Big Island Teachers Attend National Summit

Listen to this Article
4 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Top Hawai‘i educators will be featured presenters alongside dozens of nationally recognized authors, speakers and educators from across the U.S. at the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) Middle Grades Summit held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, 2018 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Click to view brochure.

Through a partnership between the AMLE, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, the two-day national conference will explore innovative approaches to address the challenges middle school students face in achieving success.

Middle school can be an extremely challenging time for students. Many factors including peer pressure, academic stress and other distractions can result in poor attendance and behavior that are key signals of a greater likelihood of dropping out of school during high school.

“With the launch of HCF’s Connecting for Success pilot program in 2013, we saw first-hand how transformative providing extra support to middle school students can be with at-risk students continuing to succeed and achieving higher grades in both English and math,” said senior vice president of strategies, initiatives & network at HCF Chris Van Bergeijk. “Providing educators with the tools, data, resources and training are key to success and this summit is one way we can help.”

During the two-day summit, there will be more than 90 sessions by educators from across the U.S. on best practices for the middle grades. Featured speakers from Hawai‘i include:

Elizabeth Garrison, Kealakehe Intermediate School (Hawai‘i Island)


[Saturday, Feb. 3: 10:40 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Room 308B]

Garrison’s presentation, Attendance Counts! Combat Chronic Absenteeism and Improve Student Success for All focuses on school attendance as a key performance indicator for student success in the middle grades. Attendees will learn about the latest research and best practices to combat chronic absenteeism, as well as root causes, effective strategies and how to use school wide data to track absences and measure the success of interventions implemented.

Dr. Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda, Lydia Haff, Naturalee Puou and Coralyn Sunico, Kamehameha Schools Middle School, Hilo Campus (Hawai‘i Island)

[Saturday, Feb. 3: 1:50 p.m. to 2:40 p.m., Room 308B]

The group presentation titled Our Keiki Are ‘Ono! will discuss the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu middle level and secondary teacher preparation program that focuses on the idea that we want to produce teachers who believe that keiki are ‘ono. It also looks at student teachersʻ kuleana, obligation, to create the pilina, the relationships with their students that creates a culture in the classroom that is safe, engaging and filled with aloha. Participate with my student teachers and let them show you what they have done in their classrooms to create that kind of pilina.


Luane Higuchi, Waianae Intermediate School (O‘ahu) and Kevin Matsunaga, Kamakahelei Middle School (Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i)

[Saturday, Feb. 3: 1:50 p.m. to 2:40 p.m., Room 307AB]

This session on How to Engage Your Students through Digital Media will look at how digital media can be a powerful and effective tool in engaging students. However, some teachers may be reluctant to bring digital media into their classrooms due to lack the time, resources, or confidence to step out of their comfort zone. Learn how to break through these common misconceptions and engage your students through digital media.

Additional educators from Hawai‘i will also be presenting on topics ranging from student leadership, diversity and social equity, classroom management, STEM/STEAM, and youth development:

Friday, Feb. 2


Dr. Sandy Cameli – Hawai‘i Dept. of Education

Watching Students GLO: Using General Learner Outcomes to Build Character, Career and College Readiness in the Middle Grades
[9:45 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., Room 307AB]

Jyoti Castillo, Rebecca Arlander and Lucy Alexander – Washington Middle School
Cultivating Collaborative Civic Spaces for Adolescent Learners
[11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., Room 305 AB]

Danielle Wainani Seo Mizuta and James Street — Punahou School
Creating a Culture to Support Students with Learning Differences
[11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., Room 307AB]

Ken Kozuma — Waipahu Intermediate School
Building Leaders Through Middle School Future Farmers of America
[1:25 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Room 307AB]

JoAnn Jacobs and J. Mohala Boncales — Mid-Pacific Institute
Can you Change the World with Just One Teaspoon?
[2:35 p.m. to 3:25 p.m., Room 307AB]

Saturday, Feb. 3

Renee Blue – Waipahu Intermediate School
STEM the SkillsUSA Way
[8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m., Room 307AB]

Carli Michelle Masik and Dr. Laurie James – University of Hawai‘i, West O‘ahu
Technology to Advance Learning
[9:35 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., Room 307AB]

Tracy Taylor – Kapolei Middle School
The Road to Good Behavior, Good Grades and Success – Paved by Fitness/Health/PE and Dance
[9:35 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., Room 305B]

Dr. Marcia Howard – Kailua Intermediate School
West African Dance and the Middle School Student
[10:40 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Room 307AB]

Lisa Anne Lung Tsuruda – ‘Iolani School
Triple P: Personal Passion Projects: When Students have A Choice and A Voice
[12:45 p.m. to 1:35 p.m., Room 307AB]

Gwen Lee, Sean Tajima and Corey Sumida – Niu Valley Middle School
Global Village: The Power of One – It’s All about Passion and Empowerment
[1:50 p.m. to 2:40 p.m., Room 306B]

For more information and details on the AMLE Middle Grades Summit, please visit the AMLE website for a brochure, schedule, complete list of national speakers or the featured sessions that include Hawai‘i educators.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments