STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT COMMITTEE
Mililani High School
95-1200 Meheula Parkway, H Building, Quad Room
Mililani, Hawaii 96789
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Margaret Cox, Committee Chairperson
Patricia Bergin, Committee Vice Chairperson
Brian De Lima, Esq.
David Texeira (student representative)
Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent
Phyllis Unebasami, Deputy Superintendent
Robert Davis, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area Superintendent
Jerrold Yashiro, District Educational Specialist, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area
Jana Itagaki, School Renewal Specialist, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area
Dale Castro, Complex Academic Officer, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area Korene Horibata, School Renewal Specialist, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Board Private Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary
I. Call to Order
The Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) was called to order by Committee Chairperson Margaret Cox at 3:24 p.m.
II. *Public testimony on Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) agenda items
Committee Chairperson Cox called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.
III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of February 7, 2019
ACTION: Motion to approve the Student Achievement Committee Meeting minutes of February 7, 2019 (De Lima/Bergin). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
IV. Discussion Items
A. Presentation on Complex Area Superintendent Report: special education and English learner in the Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area
Phyllis Unebasami, Deputy Superintendent, introduced Robert Davis, Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area Superintendent (“CAS”). She stated that the presentation is a continuation of CAS reports on special education and English learner (“EL”) services that the complex area is providing to its students.
Davis introduced staff from the Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area: Jerrold Yashiro, District Educational Specialist; Jana Itagaki, School Renewal Specialist; Dale Castro, Complex Academic Officer; and Korene Horibata, School Renewal Specialist.
Davis reviewed the processes that help the complex area carry out its mission. He emphasized that the complex area spends time developing its mission and ensuring that it builds capacity at schools. He highlighted that the complex area supports schools by providing schools with resources and leadership and noted that the complex area has a responsibility to provide leadership to schools. He detailed that the complex area regularly revisits its mission with schools and shares its mission with school leaders. The complex area receives feedback on its mission from principals over the summer. Davis stated that the complex area’s leadership framework is comprised of four components, including administrative, teacher, instructional, and operational leadership, and these components help carry out the complex area’s mission and ensure that everyone understands they play a part in leading schools.
Davis stated that the complex area recently reviewed how to standardize data collection for schools so that schools have a common language when reviewing achievement, growth, and transition. He noted that the complex area has standardized formative assessments, and common language would lead to better assessments. The complex area plans to involve leadership, ensure buy-in, train staff on programming, and build capacity. He emphasized the importance of the complex area involving teachers in decision making because decisions affect instructional leadership. He stated that the last phase is to review operational leadership, which includes funding, monitoring, and the leverage of resources.
Davis stated that students at the complex area are from all socioeconomic levels and noted that the complex area has a large population of students from military families. Davis reviewed student demographics and detailed that the complex area’s total population is 16,941 students, including 1,748 students who receive special education services, 86 students who receive EL services, 86 students who receive both EL and special education services, and 14,493 who are in general education classrooms.
Davis reviewed special education demographics, including the five most prevalent eligibility categories. He noted that the complex area’s data shows that 211 students have autism, which is a larger number than most complex areas. He detailed that the actual number of students diagnosed with autism is 400, but this is not their predominant diagnosis, which is why they are not included in the data.
Yashiro stated that 41% of students in the complex area receive special education services, which is similar to the state average. However, 44% of students in the complex area who receive special education services spend 40 to 79% of the school day in the least restrictive environment. He detailed that the complex area has shifted its support from providing operational training on special education compliance to providing professional development on special needs instruction to both special education and general education teachers and training educational assistants so that they could work with students who receive special education services. He highlighted that the complex area provides professional development on inclusive practices and co-teaching to ensure that infrastructure is there so that teachers could provide the correct instruction to students receiving special education services.
