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Hawaii Awarded $1.5 Million from U.S. Department of Education to Improve Schools in Need

The U.S. Department of Education (DoED) announced today that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will receive $1.5 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG). Priority schools in a number of states are recipients of the grant as part of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The program will be phased out next school year with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

doe-logo“Providing the additional supports to schools that need it most is key to their success,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve seen the impact extended learning opportunities and professional development for teachers have made. In order to make improvements, we need to provide schools resources. This grant allows us the opportunity to move forward.”

In school year (SY) 2013-14, Waianae Elementary used SIG funds towards extending the school year to enable teachers to participate in professional development and students to learn for an additional 300 minutes each week. Most recently, Waianae Elementary was one of the participating Priority schools actively involved in the national Turnaround Arts Program. The initiative provided monies for in-school Professional Development (PD) embedding the arts into curriculum, summer leadership programs and supplies. At the end of SY 2016, some of the students participating in the program were invited to perform at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show.

Dole Middle School received funds in SY 2014-15, which was used to focus on four main areas: 1) development of a multi-tiered System of Instruction and Intervention; 2) increasing student engagement through the integration of technology; 3) increasing PD opportunities for faculty and staff; and 4) building a positive school climate that is safe and conducive to student learning.

Dole used part of the monies to host their first annual Middle School Conference where staff members including teachers, educational assistants and custodians, complex, and Title I State personnel, were invited to participate and share best practices. Similar to Waianae Elementary, Dole students benefitted from extended learning opportunities, while teacher rewards ranged from recognition to attendance to national conferences. Dole combined other resources (Uplinks, Title I, Hawaii Keiki Nurse and other community partnerships) allowing for implementation of the middle school philosophy and addressing student needs.

This year, Kekaha Elementary is an applicant for the part of the $1.5 million awarded to HIDOE. The Department and school are currently in the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hawaii State Teachers Association on how to best utilize the funds.

“We have seen a major shift in the campus culture these past three years including more parent involvement and better student engagement because of the programs and services we have been able to provide through the grant,” shared Waianae Elementary Principal Wendy Takahashi. “The partnerships we have gained through this opportunity from the Hawaii Arts Alliance to celebrities like Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and Alfre Woodard has helped to energize our students, teachers and school community.”

The SIG program has invested more than $7 billion to transform some of the country’s lowest performing schools. Nationwide, the efforts have been credited with the decline in dropout rates and an increase in graduation rates.

Dept. of Education Reminds Parents to Secure Vehicles in School Parking Lots

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reminds parents to always secure their vehicles in school parking lots to prevent thefts.  Five vehicle break-ins using similar methods of entry have occurred at East Oahu public schools in September during after-school hours.  In each case, vehicle windows were broken and small items inside were stolen, including purses, bags, cell phones and laptop computers.


“Parents are reminded to be vigilant and always remove valuables or hide them from direct sight,”said HIDOE spokesperson Donalyn Dela Cruz.  “Although there is normally lots of activity on campuses during afterschool hours, such crimes of opportunity can take place in seconds, especially when valuables are left in plain sight.”

Parents can take actions to make their vehicle less attractive to property theft, including avoiding leaving valuables inside in open view, locking valuables in the trunk and installing anti-theft alarm systems.  Bags, such as backpacks and shopping bags, may be seen as a carrier of valuables by thieves and should be hidden from view.

DOE Removing Monkey Pod Tree on Waianuenue Avenue

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced yesterday that it will remove a monkey pod tree from the entrance of the district office on Waianuenue Avenue.

monkey pod tree

In June an arborist reported the tree suffers from severe rot and its condition has reached a stage that may result in its fall, causing a safety hazard.

The tree is over 50 years old and has a canopy spread of over 100 feet and a height of 60 feet to 70 feet.  The tree’s limbs are hollow from rot and estimated to weigh 15 to 20 tons.

Based on the evaluation and safety risk to the public, HIDOE will be removing the tree.  HIDOE has hired Tree Works for the tree removal, which will take place sometime before the school year begins on Aug. 1. Until that time, the area around the tree is prohibited from access.

