Community urged to offer input on public education plans

A team from the Department of Education has visited communities across the state this past month to garner more feedback on the review and extension of Hawaii’s Board of Education (BOE) and Department of Education (HIDOE) Strategic Plan.

On Wednesday, we were at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

Our public schools have made notable gains over the years with an increase in seniors earning college-level credits in high school, improvements in our ACT college preparedness test scores and more of our graduates going to college. The community meetings allow the DOE to hear how the public views the definition of students success to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the job market and global economy, and how we can best support that.

This feedback is important, which is why we are encouraging Kauai residents of all sectors to participate as part of this outreach effort.

We want to hear from parents, students, educators, businessmen and women, and the public at-large to make sure we are on the right track with the input gathered so far.

Back in April, DOE teams collected input from various stakeholder groups in the form of 1,429 online survey responses and 108 focus groups with an estimated 1,201 participants. It resulted in the following community-driven definitions of student success. Students are:

w Giving back to the community, environment and world.

w Discovering and pursuing their passions so they can reach their full potential.

w Demonstrating strong academic and soft skills, and showing an ability to think critically, solve problems, and apply knowledge to new situations or contexts.

w Being prepared for life after high school, including setting clear goals and developing short- and long-term engagement in learning.

w Exhibiting strength, confidence and resilience in their everyday lives, and being generally healthy and happy.

w Gaining strong cultural understanding and appreciation for Hawaii.

In Phase II, we are looking for actionable and tangible feedback on how we can best help our students reach these goals. What is currently working, and what can we change moving forward?

A draft plan will be presented to the BOE in mid-October with opportunities for additional public comment, and a final plan will be presented in December.

Our communities have a great opportunity to shape what student success looks like for more than 80 percent of the state’s children that attend public schools.

We have heard from stakeholders throughout the state in Community Meetings in Aiea, Hilo, Kailua, Kamuela and Manoa. We want to hear from you.

For more information about the Strategic Plan including the Phase I Community Input report, as well as an update about HIDOE’s ESSA efforts, please visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #HIQualityEd.

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Tammi Chun is the HIDOE assistant superintendent.

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