Davis highlighted that the complex area enrolls almost 25% of all military-connected preschool students in the state. He detailed that the complex area has a higher number of preschool teachers than teachers for other grade levels. Davis noted that Solomon Elementary School currently has seven preschool classes and would have nine the following year. He stated that almost 100 three- and four-year olds require services. Davis stated that the complex area faces many challenges based on its demographics.
Committee Member Brian De Lima asked about the complex area’s budget. Davis detailed that the State allocates funding for special education based on the complex area’s population.
Committee Vice Chairperson Patricia Bergin asked about the support the complex area provides to students transitioning from preschool to kindergarten or first grade. Davis explained that individualized education plans (“IEP”) drive support services, and schools provide students with modifications, adaptations, and accommodations that they require.
Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin asked about the complex area’s higher number of preschool-aged children who receive special education services as compared to other complex areas. Davis explained that Hawaii is a military overseas destination that receives federally funded services. However, not all overseas destinations receive federally funded services. Service members with children who require special education services are limited in their options if they are required to serve overseas.
Committee Member De Lima asked whether preschool students who are military-connected received intervention services prior to moving to Hawaii. Davis stated that it varies whether students received services prior and noted that the complex area’s schools are 95% military-connected.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked about special education preschool class sizes. Yashiro stated that schools try to assign a teacher and an educational assistant to each special education preschool class and try to limit these classes to ten students.
Committee Member Catherine Payne asked about eligible students not attending special education preschool classes. Yashiro explained that schools evaluate and assess students who arrive to Hawaii from out-of-state to determine eligibility. He noted that the complex area does not count out-of-state IEPs in its data. Yashiro detailed that some students are receiving special education services but do not yet have a current IEP in Hawaii. He noted that the number of students who receive various services changes each year.
Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin asked if the complex area’s data includes medically fragile children. Yashiro confirmed that it does. Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin asked what percentage of students are medically fragile. Yashiro detailed that the complex area has six medically fragile classrooms for elementary, middle, and high schools.
Davis reviewed the most common home languages of students who receive EL services, including Ilokano, Chuukese, Spanish, Tagalog, Marshallese, and 30 other languages. Davis reviewed student achievement data for math and English language arts (“ELA”) by subgroup. He detailed that students in general education classrooms have slightly increased in math proficiency over the last four years. Similarly, students who receive EL services have increased in math proficiency, specifically over the last three years. Davis stated that increased proficiency is due to the complex area’s framework and focus on all students and areas.
Itagaki stated that the complex area attributes growth in proficiency to a number of strategies, including implementation of standard-based core instruction and alignment of curriculum. She noted that schools focused on problem solving for math and allowed students to develop an understanding of concepts.
Davis stated that the complex area has also seen improvement and growth in ELA proficiency. He noted that students in general education classrooms and students who receive EL services have improved significantly over the last four years. Students who receive special education services have also improved, and the complex area hopes to see additional growth in the future.
Itagaki highlighted that the complex area received a grant several years ago to support reading instruction for military-connected students who receive special education services. The complex area provided professional development to all teachers, including special education teachers, to help teachers develop a diagnostic mindset so that they could identify student needs and instructional strategies to address needs. She stated that teachers have continued to use these strategies in classrooms, which might have contributed to ELA growth over the last four years.
Davis stated that the grant allowed the complex area to leverage resources, utilize funding for other important initiatives, such as stipends, and provide ongoing professional development to teachers, including substitute teachers.
Davis reviewed exit data for students who receive special education and EL services. He stated that 2.7% of students who receive EL services exited the EL program in School Year (“SY”) 2016-2017, and 6.7% of students who receive EL services exited the program in SY 2017-2018. He noted that 15.87% of students who receive special education services transferred to regular education and 17.47% graduated with a regular high school diploma. Davis stated that the complex area hopes that these trends continue to increase.
