CDS.H-PEP news

The U.S. Department of Education, Native Hawaiian Education Program (NHEP), has granted the UH Mānoa College of Education Center on Disability Studies (CDS) a $387K grant for year one of its Hawaii Positive Engagement Project (H-PEP). The project is scheduled to receive $1.3M over the next three years. The purpose of NHEP grants is to develop innovative education programs to assist Native Hawaiians.

Co-directed by Associate Professor Jean Johnson and Project Coordinator Naomi Rombaoa, HPEP is an extension of the work of two previous successful CDS grant-funded projects, First Step to Success in Hawaiʻi Preschools and the Hawaiʻi Preschool Positive Engagement Project.

Through culturally appropriate, research-based strategies, HPEP aims to address the professional development needs of Native Hawaiian early educators and those who work with Native Hawaiian students in early childhood education; to strengthen early learning outcomes for at-risk Native Hawaiian preschool students; to build protective factors of Native Hawaiian families with young children by facilitating positive parent engagement and early literacy skills; and to create accessible materials for continued use after the grant period has ended.

“We are truly grateful for this opportunity to serve our community through this project and look forward to building upon the strengths of the educators, families, and students we work with,” said Rombaoa Tanaka.

HPEP will provide professional development through in-person, web-based, and mixed delivery methods. Statewide, the program will also provide mentoring and goal-setting support to educators, provide financial support for early educators to access continuing education opportunities, facilitate parent groups, and disseminate information.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jean Johnson at or Naomi Rombaoa Tanaka at

Stay Connected

Receive a monthly newsletter covering COE news, events, and announcements

Sign Up