Two Maui County Schools Receive STEM Funding

March 15, 2016, 9:33 AM HST · Updated March 15, 9:33 AM
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Maui Prep Academy STEM grant photo, courtesy Jenny Worth.

Maui Preparatory Academy photo, courtesy Jenny Worth.

Twelve Hawai‘i schools, including two in Maui County, will be able to expand science, math, engineering and technology education as the first recipients in a multi-year, $2.2 million grant program to increase students’ readiness for college and careers.

Maui Preparatory Academy and Lāna‘i High and Elementary School are the two Maui County recipients.

Gov. David Ige announced the initiative in January in partnership with Project Lead The Way and USA Funds as part of an effort to build the state’s innovation economy and workforce.

By 2017, Hawai‘i is projected to need 16,000 more workers with STEM skills each year, but the state currently ranks 47th in the number of STEM-related degrees awarded per 100,000 residents.

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PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K–12 students and teachers across all 50 states. USA Funds is providing a $2.2 million grant to support the program.

The funding enables each school to implement PLTW high school programs in PLTW’s computer science, engineering and biomedical science pathways.

Grant funds cover program fees, teacher training at the University of Hawaii – West O‘ahu, classroom equipment, supplies and other expenses.

“We are extremely grateful to USA Funds for making it possible for schools in Hawai‘i to implement PLTW’s programs,” said Rex Bolinger, senior vice president and chief development officer. “PLTW programs empower students to develop the knowledge and transportable skills they need to thrive in our advancing, high-tech economy.”

The 10 other schools selected to begin PLTW’s programs are:

  • Aiea High School, O‘ahu
  • Honoka‘a High School, Hawai‘i
  • Island Pacific Academy, O‘ahu
  • James Campbell High School, O‘ahu
  • Kalaheo High School, O‘ahu
  • Kalani High School, O‘ahu
  • Kapolei High School, O‘ahu
  • Kea‘au High School, Hawai‘i
  • Mililani High School, O‘ahu
  • Nanakuli High and Intermediate, O‘ahu

Lanelle Hibbs, superintendent of the Kailua Kalaheo Complex Area, said the grant and opportunity to implement PLTW Engineering will mean significant benefits for the students of Kalaheo High School.

“The students will be engaged in the engineering process and the concepts of quality workmanship, safe practices, problem solving, positive work habits, and to the concept of teamwork,” Hibbs said. “They will also be introduced to the wide range of available career opportunities and given the experiences to go along with them. Kalaheo students will have a rigorous and relevant curriculum to prepare them for life after high school.”

“Students on O‘ahu face the same job market and economy as the rest of the country, and having a deeper set of STEM skills will give them an advantage both in college acceptance and in job readiness,” said Tom Falenofoa, technology coordinator at Mililani High School. “Hawai‘i is currently trying to attract high tech industries, and having a strong community of people with those skill sets will help to encourage that.”

Additional Hawai‘i high schools will have the opportunity to implement PLTW programs when PLTW opens a second round of grant requests this fall.

“We look forward to thousands of additional students being prepared for high-paying jobs in high-demand STEM fields in Hawaii’s growing innovation economy,” said Carol D’Amico, USA Funds executive vice president, National Engagement and Philanthropy. “USA Funds is delighted to partner with Project Lead The Way, the nation’s leader in preparing students for STEM careers, to expand STEM education and employment while advancing economic development in Hawaii.”

For more information about Project Lead The Way, visit www.pltw.org.

Learn more about USA Funds at www.usafunds.org.

 

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