Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Monday, October 4, 2023
*This meeting was a remote meeting under Section 92-3.7, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The meeting recording is available here.

Bill Arakaki, Chairperson
Lauren Moriarty, Vice Chairperson
Kahele Dukelow
Warren Haruki
Ken Kuraya

Shanty Asher
Kaimana Barcarse

Keith Hayashi, Superintendent, Department of Education
Heidi Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education
Teri Ushijima, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Department of Education
Sean Tajima, Complex Area Superintendent, Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area
Todd Fujimori, Principal, Honouliuli Middle School
Dewey Gottlieb, Math Innovations Lead, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance
Leanna Chew-Beckman, Teacher, Honouliuli Middle School
Amy Santos, Teacher, Honouliuli Middle School
Capsun Poe, Board Executive Director
Lady Garrett, Secretary

I. Call to Order

Committee Chairperson Bill Arakaki called the Student Achievement Committee (Committee) Meeting to order at 12:06 p.m.

II. Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 7, 2023

Committee Chairperson Arakaki asked Committee members to review the Committee’s September 7, 2023, meeting minutes.

Committee Member Kuraya moved to approve the Committee’s September 7, 2023, meeting minutes. Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty seconded.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki asked if there were any objections to the motion. No Committee member raised objections, and the motion carried through unanimous consent from all members present.

ACTION: Motion to approve the Human Resources Committee’s September 7, 2023, meeting minutes (Kuraya/Moriarty). The Emotion carried through unanimous consent from all members present.

III. Discussion Items

Committee Chairperson Arakaki called on Heidi Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent of Academics, Department of Education and Teri Ushijima, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) to provide an update on Desired Outcome 1.1.2 of the strategic plan.

Armstrong stated that the presentation will focus on mathematics which is critical and provides students with skills. She stated that initiatives are aligned with recommendations released post COVID-19 pandemic so that all students are proficient in mathematics by the end of the eighth grade and for those who are not proficient will receive necessary and timely support to become proficient. Armstrong emphasized that success in grade 8 takes the efforts building upon previous years efforts for the mathematical pathway.

Armstrong introduced Dewey Gottlieb, Mathematics Innovation Lead, Sean Tajima, Complex Area Superintendent, Campbell-Kapolei, Todd Fujimori, Principal, Honouliuli Middle School, Leanna Chew-Beckman, Teacher, Honouliuli Middle School, and Amy Santos, Teacher, Honouliuli Middle School to share about their mathematics initiatives.

Ushijima stated that mathematics efforts are K-12 and noted that the Department would like to strengthen elementary and middle level mathematics teachers’ conceptual math expertise around rigorous content and evidence-based high impact instructional practices, and provide a viable quality math curriculum and monitor progress using student data. Ushijima explained that this is a progressive process so that students will be proficient in mathematics by the end of the eighth grade by reviewing smarter balanced assessment and universal screener results.

Ushijima outlined the progression of mathematical big ideas and noted that the Department is showing some improvement but not where the Department would like to be with 39% of students meeting proficiency. She expressed concern for students in special education who require intensive interventions and support.

Ushijima stated that since the school year 2020-21, Hayashi has directed schools to administer a universal screener for math and English language arts (ELA) for grades kindergarten to eighth and last year included grade nine. The purpose of universal screeners is for schools and classrooms to use information to identify students who may be at risk having difficulties in mathematics, and provide timely interventions for those students who may need it. Students who do not meet benchmarks under universal screeners are less likely to meet proficiency on the grade eight Smarter Balanced Assessment. The combination of using a comprehensive, viable, quality curriculum with teachers who are trained to deliver data informed instruction based on the most current evidence based high impact strategies in math will be an important key to developing strong math skills for all students.

Ushijima outlined the first major initiative is a mathematics Innovation Program, which will support schools to address statewide priority on secondary mathematics. This initiative aims at providing three areas of support to schools. The first is strengthening ongoing professional learning structures at the school levels, secondary math camps to accelerate student readiness for the next level, and building increased coherence across grade levels by bridging big ideas in mathematics across upper elementary and middle grades. The second major initiative we are highlighting is a Hawaii math teacher leader collaborative or TLC. This initiative launched last year and aims to deepen math content knowledge and instruction with a focus on the progression of big ideas and transition points. Last year, there were 40 Teacher participants statewide and the Department is looking for any interest for a second cohort.

Ushijima outlined the supports for students who are not proficient include early tier one or core one instruction and noted that even when evidence based practices are implemented, there will typically be some students who may need tier two interventions or additional targeted instructions to support their learning. Students who still struggled despite tier two instruction may need intensive tier three intervention, as identified through universal screeners and classroom data.

Ushijima shared that supporting structures for mathematics include the newly designed middle school math camp model, and the Department will begin offering on demand tutoring that will be accessible for any eighth grader via tutor.com this fall. The Office of Student Support Services also has several opportunities to support math teachers, and universal access through the IDEA and ARP math grant. The Department will continue to monitor and reflect on progress and make necessary adjustments based on data and respectfully request continued support from the Board.

Tajima shared that Honouliuli Middle School is the newest school in this state and emphasized that Fujimori has done a remarkable job, putting his focus in establishing the culture at his school. He noted that although academic achievement is not quite where the school had hoped, the culture at the schools has set the foundation for great things to happen. The complex area provides professional development for schools, depending on what the school is focusing on and a group of teachers will be attending the national annual math conference to get best practices and bring back innovative math practices.

