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Hawaii’s College-and Career-Readiness Efforts Recognized

Hawaii’s efforts to prepare students for college and careers earned high marks from Achieve, a national non-partisan education reform organization. Hawaii is one of 46 states and D.C. to adopt Common Core State Standards (CCSS), rigorous education standards aligned with college- and career-readiness (CCR), or the knowledge and skills necessary for success after high school.

“The report confirms that we have set a higher bar for students, teachers, as well as ourselves as educational leaders,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Our efforts continue daily to enable high school graduates to seamlessly enter postsecondary education prepared to succeed.”

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

Achieve’s 8th annual “Closing the Expectations Gap” report released earlier this week praised Hawaii in several categories that detail progress in elevating student achievement and success. Among the findings, Hawaii is:

  • One of 10 states that “…has adopted college and career readiness standards and assessments capable of producing a score that colleges value and either require all students to take courses that deliver the CCSS/CCR standards to graduate or default all students into a CCR course of study in 9th grade and permit modifications as needed.”
  • Among states taking steps to ensure that teacher preparation programs and licensure requirements are CCSS/CCR aligned. The report specifically cites: “In Hawaii, teacher preparation programs must incorporate the CCSS into their programs when preparing teacher candidates and are required to submit evidence to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board about how their candidates use the standards in working with P-12 students. The Hawaii Teacher Performance Standards support the CCSS.”
  • One of only seven states that have mandatory diplomas requiring students to take the content through the level of the CCSS/CCR standards by 2016.
  • One of 11 states to require the ACT test for all high school students. In a landmark move last school year, the DOE began offering the ACT to all students free of charge. In the ACT’s last administration over the spring, Roosevelt High senior Gillian Desmond was the only student statewide with a perfect score of 30, a feat accomplished by only 781 students out of the 1.66 million who took the test.

The report comes during American Education Week, which recognizes the efforts of educators who work tirelessly to advance public education across the nation.

To see the report, go to www.achieve.org/ClosingtheExpectationsGap2013.

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 State Department of Education Recognizes 2013 Employee and Team of the Year

Yesterday, the Hawaii State Department of Education presented its Employee of the Year award to Donna Therrien, a former district support teacher whose educator effectiveness training has served as a model for the state.

The 2013 DOE Team of the Year, the Kaala Food Services team, includes​ Arleen Asato, Derna Duarte, Pearla Kesolei, Kaiulani Kinoshita, Susie Lee and Georgette Ralar.

The 2013 DOE Team of the Year, the Kaala Food Services team, includes​ Arleen Asato, Derna Duarte, Pearla Kesolei, Kaiulani Kinoshita, Susie Lee and Georgette Ralar.

The Kaala Food Services Team took the DOE’s Team of the Year award for its dedication to shaping positive student behaviors and serving nutritious meals.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe and Hawaii State Board of Education member Amy Asselbaye honored four employees and team nominees at the DOE Incentive and Service Awards held at the state Capitol auditorium.

The program recognizes employees who have made special and continued contributions to improve the quality and effectiveness of Hawaii’s public school system.

“The dedication and professionalism of these exemplary employees inspire all of us to always strive high to do our very best for Hawaii’s students and their families,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “They have played critical roles in our ongoing transformation aimed at ensuring all students are equipped to succeed in college and careers.”

In the 2012-13 school year, Therrien took it upon herself to provide educator effectiveness training for teachers in all 16 schools in the Castle-Kahuku complex area. Her professional development sessions covered all key components of the teacher observation protocol and helped participants implement strategies to boost student achievement.

Donna Therrien

Donna Therrien

Therrien has also assisted in the DOE’s transition to the Common Core State Standards. She rewrote the English language arts Common Core shifts with detailed instructional strategies to help educators.  Capturing best practices from kindergarten to grade 12, Therrien inspired teachers with videos, lessons and student work captured in Hawaii’s public schools. A National Board Certified teacher, Therrien also mentored candidates pursuing Board certification by providing feedback on written portfolios, videotaping and reviewing lessons.

Outside of work, she serves as a board member of the Aikahi Elementary School Community Council, where she continues to share resources and solutions to improve student achievement. Therrien is currently working as an administrator at Hawaii Technology Academy Public Charter School.

The six-member Kaala Food Services Team works seamlessly to provide meals to some 450 students, 75 staff members as well as children enrolled in the Head Start Program.

The team, whose members include are Arleen Asato, Derna Duarte, Pearla Kesolei, Kaiulani Kinoshita, Susie Lee and Georgette Ralar, helps engage parents and support student achievement with their involvement in over 38 community activities, including an evening Read Aloud Program.

For the past three school years, the team has provided new food experiences to students through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. About 85 percent of Kaala students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and nutritious meals are critical to meet student’s basic needs and prepare them to learn.

The Kaala Food Services team also plays a key role toward improving facilities through the School Safety Committee and the Annual School Inspection Program.

Therrien and the Kaala Food Services team will represent the DOE in the annual Governor’s Award for Distinguished State Service in October.

Today’s event also recognized the outstanding efforts of others within the Department.

Sustained Superior Performance Award

  • Susan Harper, Curriculum Coordinator and Success for All Facilitator, Makawao Elementary, Maui District.
  • Catherine L. Kaide, School Food Service Manager, Hilo Union Elementary, Hawaii District.
  • Daralyn Ramos, Personnel Regional Officer Clerk, Central District Office, Office of Human Resources.

Team Excellence Award of Merit

  • Makawao Elementary Cafeteria Staff, Maui District:  Stephanie Bayne, Sandra Calasa, Tiffany Calasa, Kwi Ae Esquibel, Phyllis Freitas, Antoinette Robinson, Nancy Shimabukuro, Ashley Waipa.
  • School Administrative Services Assistant Academy Team, Office of Fiscal Services: Cindi Akuna, Curtis Chang, Adele Chong, Kevin Drake, Erin Ebisuya, Earlyne Harada, Scott Jeffrey, Miki Kamimura, Tammy Keller, Lynn Kitaoka, Karie Klein, Rie Kodama, Gail Morimoto, Gail Nakaahiki, Elden Nakamura, Frances Pitzer, May Price, Lawrence Suan, Coleen Tanaka, Adri Wilson, Tracy Yoshikane.
  • Waianae Complex Student Services Coordinators, Oahu District:  Kelly Kalinowsky, Grace Lorenzo, Kathy Mitchell, Gail Nakao, Mary Stamps, Mariko Thompson, and Kristy Wagatsuma.

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the 10th largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and serves more than 183,000 students. Hawaii’s public school system was established in 1840 by King Kamehameha III. To learn more, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

More Hawaii Public Schools Students Graduating on Time and Enrolling in College

More Hawaii public school students are graduating on time and enrolling in college, according to a new state report card. The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today released its first annual Strive HI Performance System results, which provide a comprehensive picture of the health of the islands’ schools. The figures are based on data from the 2012-13 school year.
DOE Release“We are extremely pleased to see significant improvements statewide on key college-and career-readiness indicators as we set a higher bar for students, teachers, as well as ourselves as educational leaders,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The new Strive HI Performance System allows us to do a much better job of measuring, understanding and supporting school progress. The results are very encouraging and a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers.”

Notable Strive HI results include:

  • Hawaii’s public schools have narrowed the achievement gap by 12 percent over the past two years. The gap measures the performance of “high-needs students” (those who have a disability, language barriers, or low family income) compared to the achievement of other students.
  • A majority of the state’s lowest-performing schools made tremendous growth after receiving targeted supports in “Zones of School Innovation.”
  • Of the state’s 14 top-performing schools, more than half (9) are Title I schools, meaning they overcame challenges associated with serving a large number of disadvantaged children from low-income families.
  • The on-time graduation rate (83 percent) and college enrollment rate (63 percent) continue to steadily rise over time.
  • Reading and math proficiency improved slightly. The percentage of students proficient in reading rose to 72 percent, from 71 percent a year ago, while math proficiency reached 60 percent from 59 percent.

Hawaii educators, parents, community groups and higher education stakeholders informed the development of the new Strive HI Performance System, which evaluates all 285 public schools, including charter schools. The system is designed to ensure all students graduate college-and career-ready by analyzing multiple achievement measures and offering tailored rewards, supports and interventions to schools.

The 2013 Strive HI Index List of Schools can be found under “Related Downloads” at http://bit.ly/StriveHISystem

Strive HI Performance System Background

In May, the federal government approved Hawaii’s Strive HI Performance System to replace outdated aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and align transformation initiatives with the Hawaii State Board and Department of Education Strategic Plan.

Under NCLB, schools were graded on whether students met escalating annual reading and math benchmarks, known as Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. In that system, AYP status was a single indicator and crude instrument that led directly to a series of strict, escalating consequences.

In contrast, the Strive HI Performance System will serve as more of a diagnostic tool to understand a school’s performance and progress on multiple, research-based indicators, including reading, math and science scores, achievement growth and gaps, chronic absenteeism, graduation rates, college readiness and enrollment.

