As we enter another year, committed to our ongoing efforts to improve our schools, it is a good time to reflect on what makes us special — as a place, school, complex area or state office. Be proud of the work you all have done and remember your reasons for choosing a profession in education.
I’m especially proud of the work of our teachers and staff. Our shared responsibility to our students to prepare them for life after school is evident in all that we do. We’ve embraced the challenges of increasing rigor in our educational system, because our students must know and be able to do so much more to become productive adults in the 21st century.
The pace of change in today’s world requires a new of set critical thinking skills. However, it is important to nurture and protect the values and mindfulness that are unique to Hawai‘i schools.
For this reason, the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE), established under the Office of the Superintendent in February 2015, worked with Board of Education members, community, staff and schools to develop a new policy known as
Nā Hopena Aʻo, which will support Hawaiian educational values across the Department for all students and adults.
Nā Hopena A‘o (“HĀ”) is a framework that reflects core values and beliefs in action throughout our —
Hawai‘i’s — public educational system. We work together to develop the competencies that strengthen a sense of Belonging, Responsibility, Excellence, Aloha, Total-well-being, and Hawai‘i (“BREATH”) — in ourselves, students and others.
This foundation of Hawaiian values, language, culture and history supports educational efforts in all places and subjects.
As Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Mulcahy put it: “When I walk into a Hawai‘i public school, I want to close my eyes and know that I am in a school in Hawai‘i, not somewhere else.”
The mindfulness that is evident in HĀ is practiced in a number of Hawai‘i schools. Many of our recent State Teachers of the Year share a common thread — emphasizing the importance of character development alongside rigorous learning.
In 2016, let us be mindful of the BREATH in which we work and the examples that we set for not only our students, but for each other.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to your profession and helping all of Hawai‘i’s children reach their highest potential.