Strive HI Profile: Pomaikai Elementary


One in an occasional series spotlighting the Department's Recognition schools for 2013-14 in the Strive HI Performance System, and getting the principal's insight into what they're doing right. What makes a great school tick? Read on!

​​​​​​​​​Pomaikai Elementary

Principal: Bernice Takahata

"Learning is a journey for all; each person plays a critical role. The strength of Pomaikai Elementarary is in the teamwork toward a common vision and mission to teach the whole child. It is as important to teach academics as it is to teach our children social skills to be flexible in order to get along with others and navigate through challenges."
— Principal Takahata

When you look at your SY13-14 results, what are you most proud of?

Principal Takahata: Even though one principal, Mrs. Rene Yamafuji, retired and another one came on board at the end of the first quarter, the students increased their proficiency in Reading, Math, and Science! That shows the impact of powerful leadership already in the foundation of the school — in the teaching ranks as well as among the classified staff. This is a legacy that Mrs. Rene Yamafuji can be proud of!

What strategies, initiatives, efforts under way at your school helped contribute to or are critical to your success?

Principal Takahata: A schoolwide Arts Integration program and a strong partnership with the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC), a John F. Kennedy Center Partner in Education, are the keys to success at Pomaikai Elementary School. Strong strategic planning for professional development has been the foundation upon which other successes stand. The professional development that all of the teaching staff receives through Arts Integration ensures stronger teamwork among the entire faculty because they have a shared experience and a common understanding as they plan for curricula, instruction, and assessment of — and for — students.

For the students, practicing a culture of character development through the constant recognition of acceptable behavior helps students to focus on being responsible for themselves, others, our school, community, and the world. We stress being mind-"full" and minds-"on" — meaning, be thoughtful of one's actions and responsible towards academics.

What are you focused on this year (SY 2014-15) to continue your success?

Principal Takahata: Because we are all LEARNERS, we understand that by increasing the teachers' skills and knowledge, we can increase that of our students.

We will continue to provide Arts Integrated professional development in the areas of relative weaknesses, according to student data. This year, we look to English Language Arts, specifically with the writing process as well as increasing vocabulary-attack skills to deepen students' comprehension.

Other PD opportunities will focus on what students need to succeed in areas such as the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Wonders and Stepping Stones implementation (Common Core), STEAM (STEM + Arts), and music (guitars in the classrooms).

Parting note

Principal Takahata: As we thrive in the 21st Century, we are gearing-up to prepare students for the
22nd Century!

Click here to view school profile, Strive HI reports.

About Recognition Schools

Schools in the Department's Strive HI System achieve "Recognition" — the highest step — based on their status as either a High-Performing or High-Progress school. Federal parameters limit Recognition to no more than 5 percent of all Hawaii schools.

High- Performing School criteria

  • Meet or exceed annual targets for all student groups
  • Graduation rates in top 10 percent of all high schools
  • Current year gap rate less than 30 percent

High-Progress School criteria

  • Increases of 15 percent or higher of all students’ proficiency over three years
  • Highest increases in grad rates (top 10 percent of schools with increase of 10 percent over three years)
  • Reduction of gap between High-Needs and Non-High Need student groups by 10 percent or more over 3 years (cannot meet gap reduction by lowering performance of non-High Needs group.)


Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3232



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