Hawaii Department of Education Releases Annual Financial Audit

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

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Parents Informed of Higher Learning Expectations for Public School Students

Public schools across the state today welcomed back students after a three-week winter break. Students were given a letter to take home to their parents as a reminder of the upcoming spring assessments for English language arts and math.

Click to read letter

Click to read letter

The new assessments, known as Smarter Balanced, are aligned to the Hawaii Common Core standards implemented statewide at the start of the school year. The letter from Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi also included sample exercises explaining how students are being asked deeper questions that require critical thinking.

“New expectations for student learning mean we need new ways to measure how our students are performing,” stated Superintendent Matayoshi. “These new tests measure not only what students know, but also how well they can apply their knowledge in real-world situations.”

Smarter Balanced assessments will be administered beginning in March to students in grades three through eighth and high school juniors to measure their reading, math, writing, listening, research and thinking skills. Hawaii is a governing member of a multi-state consortium that has worked with teachers, parents and higher education faculty to develop the Smarter Balanced assessments. Over three million students across the consortium participated in the field test last year to ensure questions are valid, reliable and fair for all students.

“While this is a step forward in our plans to raise student achievement, we expect the change to the new test will result in lower scores as compared to previous years,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “However, because it is a new test aligned to new standards, we will not be comparing the results to that of the old test. Results from this year are a new starting point for students.”

The results also benefit teachers. The Smarter Balanced Assessment System offers information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are thriving and where they need help.

A number of schools held Smarter Balanced parent nights with activities during the fall. The parent letter includes additional assessment examples and tips for helping with homework.

For more information on how the Hawaii State Department of Education is striving higher with new learning standards and assessments, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

U.S. Air Force Pilot to Head Hawaii DOE Facilities and Support Services Branch

The Hawaii State Board of Education today confirmed U.S. Air Force executive and fighter pilot, Dann S. Carlson, to head the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of School Facilities and Support Services. As an assistant superintendent, Carlson will bring more than 25 years of diverse active duty leadership experience to the DOE.

Dann Carlson

Dann S. Carlson

“While this job will be full of incredible challenges, it is obvious that the DOE is making measurable improvements in educating our next generation,” stated Carlson. “I’ve always had a desire to directly influence our nation’s future leaders through education. This position within the DOE allows me the opportunity to make an impact in a way that I never could have imagined. It is truly an honor.”

Carlson has a record of success in leading visionary work through organizational change. He will be leaving his position at the Pentagon as the special assistant to the under secretary of international affairs and will start with the DOE on December 1.

From 2011 to 2013, Carlson was the deputy joint base commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. He led more than 900 Air Force personnel in six squadrons: civil engineering, security forces, contracting, communications, logistics and force support. He also led operations for more than 1,100 Navy personnel and civilians providing base and operating support on an installation that serviced over 80,000 personnel, spanned 35,000 acres, with an annual budget of over $500 million and a plant replacement value of over $18 billion. During his tenure he spearheaded a complete organizational change to a Navy led Joint Base while still garnering the top rank of 77 Navy installations.

“In addition to his responsibilities of running the day to day operations of a large military base, Dann was actively involved with education,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are excited to welcome him to our team.”

Carlson was a board member for the Joint Venture Education Forum, a member of the Interstate Compact for Military Children, served on the Blue Ribbon Schools Commission and was very active at Radford High School where his three children attended, one of whom graduated as valedictorian.

Aside from his various leadership roles in the military, Carlson also served as mission commander and fighter pilot. He was an advance pilot and narrator for the USAF Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services exercises technical staff oversight of business, construction and maintenance of facilities, food services, transportation, and safety and security support for the public school system. It is charged with developing and administering administrative rules and regulations, publishing operational guidelines and providing related in-service training, monitoring and technical assistance to schools to ensure that the support is being provided in accordance with laws, policies and accepted principles of management.

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.

