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14 Hawaii Public Schools Rewarded With $1 Million for Exceptional Achievement

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today rewarded 14 public schools with $1 million for exceptional achievement as part of the state’s new Strive HI Performance System.

DOE Release

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Don Horner, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and other state officials attended a ceremony at Red Hill Elementary – one of the top-performing schools – to present individual awards ranging from $20,000 to $95,000.

“These exemplary educators, staff, students and their families share a belief and commitment to always Strive HI,” said Governor Abercrombie. “I applaud their resilience and dedication to provide the very best opportunities to all children.”

“We are excited to provide well-deserved recognition and support to help schools continue to excel in preparing students for college and careers,” stated Superintendent Matayoshi. “To get to this point is not easy. Yet these principals and teachers have shown what is possible through a unified effort, hard work and dedication.”

Strive HI, the state’s redesigned school accountability and performance system, measures key success indicators and provides rewards to “Recognition” schools – those demonstrating the highest progress toward raising student achievement, graduation rates, and closing the achievement gap.

Notably, more than half, or nine of the state’s 14 “Recognition” schools are Title I, meaning they overcame challenges associated with serving a large number of disadvantaged children from low-income families. Red Hill Elementary is one of the Title I schools that worked with its community to focus on intervention programs for student success.

“Our hardworking teachers’ dedication and commitment to our students are why we are able to celebrate today,” said Red Hill Elementary Principal Mona Smoot. “These funds will play a critical role in allowing schools such as ours to continue to focus on student success and to align our school to common core state standards.”

Award funds must support initiatives to sustain success such as professional development, investments in technology, musical instruments, science lab and equipment, among other improvement strategies.

The 14 “Recognition” schools and their awards are:

Highest Performance and High Progress ($95,000 each)

· Ahuimanu Elementary
· Red Hill Elementary
· Waters of Life Public Charter School

Highest Performance ($75,000 each)

· E.B. de Silva Elementary
· Hickam Elementary
· Hokulani Elementary
· Lanakila Elementary
· Liholiho Elementary
· Manoa Elementary
· Maunaloa Elementary
· Palisades Elementary
· Pearl Ridge Elementary
Highest Progress ($20,000)

· Kalihi Uka Elementary
· Konawaena Elementary
About the Strive HI Performance System

The federal government in May approved the Strive HI Performance System to replace outdated aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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 serves as more of a diagnostic tool to understand and support 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.

The inaugural Strive HI Awards were held last spring, when 32 schools received nearly $1 million to further improvement efforts.

The Strive HI Performance System goals are aligned with the Hawaii State Board and Department of Education’s 2011-18 Strategic Plan. For school-by-school results and more information, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Strive HI Awards criteria

“Recognition” schools are limited to no more than five percent of all Hawaii public schools.

· High-performing school criteria:

– Meet or exceed annual targets for all student groups.

– Graduation rates in top 10 percent of all high schools.

– Current year achievement gap rate less than 30 percent.

· High-progress school criteria:

– Increases of 15 percent or higher of all students’ proficiency over three years.
– Highest increases in grad rates (top 10 percent of schools with increase of 10 percent over three years).
– Reduction of achievement gap rate between high-needs and non-high needs students by 10 percent or more over three years.

 

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.

 

Parents Given Extra Week to Return Public School Survey

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is extending until March 8 the deadline for parents to complete a survey to help public schools set priorities for improving programs and services.

DOE ReleaseParents whose children are enrolled in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 are asked to complete the School Quality Survey (SQS) and return it in a prepaid envelope. Schools have mailed or asked students to bring the surveys home.

Survey results provide schools data on everything ranging from parent satisfaction with course offerings, support services and availability to discuss their child’s progress to whether students feel safe and are meeting their goals. In addition to the parent survey, teachers and students from the selected grades will fill out separate surveys at school.

Results will also be used to measure strategic plan goals for the DOE.

Survey responses are confidential. Overall survey results should be available to schools by the end of the academic year. The reports will also be posted on the internet at http://arch.k12.hi.us.

