Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Six schools aim
at national standards

The board will vote on a $390,000
instruction plan for Leeward
and Big Island schools

By Crystal Kua


A contract to implement a national standards-based model at six schools is scheduled for a vote tomorrow by the Board of Education.

The school board is being asked to approve a $390,000 contract for America's Choice School Design in five schools on Oahu and one on the Big Island.

The schools are Ewa Beach Elementary, Highlands Intermediate, Honowai Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary and Waipahu Elementary in the Leeward District and Honaunau Elementary and Intermediate on the Big Island.

"What (the schools) are hoping to do is follow a nationally validated, researched model that has shown some success," said Al Nagasako, Leeward deputy district superintendent.

Developed by the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, D.C., America's Choice School Design aims to get students to high, international benchmarks in English, mathematics and science, according to models as described on the Comprehensive School Reform Web site.

The model also includes a design for quickly identifying students who are falling behind and bringing them back to standards.

"We're struggling with our reading scores," Nagasako said, referring to Leeward schools.

At a cost of $65,000 a school for one year, America's Choice would provide schools with a standards-based assessment system, curriculum materials designed to get students performing at standards as quickly as possible, effective instructional strategies, programs that bolster parent and community involvement, and strategies to maximize daily school learning, according to department documents.

Nagasako said the program was offered statewide and the six schools had applied for it.

America's Choice is just one avenue the Leeward schools are exploring to improve student achievement, and it is not meant to be a substitute for the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards for public schools, Nagasako said.

The school board tomorrow is also expected to vote on new and revised board policies.

A school-sponsored student publications policy could guide editors of yearbooks and school newspapers after offensive photographs were published in two high school yearbooks.

Among the revised policies to be considered will be those on religion, homework and statewide assessment toward attainment of Hawaii standards.

The revisions resulted from a task force's recommendations and a 1996 legislative resolution asking the board for a policy review.

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