Ka Lama Education Academy2021-03-03T10:42:56-10:00



Growing Our Own Teachers from Community

Ka Lama Education Academy (Ka Lama) empowers Native Hawaiian community members to become teachers in their own communities. Research shows that teacher quality and cultural competence make a big difference in student education outcomes, and this is especially true in indigenous populations and communities of color. Ka Lama focusses on recruiting, supporting, and retaining Native Hawaiian educators to address disparities in education by providing year-round support and incentives to current and future teachers.

Ka Lama aims to build diversity in the teaching profession to address the cultural mismatch between teachers and students. Creating a diverse group of teachers in all schools is a crucial step in ensuring all children have role models they can identify with on a cultural level.

Ka Lama Education Academy in 2019


community members were enrolled in college and working toward a degree in Education


community members participated


college degrees and certificates attained


is the projected 20-year social return on investment

In 2018, Ka Lama helped current and aspiring teachers complete 24 degrees including: 2 Child Development Associate Certificates, 7 Associate Degrees, 1 Masters Degrees, 7 Bachelor Degrees, 2 Post-Bac Certificates, and 5 National Board Certification Certificates. Not only did this elevation in education bring qualified and diverse teachers to schools in need, but it created a $6 million social return on investment. (These figures are based on wage increase formulas measuring wage difference amounts from pre-degree attainment to post-degree attainment, multiplied over 20 years).

Ka Lama continues enhancing and strengthening our placement and retention services for participants seeking teaching positions on the Wai‘anae Coast, to further ensure the employment and retention of local teachers in their own communities. In 2018, Ka Lama piloted an Educational Assistant (EA) to Teacher fast track program at Nānākui Elementary School in partnership with Leeward Community College. Additionally, Ka Lama launched a National Board Certification program for teachers on the Wai‘anae Coast to attain advanced certification.

Ka Lama in Practice:
Nānākuli Educational Assistant (EA) Pilot Program

Ka Lama Services

Ka Lama Education Academy aims to help teachers in increasing their credentials and gain techniques and strategies to effectively reach and teach students in marginalized, rural communities with high Native Hawaiian student populations. Ka Lama services include:

  • Scholarships & financial aid
  • Textbook reimbursements
  • Academic & career coaching
  • Praxis test prep & support
  • Culture & place-based education workshops
  • Substitute teaching support

Improving Academic Performance

We are committed to improving the academic performance and outcomes of Native Hawaiians as a means to improving the total well-being of our communities and the families who reside in them. We are unwavering in our determination to recruit members from within our communities who have a desire to attend college and become P–12 educators. We equip potential educators with the skills and knowledge to navigate the higher education system and provide support for overcoming barriers to success, financial aid, scholarships, financial literacy, and networking.

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“Ka Lama Education Academy assisted me by guiding me in the right steps going to school was a task in itself, but knowing that a counselor who knew where I was coming from was there for me, it eased the situation. Ka Lama also helped me overcome one of the biggest barriers, finding money to pay for my education. They helped me find money through scholarships, reminded me about deadlines, and provided school materials when I financially could not afford it.”

– Leihōkū Elementary School teacher

Your Donation Impacts the Community

Donations are critical to our success. Donations like yours provide supplies and financial resources to assist our participants with the high cost of education. Without these resources, many college students struggle to make ends meet and often find it necessary to discontinue their schooling. Your assistance not only helps to further the academic pursuit of those seeking educational assistance, but also improves the lives of future keiki attending school with qualified and culturally-matched teachers.


Our Program Supporters

Ka Lama Education Academy is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Native Hawaiian Education Program; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families’ Administration for Native Americans; and Kamehameha Schools