Thursday, September 16, 2021

*The Board did not meet at a physical location. As part of the response to the threat of COVID-19, Governor David Ige issued an Emergency Proclamation dated August 5, 2021, suspending Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 92, Public Agency Meetings and Records, to the extent necessary to enable boards as defined in Section 92-2, to conduct meetings without any board members or members of the public physically present in the same location, among other things.

Kili Namauʻu, Chairperson
Bill Arakaki, Vice Chairperson
Shanty Asher
Kaimana Barcarse
Lynn Fallin
Catherine Payne
Kenneth Uemura


Lyla Berg, ex officio
Bruce Voss, ex officio
Kyla Musso, Student Representative
Keith Hayashi, Interim Superintendent, Department of Education
Phyllis Unebasami, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education
Sean Bacon, Interim Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Talent Management, Department of Education
Teri Ushijima, Interim Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Department of Education
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Regina Pascua, Executive Secretary
Lady Garrett, Secretary

  1. Call to Order

Committee Chairperson Kili Namauʻu called the Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) meeting to order at 8:32 a.m.

II. Approval of Meeting Minutes of February 18, 2021

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu called for public testimony on this agenda item. No one provided oral testimony at this time.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu asked Committee members to review the minutes of the Committee’s February 18, 2021 meeting.

Committee Member Bill Arakaki moved to approve the Committee’s meeting minutes of February 18, 2021. Committee Member Kaimana Barcarse seconded.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu 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 (Committee Vice Chairperson Arakaki, Committee Members Asher, Barcarse, Fallin, Payne, and Uemura).

ACTION: Motion to approve the Student Achievement Committee meeting minutes of February 18, 2021 (Arakaki/Barcarse). The motion carried through unanimous consent from all members present.

III. Discussion Items

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

David Miyashiro, HawaiiKidsCAN, testified that he has been seeking more details and clarity critical elements of the tutoring piece are still missing.

Maki Morinoue, public, testified in strong support of adopting the national core art standards.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu explained that the arts standards is not on the agenda so the Committee will not accept testimony relating to this topic.

Setsuko Morinoue, Studio 7 Fine Arts, testified that since the arts standards will not be discussed on today’s agenda she will provide written testimony in the future.

Mireille Ellsworth, Hawaii for Safe Return to Schools, testified on learning acceleration, noted that the social and emotional needs of staff are only briefly mentioned in the Department’s 3-1-1 goals, and expressed concern about the age appropriateness of the questions in the survey the Department is administering to students in grades 3 to 12.

Cheri Nakamura, HEʻE Coalition, urged the Department to be strategic and look at data relating to learning loss to create a logical plan that addresses the issues that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. She suggested that the Department create a team to look at strategies to address learning loss so there is a mechanism to share strategies statewide across the public education system.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu called on Keith Hayashi, Interim Superintendent, and Phyllis Unebasami, Deputy Superintendent, to present the Department’s educational plan for the use of ESSER II and ESSER ARP funds.

Hayashi stated that the ESSER grant funds are intended for the Department to facilitate the safe return to school and address learning loss especially for the students disproportionately impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that while there is no federal definition of learning loss, the Department considers learning loss as the regression of student learning and loss of learning opportunities previously available before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hayashi stated that the Department continues to prioritize in-person learning with the understanding that schools and complex areas need flexibility to meet the needs of students, staff, and school communities. He stated that the focus is based on the Department’s 3-1-1 priorities and the reopening of the school year to re-engage students, identify academic needs to accelerate learning, and identify social emotional needs to provide necessary support to facilitate student success. Hayashi expressed appreciation for the school communities working to meet the needs of our students with the established tri-level system.

Unebasami outlined that the Department’s approach to address learning loss is learning acceleration. She stated that last school year the Department used a set of school models that included distance learning and rotational in-person models for access to school campuses; however, there was a loss of educational opportunities and programs for supporting students. Unebasami stated that in order to meet the needs of students, the Department must provide equitable access to programs and services for all students, especially those in vulnerable populations.

Unebasami explained that to identify student needs, the Department is using the Hawaii Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (“HMTSS”) model, which is a culturally responsive, equitable system to ensure positive outcomes for all students by providing a layered continuum of support using evidence-based practices. She outlined the HMTSS as follows: Tier 1 reflects universal practices and expectations that should be used to serve all students; Tier 2 reflects the supplemental targeted support and interventions for students; and Tier 3 reflects strategies that are individualized and reflect interventions that are more intensive.