Castro reviewed the complex area’s focus on early literacy. He detailed that the complex area’s first goal is to increase the number of students who are proficient by third grade, and its second goal is to decrease the need to provide reading remediation programs for students at the middle and high school levels. He stated that the complex area is working with school leaders to identify measures and supports to reach these goals. He noted that the complex area is attempting to provide appropriate resources and options because schools are diverse and have individual needs. Castro highlighted that the complex area is providing tools that are inclusive for both elementary and secondary services. He detailed that the complex area has been working to create a common framework for language that is consistent across all grade levels and schools. The complex area has relayed messaging to schools and is ensuring that feedback loops are consistent and inclusive. Castro highlighted that the complex area plans to identify focused measures that recognize a school’s individual context and align with the complex area’s framework. He noted that the complex area expects to close the achievement gap due to its initiatives and ensure equity and access through differentiated instruction for students.
Horibata reviewed the complex area’s focus on social-emotional learning. She stated that the complex area received a Project AWARE grant, which gave it access to funding, resources, and materials. The complex area implemented a multi-tiered system of support framework in order to promote culture related to whole-child learning. She explained that the multi-tiered system of support is a three-tiered model of prevention that addresses academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of all students. The model expects that 80% of students would have their needs met with first tier supports in place, 15% of students would need additional second tier support, and less than 5% of students might need third tier or intensive supports for the complex area to meet their needs. Horibata stated that the complex area has been implementing tools for schools to self-assess and review areas of growth and need. She stated that the multi-tiered system of support guarantees equity and access for students and schools are able to meet the needs of students in a timely manner.
Horibata highlighted three schools, including Haleiwa Elementary School, Wheeler Middle School, and Mililani High School. She detailed that Haleiwa Elementary implemented a social-emotional learning curriculum and began first tier implementation. Wheeler Middle School was the first secondary school to pilot self-assessment and purchased Panorama through the grant, which allows the school to measure social-emotional skill development, school climate and culture, student-teacher relationships, safety, and sense of belonging. Horibata detailed that Mililani High School focused on staff preparation to implement social-emotional learning supports and provided staff with social-emotional learning activities. She highlighted that Mililani High School has prioritized time for faculty to promote social-emotional learning and adult-student relationships.
Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin commended the complex area for supporting special education in the complex area’s only charter school and highlighted that the complex area sets an example for every other district by collaborating with charter schools.
Committee Member De Lima commented that social-emotional learning aligns with performance and stated that students who are not proficient by third grade need intensive intervention. He asked if the complex area tracks students who are not proficient at the third grade level or students who are in the third tier and noted that a lack of proficiency in former years might create social-emotional challenges for students in the future.
Davis stated that part of why the complex area is focusing on early literacy is because research shows that students who are not reading at grade level by the third grade are more likely to face challenges as they transition through school. He detailed that the complex area is reviewing how principals spend resources to ensure that all schools are addressing early literacy. Davis stated that the complex area works with schools by reviewing data, diagnosing each individual student, and providing for specific needs in order to address students who are having difficulty progressing. The complex area is specifically implementing programs with diagnostic and follow-up components to provide schools with resources based on an individual student’s diagnosis.
Committee Member De Lima detailed chronic absenteeism concerns and asked if schools hold students back who are not proficient. Davis explained that this is at the discretion of the principal. Committee Chairperson Cox commented that research shows that students who are held back too long are less likely to graduate and more likely to drop out of school and stated that principals need to retain students who are not proficient with caution.
Committee Chairperson asked about the complex area’s preschool enrollment. Davis stated that 4,000 students in the complex area never enrolled in a preschool program based on historical data. He detailed that one of the reasons for the lack of preschool enrollment is the lack of preschool programs in the complex area. He noted that some areas have a higher number of preschool programs than others, which limits opportunities.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked about the complex area’s professional development for general and special education teachers. She stated that schools would need to implement similar vocabulary across all grade levels to help students progress. Committee Chairperson Cox commented that measurements and data should drive instructional changes. Davis explained that the complex area is standardizing data and implementing common language across all schools and grade levels to provide teachers with specific support and intervention tools. Davis stated that the complex area also provides differentiated instruction to schools to support teachers.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked if the complex area’s elementary, middle, and high schools are working together and collaborating. She asked if the complex area’s middle schools are moving toward being intermediate schools. Davis highlighted that the Leilehua Complex Area implemented social-emotional programming in all ten of its schools for consistency. Davis detailed that the complex area is focusing on math beginning with Algebra I because high school personnel reported that students are not prepared for Algebra II without a proper foundation in Algebra I. He highlighted that the complex area is bringing all schools together to ensure consistency, expertise, and expectations. Committee Chairperson Cox emphasized the importance of consistent vocabulary, math, and ELA across grade levels so that students could make connections.
Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin asked about the complex area’s assessment tools. Davis stated that schools begin using a universal screener and progress-monitoring tool at the kindergarten level. Yashiro explained that the diagnostic tool is for grades kindergarten through twelfth, but references after the establishment of a child’s diagnostic profile are for grades kindergarten through eighth. He stated that the rationale is that schools would start to reduce remediation as students approach grades ninth through twelfth. Yashiro noted that schools use this common assessment tool but the complex area does not dissuade schools from using triangulated data. The assessment tool provides the complex area with common data points to engage in discussions regarding transitions from elementary to middle to high school. Yashiro highlighted that the complex area focuses on multi-sensory learning techniques that promote early literacy and multi-sensory approaches.
Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin asked if schools use the universal screener and progress-monitoring tool as part of an intervention strategy. Davis confirmed that they do.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked about planning time for special education and general education teachers in inclusive classrooms. Davis stated that the complex area recognizes that co-teaching will not work without planning time. He stated that the complex area provides assistance, support, and professional development to schools. He noted that schools needed to be creative sometimes while working toward inclusion because they have a limited number of special education teachers. Davis detailed that educational assistants work with general education teachers in some instances, and some schools implement specific bell schedules to provide teachers with collaboration and planning time.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked about inclusion for students who receive EL services. Davis stated that most of the complex area’s schools implement inclusive practices for students who receive EL services. Davis noted that the complex area is trying to improve its inclusion rate for students who receive special education services.
Committee Member Kili Namau‘u asked about social-emotional learning programs at non-pilot schools. Horibata detailed that all but two schools are implementing social-emotional learning curriculum or are in the process of moving toward social-emotional learning practices.
Committee Member Namau‘u asked about the complex area’s social-emotional learning pilot programs. Horibata explained that social-emotional learning practices are collecting momentum statewide. She detailed that the complex area received a grant to focus on mental health awareness, which begins at the school level with social-emotional learning for all students.
Committee Member Namau‘u commented on social-emotional learning at Mililani High School and asked if other high schools are implementing similar practices. Horibata stated that Mililani and Leilehua High Schools are both focusing on staff preparation and developing initiatives to drive adult and student relationships.
Committee Member De Lima asked how the complex area is engaging parents of children who are struggling. Horibata detailed that schools engage in self-assessment of infrastructure using a tiered fidelity inventory tool as part of the multi-tiered system of support. The self-assessment asks schools to review stakeholder engagement, including parent engagement, and provides schools with tools to engage stakeholders and parents. She noted that some schools are creative in parent engagement efforts, including holding family strengthening classes. Horibata stated that engagement efforts vary by school. Committee Member De Lima stated that most efforts focus on parents who are already engaged in their child’s learning, and the challenge is to engage parents of students in the third tier of support who are struggling socially and emotionally.
Committee Member De Lima commented on the complex area’s data collection and asked about new programs and software. Davis stated that the complex area is not imposing additional layers of data collection for schools but is providing schools with opportunities and explaining layers of data collection so that administrators and teachers understand the benefits, instructional effects, and operational costs. He noted that schools are opting to collect additional data after receiving information.
Committee Chairperson Cox asked about the complex area’s Title I schools and parent engagement. Davis stated that the complex area is combining various social-emotional components and involving parents.
Committee Chairperson Cox adjourned the meeting at 4:29 p.m.