Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Aug. 23


Our weekly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. With the ongoing response to the West Maui wildfires, we have changed our header to pink in support of Maui’s official color and are focusing on updates, resources and how to help Lāhainā school communities.

Aug. 23

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 have changed our header to pink in support of Maui’s official color and are focusing on updates, resources and how to help Lāhainā school communities.

Aloha, HIDOE Community

On Thursday I will be providing an update on the impacts of the West Maui wildfires before the Hawai‘i State Board of Education. The Department is eager to have our Lāhainā teams and students gather as school communities as soon as safely possible and we are fully committed to providing education in West Maui.

While reopening efforts and the exploration of alternate sites in West Maui are continuing, Lāhainā schools remain closed to staff, students and volunteers. We are awaiting results of environmental testing to be sure that the air, water, soil and soot are safe so that we may safely reopen campuses. We are also working on different options for King Kamehameha III Elementary, which was damaged beyond repair in the fires.

Given the uncertainty on reopening dates, we are providing an option for impacted West Maui students interested in in-person learning to temporarily relocate to designated schools in Central and South Maui. Bus transportation is being set up, and pick-up and drop-off hub sites for students will be announced soon. Interested families should obtain and complete a bus application at their new school as soon as possible. More information is available on our website.

For families who remain in Lāhainā and are not able to take advantage of this option, the Department is working on plans to offer community-based learning activities in West Maui, but families are advised that programming will not look like traditional education provided in schools.

The ultimate goal remains the safe reopening of our schools, recognizing the vital role schools play in providing essential services and support to our communities. Schools provide in-person services that foster a comprehensive educational experience — like socialization, counseling and extracurricular activities. The Department is committed to addressing the multifaceted needs of our West Maui school communities, from immediate concerns to long-term planning, with a focus on the continued well-being of all staff, students and families.


Keith T. Hayashi


Social media highlights of schools and staff in their efforts to help, support and bolster the West Maui school community.

Waiākea High
»Our thoughts and hearts are with you Maui. Waiākea stands with you! 🩷🩷 #lahinastrong #mauistrong #waiākeawarriorstrong

Pearl Harbor Elementary School
»Our Shark Ambassadors would like to share their support for our Maui 'Ohana!

‘Aikahi Elementary
»Maui, you have been weighing heavy on our hearts and minds. As we continue our fundraising efforts to help sustain our Maui ‘ohana, we invite you all to wear pink on Mondays. If you’re looking for other ways to kōkua, please see the HIDOE How to Help link. #malamamaui

Hotline for Lāhainā Families and Staff

The Department launched a support hotline for families and staff of the four Lāhainā public schools – Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, Lāhainā Intermediate and Lāhaināluna High – impacted by the wildfires.

While the campuses are closed and school phone lines are down, families and staff who are facing internet challenges and need assistance can call (808) 727-6880, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for help with information relating to schools, enrollment and other resources. Mahalo to our Leadership Institute team for helping respond to calls from families, staff and the public!

Those with an internet connection are encouraged to visit bit.ly/HIDOE-West-Maui-Resources for the latest information and resources.

Important Dates and Upcoming Events

How to Help

Mahalo to Maui Community Homeless Concerns Liaisons Jewelyn Kahele and Val Aguirre (pictured left to right) who have been working on the ground in Lāhainā to assist students displaced by the wildfires. We deeply appreciate their commitment to and care for our community.

All of our liaisons, as well as HIDOE Education for Homeless Children and Youth team members, have been stepping in to help with entering student information, reaching out to families and making sure our Maui families are supported. They immediately stepped into action and are prepared to help as long as necessary.

Our liaisons are not only helping enroll students in viable options, but are assisting to fill their everyday necessities. They are assisting families that have been directly affected by the wildfires and have lost everything. We are working closely with our liaisons and posting real-time needs on Purposity as we receive them. Please consider meeting a need of these families and letting them know that you are with them.


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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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

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