STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT COMMITTEE

MINUTES

Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
10:30 a.m.

PRESENT:
Margaret Cox, Chairperson
Patricia Bergin, Vice Chairperson
Grant Chun, Esq.
Brian De Lima, Esq.
Darrel Galera
Andrea Lyn Mateo (student representative)
Kenneth Uemura, ex officio

EXCUSED:
Hubert Minn

ALSO PRESENT:
Stephen Schatz, Deputy Superintendent
Alison Kunishige, Esq., Board Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Board Private Secretary
Bernadette Fo


I. Call to Order

The Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Margaret Cox at 10:30 a.m.


II. Public Testimony on Student Achievement Committee (“Committee”) Agenda Items

Committee Chairperson Cox called for public testimony. The following people provided oral testimony.
Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Position
Scott MooreDepartment of Education
(Wailua Elementary School)
IV. A. Presentation on Feedback Loops with PrincipalsComment
Elynne ChungDepartment of Education
(Mililani Middle School)
IV. A. Presentation on Feedback Loops with PrincipalsComment
Amy PerrusoHawaii State Teachers Association and Department of Education
(Mililani High School)
IV. A. Presentation on Feedback Loops with PrincipalsComment
Vanessa OttCommunity MemberN/AComment

Scott Moore, Principal, Wailua Elementary School, testified that principal feedback should be expanded to include elementary and intermediate school principals and requested that a permanent method to collect feedback be implemented and feedback be collected not only on implementation issues and after a decision is made but on priorities as well.

Elynne Chung, Principal, Mililani Middle School, testified that the Secondary Principals Forum allows principals to provide input and collaborate statewide and dialogue with leadership. Chung stated that it is unfortunate the elementary schools are not included. Chung also added that attendance by a Board Member at these meetings would help keep principals updated on Board of Education (“Board”) activities. Committee Chairperson Cox confirmed with Chung that she is requesting a Board Member or a Board representative attend the Secondary Principals Forum meetings.

Amy Perruso, Hawaii State Teachers Association (“HSTA”), expressed appreciation for the Department of Education’s (“Department”) Educational Leadership Institute (“ELI”) and Complex Area Support Team (“CAST”) surveys but noted that data for agenda item IV. A., Presentation on Feedback Loops with Principals, was not made available until after the Board’s testimony deadline, so teachers and stakeholders did not have adequate time to prepare their comments. Perruso stated that the data provided was missing information needed to substantiate the results and explained that this undermines the Department’s stated thrust of greater transparency, is reflective of an ongoing issue, and essentially silences community and teachers’ voices in crafting education policy and negates feedback loops. Perruso also noted that the ELI and CAST data differ dramatically from the Educational Institute of Hawaii’s numbers regarding perceptions of implementation of the Educator Effectiveness System and empowerment issues and requested that the Board inquire about the disparities in the survey results. Lastly, Perruso inquired if teachers, as the professionals closest to the learning process, have been surveyed similarly to the administrators. Perruso stated feedback loops must be open to honest criticism and include all impacted stakeholders. Teachers are not merely stakeholders but the most essential professionals in guiding public school performance.

Vanessa Ott, community member, commented on Perruso’s testimony. Ott testified that when the Board posts meeting agendas at the absolute latest date and time legally allowed under the Sunshine Law, the community is given less than six days to comment on agenda items. Posted agenda items are often not complete because the supporting documents are not included. Ott challenged the Board to post meeting agendas on Mondays prior to the following Tuesday meetings to give the public enough time to review everything and also not include any item on the meeting agenda if all the supporting documents are not ready.

Written testimony was also received and provided to the Committee Members. The following is a listing of the people who submitted written testimony before the testimony deadline.

Name
Organization
Agenda Item
Position
Kaʻiulani PahiʻōNā Lei NaʻauaoV. A. Action on Public Comment Received on the Administrative Rules for Multiple Charter School AuthorizersSupport
Dr. Lisa M. Watkins-VictorinoNative Hawaiian Education CouncilV. A. Action on Public Comment Received on the Administrative Rules for Multiple Charter School AuthorizersSupport
Waiʻaleʻale SarsonaKūamahi Community Education Group, Kamehameha SchoolsV. A. Action on Public Comment Received on the Administrative Rules for Multiple Charter School AuthorizersSupport
III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of August 2, 2016

The Student Achievement Committee’s minutes of September 6, 2016, were approved as circulated without objection (De Lima/Chun).


IV. Discussion Items
Stephen Schatz, Deputy Superintendent, presented that the Complex Area Superintendent (“CAS”)-to-principal relationship is the most important of the feedback loops the State has with the schools but is further supported by many schools visits, principals’ meetings, the Principals Roundtable, the Secondary Principals Forum, and the ELI and CAST surveys. The Deputy Superintendent meets with CASs twice a month, and since becoming Deputy Superintendent, Schatz stated that he has visited approximately 150 schools.

Schatz commented that the Department established a principal-in-residence position with Lisa Nagamine from Moanalua Middle School who has taken two years out of the school rotation to help lead the Secondary Principals Forum. Regarding the elementary principals, because there are so many on so many islands, it is a challenge to find a way to bring them together.

Schatz also noted results from a couple of the surveys on perceptions of support and empowerment. Although there have been some improvements, many at the complex area and school level still do not feel their voices are heard sufficiently in state level conversations.

