Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, January 11, 2024

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


Kaimana Barcarse

Keith Hayashi, Superintendent, Department of Education
Heidi Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education
Tammi Oyadomari-Chun, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education
Teri Ushijima, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Department of Education
Laurie Luzjak, Principal, Stevenson Middle School, Department of Education
Tiffany Pratt, Principal, Kaumana Elementary School, Department of Education
Ahryanna McGuirk, Board Student Representative
Capsun Poe, Board Executive Director
Wimmie Wong Lui, Board Analyst
Lady Garrett, Secretary

I. Call to Order

Committee Chairperson Bill Arakaki called the Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) Meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.

II. Approval of Meeting Minutes of October 4, 2023, November 2, 2023, and December 7, 2023 Committee Chairperson Arakaki announced that the approval of the Committee meeting minutes of October 4, 2023, November 2, 2023, and December 7, 2023 will be deferred.

III. Discussion Items
Committee Chairperson Arakaki called on Heidi Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education (Department), and Teri Ushijima, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) to provide an update on Act 24, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022 (House Bill 1848, Relating to Student Journalism).

Ushijima stated that Act 24 was signed into law on May 23, 2022 and requires the Department to create a written policy for student journalists to exercise their right to freedom of speech and press in school-sponsored media. She explained that Act 24 requires the adoption of a board policy to prevent undue censorship in school-sponsored media and provides opportunities for students to exercise their rights and responsibilities.

Ushijima explained that the Department referred to Board Policy 400-2, entitled “Policies and Policy Setting,” which includes a nine step sequence of collaboration between the Department and the Board to address policy needs. She shared that Act 24 requires the Board to adopt a policy that includes reasonable provisions for time, place, and manner of distribution of student expression; and, a procedure for timely appeal of decisions. Ushijima summarized the law allows for full rights of freedom of speech except for the following five reasons: (1) is libelous or slanderous; (2) constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy; (3) is obscene; (4) violates federal or state law; and/or (5) incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the violation of lawful school district policy, or the material and substantial disruption of orderly operation of the school. The Department will need to determine if the existing Board Policy, 101-9, entitled “School Sponsored Student Publications,” meets the requirements of Act 24.

Ushijima stated that the Department reviewed work from the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and noted that 17 states have enacted laws to protect student journalists’ rights, often referred to as “New Voices,” laws. She explained that the Department is proposing two draft options for consideration, with option 1 taking the draft from the SPLC website and option 2, which includes language for the appeals process customized for the Department as both the state educational agency (SEA) and local educational agency (LEA).

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

Jonathan Falk, Student Press Law Center, testified in support of the proposals and cited that option 1 allows for the Board to decide on appeals and option 2 allows for appeals with the complex area superintendent (CAS). He expressed support that students can go up the ladder if they do not agree with decisions and noted that option 1 will not leave the freedom of speech determination up to an administrator.

Cynthia Reeves, member of the public, expressed support for option 1 and cited suggested language changes in her written testimony.

Susan Pcola-Davis, member of the public, testified that she has not witnessed Board policies written by the Department and opposes both options. She stated that what the Department is proposing is not in alignment with Act 24.

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 Chairperson Arakaki noted that the Department serves as both the LEA and the SEA and there are three attachments which include amendments to the existing policy and options 1 or 2 addressing the appeal process.

Committee Member Haruki asked for clarification relating to the timeline of when action should be taken relating to the policy. Armstrong replied that the law was passed two years ago and action should be taken as soon as possible.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked if the draft has been shared with students. Ushijima replied that this time students have not seen the proposed policy and will be included in the discussion as move forward in the process.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked if the attorney general has reviewed the proposed options that the Board should consider. Armstrong replied that the document has been reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked if comments were shared. Armstrong replied that no comments were shared.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked if the proposed policy is applicable to charter schools and aligned to the law. Armstrong replied that during initial discussions charter school members were invited but as the policy development continued the policy became more specific to the Department. The process isn’t suited to charter schools and the Department doesn’t direct charter schools. It is for charter schools to address and develop their own processes.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty noted that the Board needs to figure out the appropriate path forward for charter schools as it impacts the Board’s decision. Committee Chairperson Arakaki expressed agreement and noted that the Board will need to look into this in order to determine best steps ahead.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty asked for examples of other areas in which the CAS makes appeal decisions compared to issues that the Board will review and consider. Armstrong replied that CAS has oversight of a portfolio of schools which requires a wide breadth of knowledge and holds hearings for issues relating to special education to address issues of concern or disagreement and also has the authority to hold hearings when there is a disagreement about disciplinary actions for students.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty advocated that local laws be included in the exemption listed. Armstrong expressed support and noted that there is no reason for the Department not to include this.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty expressed strong support of the first amendment and noted that to an extent journalism is incredibly important although not required so she would like to balance burdening administrators.

Student Representative Ahryanna McGuirk echoed comments regarding the CAS hearing and asked what the timeline is. Armstrong replied that at this time the timeline is being determined for the CAS appeal hearing process.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki stated that CAS’ have other appeal processes such as decisions relating to geographical exception requests and noted that timing is critical for families to make educational decisions.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki referenced Board Policy 101-9, entitled “School-Sponsored Student Publications,” and asked if the law aligns to the current policy. Armstrong confirmed that the proposed policy will align with the law.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki noted that the testimony submitted referenced that in option 1 the Board will make the final decision and in option 2 the CAS. He asked if the CAS’ and principals were comfortable with making the decision and if they had comments. Armstrong stated that the timeline is tight but the CAS’ were agreeable to adhere to the timeline.

