College of Education faculty helps teachers grow on Kauai

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Dec 7, 2007

HONOLULU - Dr. Kani Blackwell, College of Education Elementary Cohort Coordinator for Teacher Education on Kauaʻi, has helped to raise $52,000 through five Kauaʻi Rotary Clubs to support student teachers.

"This is a wonderful Rotary scholarship program for our student teachers," said Beth Pateman, professor at the Institute for Teacher Education in the COE.

Through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s statewide program, students can remain on Kauaʻi, attend the community college for their first two years, and complete their next two years through the Statewide Teacher Education Program. However, many teacher candidates cannot afford their last semester in which they serve full-time in the classroom without pay.

"I tried to rally community support for scholarships [for years] on Kauaʻi, but it wasn‘t until I appeared as a speaker for the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay on November 30, 2006 that good things began to happen," Blackwell said. As a result of her efforts, the "Growing Our Own Teachers" scholarship fund was established.

This December, the Hanalei Rotary Club will hold an awards ceremony at the Princeville Hotel where 11 candidates will receive $4,000 each and another candidate, who is able to work, will receive $500. Blackwell has put in a request for six 2004-2006 graduates, who are in their second year of teaching on Kauaʻi, to receive $500 each.

Blackwell, a fulltime faculty member of the COE, has managed to conduct all of her scholarship work during volunteer hours — before school, during lunch, after hours, and on weekends. This includes speeches, radio shows, and fundraising events. Blackwell, pictured with some of the current cohort members, said, "It is so fulfilling to know that the community has taken this interest to partner with our UH Mānoa Elementary and Early Childhood Education program to Grow our own Teachers."

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