HONOLULU — Kaʻelepulu and Maunawili Elementary schools in Kailua, Oʻahu, have been named 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education in recognition of their high academic achievement.
The Blue Ribbon program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on high academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The two Hawaiʻi schools were among 353 school winners nationwide announced today by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of teaching and learning excellence that reflect the best practices of outstanding schools across the nation,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “Congratulations to our students, teachers, staff and families at Kaʻelepulu and Maunawili for their collective work in creating safe, welcoming and high-achieving learning environments where students thrive.”
Kaʻelepulu and Maunawili Elementary schools met the National Blue Ribbon Schools award criteria for the “Exemplary High-Performing Schools” by ranking among Hawaiʻi’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Kaʻelepulu Elementary’s performance exceeded statewide averages in English language arts by 28 percentage points, in math by 31 percentage points, and in science by 42 percentage points. A past National Blue Ribbon School awardee in 2015, the school aligns its mission and vision of supporting the growth and success of every student in becoming lifelong learners and contributing citizens through differentiated instruction that integrates learning into real-world experiences. Kaʻelepulu was the first public school in Hawaiʻi to pilot the “Choose Love” social-emotional learning program and continues to weave concepts and strategies of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion into lessons. The school has made great strides in closing the achievement gaps between high-needs and non-high needs students — closing its English language arts gap by 19 points over the last four school years. Kaʻelepulu has a close-knit ʻohana of caring teachers, staff and families dedicated to supporting the growth of the whole child through unique enrichment programs and co-curricular classes, like sewing, pickleball, running, art, and nature journaling.
Maunawili Elementary’s performance exceeded statewide averages in English language arts by 26 percentage points, in math by 30 percentage points, and in science by 31 percentage points. The school is committed to providing a caring learning environment that engages all students in rigorous and relevant teaching and learning. To further elevate learning, Maunawili will be introducing Career & Technical Education (CTE) pathways in grades 4-6 that align with secondary schools, providing students with knowledge of potential career paths. Students are also encouraged to participate in community service and civic engagement activities like student council, broadcasting, music, wellness and gardening to help hone in students’ professional skills while simultaneously servicing the school and community. The committed staff provide a well-rounded education based on students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning strengths and needs, and host family engagement nights where teachers are able to share student lessons with parents, and provide tips and strategies they can use at home.
An awards ceremony to celebrate the awardees will be held in Washington, D.C., in November. For more information on the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.