The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education is proud to announce and celebrate two high schools — Mililani and Maui High — that have been recognized as the first-ever Hawaiʻi Schools of Democracy.
The Hawaiʻi Schools of Democracy initiative recognizes high schools that demonstrate a commitment to diverse learning opportunities and fostering an organizational culture that emphasizes identity, student agency and culturally relevant experiences. The program celebrates institutions like Mililani High and Maui High that go above and beyond to shape the next generation of informed and engaged citizens.
Mililani High School was recognized today at a ceremony with area lawmakers, Hawaiʻi State Board of Education members, HIDOE leadership, as well as Mililani High school faculty, teachers and students. Maui High was recognized Jan. 8.
“What we see at Mililani High School is a lot of interdisciplinary connection and in particular, a real emphasis on helping our students become active members of the community,” said state Rep. Amy Perruso, who serves on the Commission to Promote and Advance Civic Education (PACE Commission). “For me that has always been the most important thing — is to make sure that youth voices are heard and centered in our processes.”
Mililani High was recognized for its comprehensive social studies framework for curriculum, pioneering the Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies program, and offering a robust range of activities that promote community engagement and civic responsibility for students.
“We are so proud of the Mililani High School teachers and students,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi added. “The commitment that you embrace with passion and purpose to ensure that our students here at Mililani embrace the values of being globally competitive and locally committed… really speaks volumes to the work that the Department is so committed to.”
State Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, who is also chairperson of the Committee on Education and represents part of Mililani, sponsored a commemorative proclamation from the Senate to help mark the occasion. Superintendent Hayashi read parts of the proclamation on Sen. Kidani’s behalf before presenting it to the school.
State Rep. Lauren Matsumoto, a Mililani High alumna who represents parts of Mililani, also presented a proclamation on behalf of the House of Representatives.
Maui High was recognized for its achievement at a school ceremony attended by students, faculty, staff and other officials.
The Hawaiʻi Schools of Democracy initiative is a HIDOE program supported by the PACE Commission — a group created by the Judiciary in 2019 to help elevate civic engagement and education in Hawaiʻi. The selection panel for this recognition was composed of public school educators, PACE Commission members, and representatives from local organizations with civic and public missions.