Academy Overview

Typical Length 1 year

Delivery Hybrid


Stipends Available

The goal of the Special Education (SpEd) Cooperating Teacher (CT) Academy is to recruit, develop, and support a high-quality and diverse cooperating teacher (CT) community by providing opportunities to develop their skills as they coach teacher candidates (TCs) enrolled in UH Mānoa’s special education teacher preparation programs.

CT Academy Areas of Focus

  1. UHM SATEP Programs: Develop shared understanding of UH programs and preparation standards
  2. Mentoring, Co-Teaching & Working with Other Professionals: Develop leadership and professional development skills in the area of mentoring, andragogy, and in working with other professionals. 
  3. Model Code of Ethics: Develop strategies and practices for modeling, discussing, and supporting best practices when approached with ethical issues
  4. Diversity & Learning Needs: Develop individualized context of school/community and identify a targeted subgroup aimed to enhance diversity and knowledge.
  5. Current Best Practices: Provide an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in current topics related to special education. 
Eligibility Criteria

To be selected as a member of the cohort, applicants must meet all of the following:

Additional Priority Considerations:

  1. Diversity of Professional Representation & Experience. Collectively, our priority is to develop a professional learning community of special education teachers who contribute to the diverse representation of our special education profession, which includes:
    • Special Education Specialization, Services, & Level of Supports: Mild to Moderate Disabilities or Severe Disabilities and Autism in any setting
    • Years of Experience: Beginning and Veteran Teacher Perspectives
    • Complex Area: Representatives from each Island and Complex Area
    • Grade Level: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, and High School Perspectives
  2. Experienced UH Mānoa Special Education Cooperating TeachersPriority may be given to current special education teachers who have already served as cooperating teachers for one or more of UH Mānoa’s special education teacher preparation programs
  3. Diversity of Cooperating Teachers & Workforce Representation Characteristics. Priority consideration may be given to teachers who represent one or more characteristics currently underrepresented within the Hawaii special education teacher workforce: 
    • Ethnicity: Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander
    • Locale: Geographically Hard-to-Fill Schools (as defined by HIDOE pay differentials) 
    • Multilingualism: Individuals who can speak more than one language
    • Gender: Male
Participant Expectations & Time Commitment

Upon selection, CT participants are expected to participate in activities and meetings throughout the Summer-Fall-Spring semesters.

Summer Expectations

  • Attend a virtual Pre-Academy Meeting
  • Attend an In-Person two-day Summer Academy at UH Mānoa (travel stipends provided for neighbor island participants)
  • Attend a virtual Post-Academy Meeting

Fall/Spring Expectations

  • Attend monthly virtual meetings (approx. 8 hours per month for full academic year)
  • Mentor university sped pre-service teacher candidate

In addition, CTs will be expected to complete 10+ hours of assigned projects/tasks on various activities throughout the academic school year.

Examples of Academy Activities:

  • Create personal and professional profiles & business cards
  • Create a Candidate Handbook contextualized for your community, school, and classroom
  • Identify, model, and coach candidates on High-Leverage Practices of your choosing
  • Learn, practice, and implement effective mentoring and coaching practices
Participant Benefits

By being a part of the Special Education CT Academy, you would receive:

  • Project Equal Access Polo & Swag: Receive a special Project Equal Access Logo Polo shirt only available to project members, in addition to other project-related materials. 
  • Stipends and Reclassification Credits: Receive up to $600 in stipends or up to 6 PDE3 credits (pending approvals) for participation across 3 session increments: Summer, Fall, and Spring. Neighbor island teachers will receive an additional travel stipend to assist with airfare and a one-night stay at the East-West Center on the UH Mānoa campus for the Summer Cooperating Teacher Academy. 
  • Growth & Resources: Receive support and training from UHM specialized faculty and partners in the area of coaching and mentoring and special education high-leverage practices, including receiving a copy of the HLP practice manual.
  • Professional Learning Community: Receive paid professional membership to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), which includes Hawaii-CEC unit membership, and provides professional resources, webinars, and a national community of support in special education.
  • Support & Validation: Be part of a specialized group of high-quality special education classroom teachers with whom you can connect, share ideas, and receive support.
How to Apply

Next opportunity to apply will be for our Summer 2025 cohort. The final grant-funded cohort will be offered in Summer 2026.

Application Link:

The application includes multiple-choice or short-answer responses related to you and your teaching experiences. The final seven questions of the application are open-ended. To help you prepare before you begin your application, the questions are listed below so you can draft them first and copy them into your application: