Hahaione Elementary School will be bidding Aloha to Ms. Cindy GIorgis at the end of the 2014 Calendar Year.  The Hawaii Department of Education has announced her replacement, Mr. Shannon Goo, current principal at Lincoln Elementary School.  He begins his new job at Hahaione on January 9, 2015.  Welcome, Mr. Goo and happy retirement, Ms. Georgis!

What is the optimal rate of math or English proficiency for any public school?  Public school proficiency arguably shouldn't be 100 percent.  The problem with 100 percent proficiency is the price of collecting those last percentage points.  It is, after all a public school, a democratic right and one in which no one is denied admission.  To chase those last few percentage points would be prohibitively expensive and would deprive those meeting proficiency from advancing yet further.

Taking the other view however, it really shouldn't be as low as the Hawaii Department of Education scores for the 2013-2014 school year.  Only 18 of 47 schools had 75 percent or more of students proficient in reading, and only three schools had 75 percent or more of students proficient in math.

Below is a chart of middle school scores from of what is being called the bridge assessment, a period of transition from the Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) based test.  Horizontal lines have been inserted at the 25%, 50%, and 75% tiers

 2013-14 Hawaii middle school math and reading ranking

Data Source: 2013-14 Strive HI Master Data File(.xlsx file) Hawaii Department of Education


The PDF format is attached below.

Download this file (20132014-hawaii-middle-school-math-english-ranked.pdf)2013-14 Hawaii middle school rankings for math and reading[2013-14 Hawaii middle school rankings for math and reading]40 kBUpdate this file (20132014-hawaii-middle-school-math-english-ranked.pdf) Delete this file (20132014-hawaii-middle-school-math-english-ranked.pdf)

Sometimes I think transparency in Hawaii is literal: you can't see it.  These data come from the Hawaii Department of Education website out of a link that I only seem to be able to access by using special filters in the Google search engine to unearth.  It does not seem to be part of the main menu.  In any case, because of the manner in which DOE manipulates the overall Strive performance index, I thought you might like to see how some of the raw data stack up.  For parents interested in which schools have students performing well on the ACT college readiness assessment, here's the breakdown of the top eight public middle schools in Hawaii.


  2013-14 College Preparedness  
  Top Middle Schools for 8th Grade ACT Testing  
  % Scoring at or Above
  15 on 8th Grade ACT (%)
1 Niu Valley Middle 75
2 Kaimuki Middle 74
3 (tie) Moanalua Middle 67
3 (tie) Mililani Middle 67
5 Aliamanu Middle 65
6 (tie) Kawananakoa Middle 63
6 (tie) Kailua Intermediate 63
6 (tie) Waikoloa El & Middle 63


Source: 2013-14 Strive HI Master Data File (.xlsx file)

From the 2012-2013 database, here are the top 5 Hawaii public high schools (excluding charter) based on 11th grade ACT scores.

Percent scoring at or above 19 on the 11th grade ACT:

Kaiser High School @ 56 percent
Mililani High School @ 54 percent
Kalaheo High School @ 52 percent
Kalani High School @ 50 percent
Moanalua High School @ 50 percent

Not surprisingly, these schools also have a high percentage of graduates going on to college, from 86 to 75 percent; Kalani topped the list reporting 86 percent of graduates continuing their education.


Not so long ago, in an unnamed California public school, I attended at PTSA meeting where a parent asked the Principal how they could get rid of the special education kids.  Nearly half of the audience nodded their heads in agreement, while the other half shook their heads in disbelief.  I was among the second half of the audience.

For me, it is imperative that all children receive an adequate education regardless of their aptitude for academics.  But, having said that, I understand why the question arose.  It also segues directly into why I think Honolulu Magazine's rating of an A+ for Niu Valley Middle School (the only one for regular enrollment public middle schools in Hawaii) is merited.

Hawaii, being the wonderfully progressive state it is, decided (with the help of US DOE) that it will provide its own rankings of schools based on how well it educates the whole.  That means that schools that have a higher enrollment of special needs kids will have lower scores.  Additionally, because Hawaii DOE also bases its scores on the gap between the two, it also means that the higher the scores the go, the more it weighs down on the gap.  Counterintuitive, right?

So, what happened with Niu Valley Middle School is that on raw standardized testing, it scored well above any of its counterparts.  Yet, on DOE weighted rankings, it registered well lower.  The reason was achievement gap numbers, the difference between high and low scoring performers.  The best illustration of the difference can be found at DOE's own site, at this link

I think it's important as a parent, to note that Niu Valley's ACT readiness score is 60 out of 60, or 100%.  At the same time, it's important to note that Niu Valley's achievement gap score is 33 out of 60.  The college readiness score is equally weighted at 60 with the achievement gap score.  In other words, much of the school's college preparedness ranking is masked by the gap between top and bottom performers. 

For anyone interested in more data or information on methodology methods, visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.

Honolulu Magazine just released their 2014 public school rankings, and once again East Oahu schools compared favorably.  Hahaione Elementary School came in 8th among 166 regular enrollment (not charter) elementary schools.  Other East Oahu elementary schools also fared well, with Kamiloki also in the top quartile at 19th. Niu Valley Middle School came in 1st among 42 regular enrollment (not charter) middle schools.  Kalani and Kaiser High Schools tied for 9th among 47 regular enrollment (not charter) high schools.  

(Honolulu Magazine has not published a link to their 2014 article.  I will update this article with a link if they do publish one.)