SCHHA Education Committee Co-Chairs: Myron Brumaghim and Dr. Margarette Maaka


Who We Are

Ho’okulaiwi: ʻAha Ho’ona’auao ‘Ōiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education) is a multifaceted Community/Hawai’i DOE/University of Hawai’i College of Education partnership designed to prepare outstanding teachers and educational leaders, particularly Native Hawaiians, for Hawaiian communities.

Teacher Education
The Ho’okulāiwi Partnership for pre-service teacher education includes the Nānākuli/Wai’anae community; Hawai’i Department of Education schools—Nānāikapono Elementary, Nānākuli Elementary, Nānākuli High and Intermediate, Ka Waihona o ka Na’auao Hawaiian Charter School, Wai’anae High, and 
Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Ānuenue; the College of Education; and Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. This partnership continues to strengthen its long-term efforts to prepare outstanding:

  • teachers for the Hawai’i DOE Hawaiian Language Immersion Program,
  • teachers for the Hawai’i DOE Title I schools with large numbers of Hawaiian children,
  • teachers for Hawaiian charter schools, and
  • Native Hawaiian educational leaders in areas such as curriculum research, school administration, and teacher education through study at the master’s and doctoral levels.

In its preparation of future teachers, Ho’okulāiwi emphasizes the acquisition of traditional Hawaiian skills and knowledge in combination with skills and knowledge valued in the western world. Because reading, writing, and oracy are foundational to children’s success in all areas of learning, the partnership emphasizes literacy, language, and culture (in both Hawaiian and English); this includes mo’olelo Hawai’i, visual arts, chant, linguistics, health, law, politics, research methodologies, history and politics of education, critical thinking, critical theory, ho’omohala ha’awina kaiapuni and western pedagogy, indigenous and western models of education, mathematics, and literacy education.

Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) Program

Currently, Ho’okulāiwi has two cohorts of pre-service teachers in the MEdT Program. Under the direction of Kalehua Krug (assisted by Kimo Cashman):

  • the Kua’ana Cohort (2007-2009) had twenty-four pre-service teachers graduate in Spring 2009,
  • the Kaina Cohort (2008-2010) has fifteen pre-service teachers beginning their second year of study, and
  • the new Cohort (2009 – 2011) has approximately 22 new pre-service teachers starting the program in Fall 2009.

In keeping with Hawaiian cultural expectations that older siblings are responsible for the care and wellbeing of younger siblings, Ho’okulāiwi requires Kua’ana Cohort pre-service teacher to mentor those in the Kaina Cohort. The recent week-long orientation for the Kaina Cohort, for example, was organized by Kua’ana Cohort graduate assistants Kauluokala Kauwe, Keoni Chang-Purdy, Ikaika Akiona, and Kaleinani Tim Sing. They, along with other members of the Kua’ana Cohort and Ho’okulāiwi faculty, welcomed the new cohort with an ‘awa ceremony at Hale Ola Ho’opākōlea in Nānākuli, introduced them to the Wai’anae/Nānākuli community and partner schools, worked with them in the Ānuenue School lo’i, and, on the final day of the orientation, hosted them with food prepared in an imu.

Ho’okulāiwi MEdT pre-service teachers are also co-mentored by a cohort of twelve Hawaiian doctoral students in the fields of education, political science, Hawaiian language and culture, and psychology. The primary role of these mentors is to provide guidance in the conceptualization, conduct, and dissemination of research on Native Hawaiian and indigenous education.

Wai’anae Highly Qualified Teacher Initiative

The Wai’anae Partnership Model is a collaboration between Ho’okulāiwi and the Wai’anae Complex’s Human Resource Management Initiative. The objective is to prepare a cohort group of K-12 educational leaders knowledgeable about issues, trends, research, and program development necessary to make a significant impact on student learning within the Waianae Complex. 29 inservice teachers are going through a two-year program for a Masters degree in Education, with some working towards National Board Certification; 10 are Native Hawaiian. These teachers are slated to graduate in Summer 2009.

