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DOE Transition Center Initiative Honors Rep. Mark Takai

June 26, 2017, 10:01 AM HST
* Updated June 26, 12:32 PM
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The late Congressman Mark Takai. House of Representatives photo.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) in partnership with Hawai‘i 3Rs and the Military Affairs Council, has announced an initiative to develop high-quality transition centers for Hawai‘i public schools.

The effort honors the late Congressman K. Mark Takai, who strongly advocated for Hawai‘i students and supporters of military-dependent students throughout his career.

Through the initiative, HIDOE will commit $250,000 annually for four years using federal Impact Aid Funds to improve Transition Center facilities, technology, furnishings and special events. Transition Centers help acclimate newly-arrived students to schools–particularly military-dependent students–through peer-to-peer mentoring services.

“Transition Centers provide tremendous support to new students as well as instilling leadership skills for student mentors,” said DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this partnership that allows us to not only expand this program, but fulfill one of our goals in our Strategic Plan in helping as many students and families as possible.”

Program partners at the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council and the Hawai‘i Business Roundtable will provide additional funds each year, to be managed by the Hawai‘i 3Rs Special Fund.

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“Hawai‘i 3R’s is pleased to partner with the Hawai‘i Department of Education to develop transition centers that will help students assimilate into an unfamiliar environment,” said Hawai‘i 3Rs Board Chairman Alan Oshima. “By easing them into the rhythm of a new school and campus, learning can become the priority.”

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Rep. Takai’s work was instrumental in securing tens of millions in annual federal Impact Aid funding that support public schools.

“In working on this initiative there was no question that the effort would be in honor of our friend Mark Takai who was fiercely committed to public education and his service to our nation,” added Superintendent Matayoshi.

Transition Centers mainly serve public schools with greater numbers of military-dependent students including Radford High, Leilehua High, Mokapu Elementary and many more. Based on continuing success, the centers will expand to serve more students at schools statewide.

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Future transition centers in the initiative will be named “Takai Transition Center” and will feature the following pledge:

As a member of the K. Mark Takai Transition Center Network, we:

  • Understand the challenges that are an inherent part of matriculating into a new and unfamiliar school environment;
  • Welcome all students transitioning into our school, including military-connected students, and will support and sustain them throughout their time in our school community;
  • Recognize and honor our military personnel for the contributions and sacrifices they make for our defense and the preservation of our rights, and the sacrifices of our military families to support them;
  • Value the added richness and experience that students from varied cultural and social backgrounds bring to our school community; and
  • Commit to providing high-quality supports through dedicated resources via the establishment and sustained operation of a transition center on our school campus.

Schools interested in establishing a new Transition Center or upgrading existing Transition Center facilities should contact HIDOE Military Liaison Cherry Okahara.

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