News Releases

Strive HI Highlights for Hawaiʻi Public Charter Schools For the 2018-2019 School Year

October 3, 2019

HONOLULU-The Hawaiʻi Department of Education (DOE) annually evaluates all public schools statewide through a performance system known as Strive HI, which includes measures of student proficiency, growth, and college and career readiness, and also looks at the performance of students in the high-need subgroups of Special Education students, English learners, and students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

At the Hawaiʻi Board of Education meeting this afternoon, the DOE presented the school year 2018-2019 Strive HI results. Based on the publicly available data, many of the highest performing schools in the state were charter schools:

 

University Laboratory School had a college-going rate of 92 percent, the highest in the state.

 

Connections Public Charter School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School, and Kaʻōhao Public Charter School are among the public schools with the third highest 3rd-grade literacy rate statewide, with 96 percent of their 3rd graders reading near, at, or above grade level.

 

Four charter schools were in the top 10 percent statewide for 8th grade literacy. SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability and Myron B. Thompson Academy had the second highest 8th grade literacy rate with 92 percent of their 8th graders reading near, at, or above grade level, while University Laboratory School had the 4th highest with 91 percent and Innovations Public Charter School had the 6th highest with 88 percent.

 

The median student growth percentiles for Kona Pacific Public Charter School, which capture the performance of students on the Smarter Balanced Assessment relative to their academic peers, was the highest of all schools statewide in both English language arts and math.

At  Kapolei Charter School by Goodwill Hawaiʻi, Connections Public Charter School and Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, 100 percent of 9th graders were promoted to 10th grade for the following year, the highest 9th-grade promotion rate in the state.

 

Kanuikapono Public Charter School, Myron B. Thompson Academy, Innovations Public Charter School, Hawaiʻi Technology Academy and SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability were among the schools with the top ten highest positive student response rates about the climate at their schools on the Tripod Student Perception Survey.

 

Overall, about half of the state’s charter schools made gains in student proficiency in math, language arts and science and growth in math and English language arts from school year 2017- 2018 to school year 2018-2019. The State Public Charter School Commission is proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of our charter schools and students and we look forward to their continuing success.

 

 

Sione Thompson Executive Director

Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission

Possible exposure of public school student information reported

University of Hawaiʻi

July 22, 2019

Graduation Alliance, a vendor contracted by the University of Hawai‘i (UH) for Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education (Hawai‘i P-20), reported that Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) public and charter school student data used for college and career planning resources on the My Future Hawai‘i website may have been exposed to unauthorized access. 

The data that was potentially exposed does not include social security numbers, financial, driver’s license or health information. None of those items are part of the My Future Hawai‘i application. This potential exposure does not constitute a security breach under Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes.  

Once the potential exposure was discovered, Graduation Alliance shut down the My Future Hawaiʻi website immediately and hired a third-party cybersecurity vendor to investigate. Law enforcement has been notified and UH, Hawai‘i P-20 and the HIDOE will be provided with regular updates. Based on the outcome of the investigation and an internal analysis of the findings, Hawaiʻi P-20 will make a determination regarding additional steps that may need to be taken. 

Hawai‘i P-20 has been working with Graduation Alliance on the My Future Hawai‘i website to provide middle and high school students and families with college and career planning resources, financial aid guidance and an expedited application process for the University of Hawaiʻi. 

The following information is the only information potentially exposed for the current HIDOE students in the database: 

  • Name

  • Birthdate

  • Gender

  • Race

  • Ethnicity

  • Permanent address

  • Mailing address

  • Grade level

  • Courses taken and grades

  • Cumulative weighted Grade Point Average (GPA)

  • Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) scores and proficiency levels

  • Schools with student data in the My Future Hawai‘i portal are:

  • Admiral Arthur W. Radford High

  • Aiea High

  • Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue

  • James B. Castle High

  • Connections NCPCS

  • Wallace Rider Farrington High

  • Hana High and Elementary

  • Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science PCS

  • Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind

  • Hawaii Technology Academy PCS

  • Henry J. Kaiser High

  • Henry Perrine Baldwin High

  • Hilo High

  • Honokaa High and Intermediate

  • James Campbell High

  • Kahuku High and Intermediate

  • Kailua High

  • Kaimuki High

  • Kalaheo High

  • Kalani High

  • Kamaile Academy PCS

  • Kanuikapono Learning Center PCS

  • Kapaa High

  • Kapolei High

  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary

  • Kauai High

  • Kawaikini NCPCS

  • Ke Kula Ni’ihau o Kekaha Learning Center A Laboratory PCS

  • Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino

  • Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau, LPCS

  • Keaau High

  • Kealakehe High

  • King Kekaulike High

  • Kohala High

  • Konawaena High

  • Kua o ka La PCS

  • Lahainaluna High

  • Lanai High & Elementary

  • Laupahoehoe Community – PCS

  • Leilehua High

  • Maui High

  • Mililani High

  • Moanalua High

  • Molokai High

  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate

  • Niihau

  • Olomana

  • Pahoa High & Intermediate

  • Pearl City High

  • Theodore Roosevelt High

  • William McKinley High

  • Waiakea High

  • Waialua High & Intermediate

  • Waianae High

  • Waimea High

  • Waipahu High

  • West Hawaii Explorations Academy PCS

  • Hilo Intermediate

  • Waimea Canyon Middle

  • Lahaina Intermediate

  • Molokai Middle

  • George Washington Middle

  • Ilima Intermediate

  • Ewa Makai Middle School

  • Waipahu Elementary (Limited to 6th grade class)

