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Program Gets Hawai‘i Teachers Ready for School

August 6, 2017, 1:53 PM HST
* Updated August 6, 2:28 PM
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HIDOE program prepares new teachers. Big Island Now stock image.

For Hawai‘i Island’s first-time teachers, beginning the school year can be nerve-racking. As students return to school on Monday, Aug. 6, teachers will be ready thanks to the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s Beginning Teacher Summer Academy.

The two-day academy provides first- and second-year teachers with training on classroom management, procedures, communication, school culture, instruction design and more.

“When we started the academies in 2014, we reached 90 new teachers on O‘ahu,” said Keri Shimomoto, educational specialist. “We are thrilled that we were able to localize the academies this year allowing for more new teachers to attend and the ability to address the needs specific to each island. This summer, there were more than 200 teachers attending.”

For the last three years, the Beginning Teacher Summer Academy has used the summer to help new teachers transition into the teaching profession. This year, the sessions were held on Hawaii Island, Maui, O‘ahu and Lānai.

Participating teachers praise the program for the networking opportunities and for providing tools necessary to help students.

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“I feel that I am now ready to create a nurturing classroom environment and community as I learn how to arrange my classroom and get to know my students,” said a first-year elementary teacher. “The session exceeded my expectations and helped me become more confident as a teacher.”

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The Beginning Teacher Summer Academy is built upon researched-based principles for teacher onboarding, mentoring and coaching, reducing teacher turnover and improving student achievement.

The program is sponsored in part by HIDOE’s community partner, Matson Foundation, whose funding helped provide all new teachers with The First Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, additional classroom resources, refreshments and lunch. Matson also sponsored Neighbor Island travel for mentors to support with facilitation.

“Matson’s interest in supporting Hawai‘i’s public schools starts with its teachers, and so for several years, we have funded efforts to develop talented teachers for our schools,” said Matt Cox, chairman and CEO of Matson. “Our increased funding this year supports the department’s statewide program to equip our newest teachers with several days of orientation and connections with experienced mentors who can help them navigate challenges that any new job presents.”

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For more information about HIDOE’s teacher induction and mentoring program, click here.

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