about 300 megawatts.

To maintain reliable electric service for all customers, utility engineers must adjust the output of firm sources of generation up or down as the output from variable sources like solar and wind rises and falls throughout the day. The Hawaiian Electric Companies developed “Renewable Watch” to help system operators and engineers obtain information about the contribution of energy from the variable solar and wind resources.

“This information can help us integrate higher levels of renewable energy more effectively. Solar and wind power are increasingly important to our energy mix, so we need to understand when and how these resources affect our system,” Seu said.

Data from wind facilities and utility-scale solar facilities for “Renewable Watch” comes from utility system-monitoring equipment. Data for customer-sited solar power comes from regional estimates using solar sensors strategically placed throughout the islands and other sources.  Solar sensors monitor irradiance (the rate at which solar energy falls onto a surface) to help estimate the energy generated by thousands of PV systems across the island.

Displays of additional renewable resources will be added to “Renewable Watch” screens as they come online.

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

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

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

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

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

Click to view

Click to view

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Facebook Page and Social Media Power Sweekstakes

The Hawaiian Electric Companies – Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light – launched their Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/HawaiianElectric.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Facebook page

We will be posting daily, offering safety and clean energy tips, updates on community events, and the latest information on our companies and employees.

Kicking off the launch is our Power Sweepstakes, a social media-based contest open to Hawaii residents 21 years and older. The sweepstakes asks that our customers “Like” the Hawaiian Electric Facebook page, as well as follow its Twitter accounts, for chances to win prize bundles that include an Apple iPad Air, Apple iPad mini , and solar-charging backpacks.

Details and official rules for the Power Sweepstakes rules may be found at www.HawaiianElectric.com/Power.

On Feb. 19, 2014, Hawaiian Electric launched twitter accounts for its three companies:

Hawaiian Electric Company (Oahu) @HwnElectric
Maui Electric Company @MauiElectric
Hawaii Electric Light @HIElectricLight

Outage notifications are being tweeted on @HwnElectric using the hashtag #OahuOutage.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies can also be found on the following social networks:

Flickr: flickr.com/hawaiianelectric
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/hawaiianelectric
linkedin.com/company/mauielectric
linkedin.com/company/hawaiielectriclight
YouTube: youtube.com/hawaiianelectric

Big Island Science Teachers Invited To Hands-On Demonstration Workshop

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i science department is bringing in two nationally recognized professors team from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point to conduct a special chemical demonstration workshop. All Hawai‘i island science teachers are invited to participate and learn more about how they can create fun with science.

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus hosts a chemical demonstration workshop for teachers.

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus hosts a chemical demonstration workshop for teachers.

The demonstrators, Dr. Marv Lang and Dr. Donald Showalter, have both been awarded the American Chemical Society Helem M. Free award for public education. They have been featured on television programs like Newton’s Apple and the World of Chemistry.

“The demonstrations span K-12 and all science disciplines,” said KS Hawaii chemistry teacher Joel Truesdell, who is coordinating the workshop.

“They [Lang and Showalter] are masters of teaching science demonstrations that excite kids about science. We had to book them a year in advance.”

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The workshop is a fun, engaging professional development opportunity and a chance for teachers to network with one another.

“Our goal is to create a larger network of science teachers here on Hawai‘i island so that we can continue to collaborate and idea share throughout the year,” said Truesdell.

The workshop will take place on Saturday, March 29th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Keawe Dining Hall on the Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus in Kea‘au. All attendees will receive a handbook of demonstrations that are good for all ages.

Interested teachers should email jotruesd@ksbe.edu or call 808-220-9539 to register. The workshop is limited to 30 participants.

Friends of NELHA Continues Energy Lecture Series

Friends of NELHA (FON) will host the third in a series of free lectures regarding energy at the NELHA Gateway Visitor Center on Wednesday, March 19.
NEHLA Aerial

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies Vice President and co-founder Kelly King will be the featured speaker on “Fuels and Transportation.” The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series event will start at 5:30 pm and admission is free.

