HONOLULU – Noelani and Helemano elementary schools are recipients of the 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on academic excellence and progress closing the achievement gap. The two Hawaii schools were among 329 nationwide winners announced today by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.
"Every year, our National Blue Ribbon Schools demonstrate that all students can achieve at the highest levels with the support of educators, families and communities," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "The award is another validation all of the hard work put into striving for academic success and we congratulate everyone involved on this tremendous honor."
The U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize the 279 public schools and 50 private schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 7 and 8, where each school will receive an engraved plaque and program flag.
Public schools nominated for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award must meet one of two performance award criteria:
- Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
- Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's subgroups and all students over the past five years.
Noelani maintains achievement standards of 81 percent in Math and 89 percent in Science, while it has limited chronic absenteeism to four percent. Over the past four years, Helemano has increased its achievement in Science proficiency by 13 percent to 80 percent and has reduced its levels of chronic absenteeism by half to eight percent.
"Recent Strive HI results show steady increases in English Language Arts and small increases in Math across the board and both Noelani and Helemano show how progress can be made," said Tammi Chun, Assistant Superintendent. "As the department's Strategic Plan is fully implemented, we anticipate more Hawaii schools will qualify for the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School award each year."
At Noelani Elementary, students are empowered to think independently and creatively, challenge their assumptions, embrace curiosity and hoʻomau (persevere), to develop life-long learners who will contribute to our global society. Noelani works with students, families and community partners to provide rigorous and balanced curriculum to develop the whole child. In addition, Noelani provides students with opportunities to take their learning beyond the classroom and into the world around them via excursions and community service learning projects.
At Helemano Elementary, students are motivated to achieve their highest potential and excel academically, emotionally, socially and physically. With strong collaborative partnerships with parents, the Wahiawa community and the U.S. military, Helemano provides opportunities for students beyond traditional core subjects, including fine arts, physical education, music, and social emotional learning.