DOE Expands Grab-and-Go Student Meal Program

The Hawaii Department of Education has expanded the Grab-and-Go Student meal program to the following schools:

Note that breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to noon. For food safety, meals must be consumed by 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

HIDOE Seeks to Modify Graduation Requirements Due to COVID-19

The Hawaii State Department of Education is seeking approval from the Board of Education (BOE) to modify high school graduation and commencement requirements under Board Policy 102-15 for the class of 2020. The memo submitted by the Department today seeks flexibility in awarding a diploma or certificate to graduating seniors, based on approval from individual school administrations. There are approximately 10,000 students who are eligible to earn diplomas this year. 

School facilities have been closed to students since March 19, with traditional, in-school instruction temporarily discontinued until at least April 30. Approval of the proposed waiver will provide educator-driven solutions to address the loss of educational content as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. This action will allow class of 2020 graduates to proceed with post-secondary educational and workforce opportunities without unnecessary delays.

The Department also determined it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a decision by April 15 regarding commencement ceremonies. School, complex area and state teams have started discussing alternative means of celebration in the event traditional ceremonies cannot be held. 

“The decision around celebrating this milestone with our seniors is an emotional one as most students have looked forward to this occasion since they were in elementary school. However, the safety and health of our community is paramount and we are basing our decisions on guidance from health and state officials in the coming weeks,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “Our request to the Board for a one-time policy waiver is a critical step in our efforts to adjust the remainder of the school year for our public and charter schools. Once we receive approval from the Board, we can formally issue guidance for meeting graduation requirements that has been developed.”

Details about the April 2 BOE meeting as well as the memo are posted on the Board’s website.

In addition to graduation requirements, HIDOE’s planning includes its request to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to waive standardized testing and associated accountability and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year. This request was approved by the USDOE last week. The public can submit comments until April 10 regarding this waiver through an online survey here. For more information as well as the anticipated impact, click here

All Hawaii DOE employees will continue to work remotely until at least April 30, with the exception of those who are considered essential and must perform their duties at a campus or office, which includes meal prep and distribution at grab-and-go sites. 

Beginning this week, schools started to prepare distance learning opportunities and/or learning packets to be distributed via email, school websites and some in-person. Work packets will not be graded, but many teachers are identifying unique ways to provide feedback to students. The Department has also stood up a resource for parents available at bit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource.

New Funds to Assist UH Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation and University of Hawaiʻi have partnered to establish two new funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help those on our campuses.

“As we adjust to a new reality amid concerns about the novel coronavirus, friends and alumni have been asking us how they can help,” said University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner. “Many of our funders and donors have reached out expressing concern for the welfare of our students. They also want to hear what UH is doing on the research front to participate in the fight against COVID-19.”

Urgent Student Relief Fund

The Urgent Student Relief fund supports students statewide.

In times of emergencies like this, some students at UH’s 10 campuses find themselves in urgent financial distress. The usual pressures of finishing the semester are exacerbated by the pandemic’s pervasive upheaval of routines and constant concern for family and friends.

Financially, many UH students who are already living on a shoestring are even closer to the edge. Students relying on jobs for tuition are being laid off. Others need childcare as schools temporarily closed, access to computers as classes moved online, transportation when living arrangements shift and food when their meals off campus may be in doubt.

“The type of assistance our students need is evolving, but UH is ready to respond,” said Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Hae Okimoto. “Additional resources will support our students to stay on track with their academic journeys so they can help us build the strong economy of tomorrow.”

COVID-19 and Infections and Emerging Diseases Research Fund

UH researchers are working fervently to detect, prevent and cure COVID-19, and other infectious and emerging diseases in the islands and abroad.

Among other efforts, scientists at the John A. Burns School of Medicine are expanding ongoing development of heat-stable vaccines for viruses, to include coronaviruses causing COVID-19. Success means rapid, efficient manufacturing of vaccines with broad application for the general population, including our children and seniors. 

Our experienced UH scientists are also working on the development of processes for rapid screening and surveillance of COVID-19 in the islands and abroad.

Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO said, “Our donors and community want to be part of the global solution. As the nonprofit that raises funds to support UH students and research, we are committed to supporting our community in every way we can. We are all in this together.”

More information is available at the UH Foundation website.