  • Waipahu Intermediate

  • Waianae Intermediate

  • *Limited to 6th grade students in Waipahu Elementary

    As a precautionary measure, the HIDOE is sending out a letter today to parents and guardians of students who may have been affected by the potential data exposure. Updates on the situation will be provided on the Hawai‘i P-20 website:  www.p20hawaii.org

    Seats Available in Charter School Pre-K Classrooms

    Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission

    July 17, 2019

    The Hawaiʻi State Legislature provided an appropriation this year to sustain 360 prekindergarten slots in charter schools through the Executive Office on Early Learning Public Prekindergarten Program.  Applications for high-quality, free prekindergarten programs are now being accepted at the following eleven charter schools on four islands for school year 2019-2020.

    ●      Hawaiʻi Island

    o   Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School in Hilo

    o   Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School in Kea‘au and Waimea

    o   Kua o ka Lā Public Charter School in Nānāwale

    o   Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School in Mountain View

    o   Volcano School of Arts & Sciences in Volcano

    o   Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School in Laupāhoehoe

    ●      Molokai

    o   Kualapu‘u Charter School

    ●      Oʻahu

    o   Kamaile Academy Public Charter School in Waiʻanae

    o   Ke Kula Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School in Kāneʻohe

    o   Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School in Honolulu

    o   Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School in Nānākuli

    ●      Kauaʻi

    o   Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha

     

    To be eligible, children must be four years old on or before July 31, 2019.  Priority will be given to children who are homeless, in foster care, placed through their individualized education programs in a general education setting, English as a second language learners, and whose family income is at or below 300% of the 2019 federal poverty guidelines for Hawaiʻi.  Click here to see income eligibility calculations of 300% of FPG and below. All families are encouraged to apply and need to contact the school directly for more information and an application.

     

    Building on the investment in Hawaiʻi by the Federal Preschool Development Grant, the State of Hawaiʻi continues the investment in our youngest learners, by appropriating the funding to continue this high-quality program in these eleven charter schools whose foundational grant sunset at the close of last school year.  The federal grant awarded the Charter School Commission the opportunity to build the foundations for establishing high-quality early learning programs in eleven of its public charter schools. 

    Charter School Commission Seeking Board Members For a Waiʻanae Coast Charter School

    State Public Charter School Commission

    August 31, 2018

    The Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission is now accepting applications for persons interested in serving as governing board members of Ka Waihona o Ka Naʻauao Public Charter School in Nānākuli.  

     

    The Commission today, Friday, August 31, 2018, voted unanimously to issue a Notice of Reconstitution for the Governing Board of Ka Waihona o Ka Naʻauao Public Charter School after it found that the governing board had failed to manage the financial performance of the school. The Commission was compelled to act in the best interest of the school, its students, staff and the community.  

     

    The Commission raised concerns about the school's financial performance more than eleven months ago in hopes the governing board and school leadership would remedy the situation on its own without intervention. When it became clear to the Commission that the governing board was not going to be able to take the necessary corrective actions, the Commission voted to reconstitute the board. 

     

    Under Hawaiʻi State law, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes ("HRS") §302D-17(d), the Commission has the authority to replace up to, but no more than, the number of governing board members necessary so that the newly appointed members constitute a voting majority in accordance with the governing board's bylaws. For Ka Waihona o Ka Naʻauao Public Charter School, their governing board requires seven members, with three members from the former board and four new members.

     

    Being a member of a governing board of a public charter school is a position of public trust and fiduciary responsibility. Board members are responsible for ensuring the quality of the school's educational, financial, and organizational plans. They must also be competent stewards of public funds, and must ensure the school fulfills its public obligations and all terms of its Charter Contract. 

     

    The Commission is now accepting applications until 5:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2018. The Commission will receive testimony and is scheduled to take action on appointing transitional governing board members at its general business meeting on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

     

    The application to serve on the transitional governing board can be found on the Commission's website: http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov/ or call the Commission office at (808)586-3775. 

    New Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Opens Its Doors on Kauaʻi

    State Public Charter School Commission

    August 29, 2018

    Congratulations to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi, the state’s newest public charter school that opened its doors today, Wednesday, August 29, 2018, welcoming 165 students. The school opening was delayed a day due to the heavy rainfall making the road leading to their campus impassable. Today students entered the project-based school eager to learn. Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi currently serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade but eventually plans to expand to serve students through the eighth grade.

