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Kaimuki Middle STEM program could win $1M in national education competition

Kaimuki Middle School
Department of Education

A STEM program at a local middle school has a chance to win $1 million in a national education competition.

A hui of teachers at Kaimuki Middle School’s Voyager Center entered the Yass Prize “STOP” contest. The competition highlights innovative ways to educate students, especially in a post-pandemic world.

“STOP” stands for “Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless” — meaning it does not require approval from regulators.

Earlier this week, the competition announced the Oʻahu school advanced into the round of 64, awarding them $100,000.

Lianna Lam, a teacher at Kaimuki Middle and part of the hui, says the award unlocks a world of possibilities for students.

"The funds enable us to get help — additional staffers that are 100% dedicated to this kind of work of hands-on, experiential, meaningful, purposeful learning opportunities where we bridge with external experts or the external community. I feel like we've been able to map some stepping stones on how you can successfully do this kind of learning. But it does come at a toll," Lam told HPR.

Lam says the hui will be participating in an accelerator program to pitch an idea to transform the way students learn.

They will earn another $100,000 if they advance to the round of 32.

Competition organizers will announce a winner on Dec. 14 for the $1 million grand prize.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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