Niihau BEd Teacher Education Initiative

This 2008 fall semester saw the Ho’okulāiwi partnership joining with the five teachers on Ni’ihau to develop and deliver a customized 
pre-service teacher education program that will allow them to become fully licensed by 2012. Because the teachers have been teaching for many years, co-coordinators Ku‘uipolani Kanahele Wong, Kahealaniakealoha Kaohelaulii Faria, and Margie Maaka will guide them through a program that is designed as an in-service initiative rather than pre-service. Proposed activities will include internships at Nānāikapono Elementary and other partner schools, attendance at national/international conferences, and courses in technology education. Kanahele Wong and Kaohelaulii Faria, both Ni’ihau born and raised, are graduates of the College of Education. Kanahele Wong, a Kawaihuelani faculty member, is a COE doctoral student and Kaohelaulii Faria, a teacher at Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Pū’ōhala, is preparing to enter the COE doctoral program.

For additional information on the Niihau teachers accomplishments, read this story.

Ho’okulāiwi Teacher Recruitment

Under the direction of Eōmailani Bettencourt, Ho’okulāiwi focuses on recruiting Native Hawaiians and other Hawai’i residents into the teaching profession, particularly to teach in Native Hawaiian contexts. Her innovative approach includes the utilization of pre-service teachers to speak to members of their own communities (6th grade students through to adults) about the critical need to raise the quality of teaching in Hawai’i schools; to improve educational outcomes for children in Native Hawaiian communities; and to prepare teachers and school administrators who have the abilities to understand, respect, and adhere to community interests and protocols. As such, recruitment efforts focus on identifying prospective teachers and school leaders who have skills, interests, and experiences to work across different cultures and to work in partnership with a range of groups.

Bettencourt and pre-service teachers Kauluokalā Kauwe and Kaina Makua have co-presented papers on Ho’okulāiwi’s recruitment model at national and international conferences.

Hookulaiwi receives second year of funding from Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the Niihau Teacher Education Initiative

As the last bastion of native speakers of Hawaiian in the world, the Niihau community is vitally important to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language. Recognizing the uniqueness and importance of this community, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has joined with the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Education to provide a second year of funding to support Hookulaiwi: Aha Hoonaauao Oiwi as it continues its Niihau Teacher Education Initiative. OHA’s Year Two grant of $25,000 continues a teacher licensure program for five teachers from the island of Niihau. This initiative is designed to provide professional development experiences that will span a three-year period. A primary goal is the licensure of the teachers, mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act, without causing major disruption to the Niihau community.

“I am very excited about receiving the second year of funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Our Hookulaiwi partners, including faculty from the UH Manoa Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language, are enjoying working with the teachers from my home. We are proud of the progress the teachers are making towards the completion of their Bachelor of Education degrees. They are working extremely hard!” noted Kahealaniakealoha Kaohelaulii Faria, Hookulaiwi Cohort Coordinator and Niihau native.

The goal is to graduate the teachers at the end of 2012. With the support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hookulaiwi partners, in coordination with the Niihau community, have successfully guided these educators through their first year in the Bachelor of Education program, overcoming transportation and housing difficulties by holding courses on Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding this particular cohort, every effort is being made to ease the burden of travel for the teachers. Hookulaiwi’s delivery of courses on Niihau is a testament to that effort. “Having the ability to hold classes on the island allows our faculty and the teachers to collaborate in innovative ways. This has limited the disruptive impact on the teachers and the students,” noted Faria.

The immediate urgency is to offer the teachers the very best education and support them in every possible way to achieve teacher licensure. Funding to support the teachers’ professional and educational development is essential in preparing educational leaders to advocate for the Niihau community. Laurie Pahulehua, an educator from Niihau, said, “We are grateful that Hookulaiwi and OHA are working with us on our educational mission.”

For more information on Hookulaiwi, please contact Kahealani Faria at or Margie Maaka at

January 8, 2010

Jennifer Parks

(808) 956-0416