The $75 million in federal Race to the Top money that Hawaii received hasn’t always paid for things directly, but has allowed a school to leverage other money and resources to make something happen.
At Keaau Elementary, an 830-student school just outside the city of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the school used its status as a Race to the Top “zone of innovation” school to raise money to give every student a computer to use at school. That’s how teachers are delivering a curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards. (About one-quarter of the students can take their devices home.)
One day this fall, in a 5th grade classroom, students who might not have computers or Internet access at home used their MacBook Airs to create a digital presentation on the short- and long-term effects of inhalants.
“Levels of engagement are up, as is higher-order questioning” from students, said Principal Chad Keone Farias. “From public perception, to getting the parents engaged, to teacher professional development, the greatest benefit in our 1-to-1 program has been the platform it gave us to implement sweeping change.”
A version of this article appeared in the December 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Cash Aids Innovation