Mahalo to Hawaii’s Accomplished Teachers

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This guest post comes from Ka`ulu Gapero, a National Board Certified Teacher, director at Ho`olaukoa Educational Systems and Strategies and a secondary math teacher in Hawaii.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and as a National Board Certified Teacher in Hawaii, my colleagues and I benefit from a strong partnership between our state’s major education stakeholders: Hawaii State Teachers Association, Kamehameha

Schools, the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board and the Hawaii Department of Education.

One recent example is how meaningful and exciting it was to have Gov. David Ige celebrate the 56 new board-certified teachers at a statewide ceremony. Board certification is the highest level a teacher can earn, and data make clear that it has a significant impact on student learning. Legislators show they value accomplished teachers through their investment in board-certified teachers: In Hawaii, we earn a sizeable stipend, and for those of us in high-need schools, we earn additional financial incentives.

This continued collaboration among the state’s education stakeholders results in support services and monetary incentives for teachers pursuing board certification. Leveraging the expertise of board-certified teachers in high-needs schools or schools with high turnover helps to ensure that students are taught by the best possible teachers.

I can say that this support makes a unique difference for students. A spirit of aloha and care permeates the system of support that, collaboratively, we as teachers are fortunate to be able to receive. Through the continued application of accomplished teaching practices, our board-certified teachers extend this deep aloha and passion for learning to our students.

Thanks to our major stakeholders, teachers and students across the Hawaiian islands benefit from this work.

I know that Hawaii isn’t alone in investing in accomplished teachers. Twenty-five states support board-certified teachers with financial incentives, and 11 provide additional incentives for board-certified teachers working in high-need schools. Programs such as these are one way states can support teachers in their tireless work to advance student learning, and they go a long way to making teachers feel valued. It’s the kind of opportunity that reminds me that I’m appreciated — beyond the one week a year that is called Teacher Appreciation Week.

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