Kelly King cofounded Pacific Biodiesel, a renewable energy company, with her husband Robert King in 1996. The company was the first commercial biodiesel firm in the US and was initially created to alleviate the disposal of waste cooking oil at Maui’s landfill. As director of marketing and communications, Kelly has helped to develop 13 biodiesel plants in the US and Japan.

The company’s newest venture, Big Island Biodiesel, began production in the 4th quarter of 2012.  This 5.5M- gallon-a-year biodiesel plant located in Kea’au on Hawaii Island is the most modern facility in the world.  Featuring zero-waste processing, this plant produces the highest quality biodiesel available in the country.  The company also has a grease trap and used cooking oil operation servicing the entire Big Island.

In 2006, with Daryl Hannah and Willie and Annie Nelson, Kelly co-founded the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that is developing a certification process for sustainable biodiesel practices.  In Hawaii, Kelly has been active as a board member on many local nonprofits and served on the Hawaii State Board of Education, representing Maui County.  She is currently chair of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and serves on the board of Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance, Hawaii Energy Policy Forum, and UHMC Sustainable Sciences Management Advisory Council.  She is working on several agriculture-related projects with Pacific Biodiesel.

Since its founding, Pacific Biodiesel has been involved in all aspects of the biodiesel business, from fuel crop research and waste oil collection to fuel processing, quality management, and distribution. The company designs, owns, builds, and operates scalable, multiple-feedstock biodiesel plants utilizing used cooking oil, yellow grease, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, tallow, and other feedstocks.  The company’s community-based biodiesel model has become a standard for the sustainable, renewable fuel industry.

The Exceptional Energy Lecture Series consists of five lectures on energy issues. The series is sponsored in part by the Hawaii Energy Resource Center, a component of the County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development.

Call FON at 808.329.8073 for more information on the Exceptional Energy Lecture Series.

University of Hawaii Partners on $5.3 Million Cyberinfrastructure Award

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) is one of the founding partners of a new initiative led by Clemson University to enable a national network of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Education Facilitators (ACI-REFs) that will broaden the research and education impacts of advanced computing resources at campuses across the country.
UH LogoAdvanced cyberinfrastructure refers to high-performance computing systems, massive data storage systems, and visualization environments, all linked together by software and high-performance networks to enable human collaborations that improve education and research productivity and enable breakthroughs not otherwise possible.

The National Science Foundation awarded the group $5.3 million over two years to broaden cyberinfrastructure education and outreach through this network. Besides Clemson and UH, the other collaborating institutions are the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard University.

The project, called the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure – Research and Educational Facilitation: Campus-Based Computational Research Support, is a consortium that brings together education and research institutions that are committed to the vision of advancing scientific discovery by creating a national network of advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitators.  UH will be able to hire two advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitators for two years under the initial project grant.

“The University of Hawai‘i is delighted to be working with Clemson and our other partners to develop this innovative consortium,” said David Lassner, the Interim President at the University of Hawai‘i.  “Data-intensive science and engineering is a major thrust for the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative (HI2), and the advanced cyberinfrastructure facilitator capability that will be supported is exactly what we need to help many of our gifted faculty and students take their scholarship to the next level by leveraging local and national cyberinfrastructure and collaborations.”

Working together in a coordinated effort, the consortium is dedicated to the adoption of models and strategies that will leverage the expertise and experiences of its members to maximize the impact of investment in research computing and related cyberinfrastructure technologies. The project staff will be located on the six collaborating campuses.  They will be fully embedded in their local technology support environments so they can both extend the reach and impact of the campus as well as make national research computing infrastructure available for local students and faculty.

Gwen Jacobs, UH Director of Cyberinfrastructure in Information Technology Services, will lead UH participation in the project.   She will be working with faculty throughout the UH System to identify opportunities where local and national cyberinfrastructure assets can advance UH research and innovation.  Jacobs said, “UH is an international research leader in astronomy, earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences, and biomedical research – all disciplines that generate massive amounts of data.  With access to a wealth of computational resources and professional expertise, UH researchers will be able to apply new methods in big data analytics to their research programs, speeding scientific discovery and innovation and creating new educational opportunities for UH students.”

