Student Services Branch

Focuses on providing statewide leadership in the implementation of a focused and responsive system of supports to strengthen the social, emotional and physical well-being of all students and their families and communities to impact student achievement.

The Student Services Branch (SSB) supports complex areas and schools with responsive leadership, guidance for the implementation of state and federal initiatives and programs such as opioids misuse prevention and response, professional development and evidence-based resources to address the physical health, behavioral, academic, social-emotional needs of all students. 

In order for schools to ensure that all students receive an equitable and accessible education, the SSB provides schools and complex areas with resources, training and technical assistance to address the physical health, behavioral, academic, social-emotional needs of all students. These efforts promote positive student expectations and conduct, safe and supportive learning environments, healthy life choices, student engagement, and the development of social skills and competencies.

SSB provides statewide support in the following areas: 

  • Creating a safe, positive and culturally responsive school climate (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, Social-Emotional Learning, Restorative Practices), 
  • Providing professional development and technical assistance, 
  • Implementing the Hawaii Multi-Tiered Support System and continuum array of supports and services, 
  • Supporting prevention and intervention strategies to address suicide, bullying, chronic absenteeism, child safety (mandatory reporting of child abuse), 
  • Creating safe and supportive learning environments (Quality Based Solutions, Chapter 19), 
  • Medicaid billing 
  • Fostering positive behavioral and mental health (School-Based Behavioral Health, counseling and social work), 
  • Advocating for special populations (homeless, migrant, English Learners, neglected/delinquent and at-risk youth), 
  • Supporting smooth transitions between grades and schools and college and career counseling, 
  • Promoting interagency and school/community collaboration,  
  • Engaging families/guardians in student learning. 

Student Support Section 

The Student Support Section (SSS) ensures equitable access to prevention and intervention services and programs that address academic, behavioral, and social emotional needs of all students in preparation for college and career readiness.

  • Crisis/Suicide Prevention 

Crisis/Suicide Prevention provides leadership and direction in the planning, development, accountability, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies, programs, and protocols to support students dealing with crisis. It includes training to comply with laws governing restraints and seclusion prevention and suicide prevention. It assists complex areas and schools in the implementation and evaluation from elementary through secondary in safety-care training, suicide prevention training, and bullying prevention.

  • Education for Students in Foster Care

HIDOE works collaboratively with child welfare systems and organizations to develop joint guidance on the key provisions for students in foster care under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Foster Care Program provides leadership and guidance to complex areas and schools with the implementation of the rights of children and youth in foster care to ensure educational stability, including best interest determination, transportation procedures, immediate enrollment, and school transfer.

The Education for Homeless Children & Youth program supports the identification and immediate enrollment of students in unstable housing, per the McKinney Vento Act. The program deploys full-time community liaisons in each complex area, who connect with agencies and resources in the larger web of support so children continue to have uninterrupted access to education and services. The YES Project is also managed by this office.

The EL program aims to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for linguistically and culturally diverse students representing over 70 different native languages. EL supports HIDOE’s mission to promote multilingualism and provide standards-based education through English as a Second Language, sheltered instruction, acculturation activities, support, and resources. 

EL provides program implementation guidance, technical assistance, research-based instruction and assessment resources, and professional development to complex areas and schools in order to implement the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (Title III), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. The EL Section ensures that EL students are able to participate in and benefit from regular or special education instructional programs to attain English proficiency and meet the same challenging academic standards that all students are expected to meet. 

  • Hawai‘i Administrative Rules - Chapter 19 

The OSSS provides training to school administrators, district personnel and complex area superintendents on the Hawaii Administrative Rules - Chapter 19 Student Discipline. The purpose of school administered discipline is to: 1) Promote and maintain a safe and secure educational environment; 2) Teach and provide knowledge of proper behavior which is beneficial to the educational process and self-development; 3) Deter students from acts which interfere with the purpose of education of which are self-destructive, self-defeating or anti-social; 4) Maintain proper student conduct to ensure that educational activities and responsibilities remain uninterrupted; and 5) Stop any discrimination (including lawful discrimination) harassment (including sexual harassment), or bullying against a student based on a protected class. 

  • Hawai‘i Multi-Tiered System of Support (HMTSS) 

HMTSS is a data-driven, team-based decision-making framework for achieving positive outcomes for every student through a layered continuum of evidence-based practices. HMTSS consists of four core components: 1) foundational beliefs, 2) data-driven team-based decision-making, 3) universal screening and progress monitoring, and 4) multi-tiered system of evidence-based practices. The HMTSS Guidance Manual provides complex areas and schools with a framework and roadmap for the implementation. This collaborative effort is supported by the tri-level system to foster capacity building and sustainability across the state. 

