Children are our future – it’s a well-known truth – and culturally relevant and location-based education strategies can help students lead better lives and make an impact on society. Hawai‘i’s public school system has been steadily evolving in order to keep up with the current trends, new technologies, and an increasing volume of information. The Hawai‘i Department of Education has recognized that the world is changing rapidly and that old approaches to education are too narrow or outdated altogether.
In 2012, the HIDOE and Board of Education introduced the first Strategic Plan to meet this challenge. Its main agenda was to help schools engage with local communities and ensure that all students get to enjoy equal rights and were able to succeed in classes. The next plan was made for the 2017-2020 period, and it continued the aspirations of the 2012 plan.
Now, the state Department of Education is preparing the 2030 Promise Plan to guide its actions for a decade. The use of the word “promise” instead of “goal” was intentional: “goals [may] feel impersonal if they are about aggregate targets and do not reflect individual inspirations” while promises are more focused on individual needs and can “help to address some of the shortcomings of goals,” reads the 2030 Promise Plan. It adds, “Promises and goals go hand in hand, balancing the quantitative and qualitative.”
A first draft of the plan was created during the summer after receiving input from educators, parents, and students, as well as other members of the community. Now in Phase II of creating the plan, the DOE is accepting public feedback until Sep. 20.
The project is based on community feedback to ensure relevancy and effectiveness when it’s implemented in the public school system, stated the DOE. Members of the public, including people who are directly or indirectly associated with education as well as individuals who want to share their innovative ideas and perspectives about education, are welcome to share their stories.
The five promises of the 2030 plan are Hawai’i, Equity, School Design, Empowerment, and Innovation. In summary, the promises focus on engaging the community and kupuna in the education process; honoring Hawaiian culture, language, and history, and adding those classes to the curriculum; providing students with opportunities for internships and collaboration with business leaders to provide a hands-on learning experience; and for students to learn skills they can use immediately in the real world.
The document also emphasizes the importance of flexibility and diversity of a classroom environment, highlighting the use of school gardens, virtual learning opportunities, and spaces with movable furniture. All five promises encourage each student to develop their unique talents and abilities.
Learn more about the DOE’s 2030 Promise Plan and give your feedback on the plan at Hawaiipublicschools.org/VisionForSuccess/AdvancingEducation/StrategicPlan/Pages/Phase-I.aspx
Image courtesy Flickr-Jen Russo