The Hawaii State Department of Education honored 32 schools Friday for extraordinary achievements at the first Strive HI Awards ceremony.
The awards ranging from $12,500 to $100,000 recognize schools for significant academic progress for two consecutive years and represent a one-time grant to further improvement efforts.
The ceremony was held Friday morning at King Intermediate School, one of the high-achieving schools. The Strive HI Awards were presented by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Schools Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe.
“We are proud to be able to financially recognize the hard work of the teachers, students and staff of these schools,” Matayoshi said. “The Strive HI Awards reflect that the department is not only focused on intervention in current priority schools, but also encourages other schools across the islands to keep striving high.”
The following schools earned the highest single awards of $100,000 for exiting “restructuring” -- a sanction under the No Child Left Behind law -- by meeting annual progress goals for two consecutive years:
- Hilo Intermediate School
- King Intermediate School
- Moanalua Middle School
- Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School (Oahu)
- Waters of Life Public Charter School (Hawaii Island)
Awards of $50,000 were given to two elementary schools exiting restructuring, Benjamin Parker and Nanakuli.
“I want to congratulate the principals, teachers, staff, and students at these Strive HI schools for leading the charge in transforming our public education system,” Gov. Abercrombie said. "They are setting an excellent example by showing what can be achieved when everyone strives higher toward a common goal.”
The Strive HI Awards also celebrated schools that ranked in the top 5 percent in the state for reading or math growth, providing grants of $12,500 for each subject area – or $25,000 for schools reaching the mark in both subjects. These high-performing schools are boosting student reading and/or math proficiency at the fastest pace among all Hawaii public schools.
On top of exiting restructuring, Nanakuli won an extra $25,000 for finishing in the top 5 percent in both reading and math growth, bringing its total award to $75,000. Parker, which also left restructuring, earned an additional $12,500 for ranking in the top 5 percent in math, for a combined award of $62,500.
Four other schools also finished in the top 5 percent in both categories and earned $25,000: Thomas Jefferson Elementary on Oahu, King Kekaulike on Maui and Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate and Keaau High on Hawaii Island.
Schools receiving $12,500 each include the following:
· Aliamanu Elementary (Math)
· Haaheo Elementary (Math)
· Haleiwa Elementary (Reading)
· Hokulani Elementary (Reading)
· James Campbell High (Math)
· Kahakai Elementary (Math)
· Kanoelani Elementary (Math)
· Kanuikapono Learning Center Public Charter School (Reading)
· Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino (Reading)
· Keaau Middle (Math)
· Kealakehe High (Math)
· Kilohana Elementary (Math)
· King William Lunalilo Elementary (Math)
· Kohala High (Reading)
· Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue (Reading)
· Lanakila Elementary (Math)
· Manoa Elementary (Reading)
· Maunawili Elementary (Reading)
· Pahoa High & Intermediate (Math)
· Red Hill Elementary (Reading)
· William P. Jarrett Middle (Reading)
The award money must be used for upgrades at the schools, which could include the purchase of technology infrastructure, musical instruments, science lab and equipment, as well as other academic/financial plan-approved expenditures.
“Receiving recognition for the work that we, as educators, goes a long way,” said King Intermediate Principal Sheena Alaiasa. “We believe in educating our future, we believe in our talents and abilities to teach, and more importantly, we believe in our children. To have this honor bestowed upon our school is affirmation that we are on the right track and that we have made a difference.”
The DOE’s “Strive HI” campaign reflects the department’s commitment to transform public education in the 50th state by preparing students for success, leading education transformation and building a brighter future.
Strive HI award funds are part of the state’s Race to the Top federal grant received in 2010. U.S. education officials recently removed Hawaii from the RTTT “high-risk” status for progress in two specific areas, which cover standards, assessments, and data system development and use. Next year’s Strive HI Awards will be based on each school's performance under the state's new accountability system metrics that go into effect in the 2013-14 school year.