Class is (almost) in session

LIHUE — ​On Monday, summer vacation for Kauai’s public school students is officially over.

For many keiki, the school year promises changes with curriculum and testing due to new ESSA (federal Every Student Succeeds Act) guidelines.

“I am excited about the opportunities of the new school year as we continue our mission,” said state Department of Education Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki.

A new school year means a fresh start, too.

“Together, we will implement our Statewide Strategic Initiatives for a well-rounded education for all students, inclusive classroom practices, K-12 career readiness pathways, leadership institutes, pipelines, mentoring and supportive student transitions,” Arakaki said.

Roughly 13,000 teachers will be returning to schools throughout the state.

While final numbers won’t be known regarding the exact number of teachers and students in public schools throughout Hawaii, there were 179,902 students who attended public schools in the past year.

On Kauai, there are roughly 10,000 students attending public schools. In 2016-17, there were 9,322.

From science fairs to group projects, there will be opportunities for students to learn outside of textbooks and tests.

“There (are) so many great examples of success going on in our schools and community that it is our obligation to learn from one another in order to scale this success,” Arakaki said.

There are, however, some concerns regarding school bus transportation services. TGI previously reported that Kauai was short 15 school bus drivers as of Aug. 2.

Some school bus routes will be temporarily consolidated until more drivers are hired, including routes for Eleele School, Waimea Canyon Middle School and Waimea High School.

Route changes are also scheduled for Kapaa Elementary, Kapaa Middle and Kapaa High.

“Due to a lack of available school bus drivers on Kauai, bus routes at these six schools will be consolidated to adjust to fewer personnel,” said DOE Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “As a result, route times will be modified to accommodate the longer distances, and students will see some delays and slightly longer travel times. We apologize for this temporary inconvenience, and routes will be restored as new bus drivers are hired.”

School administrators will make adjustments to ensure students have adequate time for breakfast and are not penalized for tardiness.

For bus route questions or concerns, call the Get On Board Hotline at 586-0161 Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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