Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Sept. 27


Our weekly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This week's issue includes the latest on our reopening plans for Lāhainā schools and upcoming events including the 2024 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year ceremony.

Sept. 27

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.

Aloha, HIDOE Community – 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter.

Reopening Plans for Lāhainā Schools
At a joint news conference yesterday with Gov. Josh Green, M.D. and state Health Department Director Dr. Kenneth Fink, we announced reopening plans for the Lāhainā campuses now that health officials have determined the schools are safe for staff and students to return.

After weeks of comprehensive air, drinking water and soil quality testing at the three Lāhainā campuses affected by the Aug. 8, 2023 wildfires, we are set to welcome students back to the Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, Lāhainā Intermediate and Lāhaināluna campuses as part of a phased reopening plan starting Oct. 16.

Students and staff from King Kamehameha III Elementary, which was damaged beyond repair, will be sharing campus facilities with Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena until a planned temporary school site being developed near Kapalua Airport is open. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is funding the project while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is handling the construction and estimates it could take at least 95 days to complete. Read our full release for more information.

Interim House School Working Group Meeting
The state House of Representatives established six interim working groups to propose legislation related to the Maui wildfires. Tomorrow morning the interim House Schools Working Group will be hosting a community meeting in Kapalua that I will be attending to provide an update from the Department and hear from community members.

ED Talks Hawai‘i Night
Educators still have time to RSVP (until noon tomorrow!) for our first ED Talks Hawai‘i Night Thursday, Sept. 28 from 3:30-6 p.m. at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Network with 14 outstanding principal and teacher leaders who exemplify best practices in education.

2024 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year Ceremony
On Oct. 3, one teacher will be announced as the 2024 Hawai‘i State Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent Hawai‘i in the National Teacher of the Year program. The Department will livestream the ceremony from Washington Place starting at 3 p.m.


Social media highlights of schools and staff in their efforts to help, support and bolster the West Maui school community. Use the #HIPublicSchoolsProud hashtag for a chance to be featured!

Hawai‘i Public Schools

» Congratulations and good luck to the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists! To be considered, these high school seniors must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Noelani Elementary

» Noelani students and families are contributing gently used keiki books, games, toys, and crafts as well as baked treats to sell on Saturday, 9/30/23 from 8:30 a.m.-noon. We are also running a Recycling Drive (plastic bottles and cans). All proceeds will go to Maui via the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation.

Kawānanakoa Middle

» Show your support for Maui by donating your loose change! 🪙💕 From now until 10/6, you can participate in our Maui Coin Drive! Coin donation boxes are in every teacher's classroom. No matter how small your donation may be, it can still make a difference. Every little bit counts! 💖Your donations will go toward charities supporting those affected by the Maui wildfires.

West Maui Updates

Progress Reports: Reopening Lāhainā Schools

We continue to update our progress reports on campus status, enrollment and student outreach. Updates are provided as pertinent information is available.

Parent Survey

Parents and guardians should fill out a response form for each child who was enrolled in a Lāhainā public school at the beginning of the school year. Responses will inform schools about families’ plans. Please complete this form by Sunday, Oct. 8.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

Community Query

Did you know the answer to this grade 6 Smarter Balanced mathematics question? 48% of participants on Instagram answered correctly.

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Kaʻelepulu and Maunawili Elementary schools in Kailua, Oʻahu, have been named 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education in recognition of their high academic achievement.

» A retired UH professor created a scholarship fund to help students from West O‘ahu to become teachers on the Leeward Coast. “We’re going to get local teachers for local kids,” she told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “The kids will benefit from it, and the whole community does (too).”

» In this What School Could Be Podcast special episode, Kaua‘i High seniors Aubrey, Gabby, Luis, Venisa and Xaeden take a closer look at how social media influences our perceptions of love and what impacts our parents have on our ‘love lives.’

» The state’s inaugural Workforce Development Hero Awards recognized Waipahu Community School for Adults’ Christine Park as the O‘ahu Workforce Development Hero awardee. Superintendent Keith Hayashi will also be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 34 years of service in advocating and supporting the pipeline to the education workforce.

» Kaua‘i High’s new gym made its debut last week hosting a varsity girl’s volleyball match against Kapa‘a. The $21 million facility doubles the capacity of the school’s former gym at 1,627 and will be the site of the Class of 2024’s commencement ceremony.

» Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Marcus Mariota donated bright red Nike cleats to the entire Lāhaināluna football team.


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

Michael Otsuji

Information Technology 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

Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer

Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer

Kimberly Yuen

Contributing Writer


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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

Contact Information

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