Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Aug. 30


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. 30

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 Monday and Tuesday, the Department brought together school-level staff from the Lāhainā campuses that have been closed since the Aug. 8 West Maui wildfires to offer resources and learn how best to support our employees as we work together to navigate the way forward.

Nearly 400 staff from King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary, Lāhainā Intermediate and Lāhaināluna High – including teachers, counselors, educational assistants, custodial and security personnel, office staff and administrators – gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Maui in Kapalua.

To help set intention for the convening, the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) offered a ho‘okupu of lei to the Lāhainā school community, including lei hala, lei kou and lei lā‘ī. Each lei was purposefully strung or weaved. For example, hala can symbolize resourcefulness and transition, the kou tree is renowned for its strength and resilience, and lā‘ī can symbolize healing and protection.

announced our tentative goal of welcoming students back to the three West Maui campuses after fall break in mid-October. The health and safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority in our plans. This is a very fluid situation and things may still change; however, we know that having a tentative reopening timeline will help with planning and bring some stability to our staff, students and families.

We were fortunate to have Dr. Melissa Brymer and Dr. Marleen Wong with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, which is funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, join us this week. Dr. Brymer was one of the original developers of the disaster response intervention known as Psychological First Aid. Both experts have been deployed to support communities in crisis around the world.

In school breakout sessions, OHE facilitated the sharing of positive school mo‘oleo to help set a foundation for staff as we move forward. Employees were able to share hopeful stories and joyful memories of their school — anchoring themselves to one another to build strength as a community.

Lāhainā staff were able to openly discuss updates and future plans relating to school operations, share ideas, address concerns and provide feedback with school administration and colleagues. Dr. Brymer and Dr. Wong also provided schools with Psychological First Aid training, and representatives from HIDOE’s Office of Talent Management met with schools to answer questions, gauge employee staffing preferences, and to go over personnel matters.

Leaders of the three labor unions – Hawai‘i State Teachers Association, Hawai‘i Government Employees Association and United Public Workers – were also invited to participate and engage with their members. The Queen's Medical Center deployed behavioral health therapists to provide mental health supports for staff and FEMA representatives offered assistance with claims and answering questions.

Approximately 500 people also attended the first of two community meetings on Maui today to get feedback from the public regarding reopening schools and educational opportunities in West Maui. A second meeting is being held in Kahului.

These past three days have been a learning experience for me as I listened to our Lāhainā ‘ohana who have been impacted by the fires. Everyone’s story and circumstances are unique and we are committed to doing our best to serve and support our staff, students and families during these most challenging times.

I want to deeply thank our Lāhainā family for opening their minds and hearts to our state and complex area staff, and for sharing their experiences, thoughts and feedback. Your voices are heard and will definitely help to inform plans as we continue to move forward.


Keith T. Hayashi


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

Pearl Harbor Elementary
»Civil Beat conducted an interview with our Shark Ambassadors regarding the recent Maui Wildfires and their endeavor to provide help. They effectively conveyed their activities and the shared mission of their group. Please spare a moment to read through the article.


Kealakehe Elementary
»We wore pink today to show our support for our neighbors on Maui. We’ve also been collecting money in classroom jars to help families and students that were affected by the wildfires.

Hotline for Lāhainā Families and Staff

Lāhainā families and staff who need help with information about schools, enrollment and other resources can call (808) 727-6880, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Since its launch on Aug. 21, the hotline has received more than 300 calls. Mahalo to our Leadership Institute team for helping to staff the hotline.

Text support for families and staff is coming soon!

Important Dates and Upcoming Events

  • Aug. 30 - Community meetings regarding reopening plans for Lāhainā schools: 9-11 a.m. at Citizen Church in Kahana, and 1-3 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, McCoy Studio Theater in Kahului
  • Sept. 4 - Labor Day

How to Help

The Department extends its heartfelt appreciation for the generous display of kindness and assistance toward the recovery of our West Maui school communities. Your support plays a pivotal role in fostering resilience and progress within the school community.

An example of an in-kind donation received by HIDOE’s Community Engagement Branch is from Marlie Settlemire, first grader at Momilani Elementary, who donated 50 coloring books for impacted Maui students that she created herself as a summer project with her dad. “Dear Maui students, love you so much and we want you to have these coloring books,” Marlie said. HIDOE homeless liaisons will be taking the coloring books to share with keiki in Lāhainā.

For those interested in making other in-kind offers of support to West Maui school communities, please complete and submit this Maui donation-gift intake form. Once completed, someone from the Department’s Community Engagement Branch will reach out to you to further coordinate. See the HIDOE’s donation page for more information. For any questions, please contact the HIDOE Community Engagement Branch at (808) 305-0690 or by emailing FamilyPartnerships@k12.hi.us.


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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