Every school year brings new opportunities for our public schools to do great things for students and their communities. As I begin my first year with you as Superintendent, I am excited to collaborate to further develop schools and programs that put students at the center of what we do. There are many great models in the Hawai‘i school system and opportunities to expand upon our successes.
There are three approaches that I have asked our school leadership to embrace this year:
- Being intentional about school design;
- Engaging student voice;
- Creating a system of teacher collaboration.
I am very passionate about school design because, at its core, it is about designing schools around students’ college, career and community interests and aspirations. This means using instructional models that result in outcomes for all students. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach but rather a portfolio approach. I look forward to learning what schools are doing to focus on rigor, application and engagement.
A key component of strategic school design is the emphasis we place on student voice. When we provide ample opportunities for students to share their thoughts about what constitutes a successful school model, we create a learning organization where time, curriculum, learning approaches, programs and teaching models are flexed based on effective engagement practices and student interests.
Also critical to successful school design is an emphasis on teacher collaboration. My team is committed to providing schools and teachers with supports to ensure outstanding teaching practices, and we look forward to working together to evaluate and adjust supports based on your feedback. Student learning success is assured with quality instruction, appropriate classroom resources, and empowered school-based leadership, and we look forward to working as a collective team to ensure that these are in place.
Finally, one word that I have come to value in my short time here is lōkahi — it reflects the spirit with which we are all committed to doing our work on behalf of Hawai‘i’s children and youth. As we begin the 2017-18 school year, let us maintain a focus on excellence in all that we do. Have a wonderful school year. Mahalo!
Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto