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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 9, 2006

It's time again to say thanks

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer


  • Educators may apply for a Good Idea Grant on the Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation Web site at www.pshf.org.

  • Applications must be postmarked by March 31 and mailed to:

    Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation

    P.O. Box 4148, Honolulu, HI 96812

    Source: Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation

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    For the past 20 years, the Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation has promoted the improvement of classroom instruction by helping teachers fund innovative projects.

    From documentaries to community reading programs, the foundation has attempted to impact education by encouraging teachers to create educationally rich projects.

    "It is clear and everybody knows that with the short amount of funds the (Department of Education) has that teachers in the classroom have to dip into their pockets to fund these projects," said Keith Nagata, senior vice president of First Hawaiian Bank and board member of the Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation.

    "We want to support the teachers' ideas and projects," said Nagata.

    On May 17, the Public Schools of Hawai'i Foundation will hold its annual awards banquet Kulia I Ka Nu'u at the Hilton Hawaiian Village to recognize distinguished public school graduates and corporate nominees who have given back to the community and embrace the goals of the foundation, said Nagata.

    Among the honorees are:

  • Matt Levi, a University of Hawai'i graduate best known for his television series "The Levi Report."

  • Ronald Migita, a Baldwin High School graduate and chairman of the board for Central Pacific Bank.

  • Florence Yamada, a Wai'anae High School graduate who spent 42 years working for the state of Hawai'i and currently works for the Hawai'i Government Employees Association.

  • The Honolulu Advertiser, this year's corporate honoree.

    Another of the foundation's most notable programs is its "Good Idea Grants," which provide teachers and schools with the resources necessary to support a project or program that challenges students to learn and grow.

    Nagata said one of his favorite ideas was a reading program that brought in parents and community members to read to students. Some of the money from the grant was used to buy children age-appropriate books to encourage early literacy, said Nagata.

    "I've been personally involved and committed to helping because of its impact on students," said Nagata.

    The awards, or "mini-grants" as they are called, are about $3,000 each. Last year, 101 grants were awarded totaling $233,588.

    Nagata, as one of the members of the foundation's board, often volunteers his time to read grant applications and said he wished people could see some of the "great ideas teachers come up with."

    "It really demonstrates some of the good things happening in our schools," said Nagata. "You don't always hear about them."

    Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.