The consortium is forging a nationwide alliance of educators to empower local campus researchers to be more effective users of advanced cyberinfrastructure.  In particular, the project seeks to work with scholars and faculty members who traditionally have not benefitted from the power of high-performance computing but who recognize that their research requires access to more computational power than can be provided by their desktop machines.

“This project complements and magnifies the work we have underway to establish our first university-wide high-performance computing cluster,” said Vassilis Syrmos, UH Vice President for Research and Innovation.

That high-performance computing cluster will be located in UH’s new $41-million Information Technology Center.  Interim Vice President for Information Technology Steve Smith said “The new high-performance computing cluster is the first initiative that will leverage the capabilities of our state-of-the-art Information Technology Center to advance research and innovation at UH.  This project couldn’t have moved forward without the new building.”

The national project team will be led by Jim Bottum, the Chief Information Officer at Clemson with a leadership team that includes co-principal investigator Gwen Jacobs of UH, and lead scientists from each institution.   The steering committee includes Glenn Ricart, Chief Technology Officer of the US Ignite Project; Greg Monaco, Director for Research and Cyberinfrastructure Initiatives at the Great Plains Network; and John Towns, the principal investigator of the NSF-funded national scale XSEDE high-performance computing program. Miron Livny, Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin and principal investigator of the NSF-funded Open Science Grid will also serve on the project’s steering committee and serve as the Chief Scientist for the project.

Mayor Kenoi on the GMO Issue

Big Island Mayor Kenoi is quoted as saying the following about the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) lawsuits that are currently floating around the state in Hawaii Business Magazine:

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

“GMO has been very important and beneficial to our cut-flower, orchid, anthurium and nursery industry. The science research has been cutting-edge and we’ve seen a lot of innovation and creativity, and certainly in our papaya industry, the importance of research is well-known for maintaining, growing and protecting its viability.

I still don’t believe GMO is the issue facing agriculture – it’s water and access to land and how we can grow our next generation of farmers. GMO has taken a lot of energy and emphasis away from more important issues like these. Another important issue is access to markets, making it easier for farmers to overcome regulatory hurdles, reducing our dependence on imported food and providing real food security.

My message to the Council and the community is…”

You can read the rest of his message and other mayor’s thoughts on the issue here: “Talk Story with Neighbor Island Mayors”

Hawaii State Department of Education Announces Historic Sustainable Energy Program

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is embarking on a multiyear effort to harness sustainable energy and modernize campuses while expanding real-world educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

DOE ReleaseYesterday, the DOE announced it has selected Chevron Energy Solutions to help lead implementation of the five-year sustainable energy program, to be called Ka Hei.

The name Ka Hei comes from a specific type of snare used by the Hawaiian god Maui to capture the sun, according to Hawaiian tradition. The DOE’s Hawaiian Language Immersion Program educational specialists provided the name for this ambitious program.

Ka Hei will include the installation of sustainable energy generation equipment in all public schools statewide, positioning the DOE among the state’s foremost environmental stewards.

Another meaning of Ka Hei is, “to absorb as knowledge or skill.” As an extension of facility upgrades, Ka Hei will feature educational opportunities to engage students and staff in energy awareness and STEM. Components of the program include living laboratories, energy conservation hands-on learning, green energy simulators, STEM career exposure and student school contests. Students will receive real-time data on clean energy systems, creating relevant lessons about real-world scenarios.

Educational, environmental and financial benefits of Ka Hei will extend well beyond the five-year plan. The initiative will help boost student achievement in STEM while enhancing the financial stability of the DOE through the implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainability projects.

“Ka Hei offers exciting opportunities on a number of levels, from educating our students about a multitude of energy components and workforce opportunities to strengthening communities and partnerships in the state’s energy sustainability goals,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Additionally, Ka Hei is a critical pillar of the DOE’s Strategic Plan to enhance learning opportunities in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We look forward to our partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions in shaping curricula for our schools and collaboration with our utility companies in exploring all that this program has to offer.”

