Waianae Elementary School Update

Maile’s office received a message from a resident concerned about Waianae Elementary School’s receipt of a “School Improvement Grant”. Please find below the Board of Education (BOE) response, as well as the resident’s message to Maile:
BOE Response (April 2013):

The School Improvement Grant program is a federally funded award given to schools that demonstrate a need for additional assistance. Waianae Elementary School is one of those schools. The school will receive the grant funds for three years to support school improvement by:
1) developing a common formative assessment system to analyze and record student needs, progress and intervention plan; 2) institutionalizing a data management and decision making system focused on results; 3) refining instruction by providing all teachers with training and coaching; 4) designing and implementing a positive behavior system for students; and 5) restructuring the school schedule to provide extended learning time, intervention time as well as core instruction time.
Waianae Elementary School is also a school within the educationally progressive zone of school innovation which is part of the federal Race to the Top grant. With these additional supports, the school is focused on improving student achievement not only on the Hawaii State Assessment but on multiple measures of success.
The Board of Education and the Department of Education recently approved a strategic plan that includes multiple measures of student success. You can find the strategic plan along with a explanatory video at the following links:
Board/Department Strategic Plan: http://doe.k12.hi.us/curriculum/strategicplan.htm Strategic Plan Video: http://vimeo.com/61645894
March 2013 Facebook message from Kuhio Kane:
Seems my messages come back to me without reply, Maile. So, the ratification of a new four year contract brings public school teachers 17% over the next four years. Right back to where we started when the state took it away from teachers four years ago. I suggest HSTA work to incorporate COLAs for the past four years PLUS COLAs for the next four years within the new contract upcoming, if it’s ratified by HSTA/teachers.
Wai`anae Elementary School has just been designated an SIG school. SIG =
• The turnaround model in which the LEA replaces the principal and rehires no more than 50% of the staff, gives the principal greater autonomy, and implements other prescribed and recommended strategies.
• The “restart model” in which the LEA converts or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, charter management organization, or education management organization.
• The “school closure model” in which the LEA closes the school and enrolls the students in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving.
• The “transformation model” in which the LEA replaces the principal (except in specified situations), implements a rigorous staff evaluation and development system, institutes comprehensive instructional reform, increases learning time and applies community-oriented school strategies, and provides greater operational flexibility and support for the school.
In other words, attaching standardized testing (which has been proven to be unreliable at best as an indication of improvement, especially in high poverty areas) to student / school improvement “grades,” is a poor way to evaluate teachers and students.
What SIGs do is upset the school operations while giving a strong incentive to the state to allow privatization of the school by for-profit, taxpayer-funded, charter schools. What do you think about this?
It’s the poverty. Get it? What are your thoughts on this? The Wai`anae Coast district schools will not show the highly-vaunted “no excuses” improvement without fixing the community first.
I’d really like to know how you feel about this since you are a “local” from the westside. And I voted for you.

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