By Kathleen Facon, Chief, Educational Partnerships Branch, Department of Defense Education ActivityFebruary 3, 2012
Study finds that Hawaii's schools are comparable to other districts studied
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA, and the DOD were commissioned to study and validate the concerns that the Hawaii Department of Education's public schools aren't providing military-connected students with an adequate and appropriate set of educational services.
The study concluded that Hawaii is generally comparable to the other school districts studied as measured by student performance, educational programs and services.
Hawaii and the comparable districts are home to some excellent, as well as challenged public schools. The data doesn't support the perception that Hawaii is not providing an appropriate education for school-age dependents who reside on military installations in Hawaii.
Therefore, there is no basis to support the establishment of DODEA schools on military installations in Hawaii.
The secretary of defense considers the following when making determinations of appropriate education programs for eligible dependents residing on military installations: Military dependents are eligible for free public education in the local area and the local educational agency is able to provide an appropriate educational program.
According to the report, HIDOE has set forth a comprehensive reform agenda for improving student outcomes statewide. The agenda demonstrates a clear path to achieving these goals by decreasing achievement gaps in reading/language arts and mathematics; increasing high school graduation rates; and raising college enrollment.
"The (DOD) is strongly committed to ensuring that the children of military families receive an excellent education that prepares them for successful careers and to be active contributors to their communities and the nation," said Marilee Fitzgerald, director, DODEA. "Our partnerships with public schools serving military-connected families are an important part of that commitment."
Over the summer, DODEA has joined forces with the HIDOE to implement initiatives and provide support that will have an immediate and direct effect on the quality of education for many students, including military-connected students, in Hawaii's public schools.
Through its grant authority, DODEA is able to provide resources to academic programs and student support programs in public schools having a high concentration of military-connected students.
DODEA awarded $1.9 million to expand virtual learning opportunities and more than $1.3 million to upgrade resources in the Advance Via Individual Determination, or AVID, program at Radford High School in Honolulu.
About $480,000 will support the implementation of a blended learning program, which allows teachers to individualize and differentiate instruction for students via technology while also providing face-to-face direct instruction.
A blended learning pilot program is scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year at Hale Kula Elementary School at Schofield Barracks.
It also allows for cooperative learning opportunities in classrooms. Through the National Math Science Initiative, DODEA has also provided funding of $1.1 million for Leilehua and Radford high schools to become a part of the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program.
DODEA will provide oversight, support and mentorship through the life cycle of each grant to ensure success.
"Without a doubt Hawaii and military-connected students will be the benefactors from DODEA's collaboration and care for our schools in Hawaii," said Patricia Park, superintendent, Complex Area, Central District.
For more information, call DODEA at (703) 588-3191.