Hawaii schools get partial 'high-risk' removal in Race To The Top

Federal officials to visit the state in April

Published  1:51 PM HST Feb 11, 2013

The Hawaii State Department of Education is off the Race to the Top "high-risk" status for its work on standards, assessments, and data system development and use.

The U.S. Department of Education notified state education officials late Friday about the change followed by an official letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"This is excellent news and the U.S. Department of Education is recognizing the important progress being made,” said Gov. Abercrombie.  “Last week, I was inspired by the staff at Keaau Elementary School, where I also met with principals in the area. I saw first-hand the evidence of innovative change in the classrooms and positive student engagement. Our school leaders and teachers are transforming public education and we thank them for their commitment to educating our children."

"This is a turning point for us as we continue our strategic transformation in our public schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The progress being made gives us great hope that federal officials will acknowledge the improvements made in the other areas of the grant."

In August 2010, the USDOE awarded Hawaii with a four-year $75 million Race to the Top grant.  In December 2011, Hawaii was placed on high-risk status.  With the removal of high-risk status in two of its Assurance Areas (B and C), the state remains on high-risk status in Assurance Areas A, D, and E.

According to the USDOE, “the Department has determined that the evidence provided is sufficient to meet the expectation of clear and compelling evidence of substantial progress in Assurance Area B and Assurance Area C and will remove high-risk status for Hawaii’s Race to the Top grant in these two assurance areas.”

"Hawaii is clearly making gains in its reform efforts, as evidenced in the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the progress of its students,” said Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Director Chris Minnich. "I applaud Superintendent Matayoshi, Department of Education staff, and educators around the state for their collaboration and determination to improve education for Hawaii students.”

On Feb. 1, 2013 the USDOE released its second-year Race to the Top report, which highlighted Hawaii’s progress made through August 2012.  HIDOE received recognition for a number of major accomplishments over that time period.  Hawaii was also praised for making significant progress in implementing important reforms, including programs to support educator effectiveness.

"Getting off of high-risk status in those two Assurance Areas is really a tribute to our teachers and leaders, who have always put students first, and have committed to getting better results for our students,” added Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “We’re hopeful that the same change in status will occur in the other Assurance Areas in the near future.”

A few highlights of DOE work on standards and assessments include the following:

A few highlights of the DOE work on data systems and use include the following:

Federal officials will be visiting Hawaii in April to review first hand the work that is being done in all of its Race to the Top Assurance Areas.

To learn more about the Hawaii’s RTTT accomplishments, please visit: http://hawaiidoereform.org/. Read about the HIDOE and Board of Education Strategic Plan at: http://doe.k12.hi.us/curriculum/strategicplan2011-2018/2012_update/index.htm.

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