Waipahu High held a dedication ceremony August 9 to mark the school’s new Academy of Engineering, which gives students a head start on engineering curriculum while still in high school.
Waipahu High School’s Academy of Engineering is the first school in Hawaii to be recognized as an accredited school by the National Academy Foundation (NAF).
NAF’s Academy of Engineering was launched nationally in September 2007 in partnership with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum providers and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. Its goal is to increase access to the study of engineering and technologies for minorities and girls and to fully prepare high school graduates for college-level STEM fields of study.
There are currently 69 Academies of Engineering nationally serving 82 percent of women and under-represented minorities.
“Waipahu High School’s Academy of Engineering was created through the collaborative efforts of our industry and post-secondary partners; the National Academy Foundation; and, our enthusiastic and committed staff,” said Waipahu High Principal Keith Hayashi. “Academy Director Mr. Bill Speed and his team are working with our partners to ensure that our students are prepared for college and careers, and that our curriculum and mentorship opportunities reflect current industry standards.”
Waipahu High's Academy of Engineering has a newly formed Advisory Board, which includes members from the University of Hawaii’s (UH) College of Engineering, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., Hawaii Computer Training & Solutions, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association – Hawaii Chapter, plus dozens of businesses and organizations.
The Advisory Board supports teachers and students by focusing on increased awareness of engineering career fields’ needs and demands, and will implement the Academy’s work-based learning element of its educational strategic plan.
Dr. Song Choi, Assistant Dean of UH's College of Engineering, is pleased with the Academy of Engineering curriculum because it greatly prepares students for relevant college coursework in engineering. He commends the level of math rigor as students develop their mathematical abilities targeting calculus. He also recognizes the course rigor, which is guided by the Academy of Engineering electives.
In addition, Choi supports the numerous and extensive design and prototype projects. He also values the curriculum’s emphasis on communication skills through reading, technical writing, oral presentations, and the development of professional posters.
Waipahu High is uniquely positioned with four NAF recognized Academies, which are: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and its newest, Engineering. They join the NAF's network of 500 academies across 39 states, providing high school students career-themed instruction with hands on experiences in a variety of industries, including finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences.
“Graduates of NAF academies complete college faster, earn more, and have stronger ties to their communities than their peers,” says JD Hoye, president of the NAF. “We are proud to welcome our latest academies to the NAF family.”
Visit www.naf.org to learn more.
Photo caption: Students at Waipahu High's Academy of Engineering.