Educator Effectiveness System to See Changes in School Year 2014-15

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing several major changes to the Educator Effectiveness System (EES) to take effect in the upcoming school year.

DOE ReleaseThe changes reflect the DOE’s commitment to reduce burden on teachers and administrators, and are designed to simplify the EES, streamline its components and differentiate the approach for teachers based on need.

Last Fall, an EES Joint Committee was developed specifically to review the EES. The Committee includes the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), teachers, principals, administrators, technical experts and Complex Area and state staff, who met regularly throughout the past school year. The Joint Committee met with DOE leaders this week and the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Government Association (HGEA) to review proposed changes to the EES, which were sent to Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi on Friday, June 6.

“The Department will continue to collaborate with educators to further improve the EES, these changes are just the beginning to refining this system and ultimately, elevating student achievement,” stated Superintendent Matayoshi. “We appreciate the work of the Joint Committee, and all of the feedback from our principals and teachers to guide us on what best practices work in our schools. We will continue to convene feedback groups and plan a formal review and feedback process for the following school year.”

“The HSTA is pleased that the DOE has committed to improve the EES,” said HSTA President Wil Okabe. “The EES Joint Committee of HSTA and DOE members has collaboratively worked together throughout this process to assess the system and provide the Superintendent with recommendations that reflect input and concerns from all stakeholders. Our goal is to make sure that every child in Hawaii has access to great public schools and teachers. We look forward to continuing to work with the DOE to improve an evaluation system that improves the practice of teaching and student learning to produce real results.”

Based on lessons learned and feedback gathered from schools, the Department is implementing a series of 18 changes for school year 2014-15, including:

  • Differentiating the number of required classroom observations based on need from twice annually to 0 for highly effective teachers; 1 or more for effective teachers, and 2 or more for marginal, unsatisfactory, or beginning teachers. Overall this means approximately 9,000 fewer classroom observations, reducing the observation workload by almost 50 percent.
  • Providing the approximately 1,800 teachers rated highly effective in SY13-14 the option to carryover their rating in lieu of repeating the evaluation.
  • Reducing the administration of the Tripod Student Survey from twice to once annually, eliminating the survey for grades K-2, and eliminating the demographic questions from the survey. Overall this means approximately 11,700 fewer survey administrations, or a 63 percent reduction in administered surveys.
  • Reducing, for most teachers, the number of required Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) from two to one annually. Overall, this means approximately 12,400 fewer required SLOs.
  • Removing the student survey as an independent component with a stand-alone rating and embedding it as subcomponent under Core Professionalism.
  • Providing flexibility within Working Portfolio and SLOs, particularly for non-classroom teachers, to reflect job duties.
  • Improving Student Growth Percentile (SGP) to replace a percentile ranking of teachers with anchors in criterion and building in a margin of error.

Principal Linell Dilwith of Stevenson Middle said, “These EES changes will make the work at the school level more manageable and ensure that we are focused on quality, not quantity. I am glad the Superintendent listened to the voices in the field.”

HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira stated, “We are encouraged by the changes proposed by the EES Joint Committee and the opportunity for the HGEA Unit 6 Board to submit recommendations to the Superintendent. We look forward to continuing to work with the department to implement changes that will ensure the workload of principals and vice principals is manageable. Addressing the educational officers’ need for adequate systemic supports with their increasing responsibilities has been and continues to be an important issue for the HGEA.”

Some areas of future improvement include a possible cycling of evaluations; reducing the weight of the SGP and improvements to the methods and technology used to collect, store, and report information. The Department is also exploring improvements to simplify, streamline, and differentiate the implementation of the other 6 Priority Strategies.

The EES began in the school year 2011-12 as a pilot in 18 schools, and then expanded to 81 schools in the 2012-13 school year. As the EES was implemented in schools, the Department solicited feedback from a variety of sources developed specifically for EES feedback, including a Teacher Leader Workgroup, Joint Committee, Technical Advisory Group and Principal Workgroup.

