12 Hawaii Schools Receive Funding to Implement New STEM Education Programs

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

Keaau High School was one of the recipients.

Keaau High School was one of the 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.

The funding enables each school to implement PLTW high school programs in PLTW’s computer science, engineering and biomedical science pathways. Grant funds cover expenses such as program fees, teacher training at the University of Hawaii – West Oahu, and classroom equipment and supplies. 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.

“We are extremely grateful to USA Funds for making it possible for schools in Hawaii 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 12 schools selected to begin PLTW’s programs are:

  • Aiea High School, Oahu
  • Honokaa High School, Hawaii
  • Island Pacific Academy, Oahu
  • James Campbell High School, Oahu
  • Kalaheo High School, Oahu
  • Kalani High School, Oahu
  • Kapolei High School, Oahu
  • Keaau High School, Hawaii
  • Lanai High and Elementary School, Lanai
  • Maui Preparatory Academy, Maui
  • Mililani High School, Oahu
  • Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Oahu

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.”

By 2017, Hawaii 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.

“Students on Oahu 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. “Hawaii is currently trying to attract high tech industries, and having a strong community of people with those skill sets will help to encourage that.”

Dozens of additional Hawaii high schools will have the opportunity to implement PLTW programs. PLTW will open a second round of grant requests from Hawaii schools 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.”

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in- demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more at www.usafunds.org.

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