The Hawai'i Excellence through Science and Technology (HiEST) Academy
The State of Hawai'i is facing a shortage of high school graduates with the basic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills needed to allow them to move easily into pre-engineering, technology, and science programs at the postsecondary level. This fact, coupled with the growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers in Hawai'i and across the globe, presents a challenge for both secondary and postsecondary educators.
The Hawai'i Excellence through Science and Technology (HiEST) Academy is part of a comprehensive state initiative to engage more students in school-based activities and programs that are designed to improve their mathematics and science skills. The purpose of the HiEST Academy is to increase the readiness and motivation of Hawai'i high school graduates to pursue postsecondary training and career options in STEM and STEM-related disciplines.
The HiEST Academy is a partnerhip between the Hawai'i Department of Education, interested high schools, and appropriate public and private agencies, to establish individual HiEST Academies at selected high schools throughout the state. Each HiEST Academy partners with the community college(s) of the University of Hawai'i on their respective islands. The HiEST Academies use CORD's mathematics, science, and technology curriculum frameworks and contextual instructional materials. CORD provides faculty development and support; guidance on course selection and equipment issues; and technical assistance in infusing a STEM focus across the curriculum.
Benefits for selected schools:
- New science and math curriculum frameworks and instructional materials designed to meet Hawai'i academic standards
- Contextual teaching and learning/hands-on environment
- New equipment for hands-on labs in science and math
- Professional development workshops throughout the implementation proocess
- Ongoing faculty support through an online community
- Community college support
HiEST Academies in eight pilot schools enrolled their first ninth-grade cohort class for the 2008-2009 school year. The 9th grade cohort students will be enrolled each year of grades 9-12 in rigorous science and math courses to prepare for maximum career options. In subsequent years, additional cohorts and pilot schools will be added.