The UH Mānoa College of Engineering is launching a new intensive tutoring program in partnership with James B. Castle High School in Kāne‘ohe. A bridge between students in high school and college, it will allow high-performing undergraduates to mentor high-schoolers needing extra help in math and science classes on a nearly peer-to-peer level.
The UH College of Engineering x Castle High School: Intensive STEM Tutoring Program, a pilot project made possible by a $26,912 Harold K.L. Castle Foundation grant, will employ outstanding engineering students to provide one-to-one tutoring sessions via video chat to Castle students in subjects including algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus, physics and chemistry.
The college’s Engineering Student Ambassadors—a group of top-performing engineering students trained for outreach to local schools—along with members of its student organizations and other qualified students will provide tutoring and mentorship. Through UH’s Online Learning Academy program, tutors will learn to build relationships with students and to teach relevant content accessibly.
The college is hiring a target group of ten students to begin immediate training for work with high-schoolers this spring and summer. The pilot program will run through September 30, 2021, after which program administrators will seek additional outside funding for extending and possibly expanding its reach with additional educational partners.
Relevant, meaningful experiences
“We will be very intentional in establishing this program as a special opportunity for Castle students,” said Kim Perez Hults, program supervisor and Director of Marketing and Outreach Relations for the college. “We’ll introduce our tutors as ‘engineering mentors.’ In addition to providing traditional tutoring in individual classes, some sessions may be reserved for working in a true mentorship capacity on academic challenges. Castle teachers have identified a need for mentorship with areas such as guiding students with STEM-related projects, brainstorming concepts for science fairs, giving students feedback on STEM projects and presentations, and teacher-requested content reviews.”
Organizers expect to serve more than 150 students during the seven-month program, delivering over 1,500 hours of intensive STEM tutoring. They hope for improvement in participants’ understanding of target subjects and concepts while giving college students relevant, meaningful employment and rewarding experiences.
Partners in learning
Castle High School and the College of Engineering are no strangers to collaboration—the institutions have worked closely over the years, as partners in the current Hawai‘i Engineering Sector Partnership involving K-12, college, and industry partners along with the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i. This program will build on these efforts to bolster learning in science and math, preparing Castle's young women and men for college and the workforce.
“Our goal is to ensure that students are prepared for the academic rigor of any postsecondary program in the fields of STEM,” said Castle High School Principal Bernadette Tyrell. “This summer, Castle engineering students will receive support from a mentor. Successful completion of higher-level math requirements will help students better align with UH Mānoa College of Engineering certification and degrees.”
Engineering Dean Brennon Morioka appreciates the unique opportunity to develop this program and has high hopes. “We are extremely grateful to the Castle Foundation for having confidence in the College of Engineering’s mentorship of our Castle High School community,” said Morioka, “and this is a great way for our own students to learn their own responsibility—as engineers and leaders—of the importance of being part of a greater community and leading in Hawaii’s efforts.”
About the UH Mānoa College of Engineering
The College of Engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi is dedicated to world-class education and research. It produces the entrepreneurial, innovative human and intellectual capital required for competition in an increasingly technological and global society. Through its graduates and research, it provides people and discoveries for transforming lives, supporting vibrant, knowledge-based economies. It is inspired by the principles of sustainability and resilience, flavored by its unique island environment.
About James B. Castle High School
With a student body of 1,181, James B. Castle High School serves a socio-economically diverse community from suburban Kāne‘ohe to rural Kualoa. It is the largest of four high schools in the Windward District. The Castle Complex comprises Castle High School, King Intermediate School and eight elementary feeder schools (Kāne‘ohe, Pūʻōhala, Kapunahala, Benjamin Parker, He‘eia, Ahuimanu, Kahalu‘u and Waiahole). After 56 years, the Knight Pride of Castle is deeply ingrained in longtime Kāne‘ohe residents. Clearly, Castle High School has a way of "keeping its people," as many alumni have returned there to teach, work or volunteer.
About the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation
Founded in 1962, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation builds resources for Hawai‘i’s future. It does so by investing in promising initiatives and organizations through grantmaking, using its convening power, and introducing and spreading new ideas and approaches to help solve some of Hawai‘i’s most pressing problems.