Members of the Kauai Executive Planning Committee (EPC) – composed of state, complex-area, and school-level leaders – met in June to develop facility options based on data gathered on the present and future needs of the district’s schools. These options will play an important role in the development of the Statewide Facility Master Plan.
During the Kauai Stakeholders Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings in September, stakeholders reviewed and discussed at length the facility options developed by the EPC. Of note is the community’s interest in the arts as an integral part of education.
Addressing the community’s interest in the arts, scenarios and facility options included renovating one to two classrooms at each elementary school into flexible STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) classrooms; and installing a culinary teaching kitchen and STEAM classroom.
In a STEAM classroom, students participate in rich learning experiences that encourage them to think critically and solve problems. Benefits include devoting the space to enhance STEAM instruction; providing modern and flexible teaching and learning spaces; replacing buildings that are beyond useful; reducing portables; as well as potentially improving classroom cohesion and social interaction.
One parent summed it up: “All we hear now is STEM (acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math), but we need the arts too. We need all disciplines – career tech education, visual and performing arts, and science/technology/ engineering/math in our society, and we should weigh them equally.”
One student spoke of his desire for a shared performing arts center. He said, “I’m a big theater nerd. The only space where we practice is in a small portable room, but there is a classroom meant for Performing Arts students that is not being utilized. There’s no place to practice on at the other two high schools. Theater is such an important thing… Theater is beneficial for developing confidence and learning public speaking.”