Tajima expressed appreciation that Honouliuli Middle School was chosen by Gottlieb to send a group of teachers to Stanford University to learn about the math camps practice and rolled out a program this summer with the kids.

Fujimori expressed appreciation and noted that it has been an honor to set our vision, because our philosophy is that the vision has to come from everyone. The vision is “be difference makers in the world, who know love, give love and accept love every day,” because our school is the community’s school. He shared that the school placed an emphasis on social emotional learning for the past three years.

Fujimori acknowledged that based on Strive HI scores, the math scores are not good but the school is looking at practices, and curriculum. He stated that the math camp has motivated students.

Gottlieb expressed excitement to share about the impacts of the math camp and the Department's efforts to kind of reinvigorate what's going on in mathematics across the state. He stated that seven schools implemented a summer math camp over three to four weeks to provide a different way that student’s experience mathematics than the typical traditional math classroom. The teachers promote what's called a positive mathematical mindset approach to learning mathematics.

Santos shared that she was fortunate to be selected to teach this math camp and recommended for all teachers and students to apply for this program. The program also takes abstract math concepts, and makes the concepts concrete for the students. She expressed support for the impact on students, to make math accessible for all students.

Chew-Beckman expressed appreciation for the summer math camp and noted that this has been the most effective program she has experienced. She noted that the curriculum is designed to foster perseverance to allow students to make connections and access prior knowledge. Chew-Beekman expressed hopefulness to bring in as many math teachers that are willing and able to do the math camp to give them the same experience.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki called for public testimony on this agenda item.

Cheri Nakamura, HE'E Coalition, testified in support of proficiency in math goals for all students and we are thrilled that the department is putting a focus on it. She stated that math proficiency performance as grades progress, the decline starts from the third grade and expressed hope that the math camps provide equitable access to students that are struggling in math.

Julie Reyes-Oda, member of the public, testified that the shortage of math teachers is challenging and noted that the Department cannot ask schools to use data to influence their decisions when the support offices are not using data themselves. She expressed appreciation that the Department is going to try multiple innovative ways of reaching kids regarding math.

P M Azinga, member of the public, testified that regarding math, waiting till the eighth grade is too late and there are multiple ways to use critical thinking ways to reach students for math success.

Committee members received written testimony before the meeting. (A listing of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting is included at the end of these minutes.)

Committee Member Haruki asked why incorporating those kinds of teaching methods cannot be done in the regular school year, versus just in the summer and based on what feedback can the Department scale up pilot efforts.

Armstrong explained that piloting the math camp allowed the Department to learn and noted that from past experience mandating this for the entire state, without going through a pilot round, does not allow for teacher sharing and understanding. She noted that the Department needs a solid curriculum because the teacher brings that curriculum to life, through the culture of the school, through the dynamics of the classroom, which allow students to feel that they can be good in math.

Committee Member Dukelow expressed appreciation for the information and noted that it is less about what the curriculum is, but more about the teaching strategies and what it can do for teachers who might not be good at math but who are teaching elementary school. She suggested reviewing the timeframe with eighth grade, and proficiency at that level to embrace the creative strategy to figure out how to create space for our students to develop and engage. Committee Member Dukelow noted that these kinds of strategies can be very appropriate for Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Immersion) in that it is focusing on the strategy and not so much on the curriculum and the practices in the classroom.

Committee Member Moriarty noted that the mindset question for students “can we do math,” it seems that a key strategy is that teachers feel like they can teach math in ways that make the difference. She asked how the Department is making sure that our educator preparation programs are going to be preparing the teacher pool to make sure this strategy succeeds.

Ushijima emphasized that where our teachers get their initial preparations is important and expressed hope that by impacting a small group of teachers, these individuals will become a part of our future workforce, also to become math teachers in our system.

Armstrong expressed appreciation for the good relationship with pre-service programs and the work to ensure alignment in addressing the standards. She shared that during a preliminary screening of data for math, a school with a significant drop in the mathematics proficiency the math department did not have qualified math teachers. The Department needs to continue to find ways to develop strong math teachers who can convey not only their expertise, but their love of mathematics to our students.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked why teachers wasn’t one of the three bulbs that was the focus area that you really have decided to focus this strategy on. Armstrong replied that the three focus areas are very strong and the Department needs teachers.

Ushijima stated that as part of the math teacher initiatives help teachers gain confidence, and a deeper understanding of their conceptual knowledge, pedagogy. The purpose is to build capacity at the complex area level, but also at the school level.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki expressed appreciation for the presentation and encouraged the Board to reach out to the Department with further questions.

IV. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Arakaki adjourned the meeting at 1:21 p.m.

List of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting

Agenda Item
Cheri NakamuraHEE CoalitionIII.A. Presentation on Board of Education Update on Strategic Plan, Desired Outcome 1.1.3. “All students are proficient in mathematics by the end of eighth grade, and those who are not proficient receive necessary and timely support to become proficient”
Susan Pcola-DavisIII.A. Presentation on Board of Education Update on Strategic Plan, Desired Outcome 1.1.3. “All students are proficient in mathematics by the end of eighth grade, and those who are not proficient receive necessary and timely support to become proficient”