National Principals Month | Safely Reopening Schools

18-Oct-2021

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!

​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!


Lisa Ann Higa, Nānākuli Elementary Principal
2021 NAESP National Distinguished Principal


Aloha from Nanakuli Elementary…where Learning Happens Everywhere!

Mask wearing is one way our students protect themselves and those around them. Here is some student artwork that explains the importance of wearing a mask.


Masks are a way of school life nowadays

Protecting us all even when we are out at play

Helping ourselves and those we are around
With an added protection that can be found

We understand the importance of the why
Helping others understand and continue to try

Being safe at school-keep continuing to learn
As one day soon –we shall all return

Wear a mask –and let’s try to do our part
It’s safe, it’s healthy, and it’s a great start

Be well, be kind, be safe-wishes to all of you
Thank YOU for the incredible work you continue to do!!!




Dr. Reid Kuba, Jarrett Middle Principal
2021 NASSP State Principal 

On our campus, electronic communication to parents is close, but not near 100% due to the lack of access to technology, language barriers and other factors. With middle school students, hard copy notifications also don’t always make it home into their parent’s hands. Communicating the importance of staying home when sick had to come from educating students themselves. 

Our education campaign started in the first week of school with three days of teaching, watching videos and practicing all of our safety protocols. To be sure that all the new information was covered and duplication didn’t occur, each class in our school schedule was assigned specific topics to cover. For example, all period 1 teachers explained and practiced all of our new classroom cleaning procedures so the students were ready for the day, all period 2 teachers taught our students about proper mask wearing and washing of hands, etc. Teachers also taught our students when they should be staying home and what their families needed to do to make sure it was safe to come back to school. All of these things were also reviewed in the second week of school, posted on our website and sent home to parents. 

Along with our education campaign came an effort to integrate the message of staying home when sick with our school’s mission and vision. We encourage all of our school community to be caring, responsible, and always learning. It was easy to integrate the two and teach students to be responsible and know what symptoms required them to stay home. Once they knew the symptoms, the next step was to be caring, stay home, and contact the school. Ultimately, we emphasized that when we stay home when sick, we allow the rest of our classmates and teachers to stay in school, and we accomplish our vision of adding value to our community. This message was incorporated into a poster and posted at every classroom door.


Jacob Kardash, Mililani Middle Vice Principal
2021 NASSP State Assistant Principal

As an educator and an administrator, my top priority is the safety and well-being of everyone on campus. When I became eligible to receive the shot in February, I remember feeling that it was my responsibility and obligation to get vaccinated as I wanted to protect our school community and youth in every way possible. Having students who are unable to get vaccinated made our school community especially vulnerable.

It has been great having our students back on campus. Students are able to get the comprehensive education they deserve and the social interaction they need. The Mililani Middle School community has been very supportive and understanding of all the safety measures in place. From students having assigned seating at lunch, to teachers rotating classrooms so students can remain in their cohorts, everyone understands and wants to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is just as important as all the mitigating strategies we have in place. Mililani Middle will continue to provide opportunities for our students to be vaccinated at school. 

As a former science teacher, we teach our students to look at credible information and data around events to make educated decisions. I would advise the same for anyone still deciding whether to get vaccinated.

Ho‘oha‘aheo

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