     

    The mission of Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi is to provide a progressive, innovative curriculum that prepares students for the future. School leaders are committed to interdisciplinary instruction with an equal emphasis on teaching the whole child academically, socially, and emotionally. The campus stretches over several lush acres in Kahili Mountain Park in Kōloa and includes school buildings and a gymnasium.

     

    The school is still accepting applications. To learn more about Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi, visit their website at http://www.alakaiokauai.org/

    All Charter Schools Across the State Will Reopen Tomorrow

    State Public Charter School Commission

    August 26, 2018

    Public Charter Schools across the state will reopen tomorrow, Monday, August 27, 2018, after being closed for two to three days due to the threat posed to the state by Hurricane Lane.  As schools open tomorrow, staff will be assessing the damage caused to their campuses by the storm. 

     

    All schools on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui County were closed last week Wednesday as Hurricane Lane approached the state and on Thursday and Friday public schools statewide were shut down due to the impending storm. 

     

    Thirty-six charter schools statewide serve more than 11,000 public school students. 

    All Charter Schools Across the State Will Be Closed Due to Hurricane Lane

    State Public Charter School Commission

    August 22, 2018

    All Charter School across the state will be closed Thursday, August 23, and Friday, August 24, 2018 in anticipation of hazardous weather conditions brought to our islands by Hurricane Lane.  Governor David Ige this morning signed a memorandum granting all non-essential state employees on Oʻahu and Kauaiʻi administrative leave. The Governor yesterday signed a memorandum granting non-essential workers on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui County administrative leave.

     

    Thirty-six charter schools statewide serve more than 11,000 public school students. For updates on school closures please visit the State Public Charter School Commission website. 

    Charter School Commission Revokes Kaʻu Learning Academy Contract

    State Public Charter School Commission

    July 9, 2018

    Honolulu- The Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission today voted to revoke the charter contract for Kaʻu Learning Academy (KLA) due to multiple contract violations.  A total of 22 violations, including financial and operational irregularities, enrollment discrepancies, failure to properly maintain student and employee records, and the determination that the charter school’s purported governing board was improperly constituted and did not meet statutory legal requirements.

     

    Additionally, on June 21, the Commission was informed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education that after completing an investigation of possible test breaches at KLA, the 2017 assessment scores of all students tested at the school cannot be considered valid or trustworthy and will be invalidated. 

     

    The decision to revoke the charter contract was rendered during a special hearing that had been requested by the charter school’s purported governing board after the Commission initiated the revocation process in April.

     

    Ka’u Learning Academy opened its doors in 2015 serving students in grades 3-7.    The projected student count for the 2018-19 school year was 93. The revocation of the charter contract means the school closes its doors immediately. Closure notifications will be sent to parents, staff and state agencies. The Commission will secure both student and financial records and conduct an inventory of school property. Within 15 days of the closure decision, the Commission will notify the charter contract holder in writing of the closure decision and transmit a copy of the notification to the Board of Education. Within 21 days of the closure decision, the contract holder may file an appeal of the decision to the BOE. The BOE will issue a final decision within 60 calendar days of the filing of the appeal.

     

    The Commission will work closely with the school’s students and their families to assist in the transition for students to their new schools.   The Commission will also work closely with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education for any students and their families who wish to transition to a Department Public School.

    Applications Still Being Accepted for Free High-Quality Preschool On Four Islands

    State Public Charter School Commission

    June 21, 2018

    HONOLULU- Applications are still being accepted for free high-quality preschool classes at charter schools on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi and Molokaʻi for the 2018-2019 school year.  The public prekindergarten program is open to income eligible 4-year-old children born between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. 

     

    The Pre-K program is made possible by the U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant. The grant allows the State of Hawaiʻi to expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities. The grant is administered by the Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission and will serve up to 360 keiki this coming school year.

     

     

    Income eligible means families who earn at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines for Hawaiʻi.  The list below shows the calculated income for families interested in applying.

     

    Family of two can earn up to $37,860

    Family of three can earn up to $47,800 

    Family of four can earn up to $57,740

    Family of five can earn up to $67,680

    Family of six can earn up to $77,620

    Family of seven can earn up to $87,560

    Family of eight can earn up to $97,500

     

     

    Participating schools by island:

     

    Oʻahu

    Kamaile Academy Public Charter School, Waiʻanae, 808-697-7110

    Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School*, Waiʻanae, 808-982-4260

    Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School*, Kāneʻohe, 808-235-9175

    Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School, Honolulu, 808-733-4880

     

    Hawaiʻi

    Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School, Mountain View, 808-968-2318

    Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, Laupāhoehoe, 808-962-2200

    Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School*,  Keaʻau & Waimea, 808-982-4260

    Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School*, Keaukaha, 808-961-0470

    Kua O Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School, Preschool Campus-Nānāwale, 808-965-2193

    Volcano School of Arts and Sciences, Volcano, 808- 985-9800

     

    Molokaʻi

    Kualapuʻu School: A Public Conversion Charter, 808-567-6900

     

    Kauaʻi

    Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Learning Center**,  808-337-0481

     

    * Hawaiian language and culture focus

    **Niihau language and culture focus

     

    Give your child the opportunity at having the best start to their educational career. Children who are well-prepared for school can focus on learning. Give them that early start and prepare them for success in school and life. 

