While Hawai‘i still has a long journey to ensure that all students have access to an excellent education, our collective charge to bring about change is stronger than ever.
Beyond the white sand beaches and palm trees, Hawai‘i has a unique history and a thriving culture. It's the only state that was once a kingdom with its own royal monarchy. While the Declaration of Independence was being signed in Philadelphia, King Kamehameha I was consolidating his monarchy by conquering and unifying the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiians spoke a unified Hawaiian language and perpetuated their culture and identity through chants, legends, and oral history.
Education reform efforts in recent years have focused on integrating Native Hawaiian culture into classroom learning. In 2015, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education launched its Nā Hopena A‘o (HĀ) framework, which provides students and teachers with support to develop the skills, behaviors, and dispositions that are reminiscent of Hawai‘i's unique context, and to honor the qualities and values of the indigenous language and culture of Hawai‘i. Similarly, Teach For America Hawai‘i's Strategic Direction: 2016-2026 has prioritized the recruitment of Native Hawaiian and kama‘āina (from Hawai‘i) corps members so that our teachers represent the communities where we work.
Throughout the state, students, teachers, and parents are uniting to transform our local educational landscape. Teach For America Hawai‘i proudly partners with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and local community partners to support equitable access to an excellent education for students on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. After 10 years of partnership, we are seeing success.