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Without high-quality and fully-certified teachers in the classroom there is little hope for our Keiki to be prepared.  Year after year we have heard the stories of the shortages of teachers in our classrooms. 

As the Senate chair on Education I was determined not to let this continue.  I am so proud of the work I’ve done with the Department of Education, University of Hawaii College of Education, University of Hawaii West Oahu, and many other stakeholders we have put together the Grow Our Own program. This program takes substitute teachers who already have their bachelors and enrolls them in a special 3-semester program designed for them to get their teacher certification.  We are targeting our own substitute teachers who are working in hard to fill schools and subject areas because we know that they will stay for years.


Best part about this program?  It is absolutely free to the teachers.  I put in money for the first cohort of 30 to have the full cost of their tuition paid for if they committed to teaching in the DOE.  I have had the honor of meeting this class a few times and have loved their feedback.  I was particularly pleased that almost a third of those enrolled came from the Waipahu or Mililani area.

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