Beneski Gift ‘To Help Keep Pace With Rapidly Changing Advances In Classroom Instruction’
Ho’okako’o Corp.(HC), which is the not-for-profit local school board for Waimea Middle School (WMS), has received a check for almost $147,000 from the Ted and Laurie Beneski Foundation of Texas to purchase a new laptop for every single one of the Hawai’i Island schoolʻs 295 6th-8th grade students.
The gift, in addition to replacing “wickedly slow” and unreliable computers, also includes storage carts, laser printers, software, tech support required both to align classroom instruction with Common Core State Standards and to run more advanced educational applications including Hawaiʻiʻs new year-end Smarter Balanced Assessments.
“We hope this contribution will improve the quality of education for WMS students and, in a small way, contribute to their future success,” said Mr. and Mrs. Beneski in making the gift.
“We are blown away by the Beneskiʻs generosity – and timing,” said WMS Principal Matt Horne. While we have a lot of computers on campus, most are well beyond the end of their usual life and many are too outdated to run newer educational software. Also, because they were purchased and installed over time, they have varying operating platforms and configurations contributing to an overall unstable system."
“There is nothing worse than having students ready to work on an assignment and have their computers not function properly, or to have them half way through an assessment and they suddenly get kicked off line."
“This isnʻt uncommon in many schools today, but during our recent faculty-staff self study that resulted in WMS receiving a full six-year Accreditation, we identified technology upgrades for students and teachers as a funding priority. We recognized we had to find funding for upgrades to ensure our students have the technology needed for their academic success as we prepare them for the 21st century world and workplace,” said Horne.
“We have done a lot of research and have chosen a network of laptops that will run more advanced educational applications and that are also fast and sturdy. We really canʻt afford to lose even two to three minutes in a class waiting for computers to boot up,” said Horne.
“The timing is also auspicious as our school gears up for the start of construction of a long dreamed of 9-classroom STEM building; itʻs fortuitous to be able to close the technology gap for student before we make the move into this new $15 million learning lab,” said Horne.
“We learned about the Beneski Foundation from one of our teachers, Tim Beneski, whose language arts students wrestle with what he calls ‘wickedly slow’ aging computers on a daily basis,” said Horne. The Beneski’s are his uncle and aunt, and he thought they might just be interested in our school because of who they are and where they came from. Tim told us that his uncle lost his father at age six, and his mom cleaned houses to support the family. His uncle was a good student and athlete and sports scholarships in soccer and baseball paid his way through Amherst, and hard work got him into Harvard Business School. He became a very successful venture capitalist and is the epitome of a self-made man whose humble beginning shaped his philanthropy,” said Horne.
“Years ago in school, Mr. Beneski was one of the kids eligible for free lunch. Now he and his wife are committed to supporting children with similar stories, and they do so very generously."
“This gift is essential to helping the school keep pace with rapidly changing advances in classroom instruction,” said Megan McCorriston, Executive Director of Hoʻokakoʻo Corp.
“We thank the Beneski Foundation for making such a meaningful contribution to helping our children better compete and succeed in life, college and career,” she said.
Waimea Middle School is committed to investing in high technology access and integration into core curriculum -- to prepare students for the 21st century workplace.
WMS uses Google Apps for classroom instruction. Why? Google Apps:
• Provides students with free tools designed for collaboration with other students and teachers;
• Gives students the ability to work on their documents both in school and from any Internet
• Reduces paper and printing costs by using "paperless” shared-editing of documents
between students and teachers; and
• Provides long-term storage space for student work.
A Very Warm Mahalo To The Ted & Laurie Beneski Foundation!
A New Laptop For Every WMS Student!
That's 7th grade Language Arts Teacher Tim Beneski (yellow shirt) -- nephew of Ted. W. and Laurie M. Beneski of the Beneski Foundation of Texas -- celebrating with WMS students and Principal Matt Horne receipt of a check for almost $147,000 to purchase a new laptop for every single WMS student. The fund also cover required storage carts, laser printers, software, tech support and systems setup and configuration that's are essential both to align classroom instruction with Common Core State Standards, and to run more advanced educational applications including Hawai'i's rigorous new year-end Smarter Balanced Assessments.
Mahalo Tim for opening this door of opportunity for out students!
News Feature in West Hawai'i Today & Hawai'i Tribune-Herald: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/waimea-middle-school-gets-147k-donation-computers
News Feature in Pacific Business News: http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/blog/morning_call/2015/02/texas-foundation-gives-147k-in-laptops-to-big.html
News Feature in North Hawai'i News: http://northhawaiinews.com/sections/news/generous-donation-benefits-every-waimea-middle-school-student.html