     

     

    For additional information, please contact the Commission's Pre-K Grant Manager Deanne Goya at Deanne.Goya@spcsc.hawaii.gov or at (808)586-5227. 

    Free High-Quality Pre-K Still Available on Oahu and Kauai

    State Public Charter School Commission

    October 12, 2017

    Honolulu, HI – Seats are still available for free high-quality Pre-kindergarten at three public charter schools on Oahu and Kauai. Wai’alae Elementary Public Charter School in East Honolulu, Kula Aupuni Niʻihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) Public Charter School and Ke Kula Niʻihau O Kekaha Learning Center both in Kekaha are accepting applications for their Pre-kindergarten program. All three schools launched their Pre-K program this school year.

     

    The free program is being made available to income eligible families whose children are born on or between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013. To be income eligible, a family’s income must fall at or below 200% of Hawaiʻi’s current Federal Poverty Level Guidelines based on family size. The Pre-K programs are open to any student who qualifies regardless of where he or she lives, space permitting.

     

    Kula Aupuni Niʻihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) Public Charter School and Ke Kula Niʻihau O Kekaha Learning Center are bilingual education programs. Students are learners of the Niʻihau dialect of Hawaiian and English languages through two-way heritage bilingual program beginning in preschool.

     

    The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission administers the federal Pre-K program in Hawaiʻi. In 2014, the Commission applied for the U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant and was one of 18 states awarded the highly competitive grant. This grant allows Hawai’i to continue to build on statewide efforts to support Hawaiiʻs early childhood system. Thirteen schools are participating in the Federal Pre-K program in Hawaii.

     

    For additional information or to apply, contact the school directly: Wai’alae Elementary Public Charter School: (808) 733-4880 Ke Kula Niʻihau O Kekaha Learning Center: (808) 337-0481 Kula Aupuni Niʻihau A Kahelelani Aloha Public Charter School: (808) 337-2022 For additional information on the grant please contact the Commission’s Pre-K Grant Manager, Deanne Goya, at Deanne.Goya@spcsc.hawaii.gov or (808) 586-5227

    Applications Being Accepted for Free Pre-K

    State Public Charter School Commission

    June 2, 2017

    HONOLULU - Applications are being accepted for high-quality pre-kindergarten classes at select charter schools on four islands. The free program is being made available to income eligible families whose children are born on or between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013.  

     

    The Pre-K program is administered  by the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission. In 2014, the Commission applied for the U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant and was one of 18 states awarded the highly competitive​ grant.  The $14.8 million, four-year grant has allowed Hawaiʻi to expand its early childhood education system.  

     

    Each classroom is limited to 20 students and will have a qualified teacher and assistant. The pre-kindergarten classes are available in the following schools on four islands:

     

    Hawai’i Island

    Ka ‘Umeke Kā’eo, Hilo (808) 933-3482

    Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani’ōpu’u Iki Lab Charter School, Kea’au (808) 982-4260

    Kua o ka Lā New Century Public Charter School, Pāhoa (808) 965-2193

    Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, Laupāhoehoe (808) 962-2200

    Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School, Mountain View (808) 968-2318

    Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, Volcano (808) 985-9800

     

    Kaua’i

    Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha Learning Center, Kekaha  (808) 337-0481

    Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA), Kekaha (808) 337-2022

     

    Moloka’i

    Kualapu’u Public Conversion Charter School, Kualapu’u (808) 567-6900

     

    O’ahu

    Kamaile Academy, Waianae (808) 697-7110

    Kamalani Academy Wahiawa (808) 203-2993

    Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School, Kaneohe (808) 235-9175

    Wai’alae Elementary Public Charter School, Honolulu (808) 733-4880

     

    Through this Preschool Development Grant, Hawai’i keiki will have an opportunity for the best start at their education and it will help them prepare for later success in school and life.

     

    For more information and an application, please contact the charter school directly, or call Deanne Goya at the Commissionʻs office at (808)586-3775. Click here for Pre-K photos.

    Preschool Development Grant Year Three Funding Released for Hawaii State Public Charter Schools

    State Public Charters School Commission

    November 30, 2016

    Honolulu, HI – Funding for Year Three of the Preschool Development Grant has been released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


    The release of these funds will allow Hawai’i public charter schools to continue to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten services to income-eligible students in their communities and to expand from 120 slots this year to 360 in school year 2017-2018. The federal funds will allow Hawai’i to begin the full implementation of the Preschool Development Grant in 18 classrooms across the state.


    “It’s a wonderful opportunity for public charter schools in Hawai’i to expand the educational offerings available to their communities by providing high-quality preschool programs. We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to continue to provide access to families who may otherwise be unable to afford preschool for their keiki,” said Sione Thompson, Executive Director of the Hawai’i State Public Charter School Commission.


