Hawaii's Public Schools Continue to Struggle

Ruth Silberstein
Ruth Silberstein
Palolo Elementary
Palolo Elementary

HONOLULU (KHNL) - They study the board and make their moves. About 30 Palolo Elementary students participate in a lunchtime chess club, part of a plan to improve student performance.

"The efforts that the school made this past year was to emphasize thinking skills as well as writing skills," said Ruth Silberstein, Palolo Elementary principal.

Students at Palolo showed improved test scores this year. For example, 43 percent of third graders met state standards in reading. That's up from 31 percent last year.

"The changes affected curriculum, as well as instruction as well as daily procedures, things we were doing definitely had an impact on the test scores," Silberstein said.

Last year the Department of Education identified Palolo Elementary as a school in need of improvement.

Test scores at Palolo have steadily increased over the last two years. If they go up again next year, the school will be free of the DOE's supervision.

"The efforts are showing improvement although we know we need to continue for one more year," Silberstein said.

The lunchtime chess games teach the benefits of education, but school officials said more work needs to be done.

"You can't measure it on test scores alone," Silberstein said. "There are wonderful things going on in our schools right now."