Students and teachers at Makaha Elementary School have a whole lot to celebrate about today. For the second consecutive year, the school reached the benchmarks set by the state to achieve "adequate yearly progress" and fulfill the increasing expectations of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards.
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro (District 45 – Waianae, Makaha, Makua), along with Augie T, a well-known Hawaii radio personality, joined teachers and staff at a Makaha Elementary School assembly on Aug. 1, to congratulate and honor students for their outstanding triumph. The school accomplished its goal of achieving good standing and was able to elevate itself from the sanction level imposed by the state over the past two years.
Makaha Elementary School has been through its share of challenges, and still has many other hurdles to overcome. It has experienced a trend of drops in enrollment, and a loss of a new teacher mentor and Department of Education liaison to Makaha Farm (Hoa Aina O Makaha). The school was also required to budget all teachers at the average teacher salary even though it receives many new teachers each year. In addition, Makaha is arguably the hottest part of the Waianae coast, and the lack of air conditioning makes the classrooms and portables almost unbearable to learn in.
"Overcoming all these barriers has made their recent success of coming out of restructuring and into good standing even sweeter," said Rep. Shimabukuro.
Even with the increase of proficiency expectation levels in reading and math, the students of Makaha Elementary School excelled on the Hawaii State Assessment tests. This year, according to NCLB rules, 58 percent of students needed to pass reading proficiency tests compared to 44 percent last year. In math, 46 percent of students needed to pass this year compared to 28 percent last year. At Makaka Elementary School, 54 percent of students were proficient in both reading and math, and with a 10 percent increase in proficiency gain from the previous years, the school showed significant progress thereby pushing them out of restructuring.
On Wednesday, July 30, teachers and staff greeted returning students at the front gates waving congratulatory signs as they made their way onto campus for the first day of school.
"As a school, we are so proud of our students for all their hard work," said school Principal Nelson Shigeta.