East Hawaii News

Big Island Schools Named R.E.A.C.H. Intiative Participants

September 2, 2015, 12:51 PM HST
* Updated September 2, 12:52 PM
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Three Big Island schools have been announced as participants in the statewide Resources for Enrichment, Arts, Culture, and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) Initiative for the 2015-2016 school year.

Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School, Waiakea Intermediate School, and Waikoloa Middle School are among 14 participating schools statewide announced by Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui. Students from the Big Island schools will contribute to the 3,000 middle and intermediate public school participants.

Schools will receive grants funds to assist in the initiative, with the maximum grant a school received totaling $70,000.

In its mission, R.E.A.C.H. aims to ensure that all public school students in the sixth through eighth grades receive the academic and community-based support they need to stay on track toward high school graduation. The initiative engages students through various programs and activities outside of normal instructional hours in areas including academic enrichments, arts and culture, and athletics.

“The investment we make in the education of our youth, whether it’s during school or after-school will have insurmountable returns for our keiki’s future and our community,” said Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui.  “If we are able to reach our middle and intermediate school students through engaging and enriching activities, especially during this critical time in their lives, the academic and social benefits will be exceptional.”

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Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui spearheaded the initiative in collaboration with Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. The initiative provides an organizational framework for public middle and intermediate schools to offer students expanded learning opportunities outside of school hours.

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“R.E.A.C.H. provides a positive option for our students to remain engaged when class is out for the day,” said Matayoshi. “We appreciate the support and commitment by partners who understand the value that R.E.A.C.H. brings to our schools.”

Studies have shown that after-school programs not only keep students safe and engaged in learning, but also help improve their academic performance, school attendance, behavior, and health.

Schools who applied were selected based on a criteria that included strong student interest and/or participation in the after-school program and established relationships with key stakeholders. The readiness of a school to achieve the goals and student outcomes set by the initiative were also evaluated.

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Nine of the schools participating in 2015-2016 R.E.A.C.H. year are returning participants. Twenty-nine schools applied for the initiative this year. Since the initiative was launched in 2013, 21 public middle and intermediate schools have participated in R.E.A.C.H.

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