DANIELLE CHOATE / NANAKULI HIGH SCHOOL
The language arts and math departments have been the focus of restructuring efforts by ETS Pulliam at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School. Language arts teachers like Sue Bartee, seen here working with students Leroy Feato Jr., left, and Kolei Kea, have undergone extensive training in aligning curriculum with standards and other strategies to help students.
Learning how to learn
Students and teachers adjust as the school undergoes restructuring
Nanakuli High and Intermediate School is currently under restructuring due to the inability to meet the Hawaii State Assessment Adequate Yearly Progress.
Nanakuli High School
Ka Leo 'O Nanakuli
Danielle Choate, Kathern Kupa and Maribell Pabalan
89-980 Nanakuli Ave., Waianae 96792
Black and gold
ETS Pulliam, an educational company, was selected by the DOE to take over NHIS. ETS Pulliam is working on helping teachers in the classroom by assisting them on teaching strategies to help students meet the AYP in this year's Hawaii State Assessment.
Shirley Olson, Ed.D., an instructional accountability associate with ETS Pulliam, said, "One of the biggest changes is that we are very focused in language arts and math, and that every course is in line around the Hawaii Standards -- those are the content standards in mathematics and English."
ETS Pulliam also works through NHIS teaching coaches such as Robin Kitsu (language arts coach), and Chu Ying Singletary and Jackie Brown (math coaches). These coaches work by helping the English and math departments.
"We assist ETS Pulliam by giving the teachers support in the classroom, as well as modeling lessons and strategies that will help the students achieve standards," Kitsu said. "It's really the teachers who are making the difference by keeping the focus on the standards and being creative with their lessons."
Many changes were predicted last year when NHIS received word it would be restructured, but students like Akiyoshi Sevillino-Nakavara said nothing has changed.
"The changes are happening in the teaching and in the classroom," Kitsu said. "I think people were expecting major changes such as the bell schedule or elimination of courses, but the main focus is what is happening during the instructional time between the teacher and the student."
Still, other factors must be addressed, such as the daily attendance rate and the participation rate for taking the Hawaii State Assessment. The school could have done better in last year's assessment if more students had participated.
"In seven years we haven't met AYP," Principal Levi Chang said. He added that the school is aiming for at least 85 percent of overall attendance, but if the school makes at least 95 percent of attendance for the assessment, it can raise its proficiency rate.
Since there are no consequences for students who opt out of taking the HSA, Chang said, "Pulliam is thinking about giving incentives to students who have good attendance and actively participate in the HSA by giving them assemblies or bringing in a rock group."
Bryan Yamashita, social studies teacher, said: "I think there is a high correlation between regular attendance and doing better on the HSA. To get students to come to class, I would take a poll and ask students why some of them don't come to class and what would get them to come more regularly. Then try to make a compromise and see what the school can do so that students' attendance is more effective."
Chang said: "We should educate parents about the importance of the test and why we need students to participate. We have good students and people shouldn't judge us by our results on the HSA."
This year, NHIS has taken a big step to helping students meet AYP by having almost all of the teachers certified.
Another factor toward doing well on the HSA is having the administrators walking around campus and constantly visiting classrooms. Students have called this distracting, but some teachers say it is enjoyable.
Jamie Hill, eighth-grade math teacher, said: "I enjoy administration coming in because it allows the students to get to know who these people are, and because I am a new teacher and I will need to be observed this year, there won't be as much pressure on me because I'm used to having people constantly observe my room."
Olson said: "We want to make sure that our students have every opportunity to learn the standards that the state says is the most important for them to learn. So we are helping the students focus their learning on these standards so that they know what they need to know to go on to the next grade level, the next challenging course, or whatever they're going to do next in life."
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Student show aids victims of hurricane
The musical revue raises $1,800 for the Red Cross
Musical entertainment by the Nanakuli Performing Arts Program was the focus of the evening; however, the real stars were the people who purchased tickets to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
On Oct. 2, the Nanakuli Performing Arts Program presented a musical revue production entitled "Voices of Hope." This production was a one-night-only show to raise funds for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
"After watching the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on television, the students wanted to do something to help those who were victimized by the disaster," said Natasha Mendonca, Performing Arts student. "The students decided to put their talents to good use and put on a show with all the proceeds going to the American Red Cross."
COURTESY NANAKULI HIGH SCHOOL
Sarah Iokepa performs "One Fine Day" during Nanakuli's benefit production, "Voices of Hope."
Because the decision to produce the show was a last-minute call, the students did not have much time to rehearse. Many of the numbers were from the Performing Arts Program's most recent show from last school year, "On the Radio," which featured songs and dance from various radio station formats.
"I had family that lived near New Orleans, but just happened to move before the hurricane struck, so I had some personal interest in helping the people," said Ilikea Avilez, Performing Arts student.
The production raised over $1,800 from ticket sales and concession items. The proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross.
"I thought it was wonderful and what high school is all about," said audience member Barbara Riley. "It was so inspiring."
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New Dance Club enhances energy and concentration
Something new and entertaining has arrived for the students of Nanakuli High and Intermediate School -- the sort of thing that makes students get out of their chairs and make them flip and go wild.
This year, a group of students created a new source of fun entertainment, which they call the Dance Club.
"Our goal is to express ourselves through dancing and to teach all those who want to know to how to dance," said Kala Borabora, Dance Club president and treasurer.
"By previewing ourselves anywhere they would like us to perform, like at the assembly, we feel we can make our Club known and make a difference in NHIS," said Andrew Hahn.
The NHIS Dance Club is open to students in grades 9 to 12 who want to have some fun and be part of something special.
English teacher Sue Bartee took the role of adviser to the group of energetic students.
For this group, dancing has become a positive influence in other school areas. "It's a good way to teach students concentration and hard work," said Borabora.
This newly created club has brought many students together to do what they love best and that is to dance.
"We hope the Dance Club keeps up through the years, because it's like our gift to the students who have talent. We also hope they continue our club with new talents to add." said Hahn.
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"What do you like about being a student at NHIS?"
"I like that we get out early, we have no uniform policy, and we get breaks after each quarter."
"It's fun to be a student at NHIS because you learn a lot of new things, and you get along with the other kids."
"I like the sports because it gives students a sense of pride, and makes students focus on work."
"There are a lot of different backgrounds in Nanakuli High and Intermediate School."
"I like NHIS because it's fun, educating and we finish early."