An informational video about the survey is available online at http://vimeo.com/57619187. Questions about the survey may be emailed to sqs@notes.k12.hi.us. Parents may also call 808-733-4008 (Oahu) or 1-855-276-5801 (toll-free Neighbor Islands) from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

DOE Announces New Evaluation and Support System for School Principals

All Hawaii public school principals will receive enhanced supports and evaluations beginning in the 2013-14 school year under an agreement between the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) on a new Comprehensive Evaluation System for School Administrators (CESSA).
DOE Release

CESSA implementation began with 81 schools in August 2012 as principals and their supervisors, the Complex Area Superintendents (CASs), jointly set goals for the year. As we worked through the implementation, and as part of our shared commitment to continuously improve and to provide supports aligned with the CESSA, it made sense to expand the implementation to all schools. Additionally, feedback from school principals was also taken into account.

Implementation will continue in all schools this school year with training for all principals and CASs. Feedback from the first year of implementation will be used to refine the system in 2014-2015.

“Effective school leadership is critical to student achievement,” said DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “The Department is committed to ensuring principals, teachers and schools have the support they need to reach their goals.”

Each principal will receive a rating based half on Student Outcomes (Domain 1) and half on Principal Leadership Practice (Domains 2-6). The five different leadership and performance domains include:

· Professional growth and learning
· School planning and progress
· School culture
· Professional qualities and instructional leadership
· Stakeholder support and engagement
CESSA is tied to a system of support based on short- and long-range goals for principals’ professional improvement efforts.

“This was truly a collaborative effort by HGEA and DOE teams with a goal towards raising the bar in school leadership,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

This agreement between HGEA and DOE aligns with the Hawaii State Board of Education policy 2055 on teacher and principal performance evaluation. The DOE is currently in the second year of a seven-year strategic plan that calls for preparing graduates for college or careers. Effective school leadership is fundamental to the success of this strategic plan. The DOE and HGEA will continue to work together to provide school principals with guidelines, training and support in advance of successful implementation next school year.

For more information, please visit http://hawaiidoe.org.

 

University of Hawaii Awarded $6 Million Dollar Grant – Agriculture and Energy Departments Announce New Investments to Drive Innovations in Biofuels and Biobased Products

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to enhance U.S. energy security, reduce America’s reliance on imported oil and leverage our domestic energy supply, while also supporting rural economies, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy today announced a $41 million investment in 13 projects that will drive more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements.

“If we want to develop affordable alternatives for oil and gasoline that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need investments like these projects to spur innovation in bioenergy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By producing energy more efficiently and sustainably, we can create rural jobs, boost rural economies and help U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters prosper.”

“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, we continue to strive for more efficient, cost-competitive technologies to produce U.S. energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The investments announced today are helping to accelerate innovation across America’s growing biofuels industry, which will help to reduce our dependence on imported oil and support job creation across rural America.”

New Biomass Research and Development Initiative Investments

Through the joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), USDA and the Energy Department are working to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products. The five projects announced today will help to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio and replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

The cost-shared projects include:

  • Quad County Corn Cooperative ($4.25 million – Galva, Iowa). This project will retrofit an existing corn starch ethanol plant to add value to its byproducts, which will be marketed to the non-ruminant feed markets and to the biodiesel industry. This project enables creation of diverse product streams from this facility, opening new markets for the cooperative and contributing to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goals for cellulosic ethanol production and use.
  • Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research ($7 million – Peoria, Illinois). This project will optimize rapeseed/canola, mustard and camelina oilseed crops for oil quality and yield using recombinant inbred lines. Remote sensing and crop modeling will enhance production strategies to incorporate these crops into existing agricultural systems across four ecoregions in the Western United States. The oils will be hydrotreated to produce diesel and jet fuel.
  • Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. ($6.85 million – Findlay, Ohio). Guayule is a hardwood perennial natural rubber-producing shrub grown in the semi-arid southwestern United States. This project will optimize production and quality of guayule rubber using genomic sequencing and development of molecular markers. The extracted rubber will be used in tire formulations, and the remaining plant residue will be evaluated for use in biopower and for conversion to jet fuel precursors.
  • University of Wisconsin ($7 million – Madison, Wisconsin).This project will utilize dairy manure as a source of fiber and fertilizer. Fiber will be converted to ethanol, manure used for fertilizer, and oil from the crops will be converted to biodiesel used in farm equipment. The project goal is to develop closed-loop systems with new product streams that benefit the environment.
  • University of Hawaii ($6 million – Manoa, Hawaii). This project will optimize the production of grasses in Hawaii, including napier grass, energycane, sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Harvest and preprocessing will be optimized to be compatible with the biochemical conversion to jet fuel and diesel.