  • Migrant Education Program (Title I, Part C) 

The Hawaii Migrant Education Program provides educational and support programs for certified eligible migratory children on Hawaii Island and Kauai. A migratory child means a child who is, or whose parent or spouse is a migratory agricultural worker, including a migratory dairy worker, or a migratory fisher, engaged in temporary or seasonal employment. Services may include in-class and/ or after-school academic support, intersession enrichment activities, supplementary resources, and secondary credit recovery opportunities. Priority for services is given to students who engage in a qualifying move during the regular school year and are failing or are at risk of failing to meet state achievement standards. 

  • Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk (Title I, Part D) 

The prevention and intervention programs for children and youth who are residing in neglected and delinquent facilities provide equitable access to quality education, transition services, support systems, and learning opportunities to prevent dropout and ensure continued education or employment. In order to implement the requirements under the Title 1, Part D statute, the program provides implementation guidance, technical assistance, dropout prevention resources, and professional development to eligible state agencies and districts with locally operated institutions. 

  • Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) 

SEL plays a significant role in ensuring that students are safe, healthy, and supported in school so that they can engage fully in educational opportunities. Students’ social and emotional development is critical as they move from early childhood to adolescence to adulthood. The SEL initiative involves fostering social and emotional competencies using evidence-based approaches through explicit instruction, integration with academic curriculum, classroom practices, and schoolwide climate strategies. 

  • Primary Prevention and Intervention (PPI) 

PPI provides leadership and direction in the planning and development of programmatic supports and activities to school counselors. In addition, the PPI educational specialist provides procedural guidance and support with child safety and child welfare, training and resources regarding commercially sexually exploited children and sexual violence prevention, and serves as a liaison between the Department and other agencies/organizations. 

  • School-Based Behavioral Health (SBBH) 

SBBH provides a continuum of behavioral health supports for students experiencing social, emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties that impair their ability to function in school. The SBBH professionals include behavioral health specialists, clinical and school psychologists, and social workers. SBBH professionals provide school-wide prevention, early intervention, and intensive services, which can be delivered via consultations and direct services. 

  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) 

SEL plays a significant role in ensuring that students are safe, healthy, and supported in school so that they can engage fully in educational opportunities. Students’ social and emotional development is critical as they move from early childhood to adolescence to adulthood. The SEL initiative involves fostering social and emotional competencies using evidence-based approaches through explicit instruction, integration with academic curriculum, classroom practices, and schoolwide climate strategies. 

  • Speak Now HIDOE Anti-Bullying Mobile Application 

The OSSS in collaboration with the Office of Information and Technological Services designed a mobile application called Speak Now HIDOE Anti-Bullying app for students to report bullying incidents that occur on Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) campuses, transportation and sponsored activities. Training on this mobile application is available to middle and high school administrators and school team members. 

  • Transition Supports 

Transition supports provide leadership and direction in planning to schools to create, enhance, and sustain a K-12 continuum of support for programs and activities related to college and career readiness and students in transition. The focus is to support counselors, faculty, and staff in implementing college and career readiness programs and transition centers. It also provides leadership in working collaboratively with other agencies and organizations in implementing a range of K-12 transitions supports that serve students, families, and schools. 

School Health Section

  • Home-Hospital Instruction (HHI) 

The HHI program is designed to provide continuity of educational services between the classroom and home or hospital for students with a confirmed medical condition that prevents them from physically attending school for a minimum of 10 consecutive school days and a maximum of six months during the school year. An HHI tutor coordinates with the student’s teacher, family, and medical provider to deliver instructional support to the student in core academic subject areas up to 17 hours per week. 

  • Project HI-AWARE 

Project HI-AWARE supports complex areas and schools to build and expand capacity to make schools safer, improve school climate, increase awareness of mental health issues among youth, provide training for school personnel and other adults to detect and respond to mental health issues in children and youth; and connect those who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services. Its goals include 1) Building awareness of youth mental health issues in schools and their communities; 2) Enhancing social, emotional and behavioral health for students by providing evidence-based programs, services, structures and supports; and 3) Enhancing cross-agency collaboration and integration of services. Training in detecting and responding to mental health issues in youth is also provided through Instructor Training in Youth Mental Health First Aid. 

  • School Health Assistant Administrative Support 

Every school has a health room to respond to the acute and emergency health needs of students and to provide on-going support for the management of chronic health conditions through medication administration. Training for School Health Assistants (SHAs) and SHA Substitutes is offered multiple times per year across the state. The SHA Manual is maintained through collaboration between the HIDOE, Department of Health, and Hawaii Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn. 

Medicaid Section

The OSSS Medicaid unit administers the HIDOE School-based Medicaid Claiming Program. The mission of the Medicaid section is to pursue and maximize federal reimbursement from Medicaid for qualifying, health-related services provided by HIDOE to eligible students as allowed under federal law. 


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