students sitting in a classroom

The University of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education announced a partnership on November 21, that will allow public school employees to take Hawaiian language classes at community colleges starting in the spring semester of 2020.

Employees from the public schools will be able to enroll at the seven UH Community College campuses in Hawaiian language classes 101, 102, 201 and 202. The deadline for enrolling is December 12.

“This collaboration will support the advancement of Hawaiian language across public education,” UH President David Lassner said. “UH faculty have been at the core of the revitalization of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi through decades of amazing work. This project is an important extension of the foundation across the Department of Education and our public schools statewide.”

“We are excited to announce this new learning opportunity aimed at honoring the essential role that ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) plays in our educational system,” Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said. “Mahalo to the University of Hawaiʻi for partnering with us as we work to increase the relevance and awareness of Hawaiʻi’s unique educational context.”

The public school employees will be able to take the courses in exclusive classes to DOE workers or receive scholarships to take classes along with UH Community College students.

“This is a natural evolution as we continue to strive to be an indigenous inspired and serving institution. Part of that mission is working with our partners at the DOE to help them integrate Hawaiian language and culture in their curriculum. We know from experience that culture-based learning works,” interim-Vice President of Community Colleges Erika Lacro said.

Upon successful completion, teachers who are part of Bargaining Unit 05 will be able to receive professional development credits and all other DOE employees will be able to earn college credit. The department has more than 22,000 salaried employees, including nearly 13,000 teachers.