DOE data impacted by pandemic

HONOLULU — The state Department of Education shared its 2019-20 Strive HI Performance System results at the state Board of Education meeting Thursday.

Due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all states sought and received waivers from federally required standardized testing as well as associated accountability, school identification and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year.

As a result, the following metrics are not reported in this year’s annual statewide and school-level to Strive HI updates: academic proficiency, achievement gap, academic growth and third- and eighth-grade literacy data.

The DOE said the federal waiver does not apply to the current 2020-21 school year.

Schools have access to student summative assessment scores from prior years, report-card grades and formative assessments to monitor student progress during this unique year.

Teachers were also encouraged to create classroom assessments at the beginning of each grade level or course this year to help inform instruction to meet student needs — a proactive approach that is in line with national guidance to accelerate learning and mitigate learning loss.

Available 2019-20 Strive HI data show consistent improvement in statewide inclusion rates, which reflects the percentage of students receiving special-education services that are in general education for 80% or more of the day. Inclusion rates saw a 4-percentage-point increase from the year prior and an 11-point gain since 2016.

“Inclusion is a commitment to success for all students, and I’m proud of the strides our schools are making to integrate these practices into their school designs,” DOE Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said.

“Inclusion provides equity of access to a quality education for our students with special needs, and results in improved attendance, achievement and post-secondary outcomes for school communities.”

Inclusive education practices have been increasingly realized across the state through the DOE’s Hui Pu Project, which provides support to complex areas and schools to ensure that all students are fully integrated into their school and community.

Through the Hui Pu Project, various supports and services are offered to help students receiving special-education services thrive in general-education settings. The program rolled out in the 2017-18 school year as the inclusive practice became a statewide strategic initiative, and has since involved approximately 80 schools.

Lihikai Elementary participated in the Hui Pu Project during the 2018-19 school year, helping the school achieve a 48-percentage-point increase in their inclusion rate from 2019 to 2020.

Recognizing that special-education students would benefit academically, socially and emotionally by learning in a general-education setting, the Central Maui complex campus initiated inclusion practices school-wide, resulting in approximately three inclusive classes per grade level.

“Implementing inclusion has changed the face of special education here at Lihikai Elementary,” Principal Barbara Oura Tavares said. “It has had a positive influence on how teachers approach their instruction, giving them both a better understanding of our students’ diverse abilities and a clearer perspective of equity.”

More importantly, Oura Tavares said, the school’s new inclusion practices have given special-education students a newfound attitude and self-confidence.

“They no longer see themselves as being different. They are Lihikai Surfers just like the other 800 students on campus. That is the real success of inclusion at our school.” Strive HI was launched in school year 2012-13 as the state’s locally-designed, school-improvement and accountability system that offered flexibility from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

It includes multiple measures of school performance, including proficiency in science, math and language arts/literacy, achievement gaps, chronic absenteeism, academic growth and graduation rates.

The system was modified in 2017 to align with the revised DOE/BOE Strategic Plan and re-authorization of federal education law under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

For more information about the Strive HI performance system, see hawaiipublicschools.org.

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Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

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