Top Statewide Recognition Goes to Windward Oahu District Schools Awarded Blue Ribbons Honors

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KANEOHE, HAWAII – Heeia Elementary and Enchanted Lake Elementary schools were named Hawaii’s 2012 Blue Ribbon Schools based on outstanding student achievements and each received $3,000. There are 188 public elementary schools statewide; three received the honor. They are representing Hawaii and are being considered for National Blue Ribbon School status.

Before advancing to the Blue Ribbon level last month, the schools were named Hawaii’s 2012 Distinguished Schools because they are achieving in the top 10 percent of the state’s public schools in reading and math or because they demonstrated dramatic improvement in test scores.


Achieving remarkable advancements in reading and math was the winning ticket for Heeia Elementary School, which raised its High School Assessment (HSA) score17.1 percent in math in 2010 to 2011 compared to 2009 to 2010, said Interim Principal Wendy Matsuzaki. It also made great strides in reading, increasing its HSA score by 8.6 percent for the same time period.

“The Blue Ribbon designation is significant to us because it acknowledges the collaborative efforts of students, parents, teachers, staff and administration to improve student achievement,” Matsuzaki said.

For the national honor, schools may be eligible in two categories – the nation’s top “exemplary high performing schools” or the “exemplary improving schools.” The “improving” schools must have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Waiahole Elementary and King Intermediate schools were also contenders for the nominations secured by Heeia and Enchanted Lake. All four schools are designated Distinguished Schools.

Frito-Lay of Hawaii sponsors the Hawaii Distinguished Schools Program.

The Windward Oahu District is comprised of two complex areas – Castle/Kahuku and Kailua/Kalaheo. The district serves students in communities from Waimanalo to Waimea Bay with the purpose of providing high school graduates who are college and career ready.