Grant to aid in science education improvements awarded to Maui campus

Maui Community College receives $25,000 from Monsanto Fund to help Maui County schools

Maui College
Katie McMillan, (808) 984-3549
Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Posted: Sep 28, 2009

KAHULUI, Hawaiʻi – Maui Community College has received $25,000 from the Monsanto Fund, a private foundation and the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, to develop curriculum and training programs designed to advance science education in Maui County schools. The curriculum and training will assist Maui County teachers in becoming “highly qualified” in the field of science by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education reports that in Maui County, 37 percent of secondary science teachers have five years or less of teaching experience and 38 percent do not meet the requirements for highly qualified status. By offering Maui County teachers more science education (particularly elementary school teachers where little science education is required in Hawaii for certification), students are more likely to meet national proficiency standards.
“Maui Community College is pleased to team up with the Monsanto Fund to address the needs of improving science education in our community," said Dr. Sally Irwin, science faculty at Maui CC. “This grant will help ensure that Maui’s youth are able to receive science education that will allow more to meet national standards.”
The need for professional development for teachers in science is exemplified by recent results of science test scores in Hawaiʻi schools. In June 2007, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) reported that in 2005, 66 percent of Hawaiʻi’s 8th grade students scored below basic levels in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science.
"If we can help strengthen the teachers in their science content knowledge base, this should translate into students who are better prepared,” Irwin stated.
“Monsanto Hawaii strongly supports excellence in science and technology education, to help prepare our younger generations for the future,” said Paul Koehler, manager of scientific and community affairs for Monsanto Hawaii. “We’re very impressed by Dr. Irwin and Maui CC’s commitment to enhancing the science curriculum in our schools and to educating the educators, all for the ultimate benefit of the students.”
This Monsanto Fund grant is part of a larger commitment by Monsanto Hawaii to support science education throughout the state. Some of the company’s other programs include the Monsanto Hawaii Science Education Fund (smaller grants to public schools for science education), scholarships for graduating high school seniors pursuing degrees in the life sciences, numerous classroom presentations on science and agriculture, farm tours, and volunteer hours plus a student award at the Maui District Science Fair.
About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. Incorporated in 1964, the Fund’s primary objective is to improve the lives of people by bridging the gap between their needs and their resources. The Monsanto Fund is focused on grant-making in four main areas: nutritional well-being through agriculture; science education, primarily on professional development for teachers; healthy environment, which includes conservation, protection of biodiversity, clean water and restoration of wildlife habitat; and improving the quality of life in communities where Monsanto employees live and work.
About Monsanto Hawaii
Monsanto works with farmers to discover new ways to improve agriculture and is a leading provider of agricultural products and solutions worldwide. The company’s farm stations in Hawaiʻi help develop better-quality seeds that will eventually help small and large farmers produce more abundant and healthier foods, combat insects and diseases