Grant Programs

As in the recent announcement of the Department of Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science (KRS) Rehabilitation Counseling Program, faculty members in the College of Education (COE) continue to receive new and ongoing grant funding. With a wide range of research areas, these grant programs serve Native Hawaiian students, individuals with disabilities, and low-income communities, and reach people from birth through college, from Hawaiʻi to the mainland and more.

The Center on Disability Studies (CDS) was awarded a $2.1M grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Native Hawaiian Education Program for Project Hoʻokuʻi. Directed by CDS Professor Kelly Roberts, the three-year project aims to increase enrollment of Native Hawaiian students in postsecondary education or in postsecondary education certification programs leading to employment. Hoʻokuʻi will support Native Hawaiian high school students through cultural mentoring and college tutoring on the islands of Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Lāna‘i.

Project TEAMS (Twice Exceptional students Achieving and Matriculating in STEM), which received a five-year $2.4M grant from the U.S. DOE, Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, is also led by CDS faculty, including TEAMS Director Hye Jin Park and Co-Directors Kiriko Takahashi and Kelly Roberts. The project’s goal is to increase the number of high school students with disabilities who demonstrate high levels of science achievement and intend to enter a postsecondary STEM program. Students will receive academic enrichment as well as mentoring on disability and STEM issues and college transition support. “It is exciting that this project could be the largest study involving twice-exceptional students,” Park said. “We will work with 1,440 students at 24 high schools, including Hawaiʻi, New York, Iowa, American Sāmoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

The Curriculum Research & Development Group’s (CRDG) Hugh H. Dunn, who is the director of Literacy and Hawaiian Education, was awarded another U.S. DOE Native Hawaiian Education Program grant. Pihana Hou: An RTI Approach Building Early Reading Skills in Schools and Communities will receive $2.9M over three years to provide literacy supports in 11 schools serving high proportions of Native Hawaiian students and notably high levels of poverty. Some of the key components are ongoing reading assessments, school-wide professional development, job-embedded coaching, and strategic outreach to families and early learning providers. The project will annually serve approximately 5,900 students and 420 teachers across the state of Hawaiʻi. “Through this grant, we’ll strive to continue our collaborative work with the HIDOE,” Dunn explained. “Pihana Hou’s approach is underpinned by a culture of continuous improvement… Lessons learned will provide the field with critical data on the effects of evidence-based and culturally-sensitive literacy practices.”

CDS Associate Professor Jean Johnson is the director of Helping Babies Hear!, which received $750K from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. From September 2014 through March 2017, the program will provide technical assistance, personnel resources, equipment, and supplies to enable the Department of Health in American Sāmoa to screen all newborns by one month of age, complete the diagnostic process for referred babies by three months of age, and begin early intervention services no later than six months of age. “We have talented, dedicated personnel in American Sāmoa who are passionate about helping babies hear,” Johnson said. “And, beyond serving babies, I am committed to ensuring that the resources provided through this grant improve access to hearing health care for the entire population.”

Director of Project Hoʻokuʻi, Kelly Roberts is also director of Literacy through Digital Media, which was awarded a $1M grant by the U.S. DOE Native Hawaiian Education Program. For the next three years, the program will work to improve students’ cultural identity and literacy skills by integrating kupuna (elders) and mo‘olelo (storytelling). Animation and digital media will capture kupuna sharing mo‘olelo, and students will write and produce their own digital family stories. The literacy program is a partnership between CDS and ALU LIKE, Inc. and will target elementary students at Blanche Pope and He‘eia Elementary schools in grades three through six and DOE kupuna in Windward, Central, and Leeward district schools on O‘ahu.

The U.S. DOE Native Hawaiian Education Program funded a fourth project in the COE. Neʻepapa Ka Hana: Transforming STEM Education for Native Hawaiian Students received nearly $900K for a three-year period during which the program will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and practice associated with broadening participation and achievement of Native Hawaiian students in STEM degree programs and careers. Led by CDS Director Robert Stodden, the program will also provide the structure and tools needed for effective, inclusive, and collaborative learning for Native Hawaiian students at risk for school failure.

These grant projects and programs showcase some of the vastly diverse activities generated by the College of Education in and beyond the classroom.

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