To learn more about the EES, please visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

New Leadership Principal Group Will Help Shape Education Priorities

After a recruitment and selection process of nearly two months, the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing a new Deputy Superintendent’s Principal Roundtable for the upcoming 2014-15 school year.

DOE ReleaseThe Roundtable is designed to engage with principals directly to improve communication, garner feedback, develop collaborative solutions to critical challenges, and identify individuals for future complex area, state and national leadership positions and opportunities.

Twenty-six individuals, including all members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) Unit 6 Board of Directors and 14 additional sitting principals from four major islands, representing a diverse mix of schools and principal experience, have been named to the Roundtable. See the list of SY2014-15 Roundtable members below.

“As a former principal who knows firsthand about the challenges our principals face each day, we are committed to a thoughtful process of selecting school leaders for this Roundtable,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “We value their feedback and their dedication to their schools, communities as we continue to transform public education.”

HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira stated, “We are encouraged by this additional opportunity for our principals to provide feedback from the field. With this critical information, we hope to create solutions that will transition into meaningful change to positively impact the everyday work of the principals and vice principals. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to support these efforts.”

The opportunity to be part of the Roundtable was first shared with DOE principals in April. The Department received nearly 40 nominations from principals, Complex Area Superintendents, and the HGEA.

Roundtable members will meet over the summer to establish priorities. All DOE principals will be informed of the work of the Roundtable and given an opportunity to give further feedback.

“I’m looking forward to helping with finding solutions for our school leaders,” said Fred Murphy, principal, Mililani High School. “We hope to set priorities moving forward, and to help principals be as creative and dynamic as they can be at their institutions.”

The 26 Roundtable members for School Year 2014-2015 are:

  1. Lorelei Aiwohi, Kalakaua Middle School (Honolulu District, Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani)
  2. Wade Araki, Kaimuki High (Honolulu District, Kaimuki-McKinley-Roosevelt)
  3. Duwayne Abe, Salt Lake Elementary (Central District, Aiea-Moanalua-Radford)
  4. Bert Carter, Ka‘ewai Elementary (Honolulu District, Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani)*
  5. John Costales, Kalama Intermediate (Maui District, Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui)*
  6. Patricia Dang, Kapalama Elementary (Honolulu District, Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani)*
  7. Gary Davidson, Molokai Middle School (Maui District, Hana-Lahainaluna-Lanai-Molokai)
  8. Chad Farias, Kea‘au Elementary (Hawaii District, Kau-Keaau-Pahoa)*
  9. Shelley Ferrara, Mauka Lani Elementary (Leeward District, Campbell-Kapolei)
  10. Daniel Hamada, Kapaa High (Kauai)
  11. Debra Hatada, Ka‘imiloa Elementary (Leeward District, Campbell-Kapolei)*
  12. Disa Hauge, Waianae High School (Leeward District, Nanakuli-Waianae)
  13. Keith Hayashi, Waipahu High (Leeward District, Pearl City-Waipahu)
  14. Francine Honda, Kailua High School (Windward District, Kailua-Kalaheo)*
  15. Kelcy Koga, Waiakea High School (Hawaii District, Hilo-Waiakea)*
  16. Naomi Matsuzaki, Kahalu‘u Elementary (Windward District, Castle-Kahuku)*
  17. Wilfred Murakami, Kealakehe High (West Hawaii)
  18. Fred Murphy, Mililani High School (Central District, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua
  19. Deborah Nekomoto, Kapunahala Elementary (Windward District, Castle-Kahuku)
  20. Irene Puuohau, Hawaii Government Employees Association
  21. Fred Rose, Eleele Elementary (Kauai)*
  22. Janette Snelling, Kohala High School (West Hawaii)
  23. James Sunday, Radford High School (Central District, Aiea-Moanalua-Radford)*
  24. Brett Tanaka, Office of Curriculum Instruction, Student Support*
  25. David Tanuvasa, (Vice Principal) Waipahu High School (Leeward District, Pearl City-Waipahu)*
  26. Keoni Wilhelm, Mokapu Elementary (Windward District, Kailua-Kalaheo)

*Member of HGEA Unit 6 Board of Directors

Hawaii Public School Students Continue to Increase Readiness for College and Careers

A greater number of Hawaii public school students are getting a head start on higher education by earning college credits while in high school and taking advanced placement courses, according to a new College and Career Readiness Indicators report.

