Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Dec. 20


Our weekly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue features a holiday message from Superintendent Hayashi.

Dec. 20

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: Our email platform for distributing the newsletter will be changing. No action is needed for current subscribers, but please note that in the near future the newsletter will be sent from hawaiipublicschools@eblasts.k12.hi.us. We’ll be taking a quick recess over winter break and resume weekly editions on Jan. 10, 2024. Happy Holidays!

Aloha, HIDOE Community –

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter.

As we reach the midpoint of the school year, I would like to express my gratitude for the commitment and hard work demonstrated by our entire Department statewide. Even amid our ongoing response to the Aug. 8 wildfires in Lāhainā, our collective efforts have remained focused on placing students at the forefront of our priorities. The progress we have made is significant, and in the spirit of ne‘epapa – working together – I know we will continue to improve, evolve and advance in the new year. Please take a moment to watch a video message from me.



Social media highlights of the most engaging posts of the week.

Use the #HIPublicSchoolsProud hashtag for a chance to be featured!

Daniel K. Inouye Elementary

» Happy holidays DKIES! Our Kindergarten families joined us in the cafeteria today to build gingerbread houses. A big mahalo to our kinder staff team for hosting this awesome event!

‘Ewa Beach Elementary

» ‘Ewa Beach Elementary participated in the ‘Ewa Beach Community Christmas Parade this weekend. Principal Lin, VP Connors, our School SASA Mrs. McKay, Student Council Reps & our one and only Ms. Honey Bee proudly represented our school. Happy Holidays ‘Ewa Beach!

Waihe‘e Elementary

» Mahalo Student Council for spreading the Holiday Spirit at the Maui Lani Safeway this morning 🎄🎊🎁.

Hawai‘i State Student Council

» Happy Holidays from #HIStuCo! 🎄🎁❄️ #holidayseason

Kalāheo High

» Student Council and Key Club members volunteered to ring bells for Salvation Army at Windward Mall. #salvationarmy #bellringing #proudmustang #kalaheomustangs

Leihōkū Elementary

» Today's theme was "Holly Jolly Days" and we covered ourselves in red and green to celebrate!

Family Focus

Family Focus is a monthly column by Parents for Public Schools Hawai‘i.

Middle School Worries?

Join our 'Untangling Adolescence’ Free Online Workshop

Saturday, January 20, 2024

1-2 p.m.


Many Hawai’i families worry about the changes their elementary children face in transitioning to middle/intermediate school. Over the past years, thousands of parents have told us our “Untangling Adolescence” workshop made a big difference for them.

An educational psychology professor – who is also a parent – provides an enjoyable and enlightening presentation on how adolescents think and change.

Parents, come and learn how you can help your child.

Educators, come and see if this is a program you'd like us to present to parents at your school.

Register for this FREE online event: http://tinyurl.com/UntanglingAdolescence 

Email info@ppshi.org for any questions.

Parents for Public Schools Hawai‘i is a nonprofit organization contributing to keiki and public school success through family and community engagement.
Visit www.ppshi.org.

What’s for School Lunch?

Featuring recipes served in our school cafeterias from the Office of Facilities and Operations School Food Services Branch. Ingredient amounts have been scaled down.

Cranberry Shortbread Cookie 

Makes about 24 cookies


  • 8 ounces of unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp of vanilla

  • 1 1/2 cup flour, white whole wheat 60/40 blend

  • 1 1/4 tsp of salt

  • 3 ounces of dried cranberries

  1. Add butter, sugar and vanilla to mixer and cream on low to combine and speed up to high. Whip for approximately 15 minutes until light and fluffy. Periodically scrape the sides of the mixer to combine.

  2. Add in flour, salt and cranberries until incorporated.

  3. Use #40 scoop (about 1 1/2 tbsp) to portion out dough on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

  4. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes then turn the pan around and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown.

  5. Let cool prior to serving.

Mahalo to Helemano Elementary’s Baker Julie Kazama, School Food Services Manager Devie Nakamura and Cafe Helper Jane Pascua (pictured left to right) for allowing us into their kitchen to capture the magic of the recipe.

West Maui Updates

We will be providing relevant information on Lāhainā schools in this space,
including updates on health and safety, construction and more.

Wipe tests

The Department has hired a contractor to conduct bi-weekly wipe sampling in Lāhainā classrooms to test for any particles settling on surfaces. The last wipe test on Dec. 4 found no lead or arsenic, similar to the previous samplings. Stay tuned for results from the next round of samples.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers update

USACE has been tracking the progress of the on-going construction of the temporary school in Lāhainā.

Fulfill a wish for a staff member

Help us spread holiday cheer to staff members affected by the Maui wildfires by meeting a need on our Purposity list! Examples of items being requested include new bedsheets, a camping tent, clothing, massages and more. View their wish lists and help out a HIDOE ‘ohana member here.

Orders and shipment will be fulfilled through Purposity. Purposity is a crowd-source platform dedicated to connecting communities to real-time giving opportunities. Donations will be collected through the end of December.

King Kamehameha III Elementary Enrollment Survey

To help us get a better idea of enrollment at the new temporary campus in Pulelehua, we’d like to know what your plans are for your child(ren) after spring break. Please fill out one survey per child who is currently attending or formerly attended the school this year: go.hidoe.us/KKIII-Enrollment-Survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Dec. 29.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • Dec. 21 - 2nd Quarter/1st Semester Ends
  • Dec. 21 - Board of Education: General Business Meeting
  • Dec. 22 - Deadline for HIDOE employees to apply for free Hawaiian language courses
  • Dec. 22-Jan. 4 - Winter Break
  • Dec. 25 - Christmas
  • Jan. 1 - New Year’s Day
  • Jan. 4 - Board of Education: Finance and Infrastructure Committee, Human Resources Committee, Student Achievement Committee

Community Query

We asked on Instagram

What holiday cookie is your favorite? 

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Twelve O‘ahu schools were awarded with the Purple Star NORBERT Hawai‘i Award for creating a welcoming and safe environment for incoming military-dependent and transitioning students enrolling at their campuses.

» Over 150 students from schools statewide participated in the 31st annual “Deaf Santa” event at Pearlridge Center and were able to converse with Santa using American Sign Language. 

» Hawai‘i All-State Marching Band, musicians nominated by their high school band directors, is preparing for a prestigious performance at the 135th Rose Parade in Pasadena.


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

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

Kimberly Yuen

Contributing Writer



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