Zones of School Innovation

A key focus of Hawaii’s Race to the Top agenda rested on a commitment to close achievement gaps, turn around persistently low-performing schools and ensure all students are prepared for college, career and citizenship. This was addressed through the four-year Zones of School Innovation (ZSI) project, which concluded in 2013.

​​​​Two zones

Zones for School Innovation targeted support for struggling schools in rural or remote, hard-to-staff areas serving the largest population of native Hawaiian and economically-disadvantaged students in the state.

In 2009, when the program started, five of the state’s six “Priority Schools” (the state’s lowest-performing schools) were in the ZSI. The ZSIs (priority schools, plus neighboring and feeder schools, including public charter schools) were in the communities of Nanakuli and Waianae in west Oahu, and in Kau, Keaau and Pahoa in east Hawaii.

The Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area covers a wide geographic area from Hilo to Naalehu (65 miles). Eight in 10 students are economically disadvantaged, while nearly half are native Hawaiian – student groups that consistently rank below non-disadvantaged, non-Hawaiian children in reading and math proficiency.

*Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area

Statewide

Demographics

Count

Percent

Count

Percent

Special Education

893

13.32%

19,334

10.58%

English Language Learners

650

9.70%

18,099

9.91%

Disadvantaged

5,047

75.29%

94,855

51.92%

Hawaiian

3,073

45.85%

50,548

27.67%

Male

3,566

53.20%

95,208

52.11%

Female

3,137

46.80%

87,497

47.89%

Total

6,703

100%

182,705

100%


*Data from 2011-12 school year.


The picture is similar in the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area, where seven out of 10 students are disadvantaged, up to two-thirds are of native Hawaiian descent, and many are homeless.

In a 2003 Center on the Family community profile, Waianae and Nanakuli ranked poorly on measures of child and family well-being, including unemployment, per-capita income, children in poverty, child abuse rates and school safety. Educational attainment falls well below state and national averages.

*Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area

Statewide

Demographics Count Percent Count Percent
Special Education

1,382

14.56%

19,334

10.58%

English Language Learners

575

6.06%

18,099

9.91%

Disadvantaged

7,055

74.34%

94,855

51.92%

Hawaiian

6,267

66.04%

50,548

27.67%

Male

4,978

52.46%

95,208

52.11%

Female

4,512

47.54%

87,497

47.89%

Total

9,490

100%

182,705

100%

*Data from 2011-12 school year.



To engage students, educators are introducing culturally-relevant educational programs that use project-based learning and collaboration to build critical thinking skills and teamwork, while teaching the same academic standards required across the state.

The New Tech High School programs in Nanakuli and Waianae draw students into project-based learning as they increase proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Under the ZSI, reform plans were tailored for individual schools and relied on research-driven actions and strategies, attracting and retaining highly-qualified teachers, providing data coaches, developing community partnerships and offering comprehensive support for students' non-academic needs.

Facilities and technology projects were prioritized for the ZSIs. Students in the ZSI benefitted from early-childhood subsidies, early-learning centers, extended learning opportunities, and comprehensive supports such as health care.

For example, Kamehameha Schools and INPEACE partnered with ZSI schools to prepare students to learn before they enter kindergarten and keep students engaged through graduation.​

Contact Information

Camille Masutomi

Phone: 808-754-4201

Email: camille_masutomi@hawaiidoe.org

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

How do I...?

Go

View all FAQ's

Tweets