DOE ReleaseThe report, released today by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education and the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), indicates improvements by public school students at every step of the college-readiness pipeline.Among the highlights:

  • The percentage of students enrolled in dual credit courses (earning college credit while in high school) increased by 7.7 points to 723 students from 671 students. Waipahu High School showed the biggest gain with 65 students participating in dual credit, up from 23 students a year ago.
  • Advanced Placement exam participation increased to 27 percent from 24 percent.
  • The percentage of students who enrolled in a University of Hawaii campus in college-level math rose to 26.7 percent from 24 percent, while the percentage of students requiring remedial math classes dropped to 32 percent from 36 percent.
  • The college enrollment rate remained steady at 54 percent. Enrollment in four-year post-secondary institutions increased by two percentage points over two-year institutions. The report now also accounts for college enrollment numbers at Hawaii Pacific University, in addition to the University of Hawaii.
  • The top five college enrollment rates by high schools were Kalani (78 percent), Mililani (71 percent), Roosevelt (70 percent), Moanalua (68 percent) and Kalaheo (65 percent).
  • Of the high school graduates who enrolled in postsecondary education in the first fall semester following graduation, 70 percent attended one of the University of Hawaii’s 10 campuses.
  • Hawaii’s class of 2013 graduates are attending college in every state in the nation and the District of Columbia, with the exception of South Dakota and Vermont.

Despite progress in many areas, the data reveals many students are graduating from high school without college- and career-ready skills. One-third of DOE graduates who enroll at the University of Hawaii take remedial courses in math or English. Outcomes are even worse for those who took less than Algebra 2 in high school.

“This report provides more evidence that there is much work to be done to help students transition to college-level studies,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “At the center of our Strategic Plan is the focus on improving teaching and learning in every classroom. The report shows we are making progress and our educators, students and communities deserve to be commended for those successes.”

“The information provided by the annual College and Career Readiness Indicators reports is essential to gauge the readiness of Hawaii’s students as they transition from high school to post-secondary education,” said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. “Using this data, educators and school administrators can identify strategies that are most effective in preparing students for college and the workforce.”

“To achieve Hawaii’s education goal of 55 percent of working age adults having a 2- or 4-year college degree by 2025, students must be prepared early, and this data helps us understand what it takes to prepare students and help them to succeed,” Lee added. “We are very pleased to see increases in college preparation over the past four years.”

The College and Career Readiness Indicators (CCRI) reports are an annual collaboration between the Hawaii State Department of Education and the University of Hawaii, coordinated by Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, to present information on how well Hawaii public school graduates are prepared for college. Hawaii’s CCRI reports are continuously recognized by national organizations, including the Education Sector, the Data Quality Campaign, Achieve, and the National Governors Association, as a leading example of both collaboration between K-12 and higher education and for providing useful information on college readiness. The full reports can be found at:

Arbitration Award Aligns with DOE Goals in Raising the Bar in School Leadership

An arbitration panel has issued an award for educational officers of the State of Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) who are members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) bargaining unit 06. The decision, announced April 21, affects DOE school principals and other educational officers.

DOE Release“Our principals do tremendous work in leading their schools towards student and staff success, as seen in recent student achievement gains,” said School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are pleased that the arbitration has concluded and we can move forward in supporting our educators to prepare students for college and careers.”

“I want to thank all those who were involved in the various stages of the negotiation and arbitration process,” added Matayoshi.

