HONOLULU – In partnership with Hawaii 3Rs and the Military Affairs Council, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today an effort to develop high-quality transition centers for Hawaii public schools. The effort is in honor of late Congressman K. Mark Takai, who was a staunch advocate for Hawaii's students and supporter of military-dependent students throughout his career.
School Transition Centers provide a safe and stable foundation for all students, particularly newly arrived military-dependent students, offering peer-to-peer mentoring to help students acclimate into their school community.
"Transition Centers provide tremendous support to new students as well as instilling leadership skills for student mentors," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "We're grateful for this partnership that allows us to not only expand this program, but fulfill one of our goals in our Strategic Plan in helping as many students and families as possible."
HIDOE will commit $250,000 annually for four years using federal Impact Aid funds towards school Transition Center facility improvements, technology, furnishings and special events. Program partners at the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Council and the Hawaii Business Roundtable will provide additional funds each year to be managed by the Hawaii 3Rs Special Fund.
"Hawaii 3R's is pleased to partner with the Hawaii Department of Education to develop transition centers that will help students assimilate into an unfamiliar environment," said Hawaii 3Rs Board Chairman Alan Oshima. "By easing them into the rhythm of a new school and campus, learning can become the priority."
U.S. Rep. Takai's conscientious work was essential in securing tens of millions in federal Impact Aid funding every year that goes to all public schools
"In working on this initiative there was no question that the effort would be in honor of our friend Mark Takai who was fiercely committed to public education and his service to our nation," added Superintendent Matayoshi.
Transition Centers are rooted at public schools with higher populations of military-dependent students, such as Radford High, Leilehua High, Mokapu Elementary and many more. The success of these Transition Centers will be expanded to serve more students at other schools across the state.
Future transition centers that benefit from this effort will be known as a "Takai Transition Center" and will feature the following pledge.
As a member of the K. Mark Takai Transition Center Network, we:
- Understand the challenges that are an inherent part of matriculating into a new and unfamiliar school environment;
- Welcome all students transitioning into our school, including military-connected students, and will support and sustain them throughout their time in our school community;
- Recognize and honor our military personnel for the contributions and sacrifices they make for our defense and the preservation of our rights, and the sacrifices of our military families to support them;
- Value the added richness and experience that students from varied cultural and social backgrounds bring to our school community; and
- Commit to providing high-quality supports through dedicated resources via the establishment and sustained operation of a transition center on our school campus.
Schools interested in establishing a new Transition Center or upgrading existing Transition Center facilities should contact HIDOE Military Liaison Cherry Okahara at firstname.lastname@example.org.