UH Program Connects Public, Local Farmers During Pandemic

Since farmers’ markets have been shut down for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, local farmers are concerned about how they will be able to sell their produce, and locavores are wondering where they are going to buy their local produce and value-added products.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s successful farmer-training program, GoFarm Hawai‘i, has been building a list of some resources for farmers as well as Find Your Farmer, a list of farmers who are still offering access to food in non-traditional ways, such as through pick-up and drop-off. They have the information promoted on their Facebook and Instagram pages so that farmers can add their information.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has been addressing the issue of food security long before the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. 

GoFarm Hawaiʻi is a collaborative effort involving UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human ResourcesWindward Community College and UH’s Agribusiness Incubator Program.

They are looking for farmers who have food to sell as well as building a resource for people to access food. GoFarm Hawai‘i is also requesting any recommendations of services that can aid farmers during the interim so they can be added to the list.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has five program sites across four islands, making it one of the largest beginning-farmer training programs in the nation. Sites are located on Oʻahu (in Waimānalo and Waialua), Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Started in 2012, the program has successfully trained aspiring farmers throughout the state.

UH Extends Application Deadline to August 1

The University of Hawaiʻi is extending the deadline to apply for admissions to its three universities to August 1, 2020. This will give prospective students additional time to consider UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and/or UH West Oʻahu for the 2020–21 academic year under the new uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prospective students can apply to the seven UH Community Colleges right up to the start of the semester. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, particularly if they are interested in financial aid.

The announcement was made during a Wednesday, March 25 news conference by Gov. David Y. Ige, a UH graduate.

“For parents and students who are now thinking about staying home for college, you canʻt beat the opportunities across the University of Hawaiʻi System,” said UH President Lassner, adding that there is something for everyone at UH—from graduating high school seniors, to students on the mainland wanting to return home, to adults looking for improved economic opportunity through a career change.

“The UH system offers a wide range of amazing higher education programs across the state,” said Lassner. “Weʻre recognized around the world as affordable at every level, from our amazing community colleges to our welcoming baccalaureate universities to one of the world’s great research universities.”

Data show that people who earn a college degree or certificate earn more money over their lifetimes, are less likely to become unemployed in a recession, return to the workforce faster after a recession, live longer, live healthier, are less likely to become incarcerated, vote more, volunteer more, and their children are more likely to also pursue a higher education and experience these same benefits.

Go to the University of Hawaʻi application website for more information on how to apply. 

Course Withdrawal Deadline Extended for UH Campuses

The University of Hawaiʻi has extended the deadline to withdraw with a “W” grade to Thursday, April 30, at 4 p.m. for semester-long classes. Students and faculty are encouraged to follow up with procedures for their individual campuses.

The deadline was moved to provide students additional time to adjust to the new delivery mode of their courses before making decisions about withdrawal. Students are urged to reach out to advisors, counselors and faculty if they need assistance with academic decisions and any impact they may have on summer and fall registration.

School Facilities Closed to Students Through April 30

School facilities closed to students through April 30 with the exception of grab-and-go meal sites

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today school facilities will remain closed to students through April 30, based on the latest guidance and information from health officials and elected leaders. Traditional, in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen. 

“I want to thank each and every one of the Department’s 44,000 employees for working in new ways during these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “These are uncertain and anxious circumstances for everyone in our communities and we sincerely appreciate your patience as our response to this health crisis continues to evolve and we make the needed adjustments for health and safety.”

The Department, along with charter schools, will be sending out information about enrichment opportunities, including online resources and printed material resources such as instructional packets. Parents and guardians are encouraged to look out for information from their child’s school and teachers. Tips and tools gathered by HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design are also available for the public at bit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource.

Special education services
Schools will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the same enrichment opportunities as their peers. Schools are working toward providing the most appropriate modifications and accommodations under the circumstances. Related services that can be provided via telepractice will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students who have qualified for these services. When school resumes in its traditional manner, Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 teams will meet to determine if there was a loss of skills as a result of the extended school closure, and the need for compensatory education. 

Grab-and-go meal school sites
Nine additional sites will begin breakfast and lunch service Wednesday, March 25. Parents and caregivers who come to pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child. Meals will not be served Thursday, March 26, which is Prince Kuhio Day. For the complete list of sites, click here. 

By the end of this week, the Department will be sharing specific plans to ensure its 10,000 eligible high school graduates can earn diplomas. The Department will also provide next-level information based on the planning work accomplished by schools, complex areas and state offices for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We remain focused on and committed to our educational mission and we look forward to resuming instruction and a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible,” Kishimoto added.

HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at hawaiipublicschools.org.

HIDOE Receives Approval to Cancel Federally Mandated Testing

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced an opportunity for states to apply for flexibility around federal assessment and accountability requirements due to COVID-19 impacts. Within hours of filing with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) received notification that its expedited waiver request was approved.  

HIDOE’s expedited waiver allows for the cancellation of federally required assessments for the remainder of school year 2019-20. This includes Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics; Hawaii State Science Assessments and Biology 1 end of course exams; Hawaii State Alternate Assessments; and the Kaiapuni Assessment of Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO).  

“At this time, the top priority of our haumana and staff should be staying healthy and adapting to their new learning environments,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “In these unprecedented times with rapidly changing conditions, the Department’s efforts are focused on helping students continue to learn and grow through alternative instructional delivery methods.” 

The Hawaii Board of Education will be discussing the federal waiver at its April telemeeting. More details and an opportunity for public comment will be available here.

Administrative Leave Offered to County Workers

In a memo from Mayor Kim to Hawaii County Department and Agency Heads sent on Friday, March 20, 2020, Mayor Kim authorizes Administrative Leave due to closures of Schools or Child Care Facilities because of the current COVID-19 emergency.

Administrative leave of up to 14 calendars days was authorized.

UH Campuses Closed to All Except Students & Employees

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi are closed, effective immediately, to everyone except current students and employees.

The UH campuses are UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu, UH Maui College, Leeward Community College (CC), Kapiʻolani CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauaʻi CC and Hawaiʻi CC.

This is the latest step being taken for the health and safety of UH students and employees. The university announced on March 18 that it is transitioning to an online delivery of courses for the remainder of the spring semester. The closure of public-facing facilities and establishment of a process for employees to work remotely from home are in effect. Employees who are working on campus and students who come to campus or reside in student housing are instructed to practice social distancing.

HIDOE Extends School Closures

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today it will keep all public schools closed for a total of three weeks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, HIDOE offices except for essential functions will be closed for the next 15 days. School and state offices will continue to provide public services remotely.

“Closing our schools will help safeguard the health of our children, teachers, staff and surrounding communities as we fight against the spread of COVID-19,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “We appreciate the support and commitment of our public school ‘ohana as we collectively navigate these uncharted waters.”

Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne added, “Our entire state must band together to combat community spread of the virus and school closures are an important part of the response. We will work closely with the Department and our federal partners to ensure that education requirements continue to be met and students have access to such essential services as meals.”

HIDOE schools and offices

All public and charter schools will remain closed to students through April 6, following the extended spring break period. Barring any future changes, return dates will be staggered as follows:

  • April 3: Custodians, principals and administrators return to work.
  • April 4-5 (weekend): Custodians continue deep cleaning of campuses.
  • April 6: Teachers return to work to prepare classrooms.
  • April 7: Students return to school.

Spring break was originally scheduled to run from March 16-20 for most HIDOE schools. The Department announced last week that the break would be extended by one week through March 27. The state’s three multi-track schools — Kapolei Middle, Mililani Middle and Holomua Elementary — were placed on break for the same dates. The latest closure runs through April 6 for students.

Employees will be working remotely and those who need to perform duties at a campus or office during this period will be limited to those tasks before returning to their telework arrangement.

Student meal service

During the extended closure, HIDOE will continue to provide student meals, including providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at select schools to children 18 years and under at the following days and times:

  • Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. for breakfast.
  • Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for lunch.
  • Note: Meals will not be served on Thursday, March 26 in observance of Prince Kuhio Day. Some schools may start serving meals later in the week.

A list of the 39 pick-up sites is available here. The locations were selected based on criteria including a high number of students eligible for the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program and geography. HIDOE is monitoring the situation and may add additional sites if necessary.

Graduation and other school events

Following earlier guidance, the Department canceled or postponed events involving large groups. Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified and any necessary scheduling changes will be announced at a future date.

Notification of COVID-19 cases

In the event there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving an individual in a HIDOE school community, the Department will not be issuing a notification. This outreach will be done by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in order to avoid any potential Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations. We encourage those who are concerned to consult with their health care provider and continue to monitor the DOH website for updates at www.hawaiicovid19.com.

Additional information and HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at hawaiipublicschools.org.