Major highlights of the arbitration award include:

  • Annual across-the-board salary raises of 4.5 percent for four years, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017.
  • A 90-day vacation cap that is consistent with other 12-month educational officers and other 12-month employees.
  • Establishes a rewards and recognition program (RRP) for the last two years. A joint committee of DOE and HGEA representatives led by an outside professional facilitator will determine how to best reward and recognize educational officers based on their performance evaluation rating. The details, criteria and procedures of the RRP will be decided through the committee’s work. The RRP will be able to distribute $200,000 for the 2015-2016 school year and $200,000 in 2016-2017.

In December 2012, HGEA and the DOE agreed to principal performance evaluations on a new Comprehensive Evaluation System for School Administrators (CESSA). These evaluations are being conducted in all 255 DOE public schools.

CESSA was designed to support and improve principal effectiveness, thereby boosting teacher and student performance. This is aligned with Goals 1 and 2 of the Department’s Strategic Plan. The DOE and HGEA worked together to provide school principals with guidelines, training and support in advance of successful CESSA implementation in the 2013-14 school year.

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.”

New DOE Website Makes School Growth Data Transparent to Public

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to make available to parents, students and the broader Hawaii community a public version of the Hawaii Growth Model data visualization website.

This interactive website allows users to click among multiple data streams comparing the state’s Complex Areas, schools and student groups, generating bubble charts that plot how those groups are faring according to two key yardsticks: Proficiency and Growth.

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“The launch of the public Hawaii Growth Model data visualization website is an exciting step in the Department’s journey to provide better information about school performance, in timely, easy-to-access, user-friendly ways,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “The ability to visualize growth data in context with how a school or Complex is performing in relation to others over time is critical to building understanding and collaborative action.”

Explore our website at HawaiiPublicSchools.org for key information about this powerful new tool:

· An overview of the Growth Model, with a navigation video of the Growth Model website;
· Frequently Asked Questions about the Growth Model.
In addition to viewing student growth data by school and Complex Area, users can drill down into rich data sets and view:

· School performance on the Strive HI Index
· Median growth percentiles
· Student proficiency
· Performance among student groups
Since summer 2013, DOE teachers and key staff have been using a private version of the Growth Model website to analyze student achievement data that helps inform instruction and guide school initiatives. The staff website is protected by federal and DOE regulations from being released publicly. Users of the public Growth Model website cannot view data for populations of fewer than 20 students.

By making comprehensive data sets easily sortable and searchable, the Growth Model website supports all three goals of the Department’s Strategic Plan: Student Success, Staff Success, and Successful Systems of Support.

Explore the Hawaii Growth Model website here: http://growthmodel.hawaiipublicschools.org

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. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.


40 Students Get Food Poisoning at Oahu Elementary School

The Hawaii State Departments of Education (DOE) and Health (DOH) are conducting an investigation to determine what caused several Waipahu Elementary students to become ill today shortly after lunch.

DOE Release

About 40 students were identified as being sick with symptoms that may indicate food poisoning starting at about 1:15 p.m. Affected students were treated on campus by Emergency Medical Services personnel and transported to area hospitals for further evaluation.

The DOE will be providing temperature logs and a sample lunch to DOH officials for analysis. Officials will also investigate outside factors such as any food students and staff may have brought to the campus, or whether anyone came to school sick. Nearly 1,150 students attend Waipahu Elementary.

Meals served at Hawaii’s public schools adhere to strict state and federal food safety guidelines.

“The safety and wellbeing of our students are paramount,” said School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Our food services branch is collaborating with state health officials to pinpoint the source of today’s outbreak. We thank parents for their patience and we wish all students a speedy recovery.”

Parents who observe their child showing symptoms of being sick are asked to contact his or her doctor and notify the school.


Hawaii State Department of Education Announces Oahu Bus Vendors for 2014-15 School Year

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) has taken another major step in the overhaul of its student transportation system. Before the Board of Education (BOE) Finance and Infrastructure Committee meeting today, the DOE announced that Roberts Hawaii and Ground Transport, Inc. were selected as Oahu bus vendors for the following school year, 2014-15.

DOE Release

The contracts are among major reform efforts underway since December 2012 to meet recommendations by the State Office of the Auditor and the DOE’s transportation consultant, Management Partnership Services (MPS) to make fundamental changes to the bus procurement process.

