HONOLULU — During an after-school student assembly held at Mililani Middle School, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui today announced that the school has been selected to participate in the pilot program for his statewide after-school initiative, R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health). The Lt. Governor also presented Principal Elynne Chung with a $45,000 check, a grant from R.E.A.C.H. These funds will go toward enhancing Mililani Middle’s current after-school program.
“We’re thrilled to have Mililani Middle School as part of our R.E.A.C.H. pilot program. The school seeks to develop lifelong learners through dynamic extracurricular activities that aim to keep students engaged even during non-school hours,” Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. “We’re happy that we are able to provide funding to allow the school to expand on its existing program, thereby increasing the chance for successful outcomes for more students. This initiative will keep them engaged and excited about learning, especially during this critical time when lack of interest in school becomes evident.”
The initiative, spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Tsutsui in collaboration with state Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, provides an organizational framework for public middle and intermediate schools to offer expanded learning opportunities during after-school hours.
“Learning doesn’t end when the school bell rings at the end of each day, and we’re grateful the R.E.A.C.H. program is helping to keep our keiki engaged after school,” Matayoshi said. “This is a significant time in a young person’s life, and activities like these help enrich their overall educational experiences.”
The initiative’s mission is to expand learning opportunities during non-instructional hours to public middle and intermediate school students so they can stay on track toward high school graduation and be better prepared for future success.
“All of us at Mililani Middle School want to thank the Lt. Governor for the opportunity that the R.E.A.C.H. grant will provide our students and teachers,” Chung said. “At Mililani Middle School, we recognize that a vibrant extracurricular activities program not only enhances student achievement in terms of attendance, behavior, academics and leadership, but also keeps our pre-teen and teenaged students engaged in healthy and productive activities after school and on weekends.”
Mililani Middle School’s after-school program, High Interest Program (HIP), consists of extra-curricular activities that include music, technology, modern art and athletic exploratory opportunities. The program receives support from its school community council, Parent Teacher Student Organization, 65th Engineering Battalion (Schofield Barracks) as well as other organizations. This school year, there are 28 HIP clubs/teams being offered, with 612 students enrolled. The program is expected to grow by 122 students with R.E.A.C.H. funding.
Along with Mililani Middle, four other public intermediate and middle schools have been selected to participate in the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative’s Pilot Project. They are: Hana High and Elementary, Kawananakoa Middle, Molokai Middle, and Waiakea Intermediate. Forty-five thousand dollars was the maximum amount awarded to a school.
The schools selected scored the highest among 23 applicants for the grant, in areas such as strong student interest and/or participation for the after-school program and established relationships with key stakeholders. The applications were also evaluated on readiness to achieve the goals and student outcomes set forth by the initiative.
Started in March 2013, the R.E.A.C.H. initiative continues to develop and is currently being considered by the state Legislature to become a permanently funded program under the Office of Youth Services.
For more information on R.E.A.C.H., go to http://reachouthawaii.org.