UH Hilo’s School of Education celebrates 19 grad students on their way to becoming teachers

Having just completed their first year of grad school, each member of the master of arts in teaching cohort are ready to apply for teacher licensure.

Group photo of cohort, all in lei.
Graduate students in the UH Hilo School of Education’s master of arts in teaching program celebrate completion of their first year of studies in the two-year program, May 5, 2024, at the Campus Center Plaza. Front row from left: Ashlynn Shiraishi, Nawaiʻoluokealoha Makua, Shayli Lim, Amanda Duyao, Asia Castillo, Kylee Kubojiri, Tiphani Kainoa, Kailey Scanlon, David Freund, and Courtney Yamaguchi. Back row from left: Arianna Cocallas, Allan Simeon Jr, Megan Kimura, Tori Hironaga, Lucas Tesfai, Travis Siebert, Brandon Nguyen, and Caley “Kai” Coloma. (Photo: School of Education/UH Hilo)

By Susan Enright.

Nineteen graduate students in the master of arts in teaching program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo were honored May 9 at an event to commemorate the completion of their first year of the two-year program. The students, who have completed three semesters of studies and field work, are now ready to apply for teacher licensure and for teaching positions across the state.

Tobias Irish pictured.
Tobias Irish (Photo: Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories)

“Most of the cohort will continue on to year two of our program and earn a master’s degree while they are in their first year of teaching,” says Tobias Irish, associate professor and director of the School of Education.

The event happens annually and is a family-oriented celebration with ʻohana of the students attending along with cooperating teachers from the community who are participating in the students’ training (some of whom are former UH Hilo graduate students themselves), field supervisors, K-12 school principals, and School of Education faculty members.

UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Bitter attended.

Seventeen of the cohort had the licensure year of their program paid for by “Grow Our Own” tuition stipends provided by the state. The “Grow Our Own Teachers Initiative” gives future educators an opportunity to qualify for stipends in Hawaiʻi Department of Education areas.

Event held on the Campus Center Plaza, honored students are standing at front, and audience is seated at tables lookin on.
The School of Education event celebrating students’ completion of the first year of grad school happens annually and is family-oriented with ʻohana of the students attending along with cooperating teachers, field supervisors, K-12 school principals, UH Hilo faculty members, the dean of the college, and chancellor of the university. This year’s event was held May 5, 2024, at UH Hiloʻs Campus Center Plaza. (Photo: School of Education/UH Hilo)

The licensure year

Called the “licensure year,” this first year of the two-year teaching program is a milestone for the grad students because with the completion of their teacher-preparation coursework, field work, and student teaching, they are now eligible to apply for teacher licensure through the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board, interview for teaching positions, and begin their first year of teaching in their own classrooms in August.

Through their coursework over the past school year, each member of the cohort learned about child development, classroom management, lesson planning, instructional strategies, educational technology, assessment for learning, educator ethics, and more.

What comes next

During their second year of the program, this cohort will sharpen their teaching skills through action research, which is a form of research that enables them to establish baseline data on student performance, teach their students in specific content areas, and measure student progress, as well as their own teaching effectiveness, over time.

The next cohort, number 12 of the program, starts their two years of studies this summer.

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

Share this story