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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.