Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Aug. 10


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue features the school supply subsidy pilot program and complex area teachers of the year.

Aug. 10

Editorial Mission: As the Department’s primary publication, we aim to live up to the meaning of ha‘aheo — to cherish with pride — by bolstering and sustaining pride in public education and touting the successes happening across our system.

I had the privilege of visiting Na‘alehu Elementary on Hawai‘i Island this week to celebrate the rollout of a newly enacted pilot program that subsidizes the cost of school supplies at schools made up entirely of students eligible for participation in Title I. Students received everything from composition notebooks and colored pencils to scissors and backpacks.

State Sen. Dru Kanuha initially introduced legislation to benefit Na‘alehu Elementary but thanks to the work of Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Michelle Kidani and House members, the bill was expanded into a statewide program to benefit 20 schools and 8,000 students. I truly believe this pilot program will generate advantages beyond just the financial benefit and I look forward to collaborating with school leaders, the Board of Education and legislators on positive initiatives like this.

The Department also recently named 15 complex area teachers of the year and one charter school teacher of the year as finalists for the 2023 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year recognition. These teachers demonstrated some of the highest levels of dedication and passion for their students, and Iʻm very proud to help recognize their efforts and leadership. I’ll be rooting for them all in October when one teacher will go on to represent Hawai‘i in the National Teacher of the Year program. Stay tuned!



We asked some special guests to complete the sentence below.

“Great things are happening in Hawai‘i public schools. My top priority this school year is to ______.”

" ...build and strengthen community partnerships for our schools so that we can bring industry to our classroom as well as give students opportunities to experience industry. By doing this we build relationships with our community and relevance to our students' future.
Desiree Sides' 30-year career with the Department includes roles as a teacher, vice principal, principal and complex area school renewal specialist. She is currently interim complex area superintendent overseeing the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area. She grew up in Haiku and attended Haiku School, where her children also attended and she later taught and served as principal. It's been a full HA experience!

" ...empower our complex areas and schools with tools and resources to support the social, emotional, and academic needs of our most vulnerable keiki.
Annie Kalama is the interim assistant superintendent overseeing the Office of Student Support Services. She previously served as director of the Exceptional Support Branch, supporting schools and complex areas with policies, procedures, guidelines, tools and professional development to ensure students with disabilities have the access and opportunity to succeed in engaging learning environments. She has 38 years of special education experience spanning the school, complex area and state office levels.

Family Focus

Through the use of ESSER funds, many HIDOE elementary schools across the state were able to offer kindergarten transition summer programs to students with little or no prior classroom experience.

Hear what some of the families at Mililani Mauka Elementary had to say about the program!

» “Thank you for offering kindercamp to my child, because it eases her into a routine and she has an understanding on what to expect come the first week of school.”

» “We would like to sincerely thank the entire Kinder Camp staff for providing a wonderful first school experience... She was super excited each day to tell us all about how kind and fun her teachers and classmates were.”

» “My child loved the teachers and all the creative activities…He said he, 'can’t wait for more fun experiences at school,' thanks to you folks.”

» “It amazes me that Mililani Mauka is a public school and not private, because of how organized and special the staff is…. We are so fortunate to send our daughter here knowing she is in good hands.”

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Q: What is the best part of being back in school?

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels

CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels is a tool to help guide decision making on mitigation strategies based on community classification levels of low, medium or high. When the level is at medium or high, additional layered strategies such as masking are recommended.
Weekly CDC COVID Community Levels by Hawaii DOH

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» UH Community College has made going to school even more affordable for students through the Hawai‘i Promise Scholarship program. It provides free in-state tuition, fees and an allowance for books and supplies.


» HIDOE Student Transportation Services Branch has a hotline for parents and schools with queries related to bus applications, routes and contractor/school information: (808) 784-6870 during normal work hours through Sept. 6.


» Register for a free evening event for Hawai‘i public school educators hosted by the Hawai‘i Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

Information Technology Services

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor


Chanel Honda

Managing Editor


Sara Miyazono
Creative Director


Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer


Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer



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1390 Miller St. Honolulu, HI 96813 | Phone: (808) 784-6200 | Fax: (808) 586-3234
Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us


Contact Information

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Phone: 808-784-6200

Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

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