    The purpose of the Preschool Development Grant is to support states’ efforts to develop or enhance school infrastructure so that they are able to deliver high-quality preschool services. The grant provides opportunities for Hawai’i to grow high-quality and innovative preschool programs in targeted communities to serve as models for expanding preschool to all four-year-olds from low- and moderately low-income families. Pre-K programs on the neighbor islands were strategically selected in rural areas that lack access to high-quality preschool programs.


    Hawai’i is one of 18 states awarded the highly competitive joint U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services Preschool Development Grant and is only one of five states to open new preschool programs. Hawai’i is the only grantee to receive funds specifically for charter schools. This grant allows charter schools to create preschool programs that are both aligned with research-based standards and reflective of each school’s mission and the needs of its community, such as providing pathways of learning in both Hawaiian and English, the state’s two official languages. Five of the 18 schools provide Hawaiian language learning opportunities and all schools provide varying degrees of Hawaiian cultural education. This allows the grant to support the resurgence and sustainability of the Hawaiian language and culture.


    Currently at stake is the fourth year of grant funding. The Commission is hopeful that the President-Elect, Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education will support the last year of the grant by providing the necessary funding to continue offering pre-K opportunities for up to 360 students

    Hawaii Island Charter School to Close as Hurricane Approaches

    State Public Charters School Commission

    August 30, 2016

    HONOLULU, HI – The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission is announcing the closure of schools in Hawaii County due to the approaching Hurricane.   The following schools will  close their doors as Hurricane Madeline nears Hawai’i Island.  

     

    The Following schools will be closed Wednesday and Thursday:

     

    • Connections Public Charter School in Hilo

    • Hawaii Technology Academy (closing learning centers but classes will be online)

    • Innovations Public Charter School in Kailua-Kona

    • Kanu o  ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School in Waimea

    • Kaʻu Learning Academy in Naalehu

    • Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahiokalani’ōpu’u Iki, LPCS

    • Kua o ka Lā New Century Public Charter School in Pahoa

    • Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School in Laupahoehoe

    • Na Wai Ola Public Charter School in  Mountain View

    • Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School in Waimea

    • West Hawaii Explorations Academy in Kailua-Kona

    • Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kailua in Kealakekua

     

    The following schools will close Wednesday, monitor the storm,  and then determine if they will remain closed on Thursday.

     

     

    • Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science Public Charter School in Pahoa

    • Ka ‘Umeke Kā’eo in Keaukaha, Hilo

    • Ke Ana La’ahana Public Charter School in Keaukaha, Hilo

    • Volcano School of Arts & Sciences in Volcano

     

    .  There are 16 public charter schools on Hawai’i Island and 34 schools statewide.

    Charter School Commission Hires New Executive Director

    State Public Charters School Commission

    August 11, 2016

    HONOLULU, HI- The Hawai’i State Charter School Commission is pleased to announce the hiring of its new Executive Director, Sione Thompson. Mr. Thompson comes to the Commission with experience in school administration and management, most recently with the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu. Mr. Thompson notably served as principal at St. Louis High School. He began his 10-year career at St. Louis as a social sciences teacher and worked his way up the ranks to dean of students, vice principal and then principal. He is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where he received his B.S. in sociology and his Masters of Education.

     

    State Public Charter School Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne said, “We are eager to share Mr. Thompson’s enthusiasm and commitment to high quality education with our charter schools. We look forward to the contributions he will make to the public school system.”

     

    The Executive Director will work with the Commission and charter schools to reach new levels of achievement and success. “Hawaii public charter schools are integral to the overall success of our state's educational objectives. I look forward to the work ahead in developing relationships with our charter schools, communities, and stakeholders as we work together in providing high quality education to our keiki,” Thompson said.

     

    There are more than 10,000 students enrolled in 34 public charter schools throughout the state. Hawaii charter schools have been a source of innovation and community engagement in learning. Mr. Thompson will continue the progress Hawaii’s charter school system has made since the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 130 of 2012, which redefined the governance of charter schools in Hawaii and created the Commission.

     

    Thompson was born and raised in Hawai’i, growing up in Nu’uanu. He is a graduate of St. Louis High School. Thompson and his wife Dawn Lehua Thompson have been married for 10 years and have four daughters.

    Charter School Commission Appoints Acting Executive Director

    State Public Charter School Commission

    March 11, 2016

    Honolulu – The State Public Charter School Commission yesterday appointed Yvonne Lau its Acting Executive Director, effective Monday, March 14, 2016, pending the commencement and completion of a formal search for its new Executive Director. Ms. Lau currently serves as the Commission’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), a position whose responsibilities include fulfilling the Executive Director’s duties as necessary.


    Ms. Lau initially joined the Commission in December of 2014 as its Organizational Performance Manager and two months later was promoted to COO. Prior to joining the Commission, she served in the Office of the Governor as education policy analyst, in the Hawaii Department of Education as an Acting Director of the Office of Human Resources, Personnel Development Branch, and at the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission as a supervisor and investigator. She is a graduate of Aiea High School and has an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law.

     

    “The Commission and our charter school system are fortunate to have in Yvonne a leader so capable of stepping up to this challenging role while we conduct our search.” said Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne. “We are very grateful to her readiness and willingness to serve the children of Hawaii in this latest capacity.”

     

    Ms. Payne announced yesterday that the Commission hopes to complete the search in time for the new Executive Director to start by July 1, 2016.

     

    Annual Report Recaps Successes, Growing Pains in State's Charter School System

    State Public Charter School Commission

    December 1, 2015

    Honolulu – The State Public Charter School Commission today formally presented its annual report to the State Board of Education. The report, the fourth by the Commission since its creation in 2012, covers the 2014-2015 school year and provides a wealth of information and data about the Hawaii’s chartering system and the performance of its 33 charter schools for that year.

     

    The Commission is responsible for the authorizing and oversight of Hawaii’s charter schools, which operate as public schools under a three-year charter contract that includes academic, financial, and organizational performance measures. The annual report includes information on each school’s results, as well as on how charter schools are performing as a whole. “The 2014-2015 school year definitely was a challenging one for Hawaii’s charter sector,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton, “but the people of Hawaii should know that their charter school system continues to make good progress.”

     

    Among the highlights:

     

    Academic

    • As measured by the State’s Strive HI Performance System, in 2014-2015 four of Hawaii’s ten highest-performing public high schools were charter schools: Myron B. Thompson Academy (MBTA), University Laboratory School, Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, and Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau. MBTA was the highest-performing public high school in the entire state.

    • As measured by Strive HI, two of Hawaii’s ten highest-performing public middle schools were charter schools: Voyager: A Public Charter School (“Voyager”) and Innovations Public Charter School. Voyager was the highest-performing public middle school in the entire state.

    • Six charter schools performed in the top 20 percent of their respective grade divisions under Strive HI, while ten schools were in the bottom 20 percent of their grade divisions.

    • Over the past three years, collective charter school achievement in Reading/English Language Arts was approximately the same as the statewide averages for all public schools, slightly under statewide averages in Science, and somewhat under statewide averages in Math.

    • Both high needs students (those qualifying for free and reduced lunch, special education students, and English Language learners) and non-high needs students in charter schools collectively achieved lower proficiency than the statewide averages for these two groups. The achievement gap between the two groups was about the same as in all public schools.

    • Charter schools collectively outperformed statewide averages on the 8th grade ACT EXPLORE and 11th grade ACT exams, as well as their college-going rate. But they had a relatively lower overall high school graduation rate and a relatively higher overall rate of chronic absenteeism.

    • Two charter schools that had been classified as “Focus” schools under Strive HI, West Hawaii Explorations Academy and Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, were able to exit Focus status as a result of their 2014-2015 performances. Voyager ascended to Strive HI’s highest classification, “Recognition,” the only non-elementary school in the entire state to do so.

    • Under the Commission’s Academic Performance Framework (APF), which in some ways evaluates schools differently than does Strive HI, six schools earned higher scores than their Strive HI scores, seven earned the same, and 20 earned relatively lower scores. The highest-performing school as measured by the Commission’s APF was Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau, LCPS, which under the APF is evaluated partly using a school-specific measure of its own creation that was reviewed and approved by the Commission.

     

    Financial

    • Financial data show that charter schools generally are in fair financial positions, with slight deterioration on some indicators and improvement on others.

    • For the most part the shorter-term financial indicators collectively improved or held steady from last year, but the longer-term indicators raise sustainability concerns if charter school funding does not continue to increase and/or schools are not able to realize more cost savings.

     

    Organizational

    • This year the Commission continued its intentionally incremental approach to organizational performance by focusing on key compliance priorities. Every charter school’s admissions policies and practices were reviewed, and many were revised by schools to ensure that they fulfill the fundamental promise of public education: open enrollment. Significant progress was made in ensuring that charter school teachers are in compliance with licensure requirements.

    • Most charter schools did a good job at meeting their reporting and compliance responsibilities, and all schools complied with making key policies and procedures transparent online.

     

    “Our charter school system continues to experience growing pains as we move forward together with the very difficult work of making sure our charter schools can reach their potential for public education in Hawaii,” said Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne. “This thorough report provides policymakers, parents, and the public a rich picture of the challenges but also of the real progress that is being made.”

     

    The Commission also will deliver its annual report to the State Legislature.  The report is available at this link or the Commission’s website, http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov, by clicking on “Information & Resources” and then “Reports.”

    Free Pre-K Seats Still Available at Four Big Island Charter Schools

    State Public Charter School Commission

    July 24, 2015

    Applications for free, high-quality prekindergarten are still being accepted from qualified families at four public charter schools on the island of Hawaii.  Children eligible to attend are four-year-olds whose birthdates fall on or between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 and whose family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines for Hawaii.

     

    Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School (“Nawahi”), and Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School (“Ka ‘Umeke”) are the first schools that will be providing pre-kindergarten under a $14.8 million, four-year federal Preschool Development Grant awarded to the State Public Charter School Commission in December.  Nawahi and Ka ‘Umeke are Hawaiian language immersion schools whose pre-kindergarten programs will also be in Hawaiian.  The grant is intended to serve 920 students, over four years, in 18 charter school classrooms statewide.

