Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, December 7, 2023

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

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
Lauren Padesky, Early Childhood Specialist, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, 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 2:00 p.m.

II. Discussion Items

Committee Chairperson Arakaki called on Heidi Armstrong, Deputy Superintendent of Academics, Department of Education (Department) and Teri Ushijima, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) to provide the review of Strategic Plan Desired Outcome 1.1.1: All entering kindergarten students are assessed for social, emotional and academic readiness and provided necessary and timely support to develop foundational skills for learning.

Armstrong emphasized that the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) is important for schools and shared that OCID is partnering with the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) and the Office of Strategy Innovation and Performance (OSIP) Assessment Branch.

Ushijima stated that the KEA data will be put in place to respond to student needs and includes focused areas and methods. She explained that the English medium KEA was implemented and noted that as of November 17, 2023, initial data has been collected and as schools finish their data collection the amount assessed will be updated.

Ushijima summarized the KEA development and process and noted that the Department recognizes kindergarten as the foundation for students’ development into lifelong learners. She explained that students’ differing kindergarten readiness levels are associated with levels of later school success. Ushijima emphasized that kindergarten readiness levels only account for approximately 25% of the variance in students’ later school success. She stated that several other factors relate to student success such as home-school relationships, kindergarten classroom and instructional quality, and early learning opportunities.

Ushijima shared that the Department can use KEA data to inform policy and practice. She noted that the Department will update the Board with the findings from the first implementation of the English-Medium KEA including a status update on the development of the Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Immersion) KEA.

Ushijima described the Department initiatives to address desired outcome 1.1.1. She stated that the Department adopted the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Ready for Kindergarten assessment system in October of 2022 to satisfy the legislative requirements of Act 210, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (SLH) 2021 for the English-Medium. It was implemented statewide for the first time, with the exception of the Lāhainā Complex, during School Year (SY) 2023-24, with 10,260 kindergarten students assessed to date (85% of total enrollment to date). Results of the assessment indicate only 29.6% of students across the state are demonstrating baseline readiness at kindergarten entry.

Ushijima provided a Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Immersion) KEA development update. Through collaboration with the Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE) and the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID), in partnership with the University of Hawaii (UH) Mānoa, the Department convened a working group of kumu Papa Mālaaʻo (kindergarten teachers) in July 2023, as well as other stakeholders, to begin development of Nā Ana KEA Kaiapuni (standards). A follow-up virtual convening will be scheduled for December 4, 2023, to receive community feedback, particularly from early childhood stakeholders. After this, Nā Ana KEA Kaiapuni will be used to develop the initial assessment items for field testing in SY 2024-25. The Department is on track for implementation in 2026.

Ushijima shared that the Department aims to facilitate ongoing research and collaboration to foster the highest quality kindergarten settings possible in service of all domains of early childhood development. To conduct this research, the Department is enacting the following major initiatives and related initiatives:
Susan Pcola-Davis, member of the public, testified with information on her granddaughter’s experience in public school, and opined that alternatives are needed to support student learning.

Cheri Nakamura of HEʻE Coalition, testified that the KEA is critical for establishing a baseline of information to support students. She requested a breakdown by subgroups of students including the amount of time to administer the KEA and how information is shared with parents.

Committee Vice Chairperson Moriarty expressed appreciation for the thoughtful collaboration involved in implementing this aspect of the strategic plan. She asked for clarification on the following: (1) if the proposed strategy for using KEA data to improve student outcomes via the summer transition program was not included in the Governor’s budget; (2) are other parts of the strategy not included in the Governor’s budget; and (3) what areas can the Board provide support. She expressed appreciation that Board policies were reviewed and asked if any Board policies should be addressed to align with the strategic plan. Armstrong replied that the Department has funding for the summer programs for fiscal year 2024 and noted that there is time to secure funding for future years.

Ushijima stated that the Department has requested a position for instructional strategies and curriculum review officer to help across all levels to elevate the collective work for instructional practices. She clarified that the request is part of a systematic approach to honor the expertise of each school, but allow for customization to the needs of the community while maintaining rigorous standards. Ushijima also noted that OCID has asked for teacher positions to further the work and referenced Board Policy E-101, entitled “Whole Student Development” helps to support the KEA.

Committee Member Asher asked, when looking at subgroups, what areas still need to be built and emphasized the importance to look at equity. She asked for clarification if the data is disaggregated by subgroups and if each teacher has data for every student in the classroom. Armstrong explained that the teacher gets individual data for every single student in the classroom and understanding the subgroups may help early childhood providers and noted that there is a huge discrepancy for demographic groups.

Armstrong stated that the KEA team will be working with early childhood partners to provide information to help strengthen programs to prepare for the various demographic groups that may be served, without sacrificing confidentiality.

Ushijima noted that children may demonstrate skills in their home language.

Committee Member Dukelow opined that the design for something that had to be implemented so quickly was beautiful. She acknowledged that sharing data with the Executive Office of Early Learning was a point of contention.

Committee Member Asher left the meeting at 2:45 p.m.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki expressed understanding that there is a process being implemented towards improving the system for our early learners.

Committee Member Dukelow expressed appreciation for the additional work that needed to be done to address Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Immersion) learners including the development of a KEA.

Armstrong stated that Hana has assessed 100% of their English-speaking students. However, their overall participation is low due to a large number of Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian Immersion) students but work is being done to improve participation in KEA.

Committee Chairperson Arakaki asked about the status of KEA in charter schools and the difference in performance. Armstrong replied that she didn’t have a concrete answer to that and based on her understanding, all charter schools did not take the KEA.

Lauren Padesky, Early Childhood Specialist, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Department of Education noted that regarding charter schools this represents a unique subset of students and a small number of children so the Department cannot make comparisons in relation to the larger data set.

III. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Arakaki adjourned the meeting as of 2:53 p.m.

List of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting

Agenda Item
Cheri Nakamura HE’E CoalitionII.A. Review of Strategic Plan Desired Outcome 1.1.1: All entering kindergarten students are assessed for social, emotional and academic readiness and provided necessary and timely support to develop foundational skills for learning