2023 Outcomes

Established the Special Education Cooperating Teacher Academy

The primary objective for the initial launch of the grant was to establish and recruit the inaugural cohort for the Special Education Cooperating Teacher Academy, which began in Summer 2023 with sixteen highly-qualified and diverse special education teachers. This cohort represents current Hawaii public school teachers who teach across PK-12 in special education or inclusive settings and live on Oahu, Maui, or Hawaii island. This collective cohort met in-person at the UH Mānoa campus in the summer and then virtually throughout the school year.

Topics covered in Summer 2023 Special Education CT Academy:

  • Mentoring and coaching preservice teachers (familiarizing with UHM COE SPED programs)
  • Knowledge and use of high-leverage practices (development of teacher handbook to use with teacher candidates)
  • Teacher leadership skills (development of skills to support department and school leadership)

Learn more about the Cooperating Teacher Academy or apply for the next cohort

Collage of Cooperating Teacher Academy members as a group in person and also on zoom with two candid photos of members having small group discussions and a pair of teachers sharing their answers to an activity.
2023 CT Academy

Funded the first group of Hawkins’ Scholars

Another key priority for Project Equal Access was to provide funding in support of diverse teacher candidates currently enrolled in special education teacher licensure programs at the College of Education. Candidates were selected given their diverse characteristics and needs, allowing them to receive supplemental funding to cover additional programmatic costs, such as textbooks, technology, travel from neighboring islands to attend face-to-face sessions at UH Mānoa, and to help offset student teaching requirements.

A total of 70 candidates were awarded for SY 23-24, providing a total of $96,600 in funding and candidates representing targeted areas in building a more diverse educator workforce:

  • Locale: (a) 49 on Oahu ($66,150), and (b) 21 on neighboring islands ($30,450)
  • Multilingual: 20% who are multilingual (self-reported “advanced” in two or more languages). Languages represented: English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Pidgin, American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Ethnicity: 13% Native Hawaiian, 24% Filipino/a/x, 30% Japanese, 7% African American, 24% Chinese, and 47% Caucasian
Why would receiving this funding be important to you?
Applicant Testimonial
“Receiving this grant funding is of utmost importance to me, given my current financial struggles and the additional hardship that quitting my jobs to undertake student teaching would entail. Juggling full-time work with being a full-time student has already proven to be a significant challenge, and the prospect of losing a steady income during the spring semester intensifies my financial concerns. The grant would provide essential support in mitigating these challenges, ensuring that I can focus on my student teaching responsibilities without the added burden of financial instability. This assistance is not only an investment in my education but also a crucial lifeline during a challenging period, allowing me to pursue my teaching aspirations with greater dedication and focus.”

2024 Outcomes

Maui County Apprenticeship Pilot Project

Students enrolled in a State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP) must complete fieldwork and student teaching hours to become licensed teachers in Hawai‘i. Historically, most students cannot work while completing these requirements, often posing a barrier to program completion and adding hardship to students who must balance family, life, and school commitments. As a result, federal funds can now support workforce development, providing registered apprenticeship opportunities so students can earn an income while completing their classroom-based experience hours in schools that are registered as apprenticeship sites.

To launch this opportunity in Hawai‘i, a collaborative partnership between UH Mānoa and Maui County’s Department of Labor will pilot an apprenticeship opportunity so that eligible students could earn $20+/hour during the Spring 2024 semester. Upon success of this initiative, the goal would be to expand these opportunities statewide.

As part of the Project Equal Access initiative, having workforce apprenticeships would allow us to build a wider and stronger pipeline into the teaching profession, as more nontraditional and diverse candidates would be able to pursue their teacher preparation program, while also being able to earn an income.


Ten (10) teacher candidates were identified as eligible for this pilot project across 4 different statewide COE teacher licensure programs (i.e., BEd in Early Childhood + Early Childhood Special Education, BEd in Elementary, BEd in Special Education, and MEdT in Dual Secondary + Special Education).

  • 9 candidates opted-in to participate in this pilot project; 6 candidates were completing full-time student teaching and 3 candidates were completing their part-time observation practicum field requirements
  • Candidates completed their apprenticeships across 6 Hawaii DOE Maui County schools; 5 in Maui and 1 in Lāna‘i
  • Candidates earned $22.25/hour or higher
Apprenticeship pilot flyer with logos and photos of the UHM College of Education and Maui Department of industrial labor

Local High School to UH Mānoa Pipeline Building Initiative

A key goal for Project Equal Access is to support recruitment initiatives by connecting with various local high school teacher academies across the state. To support the pipeline from high school to college, grant funding will be used to engage in projects and activities that allow the high school teacher cadets to learn more about the teaching career, UH Mānoa’s teacher licensure programs, and engage in hands-on workshops and experiences. In addition, collaboration and feedback from high school partners will help to address current barriers, concerns, or processes that may be hindering secondary students from pursuing education as their major. Finally, funding and support will be provided to schools to establish opportunities for secondary students to gain experience working and collaborating alongside students with disabilities so that more students would consider special education as a potential and rewarding career.

High Schools Supported in 2024:

  • Farrington High School
  • Waipahu High School
  • Pearl City High School
  • Waiakea High School
  • Honoka’a High School

Interested in having us partner with your school? Please email dgovin@hawaii.edu to connect!