Theresa Lock

Dr. Theresa Lock, of the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE), has been awarded a $1.3 million grant by the Early Education Investment Collaborative (EEIC). Under the direction of Lock, the two-year grant program, titled Hawai‘i Early Childhood Educator Excellence and Equity (Hawai‘i ECE3) Project, will develop, expand, and implement innovative approaches and dismantle structural barriers to early childhood education workforce preparation and compensation.

A COE School of Teacher Education (STE) Early Childhood Instructor, Lock will work in close coordination with over 20 partner agencies to ensure the success of the project. Core partners include the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board, Executive Office on Early Learning, Early Learning Board, Honolulu Community College, Chaminade University, INPEACE, and Kamehameha Schools.

“For decades, training and compensation for the early care and education workforce in Hawai‘i have been sorely neglected,” Lock stated. “This is especially evident among those serving infants through preschool. Well-prepared and well-compensated teachers will ensure that all children make significant and sustained gains in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.”

Part of an EEIC Transforming Early Childhood Education Lead Teacher Preparation Grant, the project is also supported by local matching funds and in-kind support from the College of Education, Executive Office on Early Learning, Kamehameha Schools, Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation, and the Kōaniani Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

“By almost all measures, Hawai‘i lags behind the rest of the nation in providing access to high-quality ECE programs, particularly for children and families most in need,” Lock continued. “This funding opportunity is the accelerant we need to spark a fire of transformation to improve  our state’s early childhood workforce system.”

Hawai‘i ECE3 will establish “The Center” at the COE to coordinate Hawai‘i’s innovative educator preparation program reforms. The Center will work with a coalition of interdisciplinary partners to coordinate and complete two major activities: 1. a statewide competency-based lead teacher career pathway framework from recruitment to induction for students from diverse backgrounds to attain their ECE associate and bachelor degrees; and 2. an early childhood workforce compensation equity plan to better understand how to build options for competitive ECE lead teacher compensation.

STE Elementary Director Kuʻulei Serna said, “Hawaiʻi is incredibly blessed to receive this EEIC grant among a highly competitive pool of applicants. I couldn’t think of a more qualified person than Dr. Lock to direct the ECE3 Project. The Center’s activities will unify multiple sectors of our community to transform ECE in Hawaiʻi. Dr. Lock’s hard work in cooperation with other ECE professionals across the State as well as public-private partnerships are invaluable and will greatly benefit Hawaiʻi’s children, families, and the ECE profession.”

Read the national EEIC press release (06/03/21) here:

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