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Since the beginning of Teach for America Hawai‘i in 2006, our region has recognized the unique and profound additional impact kama‘āina and Kanaka Maoli educators can have on students. Our kama‘āina and Kanaka Maoli corps members impact Hawai‘i in multiple roles such as Hawai‘i State Teacher of Year, education non-profit leaders, healthcare system leaders, elected officials, and more. Your island home needs leaders like you with deep ties to the communities we serve to ensure all students in Hawai‘i receive an excellent education.   

Kama‘āina & Kanaka Maoli Recruitment By the Numbers

210

Kama‘āina leaders

71

Kanaka Maoli leaders

94

Hawai‘i Public School graduates

11

Previously taught by TFA Teacher

Reflections on Teaching: Kama‘āina Educators

Hear from our kama‘āina and Kanaka Maoli network share what teaching local students means to them.

Unlocking the Future of Hawai‘i Through Education

The impacts of colonialism and annexation continue to be felt by many local families today, particularly Native Hawaiian communities. We believe that to fully realize the future of a more sustainable and independent Hawai‘i, all keiki regardless of their circumstances are entitled to a high-quality education that helps them become the leaders of their local communities. 

If you grew up in the islands, then you already know that education can look vastly different across the state. On Oʻahu, at private schools like Punahou, 99% of graduates enroll in a four-year college and are set up for college success with 86% of AP exams taken by seniors earning a score of 3 or higher. Compared to Waiʻanae High School, one of our largest partner schools, 16% of graduates enrolled in a four-year college, with only 2 students scoring a three or higher on an AP exam. This is not an issue of the inherent potential of students, but the result of complex, systemic socioeconomic barriers which require leaders working across many sectors to solve. 

Join the movement in Hawaiʻi for change

While there is still much to be done to realize our vision, we know that kama‘āina and Kanaka Maoli corps members and alumni are critical towards making changes in our system. We also know that change is already happening: from 2015 to 2019, the number of Waiʻanae High School graduates at UH enrolled in college-level English increased 28% and the number of students enrolled in college-level math increased 28%. Our kama‘āina and Kanaka Maoli network of changemakers are creative innovators in their schools and communities: 

Where We Work 

To focus our impact, we strategically place corps members in public schools on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. A majority of our O‘ahu corps members teach on the Leeward Coast, ‘Ewa Beach, ‘Aiea, or Wahiawa, while most of our Hawai‘i Island corps members teach in Kailua-Kona, Konawaena, or Kea‘au. 

Many of our corps members and alumni have had the opportunity to return to their hometowns to teach in schools they attended growing up, and some were even taught by Teach for America Hawai‘i teachers as well!

Hawai'i Island and O'ahu Communities

Connect with TFA Hawai‘i

Do you identify as kamaʻāina and/or Kanaka Maoli and want to learn more about our movement for local leaders? Contact hawaiiinfo@teachforamerica.org to get connected with our local staff today.

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