Speaking at a press conference today at Kaimuki High, one of several DOE campuses currently powered partly by rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, Matayoshi reinforced the DOE’s commitment to Hawaii’s sustainable future. In 2011, the DOE began a pilot program to install PV systems at four Oahu high schools. The pilot expanded a year later to include 28 more schools on Oahu, and all 15 on Kauai. Building on the success of the pilot, which now includes a total of 47 schools on Oahu and Kauai, the DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services is rolling out the Ka Hei program.

Ka Hei Phase I will begin implementation of renewable energy integration at three schools – one each on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu. As schools become more self sufficient, they can add additional value to the integrated electric grid of the future. The DOE will be a pioneer among the nation’s school districts by demonstrating the commitment and capability to becoming self-reliant for energy needs.

Brian Kealoha, regional manager for Chevron Energy Solutions, said, “Ka Hei is a comprehensive program that goes well beyond a traditional facilities improvement project but rather, focuses on driving broad-based impacts and results for the Department of Education and the communities which it serves.”

The DOE and Chevron Energy Solutions are working with Hawaiian Electric Company to find solutions to anticipated limitations on distributed generation on some neighborhood circuits.

“Hawaiian Electric Company is at the cutting edge of integrating utility-scale and customer-sited renewable energy generation and our collaboration with the Department of Education and Chevron Energy Solutions is key to ensuring that our future generations understand and act upon the importance of energy sustainability in our island state,” said Hawaiian Electric President and CEO Dick Rosenblum.

The overarching goals for Ka Hei are:

· Reduce energy consumption and cost at all 255 DOE schools;
· Build a diverse portfolio of new, clean, and on-site energy generation;
· Implement aggressive energy efficiency and conservation measures including demand response;
· Support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative goals and the DOE’s goal of 90 percent clean energy by 2040; and
· Leverage this transformation to create educational opportunities and stimulate the economy through employment of local expertise and labor.

Kaimuki High administrators today demonstrated the school’s data dashboard showing real-time feeds of its energy system. Kaimuki High, in partnership with the Office of Naval Research, will integrate renewable energy efforts into its curriculum beginning fall 2014 with the debut of a STEM Academy. Kaimuki’s STEM Academy is part of the school’s Wall-to-Wall Academies, featuring college-style classes providing personalized education as well as college and career preparation for students. The STEM Academy will focus on the engineering design process.

“Kaimuki High is not only doing its share to heighten the awareness of energy efficiency and sustainability but we are also raising the bar of student learning in STEM subjects and career pathways,” said Wade Araki, principal. “We are very excited about expanding our pilot efforts and the department’s partnerships going forward to shape our curriculum into real-world application.”

DOE Digital Curriculum Expands Learning, Teaching Opportunities Access Learning – Now Deployed to All Eight Pilot Schools

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) updated House and Senate education committees on the progress of a digital curriculum pilot program launched in summer 2013 at eight public schools. The pilot provides the DOE necessary insight into the impact of technology on teaching and learning, while laying the groundwork for next steps toward technology integration into curriculum and schools.

Hawaii DOE educators used their computers to join the Access Learning legislative briefing via video conferencing. Clockwise, from top right: Moanalua Middle Principal Lisa Nagamine, Pahoa Elementary Principal Michelle Payne-Arakaki, and Keaau Elemenatry Principal Chad Keone Farias.

Hawaii DOE educators used their computers to join the Access Learning legislative briefing via video conferencing. Clockwise, from top right: Moanalua Middle Principal Lisa Nagamine, Pahoa Elementary Principal Michelle Payne-Arakaki, and Keaau Elemenatry Principal Chad Keone Farias.

Last legislative session, lawmakers approved $8.2 million for the DOE to implement a Hawaii Common Core digital curriculum pilot in the 2013-14 school year. This pilot became known simply as Access Learning.