Governor David Ige’s statement on the Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s efforts to further help suppress the spread of COVID-19 

“I commend and fully support the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (DOE) for furthering the state’s efforts to implement social distancing. These are challenging decisions being made every day across the state but are essential to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Educating Hawaiʻi’s students remain our top priority. And we know that in addition to providing a positive learning environment, schools also provide a safe place for our keiki.

“As decisions for extension and closures are being announced, I’m very pleased that the DOE has a plan in place to continue providing meals to our students, especially to those who need it most. The comprehensive plan will help communities from Kaʻū to Kapaʻa. I encourage parents to check the DOE website for details on the meals programs.

“The situation is constantly changing, and the DOE will be adjusting its plans to meet the changing conditions and address issues, such as opportunities for distance learning, special needs students and graduation.

“I want to thank the Board, DOE, parents, students and the community for their understanding as we work though this difficult time. We will get through this crisis if we continue to work together as a community.”

UH Online Courses Extended for Remainder of Semester

This message was shared with the students, faculty, and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on March 18, 2020.

Aloha UH ʻOhana,

Mahalo for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented pandemic crisis. Like many days, yesterday brought new changes including a set of extraordinary announcements from Governor Ige. So I want to share a number of significant updates to the university’s response. All of these are grounded in our firm commitment to completing the semester for our students while protecting the safety of our employees and students across the UH System.

UH instruction will be conducted online for the remainder of the semester. Exceptions may be granted only as previously announced.

Until further notice, our campuses remain open to our students and employees.

  • To maximize safety, other public-facing services may be curtailed for the duration of the crisis. Campus libraries are closed to the public, and other facilities and services may follow.
  • Changes to facilities and practices will be made to maximize social distancing in accord with CDCguidelines for Institutions of Higher Education.
  • Full buildings or sections of buildings that are unnecessary during this crisis may be closed under the authority of a UH Officer. Cleaning and disinfection will be focused on areas still open to students and employees.
  • Traditional dining services are being phased out and replaced with To-Go, Grab-n-Go and/or Delivery food services.

All non-essential travel, including to neighbor islands, should be canceled. Exceptions will be granted under the authority of a UH Officer.

All public events shall be canceled at least through the end of April.

As previously announced guidance for employees regarding remote working and implementing social distancing will be issued later today.

Please stay tuned for more updates and information as this continues to be a rapidly developing situation. And mahalo for all you do to support our students, our university and our state in this difficult and incredibly dynamic situation.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
University of Hawaiʻi President

HI DOE Extends Spring Break for ALL Public Schools

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) is extending its spring break through March 27 for all public and charter school students. The Department will use the additional time from March 23-27 to plan for implementation of social distancing within the school setting, arrange for professional development to support modified operations, and thoroughly clean schools.

Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle and Holomua Elementary will be off multi-track schedules for two weeks from March 16-27. Normal school operations for all schools are expected to resume Monday, March 30. Spring break was originally scheduled to run from March 16-20 for most HIDOE schools, and Thursday, March 26, is Prince Kuhio Day, which is a state holiday.

“We understand the impact this will have on our families. This was not an easy decision to make but we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and the broader community while carrying out our educational mission,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “Public schools serve as hubs of care in our communities, from access to health care to providing free and reduced price meals. We intend to restart school immediately once it is deemed safe to do so to reduce disruption to our school communities and provide consistency for our children.”

All planned school and Department-coordinated events of more than 100 attendees are being canceled, effective Monday, March 16, until updated guidance is provided by health officials. Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified; scheduling announcements will be made at a future date.

Official updates will continue to be posted on HIDOE’s website and social media.

KSBE Reports Incident at Bus Stop

The following letter was sent to parents of Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus this evening:

Aloha mai e nā ‘ohana,

Providing a safe and caring environment is a priority for Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi. That means all times while students are in our care, including on all bus routes, to and from pick up and drop off sites.

Earlier today, Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i administration was informed of an incident occurring outside of Prince Kūhiō Plaza following bus drop off in the afternoon involving students and an unfamiliar adult. A man approached a group of students and was staring at two of these students which made them feel uncomfortable. The man approached the group saying that he was an English teacher but they realized he clearly was not. Those two students quickly removed themselves from the situation but were understandably still upset with what had transpired.

Upon the parent reporting the incident to our staff, we contacted Prince Kūhiō Plaza security, who reported the incident to police. Security also informed us that a 1 year ban of this individual from the premises would be issued.

