HawaiiKidsCAN and Teach For America-Hawaii Team Up to Inspire Teacher Innovators
May 16, 2019

By David Miyashiro, Founding Executive Director, HawaiiKidsCAN

As a community-based education policy advocate, I often meet local educators who are developing organic innovations that have, or could have, a tremendous positive impact on kids and the broader community. These are teachers who see a need in their community and step up to make change rather than waiting for permission.

To elevate these kinds of teacher voices and focus the local public education conversation around combating complacency and driving scalable change, HawaiiKidsCAN joined forces with Teach For America-Hawaii to co-host our inaugural Spark & Inspire event. Using a Shark Tank-inspired format, the event focused on innovative ideas driven by TFA alumni in Hawaii public schools.

Four multi-island teams of teachers received grants from the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation and feedback and support from a panel of leaders from policy, philanthropic, and business sectors. Teachers presented a diverse range of projects:

  • A rural school-based health clinic
  • The first local teacher-led podcast
  • A mālama (land) based learning project
  • A maker space for English Learner students

The event was a positive experience for all involved, generating strong interest from a diverse range of community partners to support additional teacher innovators. Students played a strong role in the evening, with media and catering covered by student teams from a local public high school!

We’re looking forward to tracking how these projects progress over the next year, and hope to select an inspiring set of presenters for 2020. You can watch the full event here.


David Miyashiro

David is the Founding Executive Director at HawaiiKidsCAN


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