Hawaiian educator touts innovative school programs

A HAWAIIAN educator discussed his school’s innovative programs with the Rotary Club of Saipan on Tuesday.

Keith Hayashi, principal of Waipahu High School, said their primary focus is to help students identify their passion, provide them opportunities and support to ensure their success.

He told the Rotarians that his school, which subscribes to the motto “My voice, my choice, my future,” focuses on college, career, and community.

“It is about the students’ voice, and the choices they make and how we can support them — it’s all about their future.”

Mufi Hannemann, former Honolulu mayor and Pacific Century Fellows founder, told Rotarians that Hayashi was able to transform the school with the help of his faculty, staff and students.

Hannemann said Hayashi’s innovative ideas for Waipahu High School are appropriate and applicable to the CNMI.

In his presentation, Hayashi said their school has six career pathways and 11 career academies, including creative media, culinary arts, engineering, finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, law and justice, and teacher education.

He said their Academy of Health and Sciences and Academy of Natural Resources have been recognized as National Model Academies by the National Career Academy Coalition. These academies were the first in Hawaii to receive the honor, Hayashi said.

Their school also offers an early college program with support from the McInerny Foundation, which provided over $1.65 million, and from their post-secondary partners at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu and Leeward Community College, Hiyashi said.

He said over 650 students took rigorous college courses in 2016, and Waipahu High School ranked top in terms of dual credit enrollment.

In an interview, Hayashi said it wasn’t easy to transform the school that used to have a bad reputation and a huge number of dropouts.

“It took some time to get everyone on the same page. It’s really important to get partners involved, not only in the school but outside,” he added.

He said it is also important that student know that people care about them.

Hayashi attributes the school’s success to group effort. “It’s really important to get everyone involved to support education.”

He said the Waipahu High School programs may be implemented in the CNMI, depending on what the local community considers important for its students.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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