     

    The Commission’s grant application was one of 18 applications approved for the highly competitive U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant.  Hawaii was one of only five states to be awarded a grant to open new preschool programs, as opposed to expanding current programs. 

     

    “This grant enables Hawaii to continue making progress with its early childhood education system,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton.  “By creating more high-quality prekindergarten classrooms in addition to those already operating on Hawaii DOE campuses, our public charter schools are helping to ensure that more of Hawaii’s keiki get the good start they will need in kindergarten and beyond.”

     

    More information on the pre-K initiative and the participating schools is available on the Commission’s website, www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov.

    Charter School Commission Revokes Hālau Lōkahi’s Charter Contract

    State Public Charter School Commission

    March 31, 2015

    Honolulu – The Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission yesterday voted to revoke the charter contract for Hālau Lōkahi Charter School over the school’s failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management and its resulting legal and contractual violations.  The decision was rendered after a day-long hearing that had been requested by the charter school’s governing board after the Commission initiated the revocation procedure in January.

     

    To further assist the remaining students and families with the transitions to other schools, the Commission authorized the release of about $36,700 for each of the months of April and May to allow students to finish the rest of the school year.  The school will close on May 29, 2015.

     

    “The Commission felt that our staff made a very convincing case that this school just had to be closed,” said Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne.  “At the same time, some students had not yet transferred to new schools while this hearing was pending, and we have only two months left to go in this school year.”

     

    The hearing was the culmination of nearly a year of Commission proceedings involving the financially troubled school.  After months of school efforts to bring down expenses and restructure, the Commission voted on January 8, 2015, to reject the school’s latest recovery plan, initiate the revocation process, and withhold further funding except for orderly school closure and dissolution and transition.  Hālau Lōkahi exercised its option to request a hearing in order to have a last opportunity to oppose the grounds for revocation and support the school’s continuation.

     

    “This is an important moment of truth for charter schooling in Hawaii, but it has been painful for everyone involved,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton.  “The mismanagement of this school has had many victims—not only this school community, but also the general public.  In the end, we are all committed to working together to do what is best for students, and the Commission is assisting the school’s governing board with reopening the school for two last months and preparing for its dissolution.”

    Commission to Pay for Hālau Lōkahi Staff Through Month's End

    State Public Charter School Commission

    January 14, 2015

    Honolulu – The State Public Charter School Commission will release enough funds to pay teachers and staff at Hālau Lōkahi Charter School through the end of this month, in order to allow families and staff two more weeks to make transitions to new schools and new employers. At that point—and hopefully sooner—all students should have transferred to other schools.

     

    Last week, the Commission voted to commence the process of revoking the school’s charter contract, the latest action resulting from the school’s longstanding financial troubles and one taken amid concerns over the school’s final, last-minute proposal to try to make a deal with a for-profit provider of online instructional, administrative, and technological services. The Commission authorized the release only of such funds as are needed for transition to closure.

     

    The school still is entitled to avail itself of a process for receiving a hearing by the Commission on the final closure decision, and after that it would be able to appeal the Commission’s decision to Board of Education. "This lengthy process never was designed for a situation in which a school has insufficient funds to sustain its operations in the meantime," explained Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton. "Procedurally we’re in uncharted waters, and when there’s no chart, our guiding star has be what’s best for students: in this case, moving on."

     

    The school will continue to exist as a legal entity for purposes of the process, but even if the Commission were to release all of the funds the school normally would have received for the remainder of the school year—instead of trying to pay down some of the school’s past debts—the school would run out of money. The additional time for student and staff transitions will come at some additional cost to taxpayers, because the school’s debts exceed the funds left for the year.

     

    "The Commission is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and welcome that Hawaii’s public schools, DOE as well as charter, is providing these students and their families," said Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne. "We are committed to providing all the assistance we can to make sure everyone gets a good, fresh start for the new semester."

    Charter School Commission Report Highlights Progress, Challenges

    State Public Charter School Commission

    December 4, 2014

    Honolulu – The State Public Charter School Commission this week formally presented its annual report to the State Board of Education, the third annual report by the Commission since its creation in 2012 by Act 130. The report, which primarily provides information from the 2013-2014 school year, highlights both successes and ongoing challenges in Hawaii’s charter system.

     

    Act 130 created the Commission with a principal focus on accountability-related authorizer functions, including the development and implementation of a rigorous accountability system that safeguards student and public interests while at the same time valuing the autonomy and flexibility of Hawaii’s public charter schools. As part of the new system, all of Hawaii’s 34 charter schools currently operate pursuant to a three-year charter contract under which the academic, financial, and organizational performance of each school is evaluated annually.

     

    The report includes detailed information on every individual school’s results, as well as information about how the charter sector is performing as a whole and about the challenges the schools and the system face. “While it’s clear that much work remains to be done, overall Hawaii’s charter schools and its chartering system continue to show promising signs of improvement,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton.

