Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Aug. 16


Our weekly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. With the ongoing response to the West Maui wildfires, we are focusing on updates, resources and how to help the West Maui school community.

Aug. 16

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.

Editor's Note: With the ongoing response to the West Maui wildfires, we are focusing on updates, resources and how to help the West Maui school community.

Aloha, HIDOE Community

As we continue to navigate the impacts of the wildfires, this issue is designed to provide information and resources as well as highlight the collective action of our schools.

On Monday I had the opportunity to meet with school teams in our Baldwin-Kekaulike-Kūlanihākoʻi-Maui Complex Area and visited the emergency shelter at War Memorial Gym in Wailuku. I witnessed the resilient and unwavering spirit of unity – ne‘epapa – and compassion from our school leadership and staff. The strength and collaboration displayed instills hope as we work to try to restore some sense of normalcy and create welcoming environments for our Maui students.

Yesterday, I visited our three remaining Lāhainā campuses with key legislators and Department leadership. Despite sustaining wind damage, the campus buildings and classrooms are in good condition structurally. Cleaning and testing of both air and water quality will take place in the coming days, and reopening dates will be determined once campuses are confirmed as safe for students and staff.

While the recovery effort is still in the early stages, we are working with our partners at the state Department of Health, FEMA, HIEMA, the Governor’s office and the County to ensure we can provide our students and staff access to teaching and learning. I’d also like to thank Senate Vice President and Education Chairwoman Michelle Kidani, state House Education Chairman Justin Woodson, state House Finance Chairman Kyle Yamashita and Board of Education Maui member Kahele Dukelow for joining us on Maui yesterday and helping to support all of our impacted staff, students and families.

The Department is still exploring options for students who attended Kamehameha III Elementary, including welcoming students to Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary once reopened as well as the potential for a temporary satellite site in West Maui. In the meantime, students who are able to are encouraged to enroll at other public schools that are near their current location so that they have access to in-person services like meals, socialization and counseling. HIDOE liaisons are also visiting shelters to share information and resources with displaced students and families.

Schools in Central, South and Upcountry Maui and a few off-island schools have begun enrolling displaced students, signing up approximately 300 displaced West Maui students. About 130 applications for the State Distance Learning Program were also received.

As our school communities continue to heal from this tragedy, the Department is also offering mental health support. Staff have access to daily in-person counseling services in Central and West Maui, 24/7 assistance by phone through HSMA partner Carelon Behavioral Health, and crisis support via text. More information on resources to assist those impacted, can be accessed at bit.ly/West-Maui-Staff-Well-Being.

The road ahead will be challenging, but it is through shared understanding and cooperative steps that we pave the way toward a more hopeful and resilient future.


Keith T. Hayashi


Social media highlights of our Maui schools and their efforts to help, support and bolster the community.

» Superintendent Keith Hayashi and CAS Desiree Sides visited with Pōmaika’i staff to check-in and help where they can. Thank you @hawaiipublicschools for your support and guidance during this tough time.

» "I wanted to give Maui High School a shout out They turned their school into a shelter and donation drop off for Red Cross Hawaii (where I was sorting donations) Many of the teachers and students jumped in to help and loaded trucks and buses with donations to bring over to Lahaina side…"

» MHS Students and Staff, Please wear red Wednesday 8/16 to welcome Lahainaluna students to Maui High. #mauistrong


The Department is closely monitoring conditions and working with county and state officials and emergency responders. We understand that this situation is challenging and stressful for our staff, students and their families and have pulled West Maui School Resources in a central location to be as helpful as possible.

A link to the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is included with the latest updates and resources for displaced families on the homepage. Parents and families can find information on student enrollment and mental health resources. Additionally, staff can find relevant memos and notices, emergency proclamations, a link to the IT Help Desk (login required or call 808-584-6000 for assistance) and staff well-being resources.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • Aug. 16 - Students returning to all Upcountry Maui, Central Maui, South Maui schools except for King Kekaulike High pending further evaluation
  • Aug. 18 - Statehood Day (state holiday, all schools and offices will be closed)

Counseling Services for HIDOE Staff

Family Focus

A monthly column by Parents for Public Schools Hawai‘i, a nonprofit organization of parents, family members, educators, community leaders, policymakers, and others; working to improve and support public education in Hawai‘i by increasing family and community engagement.

Our hearts are with our beloved Maui and Lāhainā ‘ohana. Together, we resolve to survive, rebuild, and thrive. For links to resources and donation opportunities, click Maui Help.

See examples of outpouring of aloha from our public school community.

How to Help

The Department is deeply grateful for the outpouring of generosity and support toward the recovery of our West Maui school communities. The state, county and community have been working tirelessly to coordinate efforts of contributions from the community, ensuring that the immediate needs of those impacted are met.

At this time, the most impactful way we can support our friends and family on Maui is through monetary donations. While damages and longer term needs are still being assessed, monetary support will allow for flexibility within the ongoing response efforts — to help those who need it most, when they need it most. See the different ways that you can help the impacted Maui communities.

» The Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation is partnering with the Department to designate all monetary donations through Oct. 1, 2023 for Maui public schools affected by the wildfire disaster. Tax deductible credit card contributions may be made online or via check payable to Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation and mailed to P. O. Box 4148 Honolulu, Hawaii 96812.

» For other offers of in-kind support, please complete and submit this Maui donation-gift intake form. The Department’s Community Engagement Branch will reach out to you to further coordinate. See the HIDOE’s donation page for more information.

» The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program serves homeless students statewide and on the ground in Maui. Click here for more information on how to fulfill a need.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

Deputy Superintendent

Curt Otaguro

Deputy Superintendent

Tammi Oyadomari-Chun
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support Services

Michael Otsuji

Information Technology Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

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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