Hoʻohaʻaheo: Public School Proud [Sponsored]


Students will be immersed in excellent learning environments that are thoughtfully designed around a community’s power to contribute to a thriving, sustainable Hawai‘i.


School Design Journey

Over the past year administrators have been strengthening and developing School Design profiles to help them communicate their vision to students, parents and the community. The profiles were designed to address:

  • What instructional practices increase student engagement and student success?
  • What is the learning experience of our students?
  • What are we doing to increase student voice opportunities?

Forty percent of the Hawai’i State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) schools completed their initial designs. The full portfolio of school designs, when completed, will make it possible to answer these questions:

  • Families: Which schools are aligned to my child’s interests, talents and aspirations?
  • Community Groups, Volunteers: Which schools are aligned with the services I render?
  • Business and Industry: How does the School Design embed opportunities for pathway exploration and experiences?
  • Students: Which schools will be preparing me with the skills, aptitudes, pathways, and experiences to develop and pursue my passion, dreams, and aspirations?

To learn more about HI School Design, click here.


SCHOOL DESIGN PROCESS: ĀLIAMANU MIDDLE SCHOOL – Principal Albert Hetrick describes where he and his staff at Āliamanu Middle School are in the School Design process.


State and district leaders are taking a holistic approach when it comes to School Design and figuring out how each school complements the offerings and needs of their communities so that schools are not operating in silos but rather in tandem with one another.
Complex area superintendents Bob Davis and Kathleen Dimino share their School Design journey and plans for how to move this work forward with their team of school leaders.


by Complex Area Superintendent Bob Davis

The concept of school design was new to many of us, and we are still learning more about it. Doing so, however, has been an opportunity to revisit why we exist as school leaders. Focusing upon the elements of core beliefs, curriculum and learning, student products and voice, and infrastructure was necessary to bring the elements of learning together, and is invigorating to our field of principals. It was a mindset shift and the principals in the Complex Area took on this challenge ready to learn together.

Prior to the School Design rollout, we considered our schools to be comprehensive, meaning that schools would offer our students all programming possible. Now, with this new concept, while we still offer a wide variety of opportunities, we evaluate and highlight the ones that best serve the unique needs of our communities. We then are working to take it a step further and convey this message in a dynamic format to message to the community.

I knew that as we went on this journey together, we needed to have a common understanding and language to create a solid foundation for our work. Principals started to document their school designs using a digital portfolio and we incorporated this into their evaluations to ensure it was tied into standards and goals that we set for our school leaders.

Leilehua Mililani Waialua School Facilities

Schools were then tasked with creating a School Design profile or one-pager as part of the next phase of this initiative. To facilitate this deliverable, we set up a recent professional development with industry experts. These individuals provided training to principals on marketing and branding as well as how to use technology to tell their stories through a variety of formats, including videos. Each principal was able to depict the unique characteristics of their school community and answered the call for innovation. Principal Brenda Vierra-Chun of Wheeler Middle School stated, “If our School Design profile floated away and someone picked it up, would that person be able to tell it was about our school? Would that profile be unique?”

This process has lead to discussions that have galvanized our school communities and they are reflecting on their role in terms of empowering communities. This is the essence of our School Design work as we have the opportunity and responsibility to embrace it. I am both humbled and inspired to work along with our principals in the Leilehua, Mililani and Waialua communities.


by Complex Area Superintendent Kathleen Dimino

We started our school design process two years ago by examining what we already had in place – what’s working for our school communities. We reviewed our complex plan and reflected on how it aligned to each school’s academic plan to ground our work. This provided the information we needed to design a framework that would be structured while empowering our schools to address the evolving needs of their students, staff and families.

At the start of this past school year, each school formed a committee made up of administrators, teachers and student representatives to review their school’s programs. Their committees put pen to paper to document their school’s design. As an added support, the Complex Area hosted a series of professional development opportunities to help with the creation of School Design pro- files. Topics ranged from project-based learning to Student Voice. This provided information and the groundwork needed to design BKM schools to meet the needs of our students for the years to come.

This past May, a group of teachers were asked, “What will you see, feel and experience in Hawai‘i’s Public Schools in 2030?” One teacher responded via a feedback form: “Students collaborating with community members to solve local problems.” This was a good representative sample of similar feedback we received from other teachers as well as administrators. What was clear by the end of these discussions was the sense of urgency everyone felt in developing school designs that included strong core values around equity and emotional health.


The process of putting our school designs into a visual representation provided our leaders with a better understanding of how they are perceived by different role groups and the type of information and communication that is needed to build strong relationships.

In the next year, we will be working diligently to design our schools to meet the unique challenges presented to our 21st century learners. We are excited for the opportunity to be able to collaborate with all our stakeholders to develop truly innovative school designs that provide equitable learning opportunities for every child in our schools.

Alyssa Tagawa, Grade 5, Konawaena Elementary School

Alyssa Tagawa, Grade 5, Konawaena Elementary School

What would a school of the future look like to you?

If I were designing a school for the future, I would make sure to get the opinions and perspectives of multiple kids, this way you have lots of ideas and you can be sure the school meets everyone’s needs. I would like to see more project-based learning and group work so that you can learn while you are also learning to interact with others. There should also be choice in terms of the projects we get to pick. Another idea I have is to include a variety of courses that go beyond just the core courses like mathematics and English language arts. For example, we might have courses in robotics, gardening, construction or video-game design!


INTRODUCTION TO SCHOOL DESIGN – School Design has four components to enable school communities to create excellent learn

ing environments that reach every student.

My Voice, My Choice, My Future

by Principal Keith Hayashi, Waipahū High School

The transformational School Design Journey is exciting. It embraces the core beliefs and values of our organization, leverages our collective creativity, and inspires innovative ideas and possibilities that transform into real opportunities for the stakeholders in our system.

At Waipahū High, we embrace our student-centered motto, “My Voice, My Choice, My Future.” It’s essential to support innovative processes and practices that inspire and empower members to think creatively. It’s through our college- and career-focused Academies of Waipahū that we work collaboratively with each other and with our industry, post-secondary education, and community partners to provide an array of innovative opportunities for our students and staff. Our school’s curriculum, student learning, and infrastructure are updated to support these opportunities.

Disruption and disorder are natural outcomes of a collaborative process involving so many people; that should be embraced as a critical component for improvement. It’s also essential to maintain and nurture positive relationships that promote trust. Providing a continuous flow of up-to-date information is also important, to avoid counterproductive misinformation within the system. Collaboratively created visual structures that define and capture the School Design help provide a common reference for all stakeholders to reflect, learn, and support a collective understanding and organizational purpose.

Students at Waipahu High

Students in Waipahū High’s Academy of Industrial & Engineering Technology collaborate to develop solutions to mechanical problems using Computer-Aided Design (CAD).

School Design may be further enhanced when all schools within a K-12 complex define and align articulated efforts. It provides a focus for schools within the complex  while still allowing for diversity in meeting the needs of its students and staff.

The process of School Design takes time, collective commitment, and energy. To move an organization forward, these are valuable and essential investments. As stakeholders are empowered to lead in innovative teams that embrace the core beliefs and values of the school and the larger community through School Design, our public education system will become an even greater change agent for Hawai‘i.


HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design developed a website with research-based and future-focused information on curriculum and instruction. The purpose of the site is to share resources on instruction, assessment and student learning; highlight local, national and global instructional design elements that supplement the 2030 Promise Plan; and support complex areas and schools as they construct their school design. To learn more, click here.


Categories: Education

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