As a friendly, safety reminder, we encourage you to make the necessary arrangements to be at your child’s bus stop 15 minutes before pick up and remain until child is safely on board, and 15 minutes before drop off to assure that your child is not left unattended at any time at the bus pick up/drop off site. Your kōkua and aloha for the safety of your child and all children ensures they are prepared in the event they find themselves in an uncomfortable or inappropriate situation.

We would also encourage you as ‘ohana, to have the conversations with your child to ensure that they:

  • Never walk around alone – stay in pairs.
  • Stay in a well-lit area.
  • Seek assistance from a nearby friend, adult, etc. should they feel uncomfortable by the approach of any person(s), and report this information immediately to someone they feel comfortable with.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Transportation Department at (808) 982-0038 or (808) 982-0701.

HIDOE Cancels Mainland & International Trips Due to COVID-19

The Hawaii Department of Education is canceling all school and department related travel to the U.S. Mainland and international destinations until the end of the school year due to the current COVID-19 situation.

In a release from Superintendent Christina Kishimoto she states:

Dear Hawai’i DOE staff, faculty, parents and guardians,

We recognize that Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) sponsored student travel and professional development are important parts of our overall academic design. In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, we need to take additional precautionary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our school communities. As such, HIDOE is canceling all school and Department-related travel to the U.S. mainland and international destinations until the end of the 2019-2020 school year, effective March 12.

There are school trips scheduled to depart Hawai’i on Wednesday, March 11. Although these trips will not be bound by the upcoming department-wide cancellations, parents have the right to modify their travel plans accordingly. If you decide to cancel or modify your school-related travel plans, please notify your child’s school immediately. Making this last minute decision is a personal one, so please consider that travel costs already incurred may not be reimbursable.

We understand the financial hardship this will potentially cause and we encourage families, schools and complex areas to discuss the possibility of rescheduling or reimbursement with their travel partners (i.e. travel agents, airlines and accommodations) to the extent possible.

We did not make this decision lightly knowing the impact it will have on our school communities; however, the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.

Please continue to monitor HIDOE COVID-19 updates on the Department’s website at www.hawaiipublicschools.org.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto Superintendent

Hawaii Electric Light’s Energy Fair on Oct. 21

Hawaii Electric Light invites the community to its energy fair on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

The free, family-friendly event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature educational displays, demonstrations, and interactive activities on electrical safety, energy conservation, electric vehicles and fast charger stations, renewable energy, and our plan to reach a 100% renewable energy future.

Fun activities will include games as well as building and racing a model solar boat made with recycled products. Enjoy live, local entertainment by Kahakai Elementary School, The Humble Project, Kealakehe High School Dance Team, Mauka Soul, and Solid Roots Band.

For more information on the energy fair, visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com/energyfair or call 327-0543.

MANA WAHINE Coming to UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) presents the Okareka Dance Company of New Zealand‘s all-female production MANA WAHINE, on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Their performance combines dance, theatre and film to tell the true life story of Te Aokapurangi, a young maiden from Rotorua. Captured in battle by a tribe from the far north, she returns many years later to single-handedly save her people from slaughter, as well as experiences within their own lives.

“MANA WAHINE is a vision of strength that empowers women around the world, and above all, a rich fusion of choreography, music, tikanga, Maori and performance practices, video projections, lighting and performance design . . . enriched and enlivened by the dancing of five powerhouse performers,” wrote Raewyn Whyte of Theatreview Magazine in New Zealand.

Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $25 General, $20 Discount and $12 UH Hilo/Hawaiʻi CC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, pre-sale, and $30, $25 and $17 at the door. Tickets are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490, Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.

Hospice of Hilo to Offer Presentation for Professionals

Hospice of Hilo will be offering a free presentation for community professionals serving those whose lives are affected by loss  “Grief Touches Everyone.” Participants will meet at Hospice of Hilo’s Community Room located at 1011 Waiānuenue Ave in Hilo, on Wednesday, October 25, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

Facilitated by Hospice of Hilo bereavement counselors, participants will learn about common responses to loss, and how grief can affect adults and children emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially and spiritually. An overview of the organization’s free community Bereavement Services will also be provided.

The workshop is highly recommended for teachers, counselors, case managers, social workers, and caregivers.“ This well organized and informative workshop is a good introduction to grief and the resources that can help,” said a past participant.

To register or for further information contact: Anjali Kala at 961-7306 or email anjalik@hospiceofhilo.org. Please RSVP no later than October 24th.

