Vision – Youth making healthy choices and become successful adults

Senior Exit Plans

In 2000, the North Hawaii community selected, increasing educational attainment as a key priority to improve health and quality of life.  After reviewing the data on the influence of the “13th year” on health, (Chart),  North Hawaii principals collaborated to share resources and to support more students going on to a 13th year of school or training.

Percent 9th Graders who Graduate on Time

The Institute of Medicine recommends tracking the percent 9th graders who graduate on time as an important performance measure. However, this indicator is difficult to measure accurately.  Data for the three public highs schools in North Hawaii are displayed here (chart). The average over the six academic years for Honokaa High School was 84.2% Kohala High School was 93.7% and for Kealakehe High School 76.8%. It is unclear why there appears to be such a difference between Honokaa ,Kohala  and Kealakehe High Schools.  Caution is urged in interpretation as numbers are small.  The State average was 79.7% for 2005 – 2010.

Teens Not Working or in School

According to the American Community Survey for years 2009 to 2011 the percent of teens (15 – 19) not attending school and not working in the State of Hawaii (7%) is higher, than the nation as a whole which is 5% (chart).  It would be useful to have this data at the County and Sub-county levels.

Pregnancy and Teen Births

Teen pregnancies and teen births are a concern because children born to teens have a higher probability of living in poverty, a higher risk for abuse or neglect, and both mother and child are at a higher risk for low educational attainment. In 2000, the North Hawaii Community Forum identified, high teen pregnancy as one of the top six priorities for community health improvement.  A broad group of stakeholders met in 2001 to address this issue.  A North Hawaii non-profit, North Hawaii Women and Children’s Services, developed an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curriculum which was integrated into several North Hawaii schools and is now supported by Hamakua Health Center.

There has been significant effort in North Hawaii and Hawaii County to reduce teen pregnancy since 2000 and significant improvement was made between 2000 – 2004. Teen pregnancy rates declined between 2000 – 2008 for both Hawaii County and Hawaii State (Chart).

In 2009, the Hawaii County teen pregnancy rate was similar to the state rate, 61% for Hawaii County and 60.4% for the state.  However, the teen birth rate for Hawaii County was substantially higher (52.1%) compared to  42.0% for the state.

Teen birth rates in Hawaii County  declined more between 2000-2004 then in the overall time between 2000 and 2008 (Chart).

Juvenile Drug Arrests

The number of juvenile arrests in Hawaii County due to illegal drug use decreased from 2000-2004,gradually decreased from 2000 to 2011 (chart). The number of juvenile arrests for drug use in Hawaii County may reflect many variables in addition, to drug use including, police  staffing and enforcement policies, and the economy.

Risky Behaviors

For 2005 and 2009 fewer Hawaii youth compared to the US self-reported that they drank alcohol (Chart) in the last 30 days.  However, self-reported use of alcohol by Hawaii youth increased slightly between 2005 and 2009, while use declined slightly for the US as a whole.

For 2005, fewer youth in Hawaii self-reported marijuana use compared to national youth (Chart) .  However, for 2009 Hawaii youth reported more marijuana use than national youth.

According to the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey in 2009, Hawaii County youth were more likely than national youth to drive when they had been drinking alcohol and this increased  between 2005 and 2009 (Chart).  Hawaii youth also reported that they more frequently rode in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol compared to national youth (Chart).

Implication: Given the higher motor vehicle death rate in Hawaii County, a key strategy is to focus on reducing the percent of youth who drive after drinking  and who ride with a driver who has been drinking.  See also report, Reducing Drunk Driving Deaths in Hawaii County, 2012.

Resources for Youth: Search Institute 40 Development Assets

Research from the Search Institute clearly documents that as the number of youth assets increases, the number of risky behaviors decreases.

Implication: Schools and youth-focused organizations’ support of the 40 Development Assets is a key strategy. A list of these 40 Development Assets can be printed from

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