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Hawaii Anti-Bullying Campaign Marks Its 10th Year

The E Ola Pono campaign celebrated its 10th year, and was created as a cultural response to bullying in the schools. Student groups are encouraged to actively Grow Pono – to foster respect and harmony. Six schools in three divisions received recognition and monetary awards for their campaigns.

The E Ola Pono campaign encourages youth groups to promote peace, pono and respect at their schools and communities through student–led campaigns.  Photo Credit: E Ola Pono

The E Ola Pono campaign, which encourages youth groups to promote peace, pono and respect at their schools and communities through student–led campaigns, celebrated its 10th year with winning projects from across the state. The campaign was created as a cultural response to bullying in the schools. Student groups are encouraged to actively Grow Pono – to foster respect and harmony.

“This campaign is an excellent example of showcasing student voice and leadership,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “Congratulations to the winning schools and all of the entrants who put a lot of thought and time into these projects that promote positivity within our schools and communities.”

Six schools in three divisions received recognition and monetary awards for their campaigns.

Elementary Division:

First Place: Na Wai Ola P ublic Charter School (PCS), Mountain View, Hawaiʻi Island – Na Wai Ola PCS’ māla (garden) program teaches students how to grow food, medicines and plants with aloha and respect. Shari Frias, the agricultural Science teacher and advisor for their pono campaign, observed that students who have been at their school for a few years have a personal connection and understanding of their māla, the environment and themselves. The older students have developed a strong connection to place. She tells her students that, “every plant in our māla has a place, and kulelana just like you. If we care about ourselves the way we care for our plants we will be pono, and balanced.”

Second Place: Aliʻiolani Elementary School, Honolulu, Oʻahu – The STAR Student Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program at Aliʻiolani Elementary promoted kindness recognition. Every student at Ali’iolani wrote down a time when they were kind to someone else and the Wall of Kindness was created. Campaign advisor, Tim Hosoda, shared, “In most programs the teachers do the recognizing, but with STAR Student, the students are the ones that get to do that. We noticed that students behave better because the know their peers are always watching them.”

Middle/Intermediate Division:

First Place: Ewa Makai Middle School, Ewa Beach, Oʻahu – Ewa Makai Middle initiated a campaign to foster pono with aloha with an emphasis on morality and ethics.

Ewa Makai Middle initiated a campaign to foster pono with aloha with an emphasis on morality and ethics. Photo Credit: E Ola Pono

Through various activities like Cheer Off and No One Eats Alone Day, the students formed a strong bond. Vanessa Ching, campaign advisor, shared, “The students have embraced the true meaning of pono, which is respect for self and others, and doing what is right even when no one is around. We now realize that it is both an individual and team effort to take action and influence positive behaviors and respectful actions in our community.”

Second Place: Kailua Intermediate, Kailua, Oʻahu – Seventh and eighth grade students at Kailua Intermediate focused on how to mālama the Hamakua Marsh and the native birds in this sanctuary by watching and monitoring the birds, cleaning up trash dumped in the marsh and taking water samples. Campaign advisor Kimberly Tangaro, a science teacher at Kailua intermediate, shared, “As participants we learned how we can make small yet significant changes to help promote the health of the marsh. Our school culture was powerfully and positively impacted by learning about this unique and special place we call home or our community.”

High School Division:

First Place (tie): Farrington High School, Honolulu, Oʻahu – The Friends Program at Farrington High focused on the national “#BETHECHANGE” and “Spread the Word to End the “R” Word” initiatives because they wanted their school, students, and community to understand that they will all rise as one. Evelyn Utai, advisor of the Friends Program, shared, “The students in our Friends Program are educating their friends and classmates on what it means to be a caring individual. We promote that we are #ONEGOV” at Farrington High. It’s an amazing feeling to have my students walk through the halls and feel that they belong in the school.”

First Place (tie): Hāna High & Elementary School, Hāna, Maui – Hāna High’s ninth graders chose the topic of Environmental Sustainability. Students focused on educating the younger generation by passing down the teachings of their kupuna. Campaign advisor Angela Chronis, Hāna’s Social Studies teacher shared, “Both keiki and kupuna were excited to help take part in our campaign. After participating in E Ola Pono, students have a greater understanding and appreciation of the many steps it takes to launch a successful campaign.”

For more information about the E Ola Pono campaign and the 2016-17 winners, click here.

Governor Abercrombie Releases $62.4 Million for Education Facilities Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $62.4 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) that will improve various Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) facilities across the state, while stimulating the economy and generating local jobs.

