Making ‘Environment’ Work In The Classroom

Windward District students will have the support this fall of new environmental academies that come with teacher training by eight community partners, in an effort that mirrors the Castle Redesign concept, which the district implemented last year for struggling teens at Castle High School.

The academies, complete with popular hands-on gardens, were launched during an Aug. 29 conference at Ko’olau Ballrooms, marking the first time career and technical education (CTE) is directed at all grades in all 31 district schools from Waimanalo to Sunset Beach.

“The CTE program and support bring relevancy to learning and the real outside world to the schools,” said former Kalaheo High math teacher Melissa Mano, its creator and coordinator.

“It prepares students for college and career.” It also should improve test scores, she noted, while offering subjects that appeal to students.

Still more academies are ahead, such as culinary, health and graphic design.

Partners signed on so far: Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Ho’okua’aina, Pacific American and Hau’oli Mau Loa foundations, Chevron Energy Solutions, Kamehameha Schools, Kupu and STEMworks.