“By valuing more than just test scores, we are taking a comprehensive look at the successes and challenges of schools,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “This wealth of data will allow educators, school leaders, parents and the community to have meaningful conversations about what is working and where they need to improve to prepare all students for college and careers.”

Based on their performance, schools are classified in one of five Strive HI Steps, each carrying varying degrees of rewards, supports and interventions to meet individual school needs. From highest to lowest, the steps include Recognition, Continuous Improvement, Focus, Priority and Superintendent’s Zone.

The positive results come as Hawaii’s educators are in the midst of a range of historic efforts to transform the state’s public education system, including a joint BOE/DOE Strategic Plan, Common Core State Standards, college-readiness assessments, more rigorous diploma requirements, and robust teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

They also follow last month’s decision by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to lift high-risk status from the state’s federal Race to the top (RTTT) grant, noting “significant progress.”

A hallmark of the RTTT grant were “Zones of School Innovation (ZSI),” which targeted support for struggling schools in rural or remote, hard-to-staff areas serving the largest population of native Hawaiian and economically-disadvantaged students in the state. In all, 15 of the 18 ZSI schools (located in Nanakuli and Waianae on Oahu, and Kau, Keaau and Pahoa on the Hawaii Island) are now in “Continuous Improvement” status, meaning they no longer need intense interventions.

“The results from the Zones schools demonstrate that our commitment to high expectations, our strategic priorities and our collective belief that all students can achieve is paying off,” said Mary Correa, complex area superintendent for Kau, Keaau and Pahoa. “I’m excited with our progress, and we look forward to build on our success.”

Successful data-driven strategies that proved to be instrumental in turning around ZSI schools are being deployed statewide. Lessons learned through the ZSI initiative helped establish the foundation for the development of the Strive HI Performance System. More information can be found at HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Schools that made extraordinary achievements will be recognized during the annual Strive HI Awards event this fall.

To view a school’s rank, follow these simple steps:

Visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org and click on “Find Schools”
Type in the school in “Find by school name”
Click “Show Results”

The school will then show up
Click “Read More”
Under Reports – Click on to the Strive HI Performance System School Report

For charter school reports, visit our charter school page at


Pahoa and Keaau Elementary Schools Selected for Pilot Project – Every Student and Teacher to Receive Tablet or Laptop

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce the eight school-applicants that have been selected for the Common Core Digital Curriculum Pilot Project (CCDC) in the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

Laptops and PadsThe eight schools were selected based on their technological readiness, commitment to integrating technology in the classroom and readiness to implement a large schoolwide project. The schools are:

  • Keaau Elementary
  • Mililani Mauka Elementary
  • Mililani Waena Elementary
  • Moanalua Middle
  • Nanaikapono Elementary
  • Nanakuli Elementary
  • Nanakuli Intermediate and High
  • Pahoa Elementary

The CCDC pilot aims to support schools’ implementation of new digital curricula aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which are new learning standards for English language arts and math. The eight schools will receive a tablet or laptop for every student and teacher, as well as new curriculum and training on Google Apps for Education. Following teacher training, Keaau and Pahoa elementary schools will be the first to receive their devices during the first semester. The remaining schools will receive their devices in early 2014.

“The introduction of both the CCDC along with the Common Core State Standards in our schools helps set a high standard for student achievement, and pushes our efforts even further in preparing our students for post-secondary success,” stated State Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

The Common Core Digital Curriculum Pilot Project builds on the successful work of a handful of Hawaii schools that are using devices. At Keaau Elementary, which has been providing devices to students for two years, there has been a significant difference in the classroom dynamics due to digital devices.

“The use of digital devices in our school has been a tremendous help in accelerating our students’ love of learning, which translates into higher test scores and better attendance,” said Keaau Elementary Principal Chad Keone Farias. “We’ve surpassed the state average in math and are on par with the state average in reading, which is a huge improvement over the last few years.”

Data collected from the first phase of the initiative will include student and teacher use, formative assessments and student engagement. The CCDC project takes advantage of ongoing DOE efforts to introduce new technology for learning and expand the DOE’s broadband infrastructure while bringing 21st century learning to the classroom. It also supports the goals outlined in the 2011-2018 DOE and Board of Education Strategic Plan. The 2013 Legislature appropriated $8 million to this pilot effort.

“We appreciate Governor Abercrombie and the Legislature’s support in our efforts and congratulate the schools that took the initiative to apply for this important pilot program,” said BOE Chair Don Horner.

To learn more about the Department’s Strategic Plan for student success please visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.