Getting in GEER: Lighting the spark for Hawai‘i students

Posted on Aug 25, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

From leadership development and small business partnerships to natural resource management, art kits and genome sequencing — the 31 projects, supported by $8.1 million in the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, run the gamut in innovation. But they also revolve around hands-on, real-world learning — challenging students and teachers to look at issues in new ways. The goal is to build on the Ige administration’s Blueprint for Public Education, encourage innovation in response to the pandemic and set a course for education change and reform.

Waiʻanae High School science teacher Jameil Saez and students collecting data for their GEER project with Oceanit and HDOT.

Many of the projects involve partnerships between non-profits and public schools as well as state agencies, UH system programs, and businesses to address issues and provide learning that’s meaningful to students. One project involves partnerships between students at 24 public high schools and small businesses through the Hawai‘i Academies Consortium of Schools. “This is an investment in our future workforce ofSchools. “This is an small businesses through the Hawai‘i Academies Consortium of Schools. “This is an investment in our future workforce while serving local businesses and community groups impacted by COVID-19,” said coordinator Edison Chong.

Another example is Oceanit’s work with the state Department of Transportation and Waiʻanae High School. Science students are measuring coastal erosion and collecting data for DOT road planning in Mākaha.  One student who admitted she used to “hate school” said, “This program kept me motivated. Now I get to say I can graduate.”

Oceanit director Ian Kitajima asked, “How do you create careers of the future? You do it by starting today with students, teaching them different skills and creating new ways of seeing the world.” To see more, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxodx_xCMGE.

 

Read more in the September Capitol Connection newsletter.

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