August & September 2020 Ho‘oha‘aheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's issue features a distance learning forum, the first days of school and more stories from students, educators and alumni about what makes them #PublicSchoolProud


Editorial Mission: Hawai‘i’s public school system plays an integral role in the Islands as the state’s largest education provider. 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 the system as we deliver on the power and promise of public education.

Hey Alexa, What’s Distance Learning?

» Pictured above: Ashley Mika Ho

“Hey Alexa, how do you conduct Distance Learning?” Would you believe that this was an actual question I asked our Alexa device? What would you say if I told you that Alexa had the same answer as many Hawai‘i teachers did near the end of March? That’s what I thought.

I knew that my answer wouldn’t be found in an old college textbook or on the internet. Distance Learning was a whole new concept that teachers needed to learn, and learn fast. I talked to fellow colleagues, mentors and my husband about the anxiety of the unknown. That feeling of anxiety, coupled with the frustration I felt as an educator, really took a toll on me. That’s when innovation struck. I thought to myself, “There has to be a place for teachers to ask questions and just connect during these times.” The Hawai‘i Distance Learning Forum was created with help from the team at Blue Logic Labs and has made impactful changes throughout Hawai‘i’s education community.

Read more

#PublicSchoolProud  |  Alumni

As the Intermediate School Coordinator, I am excited to see teachers and students back on campus this coming Monday. All teachers and staff are prepared to welcome students in a safe and sanitized environment. We are thoroughly prepared with everything we need such as disinfecting wipes, masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and other supplies to keep everyone on campus safe and engaged in learning. We want to get students excited about learning again!

» Danette Holdren started her career as a social studies teacher at Waialua High and Intermediate School in 2006. Currently, she serves as the Intermediate Coordinator at the school and has been serving in this position for the past four years.

Although prepping for students these past two weeks have been challenging, my student body government and I were creative and excited to lead this new era of school. We prepped by creating a video/visual of what school will look like when we come back, and brainstorming virtual activities we could host on campus. They especially still look forward to giving tours on the first day to our new students.

» Asialyn Wong is the Student Activities Coordinator at Waialua High and Intermediate School. She worked as a SPED teacher for almost 10 years and as the class of 2018 advisor (go wolves!) at Mililani High before moving to Waialua High & Intermediate last school year.

Teacher Voice  |  Fourth quarter at Ewa Beach Elementary and meeting the needs of students

By Kawena Martinez

The 2019-2020 school year will definitely be a year to go down in history. Fourth quarter in particular would reveal how we, as educational professionals, rise in the time of crisis. We recognized our challenges, leveraged our strengths and continued to put students' academic learning and well-being top priority.

From business as usual via virtual login and picking up where they left off prior to spring break, to focusing on how their students and families are doing and the challenges of very little contact/communication due to the lack of resources, distance learning was handled by teachers in many different ways. Despite differences in the delivery of distance learning and instruction, there was a common thread shared amongst the collective: Educators do what is necessary to meet the needs of their students.

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Student Voice  |  The world needs more problem-solvers. How will our public schools deliver?

By Jacob Nakasone

I’m a recent Mililani High School graduate, and despite these uncertain times, I’m a very hopeful person. It wasn’t always like that though. When I found out that my traditional graduation ceremony was canceled, I felt a lot of emotions: confusion, anger, and sadness, to name a few. I spent a lot of my days during the spring wallowing in self-pity, wondering why this all had to happen during the peak of my high school life.

But slowly over time, I got over it. I applied for a summer internship with HIDOE, which I initially thought would just be for the money. However, after finishing my six-week internship, I can confidently say that this pandemic and internship have given me a newfound hope that my generation is ready to tackle the biggest challenges this world faces. Here’s why.

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News Feed  |  #HI4PublicEd

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Honouliuli Middle School celebrated its opening and completion of the first phase of the campus on Aug. 3. The school welcomed approximately 180 sixth-graders for the 2020-21 school year. Summer Intern Emiko Tajima interviewed the Honouliuli Middle leadership team.

» This week’s Talk Story with Dr. K episode features Board of Education (BOE) student representative and Kapolei High School senior Hunter Harris. Learn about Hunter’s role on the BOE, along with his recap of the first week of distance learning.

» The Health Hotline is still available for no cost health advice and telehealth appointments for HIDOE students. Call toll free: (844) 436-3888 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., excluding holidays to speak with a Hawai‘i Keiki nurse.


Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto


Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Alisa Bender
Curriculum and Instructional Design
Brook Conner
Information Technology Services
Cynthia Covell
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Rodney Luke
Strategy, Innovation and Performance
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor

Chanel Honda

Managing Editor

Sara Miyazono
Creative Director




1390 Miller St. Honolulu, HI 96813 | Phone: (808) 784-6200 | Fax: (808) 586-3234

This email was sent to all HIDOE staff.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200


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