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Steve Murray

Mililani Earns Grant For After-school Plan

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Mililani Middle School got some good news recently with the announcement that it had been chosen to participate in the state’s pilot R.E.A.C.H program.

Principal Elynne Chung accepted the $45,000 grant from Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui Jan. 16 to help support Mililani’s current after-school program.

R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health) was established by Tsutsui in March 2013 to fill the after-school needs of middle and intermediate school students who had been left out of similar programs that already exist for elementary and high school students. It’s modeled after successful efforts like those at Washington Middle School, which also emphasizes academic enrichment, arts and culture, and athletics.

“All of us at Mililani Middle School want to thank the lieutenant governor for the opportunity that the R.E.A.C.H. grant will provide our students and teachers,” Chung stated. “At Mililani Middle School, we recognize that a vibrant extracurricular activities program not only enhances student achievement in terms of attendance, behav-ior, academics and leadership, but also keeps our pre-teen and teenage students engaged in healthy and productive activities after school and on weekends.”

Mililani’s solution, High Interest Program (HIP), consists of extracurricular activities in music, technology and modern art, as well as athletic opportunities.

In addition to the R.E.A.C.H. grant, HIP receives support from its school community council, PTSO and the 65th Engineering Battalion at Schofield Barracks, among others.

This school year, there are 28 HIP clubs/teams under way, with 612 students enrolled. The program is expected to grow by 122 students with R.E.A.C.H. funding.

“Learning doesn’t end when the school bell rings at the end of each day, and we’re grateful the R.E.A.C.H. program is helping to keep our keiki engaged after school,” stated state Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

“This is a significant time in a young person’s life, and activities like these help enrich their overall educational experiences.”

In addition to Mililani Middle School, four other public schools — Hana High and Elementary, Kawananakoa Middle, Molokai Middle and Waiakea Intermediate schools were selected to participate in the R.E.A.C.H. program.

The $45,000 grant was the maximum amount awarded to any school.

In total, 23 schools applied for it. Applicants are graded on student participation and established relationships with key stakeholders. They also were evaluated on readiness to achieve the goals and student outcomes set forth by the initiative.

The program is in the pilot stage, and is being considered by the state Legislature to become a permanently funded program under the Office of Youth Services. The grant was funded by a $350,000 appropriation by the Hawaii state Legislature.

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