Positive Leadership Influencing West Schools

Ed Oshiro

Ed Oshiro

Sharing Notes …Sen. Michelle Kidani

The Legislature designates several days during each session as Education Week to recognize excellence and achievement in campus leadership, academics and athletics.

It’s an inspiring week for all of us, especially when we have so many individuals we can invite to the Capitol for this kind of recognition.

Among those who received commendations from the Senate and House this year is Waipahu High School principal Keith Hayashi, named 2015 High School Principal of the Year by Hawaii Association of Secondary School Administrators. Since he became principal at Waipahu High in 2009, Keith has focused many of the school’s resources on preparing students for college and future careers.

Waipahu High is the second-largest high school in the state, and its small learning communities and Early College Program participation have won the school well-deserved praise. Seven students from the school’s Early College Program even participated in the National ECP conference on the Mainland in December and did presentations about their experiences.

Information released by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education just a few weeks ago shows that Hawaii students have made steady improvement in key indicators of college and career readiness.

Math and reading scores are up, as are college enrollment numbers. Waipahu High is one of the top five schools in Hawaii that made the biggest gains in students who took college credit courses at UH while they were still in high school.

There were 23 students in the class of 2012 enrolled in college courses; that increased to 121 graduating seniors in the class of 2014.

College enrollment among 2012 grads was about 43 percent, and increased to 53 percent of grads in 2014. The numbers for Waipahu’s class of 2015 that graduates next month will be even higher.

Principals in West Oahu schools consistently have been recognized for their leadership in recent years. Principal Hayashi previously received the prestigious Masayuki Tokioka Award for Excellence in School Leadership, and Ed Oshiro, principal at Ewa Makai Middle School, is the most recent Tokioka Award winner.

That award is sponsored by Island Insurance Foundation to honor the memory of company founder Masayuki Tokioka. It recognizes education leaders who focus on learning, building partnerships that engage the professional community and sharing leadership on their campuses.

And now, just a few days ago, 13 principals were introduced as nominees for this year’s Tokioka Award — including Stacie Kunihisa of Waipio’s Kanoelani Elementary School.

The award recipient for this year will be announced April 30. Congratulations, Stacie, and thank you for your good work on behalf of our youngsters!

Waipio Ambulance Update

In about six months, construction will begin on the long-awaited EMS ambulance station along Kamehameha Highway in Waipio. My fight for funding, extending the time period for the funds to be spent, and the city’s review of designs and finalizing plans have taken several years from when the Legislature first budgeted for this project.

Obtaining permits and soliciting bids are both underway, with an anticipated award of a construction contract expected next month.

Emergency medical services that the new station can provide are critical to our rapidly growing West Oahu neighborhoods, and I’m pleased that the project finally is moving forward.

Contact state Sen. Michelle Kidani, D-District 18 (Village Park, Royal Kunia and Waikele, most of Waipio Gentry, and Mililani Town) at 586-7100 or senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov.