Garrison, HIDOE continue dialogue on schools

| September 5, 2014 | 0 Comments
Howard Johnston (standing), deputy garrison commander, USAG-HI, poses a question to HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Maj. Gen. Charlie Flynn, commander, 25th ID, and senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, during a luncheon at the Nehelani, Sept. 3. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

Howard Johnston (standing), deputy garrison commander, USAG-HI, poses a question to HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Maj. Gen. Charlie Flynn, commander, 25th ID, and senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, during a luncheon at the Nehelani, Sept. 3. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

Story and photos by Sarah Pacheco, Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii leadership met with members of the Hawaii State Department of Education for the second time in one week during a luncheon at the Nehelani, here, Sept. 3.

This coming-together of the minds was initiated by Col. Richard Fromm, commander, USAG-HI, as a way of facilitating continued, open communication between the Army and local communities.

State School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi (left) talks with Maj. Gen. Charlie Flynn (center), commander, 25th ID, and senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, and his wife, Kathleen, prior to the start of a luncheon held in honor of HIDOE leaders. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

State School Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi (left) talks with Maj. Gen. Charlie Flynn
(center), commander, 25th ID, and senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii, and his wife, Kathleen, prior to the start of a luncheon held in honor of HIDOE leaders. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

“U.S. Army Hawaii is committed to the needs of our Soldiers and their families, and caring for our communities, and the education of our children is a top priority for us all,” said Maj. Gen. Charlie Flynn, commander, 25th Infantry Division, and senior commander, U.S. Army Hawaii.

According to Flynn, who hosted the gathering, the purpose of the meeting was two-fold: to hear feedback and the final report of the recent U.S. Army Chief of Staff School Performance Assessment, and to learn what is currently happening within the DOE, both at the state level and at the school level.

“We’re here, today, to engage in conversation and continue the dialogue that you’ve had with previous Army leadership on how we can all work together by sharing information and push toward the same goals,” Flynn said. “We really do care what happens in our schools.”

Last November, Gen. Raymond Odierno commissioned a study to provide a list of schools that are underperforming, according to their individual state’s standards.

The results of the report will serve as data to Army leaders that, in turn, will help continue the dialogue with education officials of Army-connected schools.

In Phase 1 of the study, 393 public schools that serve 200-plus Army-connected students across 22 states were assessed in the areas of academic achievement, school attendance, exposure to quality teaching, high school completion and college readiness.

Of the 52 public schools USAG-HI partners with both on Oahu and the island of Hawaii (44 and eight, respectively), 10 participated in the recent assessment, to include Hale Kula, Solomon, Wheeler, Helemano and Iroquois Point elementary schools; Wheeler, Aliamanu and Moanalua middle schools; and Leilehua and Moanalua high schools.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Richard Fromm, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, addresses an audience member's question during a luncheon held at the Nehelani, here, Sept. 3. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Richard Fromm, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, addresses an audience member’s question during a luncheon held at the Nehelani, here, Sept. 3. (Photo by Sarah Pacheco)

None of the schools were in the bottom quartile.

“We’re well aware of the negative perception of Hawaii public schools and, with this information, we can help dispel the rumors and misperceptions that have festered within our Army community for many, many years,” said Flynn.

Following a discussion of the assessment results, Kathryn Matayoshi, state schools superintendent, took the podium to review where the state school system has been, and where it is headed in the future.

Flynn and Fromm then opened up the floor to allow educators and school heads to ask questions or address concerns they may have. Among the topics of conversation were excessive absences, after-school pickup, participation of Soldiers in school meetings and activities, registering children to the correct school, and making more funding available to schools with the densest Army-connected population.

In closing, Flynn thanked all who attended the conference and said he looks forward to the way ahead.

“My next duty is to work with my team to develop a communication plan, in conjunction with JVEF (Joint Venture Education Forum), so that we can disseminate this information effectively and efficiently,” Flynn said. “It is very clear that we, as a state, are on the path to education reform in Hawaii, and we definitely want to support that and be engaged in any way that we can.”

• Online Resources

For additional information about Hawaii’s public schools, including a section devoted exclusively to military families, visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.

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Category: Community, Education, Leadership

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