Hawaii schools get National Math and Science Initiative

| November 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

Sgt. 1st Class Joe M. Battle
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

School Liaison Office

School Liaison Office

WAHIAWA — Between multiple moves, changing schools and differing levels of education, some military children may believe they don’t quite measure up to their peers when it comes to college prep.

However, for families of the 25th Infantry Division and other Oahu-North and-South units and communities, the educational playing field just became more level.

In a ceremony at Leilehua High School, here, the National Math and Science Initiative announced a major expansion in Hawaii by kicking off the Initiative for Military Families, or IMF, program, Nov. 10.

IMF will bring advanced placement, or AP, courses in math, science and English in schools serving a high concentration of students from military families. Courses are designed to increase students’ potential for success in college. Schools will also profit from training for their AP teachers and assistance with building their AP programs.

Students will have access to rigorous college-level courses, and AP classrooms will receive computers, science equipment and other materials needed, said Gregg Fleisher, national director, Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program, NMSI.

“Doing well in these AP classes means you will be three times more likely to graduate from college. That translates to better job opportunities,” Fleisher said to students at the ceremony. “Also, your parents will be happy because college will be more affordable. If you earn qualifying scores on the AP exam, it could save you thousands on your college tuition.”

For military personnel, education was one of the big quality of life issues expressed by Soldiers and families, said Col. Matthew Kelley, rear deputy commander, 25th ID.

“For years, negative perceptions about Hawaii public schools persisted throughout the Department of Defense, despite marked improvements and reforms in recent years,” Kelley said. “Indeed, this perception led to a readiness issue in our division as some of the best qualified senior Army leaders turned down assignments to Hawaii due to these lingering perceptions.”

Because of the success of the program in the mainland, military personnel, including Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux, commander, 25th ID, and Pete Geren, former Secretary of the Army, approached Tom Luce, chairman, NMSI, and said the military needed the program in schools that have many students from military families and that NMSI should consider Hawaii, according to Fleisher.

“Following the meetings, we approached Ron Nozoe, deputy superintendent, Hawaii State Department of Education and also Rep. Mark Takai, and they thought this program would be a great idea,” Fleisher said.

Campbell, Leilehua, Mililani and Radford high schools are among the 32 public high schools in the nation that will begin the program at the start of the 2012 school year. According to a recent NMSI press release, about 25 percent of the students at Leilehua High School are from families stationed at Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and the Naval Communication Station in Whitmore.

“This year, our AP program is in 29 schools with high concentrations of military students in 10 states. Thanks to supporters, we will soon be in (more than) 60 schools,” Fleisher said. “Our (IMF) has been embraced and endorsed by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative, and we’re so pleased to have them as a partner.

“They believe math and science education is the key to success, and so do we,” he added.

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Education, News

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