Contracts were awarded to Roberts Hawaii School Bus and Ground Transport, Inc. on November 27 following a Request for Proposal (RFP) process that began in July 2013. The RFP was divided into seven clusters, and 305 school bus routes on the island of Oahu, with Roberts receiving 181 routes, and Ground the other 124.

The awards were based on best value, which considers cost and quality. In all, the combined award amount for the two companies was nearly $21 million for 2014-15. The RFP incorporated a completely revised contract performance management process that will result in more effective oversight of operations and transportation expenditures.

The DOE’s bus transportation reform efforts, known collectively as the “Get on Board” program, is a multi-year, multi-phased effort to transform how the DOE delivers transportation services to its students. The initiative resulted from a comprehensive study by MPS commissioned after 100 bus routes were eliminated in June 2012 due to rising contract costs and budget cuts. MPS determined that a fundamental overhaul of the DOE’s Student Transportation Services Branch was needed, including changes to contracting practice to encourage competitive pricing, clarify expectation and improve contract management.

“Get on Board” officially launched earlier this school year when bus service was restored to as many as 1,000 students at 32 schools in the Aiea, Moanalua, Pearl City, Radford and Waipahu High complex areas. Last month, the second phase of “Get on Board” got underway with service reinstated to 200 students from August Ahrens Elementary, Highlands Intermediate, Pearl City High and Waipahu High. It was during the program’s second phase that the use of Transfinder’s RoutefinderPro computerized software was used to optimize stop times and route directions in a portion of the service area.

The report also noted Hawaii’s unique geography and relatively closed market as additional constraints to the procurement system. Specifically, MPS recommended the DOE pilot a revised business model, “Get on Board” for 2013, and execute a revised competitive procurement process for contracts in the 2014-15 school year. Another MPS recommendation led to the signing of two State Senate bills by Gov. Neil Abercrombie that gave the DOE more flexibility in how it awards bus contracts.

“The reforms in the delivery of student transportation services are key contributors to enhancing the educational experiences of our students,” said Raymond L’Heureux, assistant superintendent for the DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “The RFP process is an example of how the DOE continues to focus on innovations and technologies that will allow us to deliver our services in the most efficient and effective manner possible.”

The DOE’s school bus transportation system serves more than 35,000 students annually through 700 buses operated by 12 contractors on five islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Hawaii Island.

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. Hawaii’s public school system was established in 1840 by King Kamehameha III. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Hawaii Sex Education Program to be Reviewed

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will be placing Pono Choices implementation on hold as it conducts another review of the pilot curriculum. Pono Choices is a medically accurate teen pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention program funded by the federal Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Disability Studies (CDS).

DOE ReleaseLeila Hayashida, DOE’s Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support stated, “Recent concerns over the department’s sexual education curriculum have resulted in misstatements and misunderstandings about the learning that takes place in the classroom. Pono Choices is a pilot curriculum and is one of seven DOE approved curricula for schools to use for sexual health education. We recently asked the CDS to address public concerns about the curriculum’s descriptions of healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships.”

Following the 2013 fall semester, Pono Choices curriculum implementation will be placed on hold while the CDS addresses concerns and the DOE completes another review process.

“We look forward to the review process as this will provide us with the opportunity to address any concerns the department may have with the curriculum” said Kelly Roberts, Ph.D., principal investigator for Pono Choices. “Our goal is to have a positive impact, reducing teen pregnancy and preventing STIs, through the use of medically accurate and evidence-based curricula. We appreciate the parents who attended our informational sessions and provided valuable feedback while obtaining answers to their questions regarding the curriculum.”

During the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, 12 DOE schools chose to implement the Pono Choices curriculum as a part of sexual health education. Each school held parent informational sessions prior to use. Eight other DOE schools are scheduled to receive training this school year. These 20 DOE schools, if implementing sexual health education prior to finalization of the second DOE review of Pono Choices, will need to select and use another curriculum.

