Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, March 8


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week features new partnerships with wa‘a organizations and nominees for the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.

March 8

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.

Ten years after we embarked on an educational partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) that connected school communities to the values and mission of Mālama Honua, we are seeking to establish long-term partnerships with waʻa (canoe) organizations across the state to engage, educate and inspire a movement of caring for our oceans, cultures and people.

We've kicked off the Ho‘ākea: Mauka to Makai Navigating our Future initiative to help foster in students a “navigator mindset” to become the leaders, stewards and critical thinkers who can navigate Hawai‘i into a better future. Some of our Windward O‘ahu schools – Ka‘a‘awa, Waiahole and ‘Aikahi Elementary – recently participated in excursions to engage in hands-on learning that perpetuates the foundational values and perspectives of navigation. Another set of student learning opportunities for Leeward O‘ahu schools is in the works. Stay tuned!

This weekend, we celebrated the latest nominees for the 17th annual Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award. Fifteen principals – one per complex area – were honored and each received a $1,000 prize. The top winner will be named in April at the annual Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation dinner and receive $25,000 – a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of the principal’s choice. Congratulations to these outstanding principals and their schools, and mahalo to the Island Insurance Foundation and the Tokioka family for investing in programs like this to honor and recognize the hard work and dedication of our school leaders.

A quick update on the DonorsChoose funding opportunity shows nearly 3,000 Hawai‘i teacher-led projects have been awarded as of today! I’m excited to see the positive outcomes from these ideas. Mahalo to everyone who applied and helped to spread the word!



We asked some special guests to complete the prompt below.

"What is the best book you’ve read recently and why?"

" The Midnight Library* by Matt Haig is the most fascinating book I've read recently because it demonstrates how a single decision we make now in our lives has the potential to greatly affect our future."

»Betty Arai is the Mililani High School librarian.

" A Wish in the Dark* by Christina Soontorvat is the best book I've read recently because the themes of this novel emphasize forgiveness, courage and the power of empathy. Several complicated and well developed characters, such as the nine year old orphan protagonist born in a prison, will bring along both young and mature readers for an adventure of a lifetime."

»Caroline Lee is the Hono‘uli‘uli Middle School librarian.

" Every Falling Star*, a memoir by Sungju Lee, is the best book I’ve read recently because it tells the true story of a young boy trying to survive on his own in North Korea while searching for his family. Lee recounts his adventures in conversational prose that brings the readers inside street gang life."

»Selena Mobbs is the state library resource teacher and Ka‘ū-Keaʻau-Pāhoa Complex Area virtual librarian.

" Not Your All-American Girl* by Wendy Wan-Long Shang is the best book I've read recently because it sparked meaningful conversations with my students on race, discrimination and being a better person. This book is about a Chinese-Jewish girl who did not get the lead role in a musical, although she was the best singer, because she didn't look like 'an all-American girl.' #iLOVEmyjob!"

»Miko Sanico is the Wheeler Elementary School librarian.

*Use your employee ID number to borrow this book in Sora.

National Reading Month

Did you know you and your students can participate in the #808Reads statewide reading challenge? This digital reading log shows you all the titles and minutes your students log. Students earn milestone badges for reading and literacy activities including listening, speaking, viewing, researching and writing.

Find your school in this list and sign in with the following credentials:
Username: your employee ID number
Password: 3-digit school code followed by employee ID number with no space

Right now Kaimukī Middle is the school with the highest number of minutes logged and Keaukaha Elementary has the highest participation rate.

Click here for more details or email 808libraries@k12.hi.us if you need help getting started.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • March 10 - 3rd Quarter Ends
  • March 10 - School Quality Survey for parents and families deadline
  • March 13-17 - Spring Break
  • March 14 - Pi Day

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

Where/how do you discover new books?

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» ‘Ewa Makai Middle held its 2nd annual “Burstin’ to Run” event to support awareness toward an inclusive school environment.


» Congratulations to Leilehua High’s JROTC Leadership Team who will compete in the 2023 Army JROTC Leadership Bowl Championships in June!


» Hawai‘i News Now featured Gensen Rabacal, Momilani Elementary’s new music teacher, who is living his dream teaching.


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
Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

How do I...?


View all FAQ's