Kari and Evan Leong experienced first-hand the long hours and frustrations of trying to find information about Hawaii's Schools. They had one child entering Kindergarten and another starting preschool. As they started their research, it was challenging to figure out which school was the best for their child. They could not always find complete information and up-to-date information for the schools. It seemed easier to find information on restaurants, real estate and entertainment, but limited resources for Hawaii's education. With these challenges, Evan and Kari knew they were probably not the only ones left in the dark about what opportunities were available for their children.
With numerous schools and organizations not online and with up-to-date information, Kari and Evan felt the schools were disconnected with the community as a whole and the community online. With technology usage on the rise, Kari and Evan knew that they needed to fill the void of information about Hawaii's schools, thus creating The Hawaii School Guide.
The philosophical underpinning of the Hawaii School Guide is that education needs to be accessible and transparent. This will bring benefits to Hawaii's community as a whole, the students, teachers, parents and the community. Increasing the engagement and participation from all groups shows potential of a life-long learner and a successful student. When students are "connected" to their school, they are more excited to learn and are involved in the activities and programs offered to develop and teach skills.
Developing an online resource will focus on engaging all parties of a student learner to succeed in school, which includes the student, teacher, parent and community through technology. Having a community developed online will allow people to utilize the information whenever needed and be a part of a community on their own time. Developing a vision for this future plan is the goal of Hawaii School Guide.
Transparent and accessible education will be a shared effort through partnerships throughout the state, including the Department of Education, PACOM, HAIS, OHA, Charter Schools Organization and others. Ultimately, the goal of these organizations is to collaborate and improve the quality of education for Hawaii's children.
Improving the quality of education will consist of information being transparent and accessible. This will require organizing, collaborating and consistency. Rather than organizations working independently to present information through their sources and on their schedule, it is imperative to have each organization working together. This approach brings people together as opposed to competing with each other. The goal is to streamline the research process for parents as they search for the "best" school for each individual child.
Three guiding principles of the Hawaii School Guide:
A Resource - Traditionally, the vehicle to disseminate information about student achievement and school progress has been through magazines and newspaper articles. Information can be interpreted or misinterpreted which causes anxiety and panic among educators, students and parents. Hawaii School Guide creates a pipeline of information as a resource for educational institutions. This resource provides past and current information about the school so users are able to compare and recognize improvements and differences that each institution has made along the years.
Lifelong Learners - While students spend 6-8 hours a day in the classroom, learning is not just about functions and history, but about discovering who each student is and what his/her interests and talents are. Hawaii School Guide plans to highlight school programs that provide learning beyond textbooks and lecture. Discovering strengths and interest beyond the classroom setting is just as important as classroom learning and will build skills and enhance talents of all students. Hawaii's residents should be aware and be able to access learning in and out of the classroom which will develop lifelong learners.
A commitment to building the community - All of the efforts to prepare learners to develop into successful contributing members of society who are socially conscious and economically productive start at the school level. However, it is imperative that the community is supportive of its institution and is involved in helping it to thrive. Hawaii School Guide promotes a community network allowing access to schools through online engagement.
The overall vision of Hawaii School Guide is for all of Hawaii's residents to be aware of all of their education choices, making it transparent and accessible, so that our students can develop and succeed in the best educational environment and will become lifelong learners.
Hawaii is a state that is made up of a diverse number of cultures. Being located in the Pacific, many immigrate to the islands of Hawaii because of it's familiar weather conditions and lifestyle. There is an ongoing revitalization of the indigenous Native Hawaiian culture, a large multi-ethnic population, and the nation's highest level of multi-racial identity. This unique dynamic poses a challenge of meeting the needs of each individual student. Hawaii School Guide empowers all of Hawaii's residents in providing equal opportunities to education. Achieving equity will begin with the accessibility of learning opportunities and understanding the needs of our children. We will work together to move forward and provide each with access to opportunities to develop, explore and succeed with talents and skills that are learned and discovered.
Hawaii School Guide will collaborate and partner with a number of educational organizations to provide a resource and develop communities online for the people of Hawaii. The goals and objectives of Hawaii School Guide are to encourage students, parents, teachers and communities to come together and build a strong educational state for the greater good of the children.
The objectives of the Hawaii School Guide are:
- Establish a data collection with educational partners.
- Disseminate and communicate widely to the state about their educational options.
- Engage and empower communities to get involved with their neighborhood schools.
- Increase student participation in extra curricular activities.
- Enhance access to lifelong learning opportunities.
Hawaii School Guide, making education transparent and accessible.