MEd CS Student, Aloha Kumu Cohort

Elaine Medina

"This is a place where family matters, talents are born, culture is important, and people are grateful for everything they have."




Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Early Childhood & Early Childhood SPED

Current position?

I am an instructional coach at Makaha Elementary for grades 2-4. I offer professional development for teachers, collect data to determine the needs of our students, provide model lessons, and assist with interpreting the standards.

What drew you to your current program?

Aloha Kumu provides me with the tools and knowledge to better teach our students in Hawaiʻi and help my community.

What is your philosophy of teaching?

ALL students can learn. But, it is important to understand their culture, build relationships, and provide relevant lessons. Teaching to the curriculum, no matter how great the content or instructional strategy, is useless if you don’t know who your students are. Each year I start from scratch because I know the next year I will teach a new set of students who have new ideas, new stories, different backgrounds, and different goals.

How do you relate to your students?

Being from the Waiʻanae Community, I have so many connections with my students. I understand where they come from, know their culture, and am able to share my stories of growing up in the community.

Describe your road to becoming an educator.

I was born and raised on the west side of O’ahu. I attended Ma’ili Elementary School, Wai’anae Intermediate, and I am a proud graduate of Wai’anae High School. The learning experiences and knowledge that I gained from my family, friends, and teachers have influenced my desire to become a teacher for the students on the Waiʻanae Coast.

Elaine shares an inspiring lesson from her students

“Today we are going to share what we know about our Community.”  A student responds, “What is community? Is it like where we live?” I respond, “Yes!  You are absolutely correct. Class, I want you think about where we live. Close your eyes for a minute and think about your family, your culture, and what you see everyday… Now share with a friend everything you know about our Community.  One student said, “My grandma takes me shopping in the community, like to Tamuras.”  Another shared, “I play football down at Makaha Park with my friends.” A third student stated, “We go to the beach a lot. I  love the beach.”
My heart raced as I thought about how others who are not part of our community perceive the Waianae Coast. Drugs, crime, abuse, and homelessness have always been the center of discussion. But the reality is, this is a place where family matters, talents are born, culture is important, and people are grateful for everything they have.  A place I truly love.

I'm interested in learning more about a degree or certificate in Curriculum Studies.

Request More Info about choosing a program