Committee Member Dukelow stated that skipping over the CAS level and bringing the appeal straight to the Board is uncommon. She opined that the best place for a decision like that is at the CAS level and noted that it is a good learning experience for students to learn about an appeal process.

Committee Member Kuraya stated that there are 17 states who enacted a law and asked how the appeal process is handled in other states. Ushijima stated that the Department checked with other states and it is different because they are an LEA not an SEA like Hawaii.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki announced the next steps on the development of the policy. He invited the Committee to share comments with the Department.

Armstrong noted that the current version does not allow for students to bring other students but shared that the process follows this and asked the Board if this should be included in order to be consistent.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki that it is included for other hearings so it should be included for consistency. Student Representative McGuirk also stated that for consistency the appeal process should include if other students can engage and be referenced in the policy.

Armstrong asked for clarification on the next steps. Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty replied that there was consensus on whether the appeal process at the CAS level makes sense and allowing for additional witnesses to be present in the appeal process.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki stated that the main points are that the language is aligned to Act 24, and there is consensus in general on the appeal process with the CAS.

Hayashi stated that the Department will be going out to gather more feedback before bringing the policy to the Board for approval.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki called on Deputy Superintendent of Strategy, Tammi Oyadomari-Chun, Laurie Luczak, Principal, Stevenson Middle School, and Tiffany Pratt, Principal, Kaumana Elementary School.

Oyadomari-Chun explained that the Board approved the strategic plan which realigned the academic plan to align with priorities. She stated that the academic plans are posted online to share information with the community. Oyadomari-Chun shared key deadlines and milestones in the planning process which starts in the fall. She explained that all school community councils (SCC) review the academic and financial plan according to statute. The comprehensive financial plan deadline is April 15 and noted that the process is the same but has been realigned to the strategic plan which is posted online. She explained that the new template was issued and organized around the strategic plan and all schools need to respond to the following: (1) equity; (2) transitions between the grade levels; (3) attendance; (4) positive behaviors; (5) HA; (6) plans for career, community, and civics; and, (7) school community councils. Oyadomari-Chun shared that schools can address other desired outcomes based on prioritized efforts.

Luczak expressed appreciation for the opportunity to address the Board. Stevenson Middle School is the only middle school with a marching band and provides professional development on career and technical education (CTE) for other schools. Luczak stated that security attendants at the school talk with students directly to build relationships and grow appreciation. She stated that school data drives the plan with the overall goals and there is a focus on social emotional learning while balancing academic progress. Luczak stated that the plan is specific and tied to timeline based goals. She expressed appreciation for the middle level education initiative and noted that she reached out to high schools for support. Luczak shared about the various changes the school is doing to adapt to students needs and emphasized that a lot of time is spent on professional development.

Pratt shared about the academic planning process and noted that Kaumana Elementary School was an additional targeted support and improvement (TSI) school for special education. She shared that the school held conversations to determine how services for special education were provided and noted that after the first year the school exited from being a TSI school. Pratt stated that for the process, each campus includes information on the current status and everyone is planning together, so full faculty and staff is involved. She explained that she teaches her staff how to review data to identify strengths and needs, then small groups discuss the data by school, grade and subgroup so that everyone has input on the plan to identify root causes.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki called for public testimony on this agenda item. No oral testimony was provided.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki expressed appreciation for the presentation from the schools.

Committee Member Kuraya expressed appreciation to hear about the progress being made and noted that the Department is using what is available to establish a comprehensive system for students.

Committee Member Haruki expressed appreciation to Oyadomari-Chun for the amount of work to develop the template and roll out the realigned plan to all schools. He expressed appreciation to see the progress and alignment to the strategic plan.

Committee Member Asher expressed appreciation to Oyadomari-Chun and Armstrong for the development of the academic planning and expressed support that the implementation at the school level shows equity. She asked how information relating to achievement and identification of strengths was shared with students.

Luczak replied that at the middle school level students are involved and make choices but the school does need to provide opportunities to explain to students, including reaching out during advisory courses. She shared that the school takes an inventory on how many use the CTE programs and the school has offered teachers choices and asked what courses could draw in more students.

Pratt shared about the various types of learning opportunities and hands-on experiences at her school including understanding the unique backgrounds of students to understand the data measures. She shared that during school visits to three schools she was able to learn about project-based, place-based and aina-based schools.

Committee Member Asher expressed appreciation and noted that many kids reinforce that each of these students are able to achieve results.

Armstrong corrected her earlier comments and noted that the timeline for responding to appeals is 10 calendar days.

IV. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Arakaki adjourned the meeting at 3:27 p.m.

List of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting

Agenda Item
Cynthia ReevesIII.A. Discussion regarding Act 24, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022 (House Bill 1848. Relating to Student Journalism)
Jonathan Gaston-FalkStudent Press Law CenterIII.A. Discussion regarding Act 24, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022 (House Bill 1848. Relating to Student Journalism)