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Hawaii: Working in Education in Hawaii

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Hawaii's Department of Education is facing budget cuts of $468 million through 2011. One way the department is reducing costs is through employee furloughs, which range from 10 to 24 days per year.

Hawaii has over 30 public charter schools that serve over 7,600 K-12 students. They are subject to state and federal performance standards and are open to all who want to attend. Some of the charter schools focus on Hawaiian culture and language.

Educational Management

Hawaii is the only state with a student-based funding system, which makes it possible for principals to allocate resources in innovative ways that address the needs of each child. Through direct school funding, Hawaii's principals decide how to spend at least 70 percent of the Department of Education's operating budget, enabling principals to operate their schools to best meet the educational needs of their students. The Hawaii Principals Academy helps principals and other administrators to improve their skills at managing their budgets as part of becoming more effective educational leaders.

Curriculum and Instruction

The Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Support is responsible for the whole spectrum of curriculum and instruction. This allows for integration and articulation of services that help schools implement standards-based education.

Teacher's Aides

The Hawaii Department of Education defines paraeducator as a school employee who works under the supervision of teachers or other professionals providing instruction and other direct services to children and youth and their families.

The Paraeducator Training Program provides professional development for educational paraprofessionals. Teacher's aides can choose credit or non-credit courses from schools and colleges around the state. The Educational Paraprofessional program at Kapi'olani Community College, for example, is a bachelor's degree program that prepares current and prospective teacher's aides to work with students with special needs.

Education paraprofessionals in Hawaii can find information and networking opportunities in the Paraprofessional Newsletter. The Paraeducator Career Advancement Program (PECAP) is a career ladder and salary structure for teacher's aides who meet training, job performance, and longevity requirements. PECAP takes advancement further than civil service by rewarding paraprofessionals for professional development training.

Technology Education Initiatives for Students and Educators

The Hawaii Department of Education provides web-based educational resources and instructional television activities for teachers, parents, and students to use in the event of school closure.

Hawaii's E-school offers high school credit courses through multimedia technologies and the Internet. The state participates in i-SAFE, a nationwide program that offers professional development and K-12 curriculum at no cost to school districts. The Technology Literacy program gives eighth graders the opportunity to demonstrate their technology skills; schools are encouraged to test their students, but testing is not required.

Project Inspire is an online professional development program designed to help teacher integrate technology into teaching, learning, and the curriculum. The Technology Activators Project is a four-course program to give educators technological skills than can be used in the learning process.

The Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium coordinates activities relating to telecommunications technology in education and research.

The annual E-School Conference was canceled for 2009 for economic reasons.

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