New Partnership to Address Teacher Shortage
Every state across the country is coming up with solutions to combat the teacher shortage, which many education officials describe as a severe crisis. For its part, Hawaiʻi introduced multiple incentives and retention efforts—from higher pay to student loan forgiveness—to attract new teachers, but more educators will still be needed in the near future.
To address the community’s needs, Chaminade University and Kamehameha Schools have introduced their own new carrot: an innovative and community-focused teacher prep partnership that will provide 150 Muʻo Scholarships to educate, train and prepare aspiring teachers to lead Hawaiʻi’s classrooms.
“We are excited to announce this partnership with Kamehameha Schools, which directly addresses one of our most pressing community issues: a teacher shortage,” said Chaminade University President Dr. Lynn Babington, during a press conference in the ceremonial chambers of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. “By providing these scholarships, we’re removing barriers that too often hinder many working adults in the state from obtaining a bachelor’s degree while still maintaining family and work commitments.”
The new partnership will provide full-tuition scholarships, and aligns with Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke’s “Ready Keiki” program, which aims to create universal preschool access for all of Hawaiʻi’s 3- and 4-year-olds by 2032.
“Ready Keiki is a commitment by the State of Hawaii to provide access to early education,” Lt. Gov. Luke said. “In order to do that, it wasn’t just the state of Hawaii leading the charge. We needed partnership from many of the departments, all the counties and many of our private philanthropic partners, including Kamehameha Schools and Chaminade University.”
Beginning Fall 2023, Chaminade University and Kamehameha Schools will offer 50 students full-tuition Muʻo Scholarships to Chaminade’s online bachelor’s program to become teachers here in Hawaiʻi, prioritizing early learning. This enrollment will continue for two additional years for a total of 150 funded scholarships as a partnership through KS Kaiāulu, a new way for Kamehameha Schools to impact keiki and ʻohana in the kaiāulu (community) alongside community partners.
“Every keiki should have access to early learning, which provides a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning,” said Dr. Waiʻaleʻale Sarsona, vice president of Hiʻialo at Kamehameha Schools. “We are committed to help make this vision a reality, and this latest partnership with Chaminade University will bring Hawaiʻi closer to achieving this goal.”
Chaminade University’s online bachelor’s degree program is designed for working adults in Hawai‘i who may already be serving as a teacher’s aide or, currently, in a similar position. The online delivery format will allow students to continue working while pursuing their bachelor’s degree. Program information is available and applications for the scholarships are being accepted. This transformative program is 100 percent online, with a requirement to complete a student-teaching track. Students will be paired with an academic advisor to guide them on the road to graduation.
Applications are open to all Hawaiʻi residents with additional consideration extended to those of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Recruitment and admittance priority will also be given to early childhood education applicants.
Chaminade University and Kamehameha Schools are institutions that value education and understand how teachers—at the early stages of childhood—have a positive impact on kids, their families and the community-at-large. This partnership is a testament to their commitment.
“This is a great day when we’re announcing this partnership, thanks to Chaminade University, thanks to the efforts of Kamehameha Schools,” said Lt. Gov. Luke. “We have found a way to fill that (teacher) void; and found the pathway to filling these classrooms with qualified teachers, qualified teaching assistants.”