East Hawaii News

Schools in Keaau, Pahoa Chosen for Digital-Based Learning Program

July 19, 2013, 2:14 PM HST
* Updated July 19, 2:16 PM
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Two Big Island schools have been chosen to take part in a program designed around a new digital-based curriculum.

Keaau Elementary and Pahoa Elementary were among eight Hawaii schools – and the only ones on the neighbor islands – chosen for the Common Core Digital Curriculum Project for the upcoming school year, the state Department of Education said.

The DOE said the CCDC pilot is designed to support the schools’ implementation of new curricula aligned with new standards for English language arts and math known as Common Core State Standards.

“The eight schools were selected based on their technological readiness, commitment to integrating technology in the classroom and readiness to implement a large school-wide project,” the DOE said in a statement issued today.

The schools will receive a tablet or laptop computer for every student and teacher, as well as new coursework and training on Google Apps for Education.

The Keaau and Pahoa schools will be the first to receive the devices, during the first semester. The others will receive them in early 2014.

The department said the Common Core Digital Curriculum Pilot Project builds on the successful work of a handful of Hawaii schools that are already using digital devices.

That includes at Keaau Elementary, which has been providing computers to students for two years.

The result has been a “significant difference in the classroom dynamics,” the DOE said.

Keaau Elementary Principal Chad Keone Farias said he has seen a significant change in student performance.

“The use of digital devices in our school has been a tremendous help in accelerating our students’ love of learning, which translates into higher test scores and better attendance,” Farias said.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie meeting in February with Keaau Elementary students involved in a digital learning pilot program. File photo.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie meeting in February with Keaau Elementary students involved in a digital learning pilot program. File photo.

He said Keaau Elementary is now on par with the state average in reading and has surpassed the  state average in math, which Farias said was a “huge improvement” over the past few years.

“The introduction of both the CCDC along with the Common Core State Standards in our schools helps set a high standard for student achievement, and pushes our efforts even further in preparing our students for post-secondary success,” said state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

The other schools chosen for the program were Mililani Mauka Elementary, Mililani Waena Elementary, Moanalua Middle, Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary and Nanakuli Intermediate and High.

The $8 million program was funded by state lawmakers during the past legislative session.

More information about the program and the DOE’s strategic plan is available at www.hawaiipublicschools.org.  

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