Pili A Pa‘a is an educational project that was created to address critical deficits in reading, math and science for the Native Hawaiian students on the island of Hawai‘i. Native Hawaiian students represent nearly half of the school's student population and are at risk because the current curriculum is geared towards Western teaching styles that focus on individual effort and competition. Native Hawaiians, on the other hand, strive for achievement and excellence for the benefit of the group and not individual recognition. This project seeks to build teacher's knowledge of curriculum, Common Core State Standards and instructional strategies while integrating Native Hawaiian cultural values and processes.
The project provides teachers a four-week intensive training/ collaboration period to enhance their teaching practices. Teachers work with instructional coaches to create units of instruction for their respective content area(s). Coaches provide critical feedback and research based instructional strategies to enhance the curriculum development process.
Through this process, teachers will be able to examine and integrate culturally responsive teaching strategies to increase academic achievement not only for Native Hawaiian students but also for all other student groups found at the school. Collaboration between teachers at all schools is embedded in the project to create professional learning communities within and between the schools.
Over the three-year grant period, this project expects to serve 88 teachers and 486 students at selected schools within geographic areas of Hawai‘i Island that have a high rate of Native Hawaiian students. The main objectives are as follows:
- To increase instructional capacity of teachers;
- To build capacity via teacher leadership; and
- To build student confidence in their ability to excel in school.