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Hawaii Department of Education Receives National Innovation Award From Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States announced that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is the 2017 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. The Commission sited the Department’s broadly-supported and impactful education improvement efforts, including focusing school accountability on students’ college and career readiness; teacher and education leader support across the state; development of a comprehensive longitudinal data system; and investing in data literacy as reasons why Hawaii received the award.

“Hawaii worked diligently to positively change the landscape of education in the state and dramatically improved and enhanced the structure of education in its schools, as well as outcomes for its students,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States. “The state’s thoughtfully constructed policies, reforms and capacity-building programs provide teachers and education leaders with opportunities to increase the potential for both their professional success, as well as the success of their students, and also support the state in achieving its education goals.”

HIDOE’s suite of data tools includes a longitudinal data system that provides educators with real-time access to data and even allows for targeting underperforming student populations. The Department’s accompanying long-term investment in data literacy is evidenced by their Formative Assessment/Data Team initiative which engages 11,000 teachers statewide to participate in grade-level or content-based data teams using formative assessment data to inform and improve instruction.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education approved the first iteration of HIDOE’s new accountability system, Strive HI, which shifted the system’s focus from 10th-grade proficiency to ensuring all students graduate ready to enter postsecondary institutions or the workforce. The accountability system extends beyond test scores to include broad measures, such as student growth, chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college-going. Results from the new accountability system showed increased college and career readiness from 2011 to 2015: 42 percent increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement Exams; 74 percent increase in the number of students enrolling in Early College to earn University of Hawaii credits, and about one-third decrease of number of graduates needing remediation upon entering the University of Hawaii colleges.

Through its policy and program efforts, supported by a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top grant, HIDOE developed a robust support system for its teachers and education leaders. One example is the statewide Induction and Mentoring Initiative, which pairs all first- and second-year teachers with an experienced mentor beginning their first day. This investment increased the five-year teacher retention rate, which rose over six years from 44 percent (2004 hires) to 52 percent (2010 hires). Additionally, HIDOE and the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association agreed to a progressive performance evaluation system based on evidence of both teachers’ practice and student learning and growth. To support school leaders, the Leadership Institute provides training programs with relevant and coherent curricula to the different leadership role groups, which better equips leaders to achieve success in their roles.

“This honor is a testament to the perseverance of our school leaders, teachers and community partners who supported the department in our effort to raise rigor and expectations for our students,” shared Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Thank you to Education Commission of the States for recognizing our hard work and the progress we made transforming public education for Hawaii’s students.”

Education Commission of the States will present Hawaii with the award at the 2017 National Forum on Education Policy, taking place June 28-30 in San Diego.

The Frank Newman Award for State Innovation recognizes a state for any of the following:

  • Education improvement efforts that are replicable and hold valuable lessons for other states.
  • Bold and courageous policies, including existing approaches with evidence of significant impact on student achievement in the state.

Policies or programs that have bipartisan, broad-based support.

These significant efforts to improve education honor the late Frank Newman. For more information about the award, click here.

Hawaii State Department of Education Cleared from High-Risk Status in Race to the Top Grant

DOE Release

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) this morning received notification from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) that its Race to the Top (RTTT) grant is no longer considered “high-risk” and is in good standing.

“This is great news that validates the good work that’s been done by the teachers, educational leaders and our community partners,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The transformation of our public schools is in full swing. We are staying the course in our mission to ensure all students graduate from our public schools prepared for college and careers.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie today informing him of the USDOE’s acknowledgement of the major progress that Hawaii has and continues to make.

“The commitment made by the Hawaii State Department of Education to get to where it is today speaks for itself and I congratulate all of those involved for a job well done,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “It is clear that transformation in our education system is taking place at all levels from the Board of Education meeting room to the classroom.”

In August 2010, the USDOE awarded Hawaii with a four-year $75 million RTTT grant. Hawaii was placed on high-risk status in December 2011. The DOE spent two years making significant progress, which later led to the removal of high-risk status in two of its Assurance Areas, including B (Standards and Assessments) and C (Data Systems). Until today, the high-risk status remained in Assurance Areas A (System Alignment and Performance Monitoring), D (Great Teachers, Great Leaders), and E (Turning Around Persistently Low-Achieving Schools).

In February 2013, the DOE received recognition for a number of major accomplishments and was also praised for implementing important reforms, including programs to support educator effectiveness. Today’s announcement of total removal of high-risk allows Hawaii to continue its RTTT reform efforts through September 2014 when the grant officially ends.

Key improvement areas in the DOE’s transformation efforts include:
· Aligned state, complex area and school planning and monitoring. This allows for a cohesive system at all levels focused on shared goals for students. From the strategic plan to the school’s academic plans and evaluations of educators, administrators and teachers are tracking students to ensure all graduate college and career ready.
· Worked with union partners to formalize new evaluation systems for teachers and principals.
· Improved communication both internally and externally. Earlier this month, the DOE launched its new website and is in the process of establishing an intranet service for staff that allows for increased exchange of information. The DOE also provided clarity of roles, responsibilities, and vision both within our system and in the community.
The 2013-14 school year begins Aug. 5. The DOE remains firm in its strategic goals in setting targets for multiple progress indicators that show progress towards student achievement.

For more information about Race to the Top, please visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.