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Hawaii public school students return to classrooms today

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:31 p.m. HST, Jul 30, 2012

Classes resume today for most of the state's 180,000 public school students.

The 2012-13 school year will have 180 instructional days. 

The year includes more big changes for public schools, including longer school days for students in two "zones of school innovation" on the Waianae Coast and in the Kau-Pahoa region of Hawaii island. 

Click here for more photos.

Also this school year, a pilot project aimed at revamping teacher evaluations to include student performance data will expand to more than 80 schools. 

In an opinion piece published in the Star-Advertiser on Sunday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Board of Education Chairman Don Horner and schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi wrote, "We enter this school year with renewed determination and confidence about the future. What this means for us as education leaders is that we will continue to move forward on a unified, strategic plan for public education ... that defines student success and sets a course for our students to achieve it."

Private schools are also gearing up for the return of students, and a number will welcome students back later this week.

Classes at the University of Hawaii at Manoa resume Aug. 20.

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