September 2021 Hoʻohaʻaheo


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.


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.

Keeping Schools Open and Safe for Learning

As we approach the midpoint of the first quarter, the evolving pandemic demands our attention and focus to keep schools open and safe for students and employees. We continue to work closely with health officials and government leaders to respond with heightened monitoring and enforcement.


Schools have done a tremendous job welcoming students back to campus and are doing everything within their control to diligently implement the core essential strategies set by the Department of Health: Promoting vaccinations for staff and eligible students, staying home when sick, consistent and correct masking, and proper hand hygiene.

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School Year 2021-22: In-person Learning and 3-1-1

At the start of the new school year Interim Superintendent Hayashi outlined the 3-1-1 strategy to set initial priorities. To ensure we address our student needs, there are three priority areas we are assessing as students have returned: attendance, academics and social-emotional learning. In order for our work to be sustainable, another priority is supporting and caring for the well-being of staff and taking ownership of our own well-being. Another priority is ensuring the safe return for our entire public school system. This 3-1-1 strategy is helping the Department get a pulse on where our students are, providing support for our staff members and ensuring the health and safety for everyone.


Teacher Voice


Prioritizing SEL in Our Schools

By Nicole Heinlein

After a full year of distance learning, Hawai‘i educators have become acutely aware that mental health support is necessary for both teachers and students. Many have reported feelings of isolation, anxiety, or nervousness. As we come together face-to-face this school year, creating spaces and time for building relationships, setting routines and regularly checking in with one another will be paramount.

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Well-Being: Even Adults Need It

By Ashley Mika Ito-Macion

Educators know the impact of healthy whole-child experiences on our students. With distance teaching and in-person pandemic learning, all educators have been challenged to rise up and do this in creative new ways. I was ecstatic to see Interim Superintendent Hayashi’s 3-1-1 plan. This innovative and compassionate leader gets it. His focus on students, staff and system guides our focus on a healthier future.

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While accommodating to the current circumstances we face, student leaders across the islands have been working diligently to uphold the aloha spirit within their schools and communities. I am extremely proud to be working with people of diverse backgrounds who strive to be role models for their peers. Our actions create ripple effects in hopes of inspiring the future generation to continue to give back to the community. With the guidance of their advisors and school administrators, students are consistently finding innovative ways to flourish beyond the set expectations. Knowing that we have so many student leaders here in Hawai‘i will forever make me #PublicSchoolProud.

» Kyla Musso is a senior at Radford High School. This year she was selected as the Board of Education Student Representative for the State of Hawai‘i, where she will be representing 165,000 public school students across the islands. She found her passion for leadership by being actively engaged with her student body and her local community. Kyla believes in striving for one’s best and especially loves to see students reach their full potential.

Q&A with Interim Superintendent

Keith Hayashi began his term as interim superintendent on Aug. 1, as the new school year got underway for most schools. It’s been nonstop since, working with the tri-level teams on everything from setting direction for priority areas to expanding access to COVID testing to engaging policymakers and stakeholder groups.


He took a few minutes to answer some questions to help us get to know him a little better.

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Help keep our school ʻohana safe!


Keith Hayashi

Interim Superintendent


Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


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



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




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

What makes you #PublicSchoolProud?

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Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: 808-784-6200


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