Officials, teachers gather for school empowerment conference

Local News

First Lady Dawn Ige sat down with teachers and school administrators — some from around the world — all with the goal of improving education.

Administrators and teachers gathered at the Hawaii Convention Center Sunday for the Hawaii School Empowerment Conference that focused on what is best for the future of education in Hawaii,

Ray L’Heureux, vice president of the Education Institute of Hawaii, said the institute’s goal is to empower administrators and schools to make the right decisions for their students, and that the one-size-fits-all model of education of the past has to change.

“For a long, long time, that narrative has been that we had the worst teachers or worst schools or the worst principals and, really, that narrative has to change,” he said.

The institute brought in guest speakers from as far away as Finland to speak about how public education in Hawaii can improve.

“I think it’s really good to get everybody’s perspective out there,” said Amy Kunz, the Dept. of Education’s senior assistant superintendent. “I think it’s really good to have folks that are not from Hawaii also to come and talk to us about things that are going on internationally, and we can always learn how to educate our students better.”

DOE officials at the conference say they believe the Ige administration is committed to improving public education in Hawaii, with the first lady even sitting in on Sunday’s panel discussion.

Assistant superintendent Tammi Oyadomari-Chun said “the governor is such a key player. He was education chair back in the ’90s and has always advocated for more funding in his student formula. It’s a part of the govenor’s budget and it’s a major request of the DOE to put more resources in the hands of our principals to be able to meet our students’ needs.”

The Education Institute of Hawaii said it’s already booked a date for its third annual conference that will take place at the Hawaii Convention Center in January of next year.

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