Our Islands, Our Future

Science teacher Maggie Prevenas working on location at Portage Glacier, AK

Award-winning science teacher Margaret “Maggie” Prevenas shares her passion for learning by escorting her students outside the classroom. “As a teacher, I need to bring my students outside and into their environment so they can really see how it works,” she said. Over the course of one school year, the Kalama Intermediate School teacher and a colleague took 7th graders to the Waihee coastline and a protected reserve to see and study first-hand the richness and resources of the land and ocean in the area. This particular exercise was made possible through a Ke Alahele Fund grant administered by Maui Economic Development Board. Prevenas deemed the project “wildly successful,” particularly with “rascal” pupils who turn into engaging students. “Outside in the environment, they are wizards, they are leaders,” she said. “Not all kids are going to be scientists but science is going to play an active role in their future on Maui and they can learn how to be good stewards of their environment.”

Prevenas continues to improve her eight-year teaching career by learning more about how she can best serve her students. Earlier this year, she was awarded an Endeavor Fellowship with NASA. The project provides live, online training for K-12 educators who are working to earn a certificate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. “I’m trying to understand how my students learn so I can light their fire and get them to take over stewardship of the Earth and the environment they live in,” she said. Her lessons in Waihee have focused on global climate and ocean acidification. Prevenas’ mantra has been “let no child be left inside” which represents her stance that students learn best by engaging and connecting with the world they live in. “They all get to see how unspoiled, how beautiful Maui truly is and then they can become aware of this when global climate changes happen.”