The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) has rewarded 14 public schools with $1 million for exceptional achievement as part of the state's new Strive HI Performance System.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Don Horner, Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and other state officials attended a ceremony at Red Hill Elementary – one of the top-performing schools – to present individual awards ranging from $20,000 to $95,000.
"These exemplary educators, staff, students and their families share a belief and commitment to always Strive HI," Gov. Abercrombie said. "I applaud their resilience and dedication to provide the very best opportunities to all children."
"We are excited to provide well-deserved recognition and support to help schools continue to excel in preparing students for college and careers," Superintendent Matayoshi said. "To get to this point is not easy. Yet these principals and teachers have shown what is possible through a unified effort, hard work and dedication."
Strive HI, the state's redesigned school accountability and performance system, measures key success indicators and provides rewards to "Recognition" schools – those demonstrating the highest progress toward raising student achievement, graduation rates, and closing the achievement gap.
Notably, more than half, or nine of the state's 14 "Recognition" schools are Title I, meaning they overcame challenges associated with serving a large number of disadvantaged children from low-income families. Red Hill Elementary is one of the Title I schools that worked with its community to focus on intervention programs for student success.
"Our hardworking teachers' dedication and commitment to our students are why we are able to celebrate today," Red Hill Elementary Principal Mona Smoot said. "These funds will play a critical role in allowing schools such as ours to continue to focus on student success and to align our school to common core state standards."
Award funds must support initiatives to sustain success such as professional development, investments in technology, musical instruments, science lab and equipment, among other improvement strategies.
The 14 "Recognition" schools and their awards are:
Highest Performance and High Progress ($95,000 each)
- Ahuimanu Elementary
- Red Hill Elementary
- Waters of Life Public Charter School
Highest Performance ($75,000 each)
- E.B. de Silva Elementary
- Hickam Elementary
- Hokulani Elementary
- Lanakila Elementary
- Liholiho Elementary
- Manoa Elementary
- Maunaloa Elementary
- Palisades Elementary
- Pearl Ridge Elementary
Highest Progress ($20,000)
- Kalihi Uka Elementary
- Konawaena Elementary
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