“These funds will help to create a better learning environment for our keiki and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In the process, the funds will create work for hundreds in Hawaii.”

Kau High School

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$36,365,000 – Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure – Planning, design, construction and equipment to improve and maintain facilities and infrastructure for various schools statewide. DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is at $265 million. These projects include general school building improvements, electrical upgrades and playground equipment repair, along with maintenance and other school repairs and renovations. Some of these funds will go to the overall repair project at the damaged Farrington High Auditorium.

$7,554,000 – Program Support – Planning, land, design, construction and equipment for program support at various schools statewide, including new/temporary facilities, improvements to existing facilities, ground and site improvements, and for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and gender equity. ADA projects include McKinley High, Baldwin High, Kohala Elementary and Honokaa High. Gender equity projects include Keaau High, Waiakea High and Waipahu High softball fields and Kahuku High and Intermediate girls’ athletic locker room. Funds will also complete construction of a locker room project at Lahainaluna High and complete design of a locker room at Konawaena Middle School.

$7,500,000 – Equity – Design and construction for equality projects to improve instructional spaces such as science labs, special education classroom renovations and classrooms on a statewide basis for classroom/learning environment parity. Equity projects also include energy improvements relating to heat abatement in classrooms.

$5,800,000 – Capacity – Plans, land, design, construction and equipment for capacity projects at various schools statewide nearing their enrollment capacity or are short of classroom space.

$5,200,000 – Staff Costs and Project Positions – Fiscal Year 2014 costs related to wages and fringe benefits for 60 project-funded permanent staff. The positions will provide the technical and clerical support necessary for the DOE to adequately address their CIP needs by moving its CIP project-funded staff to the vacant Liliuokalani Elementary in the near future.

Majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013 Did Not Meet ACT’s College-Readiness Benchmarks

The ACT early today released the results of the graduating Class of 2013’s performance on its college-readiness exam. A record 5,345 Hawaii students in both public and private schools took the ACT test in spring 2012, representing a 75 percent increase from the Class of 2010. However, results show a majority of Hawaii’s Class of 2013, similar to the rest of the nation, did not meet the test’s college-readiness benchmarks. The data reinforces the importance of the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (DOE) focus on supporting all students for success after high school.

The 5,345 Hawaii students, most of whom took the ACT as juniors in 2012 and graduated this past spring, represent about 40 percent of the Class of 2013 – the biggest group of students ever to take the ACT in Hawaii. Kaiser High graduate Jason Cheng, a Harvard University freshman this fall, was the only Hawaii student to earn a perfect score of 36 among those included in the results released today.

“The good news is the high number of students challenging themselves with the college rigor of the ACT Test,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “We look forward to improving our results as we continue our focus on college and career readiness.”

Acknowledging a need to boost college and career readiness among graduates, the DOE has already taken steps to better prepare students by introducing the following new initiatives in 2013:

· Strive HI Performance System: For the first time, the DOE is holding schools accountable for achievement, growth, achievement gaps, and college and career readiness. As a part of the Strive HI Performance System, the DOE administers the ACT EXPLORE exam to all students in grades 8 and 9, the ACT Plan exam in grade 10, and the ACT Test in grade 11. Based on local research, a composite score of 19 on the ACT exam indicates readiness for entry-level courses in the University of Hawaii System. The eleventh-grade results from the spring 2013 administration, included in the recently released Strive HI results, show that 34 percent of students met a composite score of 19 or higher. ACT scores being reported today are part of the last round of exams taken before the DOE began administering the ACT as part of the Strive HI Performance System.

· Common Core State Standards (CCSS): For the first time this school year, all teachers are implementing the Common Core State Standards. The new standards are a set of consistent, high-quality academic standards that clearly define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each school year in order to be on track for success.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each exam is graded on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s single composite score is the average of the four test scores. In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark — the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The benchmarks are set based on national level data. Hawaii graduates who tested as juniors in the spring of 2012 posted a statewide average composite mark of 20.1. The national average composite score was 20.9. In each benchmark area, Hawaii students also posted lower ACT scores than their national peers. The figures below represent the percentage of students who met benchmark scores by subject:

ACT Performance

“The drop in ACT scores for Hawaii students should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or readiness,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education. “The state results were impacted by the change in the composition of test takers included in the report. As a result, this year’s data should be viewed as a new baseline against which future years can be compared.”

For more information about the DOE, log on to HawaiiPublicSchools.org. Additional ACT information is available at act.org/readiness/2013.