Kualapu`u School receives $15,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund

Kualapu`u School has received a $15,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support teacher training and STEM curriculum development for the charter elementary school’s fourth grade students.

Project Kuka`ike (“knowledge bursting forth”) is Kualapu`u School’s STEM education program that serves students in grades K-6. Project Kuka`ike is designed to provide a robust, hands-on STEM education, with a focus on the environment and agriculture, to allow students to connect real-life observations and experiences to content and learning that significantly improves their achievement in science and math.

“Kualapu`u School has a four-year plan to strengthen and expand STEM teaching and learning for all students, and we are developing new standards-based, hands-on STEM curricula for each grade level, as well as professional development for our teachers,” said Lydia Trinidad, principal. “We believe that a strong foundation in science and math is critical for our children’s success, and will better prepare all of our children for their futures, whether in their careers or college, and as informed citizens.”

Funding from the Monsanto Fund’s U.S. Site Grant program will enable the school to create and test a new science curriculum, aligned with Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III, consisting of four units for 40 children in grade 4; and provide professional development to fourth grade teachers.  Professional development will include use of STEM classroom tools and technology, science content knowledge, and training, coaching and classroom observation in the delivery of the new STEM curricula. The Monsanto Fund grant will also allow Kualapu`u School to purchase much-needed science equipment.

“Given our limited operating budget, we would not be able to implement Kuka`ike without the help and support of organizations like the Monsanto Fund, and we greatly appreciate their strong commitment to the education of our keiki and to our community,” Trinidad said. “Ultimately, improved science and math education for children will improve and strengthen Moloka`i families and our community.”

Founded in 1967 as a district public school and converted to a charter school in 2004, Kualapu`u is a dynamic elementary school that offers a strong, academic Pre-K to Sixth Grade education in both English speaking and Hawaiian Language Immersion (HLIP) programs. It is the only accredited elementary school on the island of Moloka`i, the only elementary school offering an extended learning day and daily P.E., and the only elementary school with a weekly science class for all grades, K – 6. The school’s Hawaiian Language Immersion Program is the only elementary immersion program on the island, and serves as an important cultural resource for the Moloka`i community. Kualapu`u School serves approximately 335 students, of which 92% are of Hawaiian ancestry and 84% are low income.

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.