Educators must have at least 7 years consecutive service to be considered for next school year

Teacher sabbatical leave applications are now being accepted by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) for the school year 2024–25. Teachers may apply for one semester or for the entire school year by Jan. 5, 2024.

Please note, the Jan. 5 application deadline is also the first teacher work day after winter break.

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association contract calls for the granting of no less than fifty (50) sabbatical leaves a year. The HSTA strongly encourages teachers who will have at least seven years of experience by the end of the school year 2023–24 to consider applying for a sabbatical. While in some previous years, fewer than 40 teachers sought sabbatical, recent years have seen more than 50 teachers approved for sabbatical leave.

What is sabbatical leave?

The HIDOE 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 HIDOE 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.

Forms and documents

Click to download:

All documents can be found online here (HIDOE Intranet login and password required). If you have any questions, please contact Maile Horikawa, Personnel Specialist, at (808) 441-8348 or via email at

Deadlines and dates

The following is a list of key deadlines and dates:

  • Jan. 5, 2024: Teacher submits DOE OTM 100-001, Sabbatical/Professional Improvement Leave for Certificated Employees, and supporting documents to principal/supervisor for review and signatures. Note: Jan. 5 is the first teacher work day after winter break.
  • Jan. 19, 2024: Principal reviews the DOE OTM 100-011 and submits a recommendation to the Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) along with a copy of the completed Teacher Sabbatical Leave Selection Criteria/Rating Scale.
  • Feb. 2, 2024: CAS approves or disapproves and submits the DOE OTM 100-001 form via courier to OTM; Employee Records and Transactions Section; Attention: Maile Horikawa, Teacher Sabbatical Leave; Dole Cannery, Suite 300.
  • March 1, 2024: OTM sends notification of approval or non-approval to all applicants.
  • March 25, 2024: 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.

Terms and conditions

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), HIDOE 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 HIDOE. 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.

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 HIDOE 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 HIDOE and the sabbatical leave will be changed to a Leave of Absence without Pay (LWOP). Teachers on LWOP do not receive HIDOE service credit or ERS credit.

The HSTA collective bargaining agreement allows for 50 sabbatical leaves a year, While the HSTA agreement also applies to charter schools, the charter school may have alternate supplemental agreements related to this provision. In addition, the state does not provide the charter schools with additional specific funding to cover the cost of sabbatical leave. While HSTA sought to improve this area of the contract for charter schools in the last negotiations, the state was unwilling to commit to specific additional funding for charter schools. If you have questions regarding charter schools and sabbatical leave, please email

‘My sabbatical helped me refresh and rebalance myself to get back in the classroom’

HSTA Secretary-Treasurer Lisa Morrison was on sabbatical leave for one semester during the 2019–20 school year when she was a student activities coordinator and teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School.

“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.