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Hawaii schools now evaluated through student growth

By Staff | Sep 12, 2013

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is in its fifth year of giving back to the Lahaina community by providing reading and math tutors for Lahaina Intermediate School students. The number of tutors participating year to year has ranged from 8-22 tutors. General Manager Tom Donovan and the resort received Lahaina Intermediate School’s Mahalo Award for the past school year. Pictured, from left, are: front — Richard and Pat Endsley, Donovan, Ian McPhee and April West; back row — Robert Hudgins and Tom Skalka.

LAHAINA – Aloha, everyone! Strive-HI 2012-13… what’s it all about?

Beginning this month, and continuing on into the upcoming months, I want to educate you by breaking down the state’s new school improvement plan for Hawaii’s schools, using Lahaina Intermediate as your example.

In the past, under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, only student achievement was in the spotlight. It was a one-size-fits-all law with adequate yearly progress (AYP) being the focus on whether or not our schools met the threshold target. Hawaii was awarded Race To The Top federal funds, and recently received a waiver to measure growth instead of meeting the NCLB’s AYP. Hence, Hawaii schools are being reviewed through student growth. Every student counts.

The areas in which middle schools are measured are Student Achievement, Student Growth, College and Career Readiness, and Student Achievement Gap Reduction.

Last school year, our students were assessed out of their minds in my opinion! They were assessed through HSA-Reading (3), HSA-Math (3), HSA-Science (2), SBAC (Smarter Balance, pilot of the new assessment instrument beginning school year 2014-15 (1), NAEP for grade eight only (1), EXPLORE-Eighth Grade Level ACT (1), and monthly Benchmarks Assessments (formative assessments in reading and math). See what I mean?

This year is considered the “bridge” between the content standards Hawaii taught by up to last school year, HCPS III and the Common Core Standards. Hawaii has joined many other states in the U.S. that have adopted the Common Core Standards. What does the “bridge” mean? Hawaii will extract all the Common Core Standards-related test items from the existing HSA. Our students will be tested on these test items only this year. Beginning next school year, the Smarter Balance Assessment will replace the HAS, with all new test items representing Common Core Standards. There will be a major assessment transition occurring in the 2014-15 school year.

Beginning next month, I will share the scores from the four areas of rating Lahaina Intermediate School received with a description of how and why we fared as we did this past year. I think it is important for you to understand how our final index number of 165 was calculated.

For now, the most important bit of information I am forwarding to you is that Lahaina Intermediate School’s status is “Continuous Improvement.”

There are five levels in the status range: Recognition, Continuous Improvement, Focus, Priority, and Superintendent’s Zone Schools.

We have done well this past year. As always, there’s more work to be done to raise our index number each year. With the additional time on Wednesdays, our staff is unified; our focus is on student achievement improvement while we continue to offer exploration in the fine arts and physical/health education areas. As a middle school, we want to enhance our students’ interests, so they may make their choice of a college or a career in the near future. IMUA!