Project Description

The diversity of Hawai`i Academies schools requires variety of configurations and processes to deliver educational instruction. This diversity provides an opportunity to develop specific structural and operational school configurations to optimally meet the educational delivery requirements of the different member schools. To facilitate this process, the Hawai`i Academies (HA) provides a platform for member schools to exchanges experiences and ideas and a conduit for resources for these efforts. 
The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) provided HA with the oppertunity to accelerate the development of an integrated operational model for an educational delivery system centered on a smaller learning community (SLC) structure in the form of career centric academies. It afforded the opportunity to devise and evaluate novel solutions to conventional educational functions found in schools. 
The project developed and exercised three of its components:
  • A post secondary education instructional delivery system that is location independent delivered remotely through internet based instruction that was incorporated into the Early College Program as a reaction to student isolation during the Covid pandemic, 
  • The introduction and implementation of the Design Thinking process as an analysis and problem solving tool first through teacher training and then at through classroom level implementation by these trained teachers, 
  • A school / community project sponsored by member schools that combined student support using school resources and administrative support funded by the GEER Project to support a community group or business impacted by the Covid epidemic, providing students with real world experiences using skills that they learned in the classroom.

HA provided a forum in the form of monthly meetings that allowed significant amounts of time for member school teams to meet and share ideas and experiences. These regular meetings are part of HA’s regular practices and is used for both meeting and as workshops on topics of interest to member schools.
Growth Through Service - Academies and the Economy
Design Question:  High school students will partner with vulnerable businesses and non-profits to define rebuilding strategies after Covid-19.

Amount Awarded:    $449,725
Duration of the Grant:  
  • Original:  the Grant was to end with the closing of the school year 2021-2022.
  • Following the Approval of the Amendment, the Grant was extended to September 30, 2022
  • On September 27, 2022, an extension to spend the grant funds till October 31, 2022, was approved.
  1. The project will offer four free virtual Early College Classes that will be open to any student from the 25 participating high schools. Priority on the selection of the courses will be:  1) classes that will develop skills related to ensuring GEER project success; 2) classes that are currently offered in some participating schools but not readily available to students in other participating schools, mainly rural or smaller schools because of insufficient enrollment; and 3) student requested courses.
  2. Offer two virtual free college-level classes opportunities to any teacher/staff member at the 25 schools. Priority of selection of courses:  1) classes that support the development of school–community relationships relevant to the GEER project; 2) classes requested by teachers/staff; and 3) course availability.
  3. Each Hawai´i Academies Consortium school will complete at least one project in which an academy/school group works with a small business or non-profit in the community affected by Covid-19. Participants should use Project Based Learning or Design Thinking principles to develop an action plan with the organization that will assist it in overcoming some of the adverse effects brought about by Covid-19. Participating schools will provide student interns to support the effort.
Project Structure
HA GEER Project Structure
Grant Responsibilities
  • Disseminate information about the Grant to the staff and students
  • Recruit a Grant School Coordinator
  • Assist with your relationships with your community colleges and universities in identifying Early College opportunities for students and college courses for teachers and helping to make the arrangements for offering these courses
  • Coordinate with other principals to select the GEER-sponsored courses, course scheduling, and instructional implementation.
  • Provide administrative support in implementing the GEER-sponsored courses for setup and award of early college credits.
  • Support your school’s efforts
Overall Grant Coordinator
  • Communicate with Principals and Grant School Coordinators (GSC) on grant updates 
  • Gather information from schools for interim and final grant reports
  • Attend required meetings for grant management
  • Meet monthly virtually with GSCs (as arranged)
  • Coordinate with principals, the Department of Education, and the University of Hawai`i System to set up and deliver selected Early College courses
  • Coordinate with the participating school, the Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii system colleges in setting up the award of early college credit for students
  • Assist schools as needed
Grant School Coordinator (GSC)
  • Serve as liaison for the Grant until the end of the school year
  • Assist and monitor the Covid-19 GEER school project
  • Advertise and enroll students for Early College Courses and teacher/ staff college-level courses.
  • Provide school-level support for the delivery of student Early College and teacher/staff college-level courses
  • Coordinate the award of early college credit earned by students participating in the GEER-sponsored courses for the school.
  • Monitor student course progress and assist as needed
  • Advertise and recruit teachers/staff for college-level classes
  • Meet virtually with the Overall Grant Coordinator once a month (as arranged)
  • Meet the requirements for taking an Early College Class
  • Enroll in one or more of the free Early College course(s) of choice
  • Complete the course requirements
  • Follow-up to see if the credits awarded were sent to the high school
  • Enroll in a free college-level course of choice
  • Complete course requirements
  • Apply for credits as needed for salary advancement
Early College
Many HA schools offer college courses in conjunction with the University of Hawaii system’s (UHS) Early College Program. The GEER project developed a means to deliver a course delivered through this Program by participating UHS schools to address the required isolation resulting from the Covid epidemic. This process may be applied to other remotely taught courses in the future.

The GEER Project provided funding for one early college course to HA member school students. The course offered was ICS 101 – Digital Tools for the Information World. This course was offered through four colleges – Kauai Community College, Windward Community College, Kapiolani Community College and the University of Hawai`i Maui College. The colleges provided the instructors who taught the course remotely to students at their home school. Six sections were offered and member schools were assigned a fixed number of seats in one of the classes. Classes offered by a college on one island may have students on other islands assigned to it. The GEER project funded the instructor’s fees and the student’s college tuition for the class.
Design Thinking Training for Teachers
Design Thinking is a methodology for the systematic analysis, development and execution of a solution to problems arising in many subject areas, disciplines and real life situations. This tool is used by many companies, organizations, and individuals to problem solving.

The GEER Project provided funding for a 3 credit PDE3 course – Applied Design Thinking for school teachers with HA member teachers given first preferences, and for follow on support to teachers as they implemented this tool in their classroom. The course was offered by Oceanit / Design Thinking Hawaii taught by Keith Matsumoto. Funding supported 30 teachers who could receive 3 PDE3 course credits and up to 20 additional teachers who could audit the course.
School / Community Centric Project
HA member schools implemented a project that had a student / community partnership supported in part through the GEER Project. had students using school resources funded by the GEER Project to support a community affiliated activity. Schools projects developed project that provide this support either directly in the form of working with a specific community partner to help the partner accomplish a task or deliver a product for the partner, or indirectly by working with a community partner to accomplish a specific educational based task.

GEER funds provide support for resources for the project and for one or more individuals to help coordinate and administer the effort.