Governor David Ige has awarded Assets School $378,000 to create the Transforming Lives Center, the first private school-based full resource center on Oahu to provide comprehensive assessments of students who may be struggling in traditional settings or facing academic challenges because of the pandemic. Assets is the only school in Hawaii educating children who are dyslexic, gifted, or learn differently. The objective of the Transforming Lives Center is to help parents and students understand dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and executive dysfunction. The center will be equipped to evaluate at-risk students in-person or virtually. Early intervention will help in the statewide effort to reduce high school drop-out rates. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities: “Students with specific learning disabilities drop-out of high school nearly three times the rate of all students. One in 5 children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues.” Assets has always been a private school with a public purpose providing community outreach to teachers and parents to understand learning differences. This funding will allow Assets to expand its community outreach efforts.
The governor announced Assets School’s award on Aug. 4, 2021, along with 30 other not-for-profit organizations, public schools, and the University of Hawaii. The governor awarded $8.1M in funding with grants ranging from $100K to $450K. The governor thanked Assets and the other awardees for visionary leadership and for creating a new culture of innovation for education in Hawaii.
“Assets School’s Transforming Lives Center builds upon the school's expertise and will help change the trajectory for students and their families. Early intervention to address learning differences provides a far greater opportunity for children to be prepared for college, accepted to colleges, attend college, then become a productive member of our workforce and community,” said Gov. Ige.
“When a child is struggling, the whole family struggles,” said Alison Bhattacharyya, mother of two students attending Assets School. “Governor Ige’s commitment to early intervention and the Transforming Lives Assessment Center will be life-changing for all who are screened. Assets provided my children a reading test years ago and that’s how I learned my children had dyslexia. My children were taught strategies to read and are thriving. I am grateful to Governor Ige for supporting Assets and embracing the need for early intervention of learning differences.”
“We are honored to be selected by Governor Ige and his Emergency Education Relief Advisory Group,” said Ryan Masa, Head of School at Assets. “We look forward to working with the 30 other awardees to create significant change in education. Our keiki are our future and this investment is extremely meaningful.”
The Transforming Lives Center by Assets School will in time offer the following: psycho-educational assessments, attention deficit hyperactivity deficit (ADHD) screenings, reading screenings, speech and language assessments, assistive technology services, and executive function coaching and support. Some of the services will begin in 2022 and will be offered in phases.
“I applaud Assets for recognizing the need for a broad resource such as the future Transforming Lives Center, and I applaud Governor Ige and his team for making this investment in our students and families,” said Dr. Philip Bossert, Executive Director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. “Assets School has always been the authority in our state for educating Kindergarten through 12th grade students who are gifted, dyslexic or have other learning differences. The Transforming Lives Center will build upon Assets’ past and present success of helping students in a profound way.”