Committee Chairperson Cox asked if principals are given the topics of the roundtable or forum beforehand to be able to collect feedback to bring. Committee Chairperson Cox also asked how feedback is collected from teachers. Schatz responded that the roundtable serves as an advisory body where principals opine as individuals and professionals and do not serve as representatives for their respective complex areas. The only formal mechanism is the CAS-to-principal loop, where the CAS has the authority and responsibility to communicate information up and down the system. Other forums are more informal. There is also a teacher leader work group that includes HSTA representatives and other teacher leaders in the system that help provide feedback, such as through the Hope Street Group. Committee Chairperson Cox asked Schatz to look into finding ways to collect feedback from the elementary school principals.

Committee Member De Lima asked about significant issues principals are experiencing in the field. Schatz replied that there is a question of whether kids are being tested too much and another one is the recruitment of teachers. Recruitment of teachers is hardest on the neighbor islands and in particular subject areas, such as special education, secondary science, and deaf educators.

Committee Member De Lima stated one of his largest concerns is with the seeming lack enthusiasm for inclusion, especially among the elementary schools. He inquired how this priority is communicated to the CASs and principals and monitored. Schatz responded that there is a process through the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Support, but if it is made clearer in the new strategic plan, it will help to set a new direction. More could be done to encourage and incentivize inclusion and provide additional professional development to support it. Furthermore, if inclusion is going to be a focus for the system, it should be included throughout and in all the different discussion vehicles.

Committee Member De Lima inquired about the “bright spots” stories shared with the Board and whether these successes are leveraged at the complex area or state levels. Schatz responded that it is a little of both, but it is done best at the complex level. Bright spots are more about sharing, not replicating, and asking how success was achieved. Schatz also noted that he learned the best bright spots are not “supernovas” but the achievable examples.

Committee Member Darrel Galera asked if surveys from two professional principal associations, the Elementary and Middle School Administrators’ Association (“HEMSAA”) and the Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators (“HASSA”), have shared their recent reports on the Every Student Succeeds Act with Schatz. Schatz replied he has not yet received their reports.

Committee Chairperson Cox granted Moore’s request to provided additional comments to Schatz’s comments on inclusion. Moore noted that while inclusion can be a good practice, it is not necessarily the solution for every need. At Wailua Elementary, they ask what is best for the child’s academic needs, which often times can be a smaller academic setting. Being supported by appropriate resources can also be a challenge.

Committee Member De Lima responded that data indicates that the lack of inclusion is a major problem in Hawaii. The national average is 62 percent of students being in an inclusion setting. Hawaii is at 32 percent, which is a big difference. Parents of special needs children are not happy with the inclusion rate, particularly in the elementary schools. Committee Member De Lima also concurred that appropriate resources are a problem and further noted that if these problems are not addressed soon, Hawaii may be managed by the courts again. Pulling children out of general education should not be considered the best idea and general practice but the exception to the rule.

Moore responded that the situation is a “catch 22” where children with a learning disability must be provided special services related to their individual needs but also should not be placed in a special setting when sometimes the best thing is to put them in a small group setting. In early years, parents want their children in a regular setting but pivot their concerns at secondary grade levels when their focus becomes more about academics and not inclusion or social issues. Conflicting priorities cannot always be addressed well and sometimes choices have to be made. Although Hawaii’s percentages are different from the rest of the country, that does not necessarily mean we are doing anything wrong. One size does not fit all.

Committee Member De Lima stated that there are elementary schools in the state successfully doing full inclusion. While there are exceptions in individualized education plans (“IEP”), inclusion is the law.

Committee Vice Chairperson Patricia Bergin asked if decisions about placing a child in an inclusion or self-contained setting include the parents. Moore responded affirmatively and that a conference is held with the parents where options are discussed.

Committee Vice Chairperson Bergin stated that wherever possible full inclusion should be opted for. Moore acknowledged that students are included in a regular setting as much as possible but that academically sometimes the best option for a child is a smaller group setting with additional supports.

Committee Chairperson Cox noted that when inclusion is discussed, the Board is referencing co-teaching, which means needing more teachers, more money, more planning time, and not just placing a child in a classroom, which all comes back to the IEP. A special education teacher should not be an aide in the classroom but a co-teacher. Co-teaching is the best setting for many kids.
V. Recommendation for Action
Committee Chairperson Cox directed committee members to the memorandum on the public comments received that includes analyses and responses to the comments as well as suggested amendments. The proposed rules will be sent to the Legislative Reference Bureau (“LRB”) for final technical review of format, and as such Committee Chairperson Cox recommended a revised motion.

ACTION: Motion to recommend the Board 1) adopt the amended Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 8-515 and 8-517, as attached as Exhibit B of Board Member Cox’s memorandum dated November 1, 2016, provided that any amendments that would require another public hearing, as determined by the Department of the Attorney General, not be included in the amended administrative rules to be adopted by the Board; 2) authorize Board staff to make any technical, non-substantive changes to the rules as suggested by the LRB; and 3) authorize Board Chairperson Lance Mizumoto to sign the rules on behalf of the Board (De Lima/Bergin). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.


VI. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Cox adjourned the meeting at 11:25 a.m.