It's time again to say thanks
By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Loren Moreno
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.