School’s status to move up after an analysis

After further analysis, Kihei Charter School’s status has improved a notch on a new Hawaii performance measure for public schools.

Kihei Charter School is now listed as “focus” – up from a “priority” status – under the Strive HI Performance System, which provides comprehensive information to understand schools’ performance and progress.

Under the focus category, there could be low achievement, low graduation rates or large within-school achievement or graduation rate gaps, according to the state Department of Education’s website.

A priority school is the lowest 5 percent of schools. Those schools show persistently low achievement, low graduation rates or schools in the School Improvement Grants Program, according to the website.

There are five steps in the performance system – recognition (the highest), continuous improvement, focus, priority and superintendent’s zone.

Kihei Charter moved up on the list after the DOE corrected an error in which high schools were automatically classified as priority schools based on only two years of graduation rate data. Actually, three years of data are required, the DOE said Friday.

Last month, the Strive report showed Kihei Charter students achieving high reading, math and science proficiency scores, but the school’s low 51 percent on-time graduation rate dropped it to a near-bottom rating.

Kualapuu Elementary on Molokai had no change in its status or index score, but the department said it incorporated new chronic absenteeism data for elementary charter schools that had been previously excluded for Kualapuu.

The Strive HI Performance System is the DOE’s new school accountability and improvement system. It was approved in May by the U.S. Department of Education. It replaces many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, with multiple measures of success to meet the needs of Hawaii’s students, educators and schools.

In the new system, schools earn points based on achievement, growth, readiness and achievement-gap measures.

On Tuesday, the DOE recognized 14 top-performing schools for exceptional achievement with awards ranging from $20,000 to $95,000. One of those top schools was Maunaloa Elementary on Molokai, which received a $75,000 award.

These schools were “recognition” schools, those that demonstrate the highest progress toward raising student achievement, graduation rates and closing the achievement gap, the DOE said.

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