Unebasami noted that the HMTSS allows the Department to identify the academic, social, emotional, behavioral and physical needs of students to determine the best strategies to support student success. She also stated that schools have an approach in place that will serve as the foundation for the types of services and programs provided and that with the return to in-person learning, schools have created access to services like meal service, health, therapy, academic support, and socialization with peers through co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

Unebasami explained that the Department assumed that it would need to provide new or expanded services and programs due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the Department’s learning acceleration plan intends to provide direction to schools, complex areas, and state offices about their responsibilities.

Unebasami explained that the logic model is the road map that presents the shared relationships between each level of the state’s public education system, state office, complex area, and schools, and that the Department will need to adjust resources, activities, and strategies when looking at the overall outcomes and impact on students. She noted that the ultimate goal for all students is in the value proposition, which describes the valuable outcomes of the Department’s educational plan. Unebasami detailed that the value proposition includes improving learning outcomes for all students, decreasing academic probation, increasing in higher-level course taking, improving behavior, producing favorable student perception data, increasing college preparatory participation, increasing college acceptance rate, and increasing post-secondary success.

Unebasami explained that as schools engage with students, schools can make determinations of whether additional or expanded services are necessary and by using the HMTSS model, schools are able to request additional funding. She noted that complex area superintendents (“CAS”) are responsible to review and approve school requests and monitor the status of student progress.

Unebasami stated that the state office has provided statewide direction on key processes that are used in all schools relating to attendance, student data and evidence practices. She also explained that the state office has designed and used templates to support communication between the three levels in the Department.

Unebasami explained that the Department is focusing on the three areas to advance learning acceleration, building capacity through data, professional learning, and curriculum and instructional resources. She explained that the state office will provide a list of approved vendors to complex areas and schools to help them quickly select vendors. Unebasami noted that schools are not limited to the vendor list and may select other vendors using established procurement processes.

Unebasami explained that the draft educational plan includes some information on monitoring and that the next iteration of the plan will provide further details. She stated that the Department is working to ensure that queries match the intermediate measures in the logic model and can be delivered in a timely manner to provide accurate data. Unebasami stated that the timeline includes key milestones to forecast the anticipated deliverables and noted that the Department asked for stakeholder input when developing the plan. She stated that the Department is designing a parent survey to gather input on summer learning opportunities to help determine needs and refine current processes.

Hayashi stated that the Department will use the lessons learned from the last school year to adjust the delivery of services and support for students by providing personalized intensive interventions for students two or more years behind and recognizing that addressing students’ needs looks differently in each complex area. He clarified that each complex area will create a plan to address the needs of their schools and students by using ESSER funds to implement their plans.

Hayashi stated that the Board approved $20 million that has been provided to schools to continue work on accelerated learning and noted that the draft plan is an evolving document that captures the collective efforts to accelerate learning and diminish the effects of learning loss on students.

Committee Member Barcarse asked when the Department will provide the next iteration of the draft plan and what level of detail will be provided.

Hayashi replied that schools will finish administering universal screeners in September and that the Department can share the data with the Board in October. He also noted that schools will use the preliminary data and analysis to understand their specific needs. Committee Member Barcarse asked for confirmation that the information will be ready in October including data analysis. Hayashi confirmed that the Department will provide further details including strategies in October.

Committee Vice Chairperson Arakaki commented on the additional details provided in the educational plan and links to the various complex area proposals including specific data on the prioritizing of specific needs. He asked if the schools are provided with a menu of staff development opportunities and support for schools and asked what types of support will be available for those who may be struggling to understand what tools schools can use.

Unebasami replied that the Department supports principals and CASs who are new to their role through venues like discussion forums, principals’ academy, and statewide leadership team meetings. She also stated that new CASs participate in an onboarding program to help them gain an understanding of state office functions and available resources to help them navigate their new roles and responsibilities.

Committee Vice Chairperson Arakaki emphasized that it is important to continue conversations with key leaders and share information with CASs so they can customize their plans to their individual school demographics. He asked about the kinds of support available for employee well-being. Hayashi stated that there is collegial support in either formal or informal networks where principals can share ideas, leverage thoughts, and experiences.

Sean Bacon, Interim Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Talent Management, stated that the Department offers a confidential employee assistance program and has provided up to three hours of free counseling services to help employees have an independent voice to talk to and work through individual struggles.

Committee Member Lynn Fallin stated that the Board needs more details to understand whether the programs the Department is investing in is affecting students. She stated that the 3-1-1 framework and learning acceleration plan is a positive step to align all levels of the public education system and begins to address balancing accountability and autonomy. Committee Member Fallin stated that sustainability is important and there should be a short term and long-term focus on how the Department will use funds because the money can be used to develop long-term capacity building and design. She encouraged the Department to report on what programs were good investments and how the data collected will show the impact on students.

Hayashi stated that the data being collected by schools through universal screeners is the initial step to identify student needs and will inform what is done at the complex areas and state office levels. He stated that the decisions at the school and complex level is based on student needs and must be communicated to principals and CASs as the Department aligns the system.

Unebasami stated that the three values the Department focused on is: (1) what needs to be sustained beyond the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) how does the Department know it has made an impact and what has been done is effective; and, (3) how does the Department know the academic return on investment for learning and instructional models.

Committee Member Fallin challenged the Department to develop a framework, put specific strategies in place to support schools, and build data into the school’s decision-making process. She stated that during the COVID-19 pandemic the Board learned how data and information informs decisions on health and safety. Committee Member Fallin noted that schools should know if students are in school and how students are doing to ensure equity.

Committee Member Shanty Asher commended the Department for creating the education plan. She requested that the next presentation from the Department include data on the number of students in each tier in the HMTSS system so that the Board can understand movement across the tiers. Committee Member Asher stated that the Committee needs to understand whether students are improving and moving into Tier 1 or if there needs to be specialized interventions because more students are moving into Tier 3. She requested information on how many seniors are in Tier 3 and how schools can intervene so students do not drop out. Committee Member Asher suggested schools provide a flow-chart of interventions available to support students and that the Department needs to ask the final question of “is this working?”

Committee Member Asher asked that the October report provide more data and that the Department make it easier to analyze. Hayashi replied that the Department will provide further information in October.

Committee Member Catherine Payne stated that schools have struggled with attendance, particularly with getting students to school. She noted that the reality is that there has been a tremendous decrease in attendance for a number of reasons and she requested clarification on how much learning time has been lost and how many students moved to homeschooling. Committee Chairperson Payne expressed concern for the students who are leaving the Department to be homeschooled because the Department cannot provide additional services to these students. She expressed interest in understanding the criteria the Department used to determine eligibility for its distance learning program.

Teri Ushijima, Interim Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, stated that the Department shifted to accommodate more distance learning and noted that it is important to consider the needs of students and families. She stated that the Department is reviewing current distance learning practices, resources, and capacity at all levels in the system. Ushijima explained that the Department is working on plans for distance learning.

Committee Member Payne asked if the Department has reached out to charter schools to find out about best practices and encouraged the Department to follow up with charter schools that use distance learning platforms. She also noted that there has been a lot of discussion relating to distance learning for Kaiapuni schools. Ushijima replied that the Department tried to reach out to charter schools, but that it needs to make a better attempt and will reach out again. She also stated that Unebasami will share more information regarding distance learning for Kaiapuni schools.

Unebasami shared that the Office of Hawaiian Education worked to develop distance learning criteria for Kaiapuni schools, a short-term solution was put in place for Quarter 1, and a long-term option will be in place for Quarter 2. She also noted that the Department will provide more information later.

Hayashi reported that enrollment data shows that approximately 2.2% of students have opted for homeschooling and another 1% of students moved to another state or out of the country.

Committee Member Payne asked if the Department has data on students who left to attend private schools. She explained that it is important to understand why students are leaving the public school system and what is being done for the students who are missing. Committee Member Payne stated that the Department should be analyzing this data and disaggregating the data by things like grade level and complex area.

Committee Member Kenneth Uemura stated that the costs associated with the educational plan are important. He asked for confirmation of the amounts that were awarded to the state ($638 million), the amount the Board has approved expenditure ($171.5 million), and the remaining balance ($466.5 million). Committee Member Uemura explained that this information is important because the Board needs to understand how much the educational plan will cost and how the Board can provide the funding to implement this educational plan.

Brian Hallett, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Fiscal Services, replied that during the August meeting the Department shared that there is a balance of $466.599 million of ESSER funds available including $54 million of ESSER II and $412.5 million of ESSER ARP. He explained that during the August meeting the Board approved $39 million and deferred decision making on $137 million, which leaves a balance of $427.5 million as unprogrammed funds.

Committee Member Uemura asked if the Department is required to use a minimum of 25% of ESSER funds on accelerating learning. Hallett replied that the 25% is calculated from the third round of ESSER funds authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ESSER ARP”) amount only and comes out to approximately $103 million that the Department has allocated for learning loss.

Committee Member Uemura stated that the Board has a fiduciary responsibility so it needs to ensure ESSER funds will be used as intended and if the Board agrees that the use of funds is in alignment with the 3-1-1 framework, then the Board needs to provide the resources. He acknowledged that the educational plan in October will include more details; however, the $103 million has not been allocated and he asked if this amount is sufficient for the Department to accomplish its goals. Committee Member Uemura echoed Committee Member Fallin’s sentiments that the Board needs more information to make decisions.

