Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Column by Superintendent Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto
It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week and I encourage everyone to take some time this week to reflect on the great work of our HIDOE teachers.
We know that behind every student’s successes are many dedicated educators, teachers that innovate, collaborate, and focus on students’ best interests in everything that they do. I’m proud that the hard work of our teachers is being made more apparent with the increasing number of students graduating with honors, taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and enrolling in early college courses during high school. With the various opportunities and supports provided by our committed teachers, more students are attaining higher levels of learning, successfully preparing them for college and their future careers.
Teachers serve our haumana not only by helping to develop their academic achievement but also by working to find innovative ways to cultivate mindsets and values that are needed to succeed in college, careers and communities locally and globally. Our educators are making strides in bringing Na Hopena A‘o (HA) to life in our schools and we are seeing an increase in applied and aina-based learning for greater student engagement, as well as more design thinking with business and community partners for collaborative, human-centered approaches to overcoming complex challenges. Progress is being made on closing achievement gaps by teachers who are contributing new ways of addressing student hardships and advancements in student voice. They are placing greater value on student choice practices that influence educational program design, learning experiences, and school structure. Our educators are committed to empowering students, through equity and excellence, to successfully discover and embark upon their chosen paths in life.
I’m sure that we have all been significantly influenced by a teacher at one point in our lives. A teacher that introduced you to your passion, helped build your confidence, or taught you a lesson that you’ll never forget. Teachers are our mentors, inspiration, and motivation in becoming successful contributing members of society. I will forever be grateful to Mrs. Cohen in Bronx, New York who served as my 7th and 8th grade English teacher, who introduced us to Shakespeare and ignited in me a passion for literature and life-long learning!
I am personally grateful to our teachers for the critical role that they play as the voice from the classroom and the school in thinking about state level policies that impact our haumana and our profession. Teachers are the greatest knowledge resource for establishing the most engaging, powerful public school system. Our haumana are too important for any small promises and the important work of our committed educators serve as the core in building the effective systems needed to meet our goals as a Department.
I encourage you to find a special, fun way to show your gratitude and celebrate our educators this week. Mahalo again to all our wonderful teachers for choosing the Hawaii Public Schools and for your dedication to Hawai‘i’s public school students. You are the difference makers!
Congratulations Class of 2019!
The countdown to graduation has officially begun with less than a month left in the school year. Starting on May 17, high schools across the state will be hosting their graduation celebrations for the more than 10,000 students who will graduate in front of their families, teachers, staff and school leaders who have supported the launch of their educational journey.
We are proud of all of our Hawai'i public school graduates and wish them great success as they pursue their career pathways that begin their transition to adulthood. Congratulations Class of 2019 and great work administrators, teachers and staff in preparing and supporting our students for the future!
Your feedback wanted on the 2030 Promise Plan
The next phase of our strategic planning for Hawai‘i's public school system has officially begun! We have identified five student promises to realize in every school by 2030, focusing on creative ideas and solutions. Our aim is a diverse portfolio of excellence schools that support a thriving, sustainable state grounded in the values of HA. We have launched a step-by-step toolkit to support staff and community groups to collectively add their input through August 1. Access it on our website here: http://bit.ly/HIDOESP-P1. I look forward to your feedback!