School Design

State, complex area and school leaders continue to work collaboratively to establish purposeful instructional designs and models that ensure every student is highly engaged in rigorous, creative and innovative academic curriculum and learning environments. HIDOE is committed to ensuring that school design decisions and modifications prioritize and support the needs of students and their families during this uncertain time.

Assumptions about Instructional Designs

HIDOE is committed to implementing quality content standards, pedagogical approaches and engagement strategies. Schools will leverage technology to advance learning and design opportunities, including project-based learning. The Department remains focused on ensuring that every student is highly engaged in a rigorous, relevant and innovative academic curriculum; in their learning environment; and in powerful applied-learning practices aligned to careers. 

Photo Credit: Wheeler Elementary

School Models

School leaders created elementary, middle/intermediate, and high school models for the reopening of the 2020-21 year. School models may vary due to:

  • Number and size of school facilities; 
  • Ability to accommodate enrollment numbers; and
  • Impact of instructional staff vacancies.

Each school model adopted must: 

  • Ensure 180 days of instruction; 
  • Prioritize kindergarten through grade 2 and pre-kindergarten students for face-to-face learning on campus (as applicable); 
  • Prioritize vulnerable students, including but not limited to children with disabilities, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students, for face-to-face or online learning, as appropriate, on campus; 
  • Allow for student support services to be provided; 
  • Ensure compliance with social distancing and health and sanitation guidelines from state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and 
  • Abide by the current collective bargaining agreements between the labor unions and HIDOE.

Click here to view the school models being considered for elementary, middle/intermediate and secondary schools.

Multi-track Schools

HIDOE announced on June 8, 2020 that its three multi-track schools will temporarily convert to a single-track schedule in the fall. The change will be in place for at least the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. This means the first day of instruction and the dates for fall break will be the same as all other HIDOE public schools (See revised 2020-21 multi-track calendar here). 

Multi-track schools – Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle and Holomua Elementary – traditionally operate with students staggered on different tracks throughout the year. Click here to view the announcement. 

Distance Learning 

The approved school models provide for online and blended distance learning to support social distancing while ensuring academic learning continues in whatever environment students may be provided. All schools are preparing for the possibility of future school closures by increasing device accessibility to students, building teacher capacity for virtual engagement with their students, and course offerings for credits towards graduation. While in-school, face-to-face instruction is preferred, there may be situations in which parents may choose virtual learning only. The Department is ready to support schools with identifying virtual solutions for their students. Working with their home school, once a parent selects a virtual-only option, the parent commits to this selection for the entire length specified in order to earn the credit or grade. The Department is providing distance learning tools, curriculum resources, instructional delivery resources and training. 

Assessment for Learning

During the first two weeks of school year 2020-21, schools will assess all students from kindergarten through grade 12 to determine the students’ readiness to meet the curricular standards of their current grade level. Schools will use the Hawaiʻi Multi-Tiered System of Support (HMTSS) and formative assessments to determine how to support students’ learning needs. 

Assessments for Learning is the first academic step to begin acceleration, intervention, differentiation, personalization, progress monitoring and reporting.

Schools will utilize their choice of universal screener and common formative assessments. 

After-School Programming

Photo credit: Ilima Intermediate

School administrators have the authority to coordinate programming, approve activities, and determine the use of school facilities for all out-of-school-time programs. These programs include: 

  • A+ Program for elementary schools;

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers for all schools (priority to Title I School);

  • REACH programs for middle and intermediate schools; and

  • UPLINK programs for middle and intermediate schools.

All out-of-school-time (OST) programs, with the exception of the A+ Program, are allowed to continue to provide programming through creative mediums when the regular school day is not in session, to include but not be limited to virtual spaces. 

School administrators should continue to consider the health and safety of staff, service providers, families and students and provide timely communication to the out-of-school-time programs and its participants. 

OST programs administered by the Department's Community Engagement Branch are expected to continue the same cleaning and disinfecting protocols of the Department. This may include physical distancing measures.

The Department provides OST programs a budget to purchase personal protection supplies and other equipment. Programs are encouraged to work with their state-level program manager, school principal and/or complex area office to address additional costs associated with opening and maintaining school spaces.

Depending on the program, students are prioritized for enrollment and financial assistance based on their unique circumstances, such as, homelessness, students with disabilities, English language learners, students in families that were substantially financially impacted by COVID‐19, students directly affected by COVID‐19 through their own illness, family illness, family death or hospitalization.  

Student Travel

Student travel off-site during the school day and to off-island destinations will not be allowed until further notice.


HIDOE is collaborating with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, and various athletic leagues (Big Island Interscholastic Federation, Kauai Interscholastic Association, Maui Interscholastic League, and the Oahu Interscholastic Association) to establish requirements for restarting high school athletics. The requirements will incorporate National Federation of State High School Associations guidelines that were developed with guidance from the CDC. Separate HIDOE practice guidelines for high schools will assist with the restart of athletics. Guidelines will adhere to state and county declarations and health and safety guidelines.

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