October 2021 Ho‘oha‘aheo


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This month's issue features keeping schools open and safe for learning and the commitment to help prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


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.

Core Essential Strategies

Keeping our schools open for safe, in-person learning requires a broad commitment from all of us to help prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health has identified some mitigation strategies as core essential strategies — strategies that are so effective that in-person education always requires these be implemented. Schools and offices are working hard to consistently implement these strategies: Encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations among eligible students and staff, consistent and correct mask usage, staying home when sick, and proper hand hygiene. This issue of Ho‘oha‘aheo is dedicated to highlighting what implementation of the core essential strategies looks like in schools.

Stay Home if Unwell

We asked Bill Patterson to speak to the importance of staying home when sick as a core essential strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Below is a Q&A.

Bill Patterson, MPA, RN, is a state school nurse consultant for the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and a proud graduate of Moanalua High School. Prior to joining HIDOE, Bill worked for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health as a supervisor of the Children with Special Health Needs Program and as a field Public Health Nurse.

Why is staying at home when sick an essential strategy? Staying home when you are sick will limit the spread of germs (e.g., virus, bacteria) to others in school and the community. If someone is infected with SARS-CoV-2 (virus) and stays home separated from others, then theoretically no one else will get sick from that infected individual thus ceasing the spread of the virus causing the COVID-19 disease.

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Wear a Face Mask

Student Voice | State Student Council Chair Enjl Himoya, Hilo High School

Hawai‘i public schools are moving forward! Returning back to campus and seeing each other again in person are the opportunities we enjoy today once unimaginable a year and a half ago. All of these were made possible by our collective hard work in beating COVID-19 and the desire for a sense of normalcy. However, we are still living through the ravages of a brutal pandemic. Our progress must be sustained by sensible measures such as washing our hands, staying home when you feel sick, receiving the vaccine if you are able to and especially correct and consistent wearing of masks.

With these measures in place and homecoming just around the corner for most of our public schools, I hope our school environments can continue to enjoy festivities in accordance with the guidelines that protect our community. If there’s one thing for sure, we can achieve a lot when we share a great sense of shared destiny. Our unity in following the health and safety guidelines are the best ways we can ensure all our progress remains and return to a more stable way of life.

Wash Your Hands

Teacher Voice | Kristi Okura

I was given this video to watch: How soap kills the coronavirus and was asked how I could implement a lesson to teach my Kindergarteners about germs and the importance of handwashing during this COVID pandemic.

Here’s the lesson I put together and how it went…

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Get Vaccinated

The Vaccination Outreach for Hawai‘i Students project, is hosted by Hawai‘i Afterschool Alliance and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, with support from Kaiser Permanente. Their goal is to award $50,000 worth of mini-grants for students and youth-serving organizations to fund student-led activities to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations, information, and resources for students (12-18) and their families. Students, adult allies, and community organizations are encouraged to apply. The informational guide provides more information about the project. The application can be found here.


As a public school graduate, it is my pleasure to return back to HDOE as a school nurse. I strive to provide compassionate nursing care, support optimal student health, and minimize time spent out of the classroom due to health or injury. I am proud to work with such an awesome team of educators who advocate for school health and safety. Their inspirational attitudes and determination to support student success is exceptional during “normal” times and continues to be noteworthy throughout this pandemic!

» Christine Prentice is a Wai‘anae High School graduate, Family Nurse Practitioner and Nationally Certified School Nurse with the Hawaii Keiki program. She has been providing school health and nursing services in Hawaii’s public schools since 2016. She enjoys empowering students to achieve optimal health and educational success, through clinic services, health promotion, and education of preventative health strategies.

National Principals Month | Safely Reopening Schools

Through leadership, vision and dedication to the success of all students, principals guide and support their schools and communities every day. When faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, HIDOE principals came through when it mattered most, playing an essential role in safely reopening schools.

We reached out to our 2021 nationally recognized HIDOE leaders to share some of the ways that they have ensured a safe return to learning. This National Principals Month and beyond, we thank our outstanding leaders for all that they have done for our schools and students!

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Social Media Highlights

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts on social media.

» @KawananakoaMS Before fall break, students in Mrs. Ding Abe's 6th grade science class conducted a helicopter lab to demonstrate their understanding of the Science and Engineering Practices 🚁📋

» @IliahiEl Grade 2 students discovering different ways earth’s surface changes. The classes focused on weather and erosion. #discovering #engaged

» @KaimiloaES Our ultra talented, devoted, and passionate teachers were 🧠 on and ✋ on during today’s Waiver day. #808educate @anelapia808 @Stajima1Stajima


Keith Hayashi

Interim Superintendent

Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal 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



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

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