More than 20 teachers across the state took part Monday in the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s first English learners (EL) interest caucus via Zoom.
Current Joint EL Committee members, Waiakea Elementary teacher Jill Tung-Loong and state resource teacher Tanya Mau, and HSTA President-Elect Osa Tui, Jr. organized the caucus in an effort to increase teacher voice around the challenges seen in the classroom and build a network of support.
Caucus participants addressed ways to increase member voice, and took part in focus group discussions on EL budgeting, professional development, programming, and resources.
Jessie Wu, EL coordinator and teacher at Niu Valley Middle School, said support for this ‘high-need’ population is imperative. “All stakeholders need to advocate for equity in learning for EL students to succeed,” Wu said. “Such equity in learning includes receiving quality instruction by highly qualified and trained EL teachers, being placed in an appropriate program that provides inclusive and differentiated instruction, and allocation of sufficient budget and resources for EL programs.”
President-Elect Tui said, “Our initial EL caucus was successful, and we are well on our way to forming focus groups and assigning leads to those groups. This is just the beginning, and we hope teachers will continue to join. As with anything, it takes time to realize change, but we are stronger together and we have a structure through which we can accomplish change.”