May 2021 Ho‘oha‘aheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's publication features a look back at our monthly issues and stories in Hoʻohaʻaheo over the past school year.

MAY 2021

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 the system as we deliver on the power and promise of public education.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

» Pictured above: Graduation photos from Farrington, Pearl City and Mililani High Schools.


Graduation season kicked off on May 15 with Pearl City High School's commencement at Aloha Stadium. Nearly 40 graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021 have been or are being held this week, including Kaimukī, Farrington, Mililani, ʻAiea, Waipahu, Waiʻanae, Campbell, Kahuku, Kailua, Keaʻau, Hilo, Honokaʻa, King Kekaulike, Hāna and Waimea.

We're so proud of this year's graduates. From collaborating with teachers to make online learning successful, to inventing new ways of socializing with peers from a distance, the Class of 2021 found creative and meaningful ways to make sure their senior year was not defined by what they lost out on, but rather how they thrived in spite of the circumstances. Congratulations and best wishes for a bright future!

#PublicSchoolProud  | Hoʻohaʻaheo 2020-21 Recap


As the 2020-21 school year comes to a close, we'd like to reflect back on some of the bright spots and stories highlighted in Hoʻohaʻaheo over the past year. Here's a look back at our monthly issues.

May 2021

» In partnership with health care providers and state health officials, HIDOE launched a statewide effort to vaccinate thousands of eligible public school students now that vaccines are available to residents 12 years and older. Read more.

» HIDOE schools will offer a comprehensive menu of summer programming aimed at addressing the learning needs of students as they transition back to full in-person learning and prepare for the 2021-22 school year. Read more.

April 2021

» Following days of heavy rains, a massive landslide at Hanalei Hill brought tons of rocks, soil and trees down the adjacent slope into the valley below, blocking all traffic to North Kauaʻi just two days before spring break. As the state Department of Transportation worked to stabilize the hillside, Hanalei teachers and staff were working to distribute nearly three dozen laptops and wi-fi hotspots to families on both sides of the landslide closure for students needing to return to full distance learning while the highway repair work continued. Read more.

» At Kapaʻa Middle School on Kaua‘i, student discipline looks a little different. Part of that is credited to the school’s culture, which is grounded in the Hawaiian values of kūpono (compassion), kūpaʻa (character) and kūlia (confidence). These values are ingrained in the school’s mission and vision, and are upheld by students and staff everyday through their schoolwide systems of positive behavioral support. Read more.

March 2021

» After leading the Hāna-Lahainaluna-Lānaʻi-Molokaʻi Complex Area for 13 years, Lindsay Ball will retire on June 30. He has been mentoring his successor, Dr. Rebecca Winkie, formerly principal of Princess Nahiʻenaʻena Elementary, to lead the “Canoe Complex.” We asked CAS Ball about his experiences in education and his future plans — and where to grab good eats in his complex area. Read more.

» Diane Mokuau, librarian at Molokaʻi High School, was one of two recipients nationwide to receive the Scholastic School Librarian of the Year Award. Awardees are recognized for their exemplary accomplishments and the outstanding use of technology and services to further engage students in a wide range of literacies.

February 2021

» Teacher Voice: Imagine that you are preparing for class when suddenly you are invited to a mandatory grade-level meeting. As you enter the video conference, you receive an email from a frantic haumāna who cannot complete their assignment that is due in 35 minutes because of internet connectivity issues. Just as you reply to their email, your computer freezes, forcing you to restart. Read more.
» Kaʻala Elementary School Counselor Jon Morikawa was recently recognized as the 2021 American School Counselor Association’s Hawaiʻi School Counselor of the Year. Honorees were judged based on their ability to create systemic change within the school counseling profession.

January 2021

» Fourth grader Ka’el Tabelisma-Johnson at Hōnaunau Elementary is #PublicSchoolProud. I am proud of my school because it has some of my friends and nice teachers. School helps me learn things like how to protect our environment and history.
» Two high schools recently celebrated groundbreaking ceremonies. These celebrations mark the beginning of construction for Waipahu High School’s Integrated Academy Facility and Phase 2 of Kihei High School’s campus construction.

November & December 2020 

» Teacher Voice: It all happened so fast. One moment, I was hugging my students at the classroom door and the next, I was scrambling to figure out Zoom and having the sad realization that I wouldn’t physically finish the school year with them. It wasn’t just me. Many of my students expressed a sense of loss, fear and anxiety. I encouraged my students to share their feelings through writing. Read more.
» Congratulations to King Liholiho Elementary Principal Christina Small for receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s 2020 Terrel H. Bell Lifetime of Leadership Award in recognition of outstanding school leadership! She recevied a special lifetime leadership award.

October 2020

» 2021 Teacher of the Year Lori Kwee is #PublicSchoolProud. My desire is to inspire all students by empowering them to passionately pursue their dreams as ambassadors in our community. I believe everyone is a leader with talents to strengthen a team with empathy, inclusion, and student voice. #PublicSchoolProud to radiate aloha.
» Teacher Voice: “Can you hear me? How about now? No, no, not that button. Click that one… Yes, yes, that one!” Teachers, in the past three months, we have seen it all. We’ve been kicked out of our own virtual class meetings. We have seen every pet, held up close to the screen with a, “Ms. Chung, do you see him? Do you see my cat?” Read more.

August & September 2020

» Teacher Voice: “Hey Alexa, how do you conduct Distance Learning?” Would you believe that this was an actual question I asked our Alexa device? What would you say if I told you that Alexa had the same answer as many Hawai‘i teachers did near the end of March? That’s what I thought. Read more.
» Honouliuli Middle School celebrated its opening and completion of the first phase of the campus on Aug. 3. The school welcomed approximately 180 sixth-graders for the 2020-21 school year. Summer Intern Emiko Tajima interviewed the Honouliuli Middle leadership team.


Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto



Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brook Conner
Information Technology Services
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Rodney Luke
Strategy, Innovation and Performance
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations
Teri Ushijima
Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani
Executive Editor
Chanel Honda
Managing Editor
Sara Miyazono
Creative Director




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The Department's primary publication featuring successes across our public schools.

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