Access Through Design

The What

Intentional and inclusive school and instructional design ensures every student is highly engaged in a rigorous, creative, innovative, and supportive learning environment. The school design includes multiple means for students to access the curriculum, ensuring that their individual needs are addressed and interests are incorporated to increase their access to, participation in, and achievement of academic curriculum. Differentiation strategies and intervention supports are essential ingredients to increase learning access through design.

School design also requires ongoing evaluation and data analysis as part of a continuous, data-driven improvement cycle. Data reviews incorporate formative assessment processes to guide intentional design with appropriate supports and practices. Incorporation of personal interests and social emotional learning supports are integral components of data review and design processes. Inquiry-based learning is another approach to increase students’ access to learning through design.

The Why

Equity and access are central to the mission and vision for Hawai‘i schools. Attention to equity is predicated on the notion that all students in Hawaiʻi can experience success in school and community.

Access through instructional design plays a central role by equalizing the playing field for all students to participate in rigorous, engaging, and well-rounded learning experiences. The outcome of creating access through intentional school design is not only equitable education for all, but also liberation where barriers are removed.

Balance between social, emotional, mental, physical, and academic development allows every student to have positive school experiences and creates thoughtful, well-adjusted, and engaged citizens. When students’ health, well-being, and developmental needs are considered and addressed as part of instructional design, teachers are more likely to meet students’ diverse needs, and students are ready to learn and much more likely to experience success.

The How

Schools can use the following resources to address the key components of Access through Design across content areas:

Data-driven design

HIDOE Longitudinal Data System: Provides reports and dashboards where teachers and administrators can access longitudinal data about student academic progress and performance; an upgraded system is coming in fall 2019. Teachers and administrators can design data-informed instructional planning to meet each student’s learning needs. Contact the Longitudinal Data System team for training and access:, (808) 784-6045​.

Special Education: Process to identify, refer, evaluate, determine eligibility, develop an IEP, and reevaluate.

English Learners: 8-step process to identify, assess, and place ELs into appropriate Language Instruction Educational Program. Data include: English Language Proficiency levels; home language and cultural backgrounds; formal schooling experiences; ACCESS scores; number of years as active ELs; formative language assessment data such as Imagine Learning and Literacy.

Hui Pu Inclusion Initiative: Inclusive education means that all students are full and accepted members of their school community, in which their educational setting is the same as their non-disabled peers, when appropriate. The goal of Hui Pu is to:

  1. Increase the time students with disabilities are educated in the general education classroom.

  2. Close the achievement gap for students with disabilities.

Universal Design for Learning: UDL is a framework to guide the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials that can be customized and adjusted to meet individual needs.

Formative Assessment: A process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.

Innovative course design: A range of programs and courses are designed to increase opportunities for students to access quality learning:

  • E-School: Online Supplementary Courses for Students

  • FuelEd: Curriculum for all K-12 subjects. It offers personalized learning opportunities for different levels, learning styles, and needs. Schools use this platform for credit recovery and off-campus disciplinary placement.

  • HIDOE’s C3 Hub: A community workspace to develop place-based, culturally relevant, C3 Framework-aligned social studies curriculum and instructional materials for the people of Hawai‘i.

Differentiation strategies, interventions

Specially Designed Instruction: SDI is provided to students with disabilities who receive special education services. SDI adapts as appropriate content, methodology and or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of a particular student resulting from the student’s disability, and ensures access to the general education curriculum, so the student can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction that apply to all students. The intent of SDI is to close the achievement gap for students who qualify for special education services.

Section 504 Plans: A 504 plan contains supports that the school provides to a student with a disability to remove barriers to learning, so the student has equal access to the general education curriculum.

Differentiated Instruction for ELs: English learners benefit from differentiation by English Language Proficiency levels across the four language domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, as well as scaffolding strategies and instructional supports as part of the design for ELs’ access to content and language learning. Educators are encouraged to embed the Stanford University Understanding Language Subcommittee's principles to support English learners' success with meeting Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

Designing for the whole child

Nā Hopena Aʻo (HĀ) is the department-wide framework to develop the skills, behaviors, and dispositions that reflect the Hawaiian context. The Office of Hawaiian Education provides resources and supports for designing participatory local Community Days grounded in localized contexts.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to the acquisition and application of knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, engage in positive goal setting, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: MTSS is a process that systematically documents student performance and identifies additional services and interventions as soon as a student demonstrate a need. Environmental factors are considered when determining reasons for student learning needs. Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are part of the MTSS process.

  • Under MTSS, RtI is a multi-tiered approach to early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RtI process begins with high quality instruction, universal screening of all students in the general education setting, interventions matched to student needs, monitoring progress frequently, and apply student response data to make educational decisions.

  • PBIS is an implementation framework to select and use evidence-based prevention and intervention practices that support the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of all students and create a positive school climate. Using a three-tiered approach, PBIS focuses on teaching positive and appropriate behavior, rather than punishing misbehavior.

Comprehensive Student Support Services: Programs and services that ensure all students are provided with appropriate support services that eliminate or reduce barriers to learning. Such services encompass prevention, early intervention, tertiary intervention and strategies, and involve close collaboration with individuals, organizations, and agencies internal and external to the DOE.