UH Hilo Interns Join Scientists on Marine Research Expedition

Two interns from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Option Program (MOP) have recently returned from a 25-day expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where they took part in the 2017 Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) cruise conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

School of bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) and a NMFS PIFSC CRED diver conducting fish counts at Swains Island, American Samoa, as part of the Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP). NOAA photo by Ben Ruttenburg of NMFS SEFSC.

UH Hilo’s Roseanna (Rosie) Lee and Keelee Martin were joined by UH Mānoa MOP intern Colton Johnson aboard the Research Vessel Hi’ialakai on the journey to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), where they worked alongside regular NOAA divers as full members of survey crews, conducting Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs) of reef fish, corals and non-coral invertebrates. Their work was guided by NOAA scientists and researchers from Papahānaumokuākea, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and UH Hilo.

The survey crews visited Lehua, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll within Papahānaumokuākea to conduct their various activities. The results of their research will help scientists gain a better understanding of the health of coral reef ecosystems throughout the archipelago.

Martin worked on the benthic (sea floor) team that counted, measured and assessed the health of the coral reefs, which are home to over 7,000 marine species. She said the experience made her a better diver, scientist and team player.

“This was a humbling and gratifying opportunity that allowed me to work in an area few people will ever see alongside acclaimed scientists mentoring me the whole way through,” Martin said.

Lee was assigned to the fish survey team, whose work included identifying, counting, and sizing fish for set intervals of time and taking photographs of their habitat. She is now a far more confident researcher and scientific diver.

“The kind of experience you get by jumping into the field and actually getting to do the same work as the established scientists you are working with is a learning experience you can’t get any other way,” Lee said.

Their work drew praise from the scientific leads on their respective teams, who both predicted amazing futures for the interns. REA fish team head Jason Leonard said Lee and Johnson “both performed at very high levels of professionalism and overcame obstacles.” Benthic team leader Stephen Matadobra said of Martin “her excitement and enthusiasm to be in the Monument and collect data gave the team a positive mood every morning.”

Martin, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, a minor in English and a MOP certificate, wants to become a science writer. Lee, a senior, seeking a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and a MOP certificate, is still considering her career path.

The UH Hilo internships are made possible through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the NOAA PMNM Division and are available to MOP students who complete the two-week field SCUBA diving course QUEST (Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques). The agreement provides funding to hire up to four students each year to work on the RAMP cruises. Lisa Parr, Instructor of Marine Science, MOP Site Coordinator at UH Hilo, and Principal Investigator on the MOA says the research opportunities the program provides to work with established scientists on important research prepares the students well for careers in marine science.

“Our partnership with NOAA provides an invaluable opportunity for our students, who consistently receive outstanding reviews for their performance on the cruises, and we’re extremely proud of how well they represent UH Hilo, the Marine Option Program, and QUEST,” Parr said.

Additional information on the RAMP cruises is available at
https://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/cred/pacific_ramp.php. For more information on the UH Hilo internships with NOAA email lparr@hawaii.edu.

Bank of Hawaii Foundation Grants $100,000 for PBS Hawai’i’s HIKI NO

Bank of Hawaii Foundation, an early backer of PBS Hawai‘i’s award-winning HIKI NŌ statewide student digital media initiative, has renewed its support with a $100,000 grant.

HIKI NŌ, primarily an education program, encourages students to hone progressive “real world” learning skills. These skills are showcased in a weekly on-air and online newscast, in which students meet national PBS professional journalism standards.

“Kudos to Leslie Wilcox and PBS Hawai‘i for championing HIKI NŌ and helping students from all islands to develop skills in a digital world,” said Peter S. Ho, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii. “HIKI NŌ students tell the stories of their communities with a voice and perspective that is powerful and authentic.”

Bank of Hawaii Foundation’s support dates back to the launch of HIKI NŌ in 2011. Since then, HIKI NŌ schools have become digital media stand-outs at local and national competitions.

At no cost to schools, HIKI NŌ serves 90 public, private and charter schools across the Islands, middle and high schools. Under the guidance of teachers, participating students create their stories of their communities after school hours. The Hawaii State Department of Education is considering making HIKI NŌ an official elective course in public schools.

Says PBS Hawai‘i Director of Learning Initiatives Robert Pennybacker: “Bank of Hawaii Foundation has helped open career paths to students by enabling them to gain the ability to problem-solve, persevere and meet deadlines with quality digital media work.”