Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Feb. 15


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue includes an update on the legislative session, a feature on our latest recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award and Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Language Month).

Feb. 15

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.

The Department is close to awarding a design contract for a pedestrian overpass fronting the new Kūlanihāko‘i High School campus in Kīhei. The state Land Use Commission (LUC) in 2013 imposed a condition on the property requiring a grade-separated – meaning, above or below street level – crossing before the physical campus can open.

The LUC recently reaffirmed this condition and we are fully committed to meeting all of the necessary requirements to safely open the campus so that our South Maui students can benefit from state-of-the-art learning facilities in their own community.

The Department commissioned a study last summer to solicit community input and analyze options. The study found a strong preference for an overpass near Kūlanihāko‘i Street, which is estimated to cost between $10 million and $14 million and take three to five years to complete. We are exploring funding options to expedite work on the pedestrian crossing, with student safety as a top priority.

We are four weeks into the 2023 legislative session and things are moving at a quick pace. A total of 3,132 bills have been introduced by the House and Senate this session and of those, 787 bills have been flagged as having an impact on the Department — directly or indirectly. We have drafted testimony for more than 200 bills so far and will continue to work closely with our legislators to advocate for support to ensure student success.



We asked a special guest to complete the prompt below.

"What is one story from teaching that warms your heart?"

" One day, I received a letter addressed to me from a middle school in New York. A teacher had assigned her students to write an essay about a past teacher who has made a positive impact. It was so heartwarming to learn how my former student is doing in middle school and read the reflections he shared about our time together in elementary school. I was incredibly grateful to the teacher who took the extra step to mail the essays out to teachers all over the country. It was such a special reminder of how amazing teachers are and why we continue to do this work!
»Esther Kwon, assistant principal at Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, is the latest recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award. Kwon has taught and led various programs during her 10 years of service at Daniel K. Inouye Elementary, including teaching fifth grade, mentoring new teachers, serving on the School Community Council, discussing education policy as a Hawai‘i State Teacher Fellow and leading the Pineapple Academy distance learning program for 12 elementary schools in the Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area.

Hawaiian Word of the Week

In honor of Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language Month), we are featuring selected segments of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s Hawaiian Word of the Day hosted by Leilani Poli‘ahu Kamalani. Leilani is also the Title I/curriculum coordinator at HIDOE’s Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue, a K-12 Hawaiian language immersion school. In this segment, she introduces a new word, explains what it means, spells it and models the correct pronunciation.


► Listen

Huaka‘i is Hawaiian for trip, voyage, journey, mission, procession, even a parade. It doesn't have to be a long voyage or flight. A trip to Maui is a huaka‘i, just as a trip to Japan is a huaka‘i. Next time you plan a trip, call it a huaka‘i.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events


Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Who will win the Super Bowl?


HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Kīpapa Elementary students received a donation of over 600 books from authors Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr, a husband and wife author/illustrator duo, who are promoting literacy across the country in their “Busload of Books” project.


» Rogelio Aquino spent nearly 20 years as the school’s janitor but also collected photos and research materials on Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani. Although he did not get to see the renaming ceremony of the former Central Middle School, his research is still on display in a glass case at Ke‘elikōlani Middle School.


» The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association is recognizing Kalani High School as a STEM School of Excellence! This award reflects their commitment and amazing work to provide a robust integrative STEM education program.


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
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

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



CONNECT WITH US » HawaiiPublicSchools.org

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


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

How do I...?


View all FAQ's