Sexual Health Education is taught in middle schools and is focused on the short-and long-term effects and consequences of sexual activity, such as an unintended pregnancy or STIs. All DOE approved Sex Education courses are in compliance with the Board of Education’s abstinence-based sex education Policy 2110. For any course or lesson that is considered “controversial,” parents have the option of opting-out their child. This is in compliance with DOE regulation 2210.


Statement by Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Matayoshi on Senate Bill 1

Hawaii State Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi today made the following statement to address the rising discussion over the DOE’s role in the current special session regarding Senate Bill 1:

DOE Release“It has come to our attention that statements are being made before the Legislature claiming to represent the State of Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) and what is taught in our public schools.

“For the record, the DOE does not have marriage as a lesson in its curriculum. The DOE and its public schools remain committed to teaching all students regardless of their home situation. We understand that our students come from a variety of backgrounds, whether the adult caregivers in their lives are married, single, in a civil union, a grandparent, foster parents or incarcerated parents, are divorced, or divorced and remarried. Whatever the case may be, we support, care for and educate all children to help them fulfill their potential. We teach students how to treat each other with respect and aloha. We hope that all adults can share in the responsibility as a community of living aloha.

“The DOE is also equally committed to providing a safe and enjoyable learning atmosphere for students, families and educators and promoting a sense of belonging and acceptance for all in our school communities.”

Hawaii Department of Education Revises Graduation Rates After Learning of Data Errors

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today reported revised high school graduation rate results. The data changes affect the statewide graduation rate percentage, graduation rates for 37 high schools and the status of 11 schools in the Strive HI Performance System.

The Strive HI Performance System is designed to measure and understand school performance and progress and help tailor rewards, supports and interventions for improvement.

Following an internal review of 2012 graduation rate data initially reported in August, the DOE identified a programming omission that incorrectly coded outcomes for 205 students. The DOE immediately corrected the data and notified affected schools.

“Learning of data errors, particularly this late in the year, is frustrating, complicates communication with school faculties and communities, and disrupts improvement efforts,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “There is no excuse for these errors. We have notified affected schools and I have directed a number of internal actions designed to ensure the accuracy and transparency of our data processes.”

Specifically, the DOE is implementing quality assurance processes to ensure the integrity of data collection and use.

“The Strive HI Performance System transforms the way we look at the performance of our schools so we can have a deeper understanding of their progress and what’s needed to improve,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “Our complex area superintendents, principals and teachers are using the Strive HI data to have meaningful conversations and take action to improve student outcomes.”

Under the Strive HI Performance System, schools earn points based on achievement, growth, readiness and achievement gap measures. In combination with additional factors, schools are classified into one of the following five steps: Recognition, Continuous Improvement, Focus, Priority and Superintendent’s Zone.

For most of the 37 high schools with corrected graduation rates, there are minor changes to their Index score and no changes to their Strive HI classification. The updated Strive HI Performance Systems Results are posted at HawaiiPublicSchools.org. The corrections to the statewide graduation rate are:

Graduation Rates

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. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.​

Nevada School Shooting Prompts Hawaii Department of Education to Ramp Up School Safety Drills

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) this week is ramping up its school safety drills in partnership with the Honolulu Police Department (HPD). Beginning this week, DOE and HPD will conduct safety drills at several high schools on Oahu.
DOE Release
“While these drills were planned for some time, we recognize that the tragedy that took place at a Nevada school this morning reinforces the need for continued diligence in ensuring our schools are prepared for emergency situations,” noted Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We extend heartfelt sympathies to the school community in Nevada and the families who have lost their loved ones.”

In addition to the HPD emergency drill partnership, the DOE conducts annual training for all security personnel with continued research into security best practices and the latest technology. Last year, the DOE’s Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Branch teamed up with HPD to address heightened concerns over active shooters following incidents on mainland school campuses.

“We appreciate the partnership with HPD and thank our school communities for their understanding of upcoming emergency drills at our schools,” stated Matayoshi.