Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Kili Namauʻu, Committee Vice Chairperson
Kaimana Barcarse
Brian De Lima, Esq.
Catherine Payne
Kenneth Uemura
Daniella White (student representative)

Margaret Cox, Committee Chairperson
Dwight Takeno

Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent
Heidi Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Student Support Services
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Board Private Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary

I. Call to Order

The Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) was called to order by Committee Vice Chairperson Kili Namauʻu at 11:00 a.m.

II. Public testimony on Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) agenda items

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of August 1, 2019

ACTION: Motion to approve the Student Achievement Committee Meeting minutes of August 1, 2019 (De Lima/Barcarse). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
IV. Discussion Items Committee Member Catherine Payne reviewed an update on work ensuring that Board of Education (“Board”) policies support student mental and emotional wellbeing, particularly to prevent youth suicide. She stated that she has identified a number of individuals who have agreed to participate in the working group, including community members, parents, Department of Education (“Department”) administrators and leaders, teachers, and students. She noted that the working group is reviewing ways in which to meet virtually to allow the widest level of participation. Committee Member Payne stated that she is still identifying members from the Micronesian community and the State Suicide Prevention Taskforce who might want to participate. She noted that the inclusion of the Micronesian community is important because of issues that students have experienced related to bullying.

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu reviewed an update on work ensuring that Board policies support the recommendations of the Special Education Task Force and the English Learners (“EL”) Task Force’s 2018 summative reports. She detailed that the Committee adopted a work plan at its last meeting that tasked the Department to provide the Committee with substantial support in this work. The Committee asked the Department to present a list of identified Board policies the Department will review; a timeline for making recommendations to the Committee; and a list of other policies, rules, regulations, or guidelines that affect or could affect the implementation of the taskforce recommendations.

Committee Member Brian De Lima expressed concern that the Department’s and Committee’s review of Board policies might not reduce the achievement gap. He noted that the Board’s policies are broad, encompassing, and recognize the importance of special education. Committee Member De Lima stated that there might be benefits to the Department and Committee reviewing Board policies. He stated that the Board adopted a series of policies in the past and tried to align its policies with the Board and Department’s Joint Strategic Plan. He noted that some school districts conduct policy audits and adopt a framework for the Superintendent to provide annual reports on the difficulties of providing quality education, addressing concerns, or implementing existing policies.

Committee Member De Lima stated that he expects the Department’s review to include community input and Board context. He stated that the Committee is interested in how the Department is implementing the task forces’ recommendations and addressing issues at the school-level. He stated that the Committee would need to know about current work and challenges. The Board could amend its policies to support current work or alleviate challenges if it needed to do so. He stated that he is interested in the Department’s results but does not believe that Board policies are an impediment to implementation. He stated that he would like to how the Department is addressing absenteeism and whether implementation is consistent across schools. He noted that the Department has an opportunity to provide this information at its upcoming data retreat on November 7, 2019. Committee Member De Lima emphasized the importance of the Department updating the Committee on the task forces’ recommendations and asking stakeholders to comment on issues.

Committee Member De Lima stated that the Department would need to ensure that families understand that the Department is doing everything it can to assist students who are struggling. He emphasized the importance of sympathetic teachers and administrators, empathy, and consistency.

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu stated the Department would review the Board policies listed in the Department’s memorandum as relevant to the Special Education Task Force’s recommendations and bring recommendations on each of those policies to the Committee’s next meeting on October 3, 2019.

Committee Member De Lima stated that the Department would need to provide the Board with comprehensive data during the Department’s data retreat, including where students are struggling, why students are struggling, and strategies the Department is implementing to help students who are struggling. Committee Member De Lima noted that the challenges for students who are struggling are complex. He stated that the Department has advocated for school empowerment and asked how the Department is empowering schools to meet the needs of students.

Committee Member De Lima commented that the Department contracted Stetson to implement best practices for inclusion and brought in a team of individuals to work with schools that are committed to inclusion. He noted that the Department’s plan was to build capacity from within to provide professional training to additional schools. Committee Member De Lima stated that the Board has a policy regarding inclusion and asked if this policy acts an impediment to the Department providing professional development and training. He stated that the Committee would need feedback on this. Committee Member De Lima stated that he would like a report regarding how many schools have undergone training and how many schools will receive training in the future. He stated that he expects to the Department to share information and have these discussions at its data retreat.

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu stated that she recently visited Henry Perrine Baldwin High School and commented on how the high school created inclusion on its campus by planning schedules starting with students receiving special education services and then including other students. She stated that the high school could serve as a model for other high schools that are interested in implementing similar initiatives. She stated that she would be interested in learning if other high schools have implemented anything similar.

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu stated that the Committee would like thorough and comprehensive data and would like to know how it could provide the Department with support. Heidi Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Student Support Services, stated that the Department would provide information for the Department’s data retreat and future presentations.

V. Adjournment

Committee Vice Chairperson Namauʻu adjourned the meeting at 11:24 a.m.