The funds covered costs for computers for teachers and students, technical support, professional development, and also helped offset expenses associated with curriculum and implementation. Schools have partnered with county police departments to safeguard the computers, all of which are equipped with advanced security tracking software.

Access Learning has allowed educators and students to explore innovative digital lessons that go beyond textbooks and classroom walls.

For example, Keaau Elementary yesterday conducted a virtual field trip to Honolulu Zoo with University of Hawaii Laboratory School students. A UH Lab student wore a Google Glass to capture and stream video feeds of the zoo to the laptops of Keaau students. Children from both schools will now partner to produce videos and other projects about birds they saw at the zoo.

At Moanalua Middle, principal Lisa Nagamine says Access Learning has been instrumental to engage students more deeply in their education. Her school’s band students, for instance, have used technology to better visualize and create music, study composers and build connections with their music.

Moanalua Middle students using laptops during a musical lesson.

Moanalua Middle students using laptops during a musical lesson.

Mililani Waena Principal Dale Castro says his school is focusing on fostering engagement and inquiry by connecting instruction to real-life applications.

Access Learning has also been adopted at Mililani Mauka, Nanaikapono, Pahoa and Nanakuli elementary schools, and Nanakuli High and Intermediate.

Meanwhile, teachers piloting Access Learning widely agree the technology holds tremendous potential to help them save time, organize lessons, collaborate with peers and expand learning opportunities, according to preliminary data.

A baseline evaluation study of data collected in October 2013 shows that administrators, teachers and technology coordinators believe the program brings an exciting and important opportunity for students. Among the findings:

· Technology allows educators to more efficiently communicate with colleagues, develop and present lessons.
· Integrating technology in instruction can benefit all students – from high-needs to high-achieving children – by providing greater access to learning.
· Teachers say computers will help them tailor instruction to specific student needs, potentially boosting engagement and achievement.
The report also listed a number of implementation challenges such as the need to provide educators more time, individualized training and support – all areas the DOE continues to address.

“We are pleased and encouraged with the initial success of the program,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Access Learning has truly raised excitement among students and educators, opening doors to new, relevant and original learning opportunities.”

The Legislature is considering a $600,000 supplemental budget that would allow for professional development and technology support services that schools have identified as areas of need.

Learn more about Access Learning at http://bit.ly/AccessHILeg.

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. Visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org to learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success.

County of Hawai‘i Releases Stage 1 Request for Proposals for Waste Reduction Technology

Mayor Billy Kenoi officially launched the drive to develop a clean, modern and efficient waste reduction technology for the County of Hawai‘i with the release of Stage 1 of the county’s request for proposals (RFP) on March 3.

The RFP process will allow the county to select a proven, economically viable and environmentally friendly process for managing solid waste from East Hawai‘i for at least the next 20 to 30 years, Mayor Kenoi said.

Public Landfill

“For the past two decades this county engaged in study after study to determine the best way to cope with the required closure of the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill,” Mayor Kenoi said.  “It is now time to act. We are inviting the best and brightest in the industry to submit their proposals for a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit our community, and allow us to transform our solid waste from a liability into an asset.”

The county will continue its commitment to recycling, including a program to provide mulch made from green waste for agricultural and other uses. In 2013 the county recycled more than 217 tons of materials per day, including metals, glass, plastics and green waste. The waste reduction project will not affect those efforts, Mayor Kenoi said.

The design-build-operate RFP calls for a facility that can accommodate about 300 tons of solid waste per day. The facility will be built near the existing county Sort Station, and will be privately financed. Stage 1 of the RFP will identify the most qualified teams and technologies for the project.

Mayor Kenoi briefed the Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management on the county plan on Feb. 4, and briefed the county Environmental Management Commission on the project and process on Feb. 26.

Communications from potential vendors regarding the project must be directed to county Purchasing Agent Jeffrey Dansdill at jdansdill@hawaiicounty.gov.  Responses to Stage 1 of the RFP are due on April 15.