Additional information on the Biomass Development and Research Initiative is available HERE.

Leveraging Genomics for More Efficient, Cost-Effective Bioenergy

Today, the Energy Department and USDA are also announcing $10 million for eight research projects aimed at applying biomass genomics to improve promising biofuel feedstocks and drive more efficient, cost-effective energy production. These projects will use genetic mapping to advance sustainable biofuels production by analyzing and seeking to maximize genetic traits like feedstock durability, how tolerant feedstocks are to various environmental stresses, and the potential for feedstocks to be used in energy production.

A full list of the projects selected today is available HERE. The projects selected today include:

  • Michigan Technological University ($1.1 million – Houghton, Michigan). This project will analyze genetic traits that affect wood biomass yield and quality in the Populus species, including poplar trees.
  • Iowa State University ($1.4 million – Ames, Iowa). Research will explore the genetic architecture of sorghum biomass yield component traits identified using field-based analysis of the feedstock’s physical and genetic traits.

Since 2006, the Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program has invested nearly $70 million helping to identify key genes affecting biomass yield and quality in feedstocks and to accelerate breeding efforts to improve bioenergy-relevant traits.

Reduce Energy Consumption and Get Free Airline Miles – Ikehu Demand Response Incentive System (DRIVE)

Soon, consumers will have a new incentive to reduce energy consumption: free airline miles.

Ikehu Natural LLC, a startup based in Hawaii, won the “Peak Energy Usage” award in a contest sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy.  They received the award for creating a technology called the Demand Response Incentive (DRIVE™) System.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/d08MgTsf8ko]

The DRIVE™ technology gives power companies the ability to offer airline miles to their energy-efficient customers.  The company hopes that the award will generate interest from power companies around the world.

“It’s an honor to be selected among the winners in such a prestigious competition” says Holland Wood, Ikehu’s CEO and founder. “Soon, utilities will have the ability to use airline miles to guide consumers towards responsible energy use.”

The DRIVE™ Mobile App and platform will utilize existing web and smartphone technologies so it can be deployed by virtually any power company.  This patent-pending solution includes a mobile app and related web service that enables power companies to offer mileage-based incentives.

The U.S. Department of Energy evaluated contest entries based on several criteria including innovation, implementation, and potential impact.  In all, 56 entrants competed for seven prizes.  In addition to the award, the Ikehu team received $6,000 in prize money.  They have also been invited to showcase their technology at an upcoming recognition event in Washington, DC.

“Hawaii is working to become an environment where technology startups can thrive,” says Billy Kenoi, Mayor of Hawaii County. “Congratulations to the Ikehu Natural team, and I look forward to their continued success.”

“An award from the U.S. Department of Energy is validation that technology startups can launch in Hawaii,” adds Karl Fooks, President of the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation.  “The recently established Launch Akamai Venture Accelerator (LAVA) Program will help to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and assist startups like Ikehu Natural to quickly grow their businesses and contribute to Hawaii’s economy.”

To be notified of when the DRIVE™ Mobile app will be available in your area, sign up at www.ikehu.com.

ABOUT IKEHU NATURAL LLC

Ikehu Natural LLC is a Hawaii-based startup that is focused on clean technology.  “Ikehu” is the Hawaiian word for “energy.”  The company has a patent-pending, demand management system that is targeted towards residential customers.  The solution is called the Demand Response Incentive (DRIVE™) System.  The Ikehu team includes Derek Gabriel, Rod Hinman, Matt Ing, and Holland Wood.