New Educator Campaign a success; Professional development top priority for Hawaii’s new teachers

The Hawaii State Teachers Association and its national organization, the National Education Association, focused extra energy on new teachers this fall with successful results: 82 percent more new members joined the HSTA this school year compared to last. The back-to-school organizing campaign signed up 892 new HSTA members this school year, an increase over 491 new members in the fall of 2015.

For the first time, HSTA also collected important data from new educators about the kinds of efforts and programs in which they are interested. Of the 273 new teachers who filled out surveys, 71 percent of them expressed an interest in professional development, including training, conferences and webinars designed to help teachers improve their practice. Social justice – improving conditions students face inside and outside the classroom—was the second-most-popular topic, with 55 percent of respondents interested. Classroom conditions came in third, with 49 percent. Reducing teachers’ student loan payments and pursuing loan forgiveness, known as “Degrees Not Debt” came in fourth, with 47 percent.

The next two categories – parent/community engagement and classroom management – tied for fifth with 42 percent of new teachers saying they were interested in those subjects. Political activism had 27 percent of those responding interested, followed by mentoring and coaching (25 percent) and educational policy with 24 percent.

“HSTA will use this information to focus our programs and efforts to give new educators the kinds of guidance and activities they are asking us for,” said Wilbert Holck, HSTA’s executive director. “We are already providing them with many resources through our Hawaii Young Professional Educators (HYPE) network and will expand our offerings in the spring.”

For more information on professional development opportunities, go to