     

    Among the highlights:


    Academic

    • As measured by the State’s Strive HI Performance System in 2013-2014, the charter schools’ collective results fell under the statewide averages on most indicators of academic performance.

    • On the other hand, charter schools showed collective progress over 2012-2013 results on every Strive HI indicator except two.

    • All five charter schools that had been classified in the bottom “Priority” tier under Strive HI in the previous year showed progress under Strive HI in 2013-2014, with one reclassified this year into the next highest “Focus” category.

    • As measured by Strive HI, five of the state’s 11 top-performing public high schools—Myron B. Thompson Academy, Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) A New Century Public Charter School (PCS), University Laboratory School, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS), and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School—and two of its four top-performing public middle schools—Voyager: A Public Charter School and Innovations Public Charter School—were charter schools.

    • This was the first year the Commission implemented its own Academic Performance Framework (APF), which evaluates charter schools differently than does Strive HI, including by placing heavier emphasis on proficiency and growth among high-needs students and by proportionally weighing the results for each grade level (elementary, middle, and high) for schools that serve more than one grade level.

    • While it must be emphasized that these are only first-year results, under the APF, 21 schools either did not meet or fell far below the overall standard, 10 schools met the standard, and two schools—KANAKA and Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo—exceeded the standard.

     

    Financial

    • Financial data continue to show that charter schools generally are good stewards of public funding, a very important point in light of revelations of financial mismanagement at one school.

    • While some financial indicators for charter schools collectively improved last year, the data signal longer-term sustainability challenges for charter schools if funding levels remain essentially flat and/or schools are not able to realize more cost savings.

     

    Organizational

    • This year the schools’ organizational capacities were measured primarily by whether they had some fairly basic policies and practices in place in five areas, a deliberately incremental approach that acknowledges that the schools were not asked for these things consistently under the previous law and that most are lightly staffed.

    • Most schools fulfilled all or almost all of the 2013-2014 organizational measures.

    • The organizational framework highlights the need for additional attention to certain issues, including the transparency of school governing boards and the securing of needed permits and certificates for charter school facilities on state lands.

     

    “This report helps all of us take stock of where we are in implementing the vision of Act 130,” said Commission Chairperson Catherine Payne. “It’s been difficult, and we still have a long way to go, but the Commission remains committed to the hard work of ensuring that our charter schools are able to fulfill their missions and their responsibilities to the public and our keiki.”

     

    The Commission also will deliver its annual report to the State Legislature.  The report is available at the Commission’s website, http://www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov, by clicking on “Information & Resources” and then “Reports,” or at the following link: http://media.wix.com/ugd/448fc8_005c5d261ea04897974f1237b96d1062.pdf.

    Performance Contracts Strengthen Charter School Accountability

    State Public Charter School Commission

    July 2, 2013

    Honolulu – Monday, July 1, 2013, marked an important milestone for Hawaii’s public charter school movement when all 32 charter schools and the State Public Charter School Commission, the statewide charter school authorizer, completed the execution of the first charter school performance contracts in the state’s history.

     

    “The performance contract establishes expectations for the academic, financial, and organizational performance of charter schools in order to ensure good outcomes for students and responsible stewardship of public funds,” said Commission Chairperson Karen Street. “Performance contracts are a critical component of a high-quality charter school system, and this one helps clarify the responsibilities of the schools and of the Commission itself.”

     

    Charter schools, public schools that are governed and managed independently from the Department of Education, have been in Hawaii since 1999 but until now had never operated under performance contracts, which are considered best practice for the charter sector nationwide. Act 130 of 2012 changed that by establishing the new Commission and requiring performance contracts with each charter school.

     

    “The development of the contract has been a laborious and collaborative process with the schools, and they are to be commended for their engagement and for moving forward,” added Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton. “This hasn’t been accomplished without some real anxiety on the part of the schools, so our work has only begun. In the coming year, the Commission and the schools will continue to work together to refine what we have put in place and address concerns that may arise.”

     

    The execution of the performance contracts is the latest step in the revamping of Hawaii’s chartering system under Act 130. As part of the transition, July 1 also marked the sunsetting of the Charter School Administrative Office and its replacement by a restructured Commission staff. The improvement process continues with the recent enactment of Act 159, which further modified Act 130.

     

    “As with any significant transition, there are a lot of moving parts right now,” Hutton said. “The Commission looks forward to the challenging work ahead for the betterment of charter schools and public education in Hawaii.”

     

    For more information on the State Public Charter School Commission and charter schools, visit www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov.

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    ​State Public Charter School Commission

     

    1111 Bishop Street, Suite 516

    Honolulu, HI 96813
    info@spcsc.hawaii.gov

    Tel: 808-586-3775

    Fax: 808-586-3776

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    * The Commission gratefully acknowledges  former Commissioner, Dr. Peter Hanohano, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the translation of the Commission’s name.

    © 2013 by SPCSC. All rights reserved.