Jennifer Pimentel

Lana’i High and Elementary School
Lana’i City, Hawaii

Best Practices

1) Parent and Community Relations: Establishing parent and community relations, and strengthening these relationships within the cultural context of our school, has had an immense impact on the success of our students and school academic planning goals. The work that we have done to build partnerships with our families has led to increased community input and involvement in our school systems and programs. Areas of increased involvement include school beautification, family/staff communication systems, school dress code modifications, volunteers, school events, and wellness programs for staff and families. In our very small community, we’ve found it essential to include our community and family stakeholders as a voice in the design and development of our policies. Inclusion of Lana’i High and Elementary School families as partners has also led to a noticeable increase in students’ “sense of belonging” at school, as well as a significant decrease in our chronic absentee rate this school year. The strengthened and renewed ties we have established with our stakeholders continue to support the mission and vision of the school.

2) Teacher and Staff Development: Teacher and staff development has been a strong focus for administration at our school over the past few years. We have approached this through two differing lenses to scaffold support for staff. For the first time in 20 years, our campus is fully staffed. In response to this, we are investing time and efforts in supporting new teachers, hired both locally and from abroad, in learning cultural practices as well as school and state systems. New teacher mentorship programs, initiated by the school and complex, support new teachers in understanding expectations of fidelity to program and curriculum implementation. Concurrently, we have also established systems of ongoing support with veteran teachers. These occur through self/peer directed PLCs, enhanced EES support, and focused professional development anchored in data. An open channel for continuous and constructive feedback provides administration opportunities for reflection and adjustment. These efforts have not only generated leadership within the school staff but also yielded noticeable improvements in student achievement.