A former electrical engineer, Glenn Lee brings his students a keen understanding of how math and science concepts apply to the real world. In fact, it was the desire to teach these direct connections that inspired Lee to lead the robotics program at Waialua High and Intermediate School after working as a science and math teacher.
Waialua Robotics has transformed the school into a leader in the subject and has served as a model for promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Hawaii. The program has won several awards for robot performance, engineering design, business and community partnerships, team spirit and overall program. Many of the students pursue degrees and careers in engineering, giving credit to Lee for his positive influence.
Lee’s instructional approach is to give students the freedom to take the lead in their projects. They design their own learning objectives and outcomes, which enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as build self-confidence.
Math test scores have increased dramatically under Lee’s leadership. Eighth grade scores jumped from 39 percent proficient in 2009 to 59 percent proficient in 2010. Similar gains were seen in 10th grade, with scores increasing from 28 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2010. Lee also runs afterschool programs, where enrollment has increased from 72 in 2009 to 300 in 2010. One hundred percent of the robotics program’s students continue to college.
Lee is department chair for math, science and career technical education. He lends his expertise to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation committee, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), rigor/relevance framework development, project-based learning, common core standards preparation and professional development in technology. In addition, Lee is on the state robotics planning committee and alliance and has presented for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).