Deadline approaches for teacher sabbatical leave during SY 2020-21

Teachers may apply for one semester or for the entire school year

Teacher sabbatical leave applications are now being accepted for school year 2020–21. Teachers may apply for one semester or for the entire school year.  

The Department of Education (DOE) may grant sabbatical leaves to teachers for the purposes of improving professional knowledge, skills and abilities. Any teacher who has completed seven years of service in the DOE as of the beginning date of the sabbatical leave is eligible. Upon return from a sabbatical leave, a minimum period of seven years of service must be completed to qualify for another sabbatical leave.

All documents can be found online here (DOE Intranet login and password required).

Download: Form OTM 100-001 Sabbatical/professional improvement leave for certificated employees | Selection criteria/rating scale

The following is a list of key deadlines and dates:

  • Jan. 10, 2020. Teacher submits DOE OTM 100-001, Sabbatical/Professional Improvement Leave for Certificated Employees, and supporting documents to principal/supervisor and Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) for review and signatures.
  • Jan. 24, 2020. CAS/Personnel Regional Officer sends DOE OTM 100-001 form via courier to Office of Talent Management (OTM); Employee Records and Transactions Section; Attention:  Maile Horikawa, Teacher Sabbatical Leave; Dole Cannery, Suite 300.
  • Feb. 21, 2020. OTM sends notification of approval or non-approval to all applicants.
  • March 13, 2020. Teacher returns the signed Contract for Sabbatical Leave to the OTM, Employee Records and Transactions Section; Attention: Maile Horikawa, Teacher Sabbatical Leave; Dole Cannery Suite 300.

If you have any questions, please contact Maile Horikawa, Personnel Specialist, at (808) 441-8348 or via email at maile.horikawa@k12.hi.us.

A sabbatical leave may be taken for one school year at half pay or for one semester at full pay. Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF), DOE service credits, and Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) retirement credits may be continued for the period of the leave provided that all leave requirements are met. Sick leave or vacation leave is not accrued while on sabbatical leave. The paid sabbatical leave may not be extended, but may be followed by a professional improvement leave of absence without pay provided that all sabbatical leave requirements are met.


A teacher on sabbatical leave for one school year must spend at least the equivalent of one-half year in professional educational course work and shall earn at least 15 semester credits of approved university course work and/or research, or other professional activity, or a combination thereof approved by the DOE. The leave requirements must be completed within the effective dates of the leave. The teacher shall provide satisfactory evidence of the completion of the requirements with official transcripts (if applicable) and a summary write-up of their sabbatical, signed and acknowledged by the principal/supervisor. The conditions for a teacher on sabbatical leave for one semester are the same except a semester leave requires eight semester credits of approved university course work. Employment while on leave may be permitted with prior approval from the Office of Talent Management.

Lisa Morrison, Maui Waena Intermediate student activities coordinator and teacher, was on sabbatical leave for the past semester.

“For my sabbatical project, I researched and surveyed positive behavioral intervention and support in schools across the state. I really enjoyed being able to see what teachers are doing to support positive behavior in students,” she said. “For example, I was most impressed with Waianae High School's #WaianaeStrong campaign, which incorporates 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' into behaviors that are encouraged in students, while introducing activities that foster a sense of connection and belonging through visual material and video.

“My sabbatical helped me refresh and rebalance myself to get back in the classroom, and I highly recommend that others take advantage of this experience,” Morrison added.

Teachers are assured of a guarantee of employment to which they are entitled upon their return to active service.

Teachers are required to sign an agreement to return to active service with the DOE for two consecutive years immediately following the leave. Failure to fulfill all sabbatical leave requirements will result in the teacher returning all monies received while on sabbatical leave to the DOE and the sabbatical leave will be changed to a Leave of Absence without Pay (LWOP). Teachers on LWOP do not receive DOE service credit or ERS credit.

The HSTA collective bargaining agreement allows for 50 sabbatical leaves a year, which also applies to charter schools. HSTA is looking for charter school teachers not employed by the DOE who may be interested in taking a sabbatical and meet all the requirements. If you are able to apply, please contact HSTA Deputy Executive Director Andrea Eshelman at aeshelman@hsta.org.