Committee Vice Chairperson Arakaki requested that the Department provide information on the strategies that are moving students from Tier 3 into Tiers 1 and 2 so that this information can be used to allocate resources to programs that positively impact student learning.

Board Student Representative Kyla Musso, asked whether the Department is going to compare baseline fall 2020 data in the educational plan to past data (fall 2019) or future data in the October report. Hayashi explained that the Department will review the overall gains and losses to understand the data at the school level and make sure that the data being used accurately reflects the students currently at the school.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu noted that the report lacks detail and that the educational plan needs to be aligned with a supporting fiscal plan. She expressed concern that the Department is not acting with any kind of urgency. Committee Chairperson Namauʻu noted that the Department mentioned issues with chronic absenteeism but that this is not a new issue and that she would like to know what the Department can do to ensure students come to school. She stated that the Department has an opportunity to use the funds to put into place new ways of thinking. Committee Chairperson Namauʻu asked if it is possible for the Department to set up a home visit system to find out why students are not coming to school and gather more information on the students’ social emotional well-being. Committee Chairperson Namauʻu acknowledged that this is a draft educational plan and wanted to know what is being done now and what opportunities are available for students now because there is an urgency for students that need to be helped now. She offered her assistance to help the Department with this work because of the urgency.

Hayashi clarified that the Department is working hard to support students and realizes the urgency to help students with the current systems in place. He shared that a high point of his job was when he visited schools on Kauai, Hawaii, Oahu, and Maui and witnessed the excitement and engagement of students working with teachers. Hayashi stated that the Department will continue to stress the importance of in-person learning because the ability to interact with peers to receive social emotional support is just as important as academic support.

Hayashi explained that the data the Department is collecting will provide more information that the Department can use to plan for use of ESSER funds and that schools are not waiting to support students. He further stated that the ESSER funds are additional funds that will supplement what schools are already doing and that the distribution is based on data. Hayashi expressed appreciation for the Board’s support and stated that the $10 million the Board allocated to learning loss and $10 million allocated to safety is at the complex areas and schools can access these funds based on school plans.

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu acknowledged that everyone is working hard, but she reminded the Department that there is an opportunity to use ESSER funds to make innovative changes to shift the direction of the public education system and make a difference in schools.

Committee Vice Chairperson Arakaki about the process the Department uses to engage Board Members before meetings to support the work that the Department needs to accomplish.

Committee Member Payne reminded the Committee that there is no strategic plan in place and that the Board will engage with the National Association of School Boards of Education to start this process. Committee Member Payne expressed concern for the students that are not back in school and there needs to be a clear plan of how to get students back into the classroom. She asked the Committee to think about what strategic means and there needs to be clear understanding while developing plans on what the funds will be used for.

IV. Late Public Testimony on Board Agenda Items

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu called for public testimony from any individuals who did not have an opportunity to testify on earlier agenda items. No one provided oral testimony at this time.

Committee members received written testimony before the meeting. The following is a listing of the people who submitted written testimony before the meeting.

Agenda Item
Taurie Kinoshita N/A
Lala Buzzell N/A
Carlynn Wolfe N/A
Julia LoPresti N/A
Nicolas Logue N/A
Warren Hyde N/A
Mike Poblete N/A
Joshua Tavares N/A
Kristin Pauka N/A
Christine Lamborn N/A
Jasmine Anderson N/A
Jason Ellinwood N/A
E. Kiyoko Nanni N/A
Jill Jackson N/A
Kaonohiokalaealohiloohinei Muller N/A
Setsuko Morinoue N/A
Millie Grand N/A
David MiyashiroHawaiikidsCANIII. A. Presentation on Department’s educational plan for the use of federal funds in the second round of the ESSER II and in the third round of ESSER ARP
Pamela Welden Spitze N/A
Susan Pcola-Davis III. A. Presentation on Department’s educational plan for the use of federal funds in the second round of the ESSER II and in the third round of ESSER ARP
Paula AdamsHawaii Afterschool AllianceIII. A. Presentation on Department’s educational plan for the use of federal funds in the second round of the ESSER II and in the third round of ESSER ARP
Cheri NakamuraHEʻE CoalitionIII. A. Presentation on Department’s educational plan for the use of federal funds in the second round of the ESSER II and in the third round of ESSER ARP
Mireille Ellsworth III. A. Presentation on Department’s educational plan for the use of federal funds in the second round of the ESSER II and in the third round of ESSER ARP
Aaron Padilla N/A
Christine Boutros N/A

V. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Namauʻu adjourned the meeting at 10:30 a.m.