Categorized | Education

Hawaii selected for college readiness, success grants


Hawaii is one of 10 states that has been awarded grants by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to help their K-12 and postsecondary education systems align to the Common Core State Standards and assessments that will measure them.

The grant program, called Core to College: Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success, aims to foster long-term collaborations between state higher education and K-12 entities that will improve student achievement and college readiness and ultimately, increased rates of enrollment and graduation.

“The greatest investment we can make as a state is in the people of Hawaii, and that is especially true for our keiki,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “In Hawaii, we put our children first because they truly are the future. A priority of my New Day plan is to ensure that all students in Hawaii have greater opportunity to achieve career and college success.”

Hawaii was selected along with Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington, and will receive $200,000 per year for three years, pending annual reviews of progress against goals.

The intent is that these 10 states will serve as models for other states, showing how to create connections among educational entities that will strongly support the interest of student success.

Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide partnership led by the Early Learning Council, the state Department of Education, and the University of Hawaii System, will administer the grant for the state.

Hawaii P-20 works to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so that all students achieve career and college success with an overall goal to have 55 percent of Hawaii’s working age adults having a two- or four-year college degree by the year 2025.

“As the state’s sole system of public higher education, the University of Hawaii has a vested interest in ensuring that Hawaii’s students are prepared as well as they can be for success in college and beyond,” UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said.

“The university’s Hawaii Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 25 percent by the year 2015, is aligned with Hawaii P-20’s goal, the state’s Race to the Top objectives and this Core to College program,” she said. “Hawaii’s selection to serve as a model for other states is a recognition of our concerted and coordinated efforts among the Department of Education, the University of Hawaii and our partners to build a solid foundation for learning for all of our students.”

One important key to improving student achievement and college readiness is using the Common Core State Standards and assessments to establish a statewide common definition of college readiness to signal a student’s preparedness for credit-bearing college courses. Having such a baseline will also inform processes to transition students successfully between high school and higher education environments.

“A seamless partnership with institutions of higher education is a key component of Hawaii’s ongoing plan and effort to ensure our high school students graduate prepared for college and career,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, state superintendent.

“The Common Core State Standards are high quality academic benchmarks that clearly define the knowledge and skills all students should master,” she said. “As we move forward, Hawaii is primed for increased success as our focused Race to the Top reform efforts reach every classroom and equip our graduates with the requisite skills for the global marketplace.”

The 10 states selected were chosen based on geographic diversity, assessment consortia membership and demonstrated capacity to undertake this work, including existing collaborations and project plans aligned with the goals of Core to College. Grant funds may be used to expand or create programs but all states are required to establish a position of alignment director/coordinator who will be responsible for implementation of the state’s plans.

Funding for Core to College is provided by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The partners developed Core to College with the assistance of Education First Consulting, which will provide continuing project management. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the program’s fiscal sponsor, is responsible for grant decisions and all aspects of ongoing grant administration.

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