Teachers and non-profit strive for better science scores

Science teacher Julia Segawa
Science teacher Julia Segawa
In science class.
In science class.

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Stevenson Middle School is a case study in how to motivate students to improve and excel in science.

Julia Segawa teaches science in Room 108. On Thursday her eighth graders donned gloves and goggles to dissect owl pellets.

"Try to identify what it ate," she encourages them.

Segawa hopes the lesson is a step toward better science scores.

Test results show Hawaii eighth graders trail 41 other states in proficiency in science. Stevenson's answer is to engage kids with hand's on learning.

"Sometimes it takes a little bit of time. But just to see that spark in their eye and that look in their eye when they say, 'I get it! I understand it! I can teach you now,'" she said.

"Science is very interesting. It's like whenever I learn something new, there's something more that comes up," student You Been Chang said.

Stevenson feeds students into Roosevelt High School where a new state-of-the-art science lab awaits that wasn't built with state money.

The non-profit Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation raised $250,000 to renovate a classroom as a model.

"So if the government can come in and help, take a look at what we've done, and build science labs across the state not just at Roosevelt, then we can come in with programs that really enhance that science lab and really enhance the learning environment," PSHF board president Nolan Kawano said.

The foundation is also paying for advanced training for 40 public school teachers to better enable them to raise science scores.

"To have an organization come in and say, 'Hey, we're going to help you out.' It's priceless. I cannot tell you how much it means to us in the classroom," Segawa said.

Educators say No Child Left Behind turned the emphasis in public schools to reading and math at the expense of science.

Stevenson and the foundation are bringing the subject back into the equation.

PSHF holds its annual fundraiser and awards banquet on Friday, April 29, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral ballroom.

For information call 943-1622.

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