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West // West Oahu Coverstory
Nicole Kato

UH Education Program Earns Accreditation

University of Hawaii – West Oahu’s (UHWO) elementary teacher education program has achieved national recognition from the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) under the aegis of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education’s (NCATE) Unit Accreditation Board.

The earning of national recognition indicates that the program has substantially met the standards of ACEI and is a mark of distinction.

This accreditation validates the college division of education’s vision to prepare knowledgeable, skillful, responsive educators for a global society, according to Mary Heller, chairwoman of the division.

“The accreditation process involves a rigorous accounting of how the division and its programs meet six NCATE standards for the initial preparation of teachers,” Heller explained. “UHWO distinguishes itself by offering one of only two nationally accredited elementary education undergraduate programs in the state of Hawaii.”

In the fall of 2009, the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board mandated that all state-approved teacher education programs be nationally accredited, and UHWO began a journey to obtain national recognition by the Association for Childhood Education International, as well as the ultimate goal of national accreditation by NCATE.

In January 2013 UHWO hosted an on-site visit by the six-member NCATE board of examiners. After three days of interviews and partner school visits, the board deemed all six NCATE standards to be met and recommended a seven-year accreditation cycle.

“We are very proud of our dedicated graduates who are highly regarded by the Hawaii Department of Education because of their desire to teach in and give back to the West side communities where they reside,” Heller added.

Moving forward, UHWO will implement teacher preparation programs in middle-level (grades 6-8) and secondary education (grades 9-12) in English, math, science and social studies.

According to Heller, other targeted licensure areas yet to be proposed include early childhood education and special education.

“We are very excited about the good news from NCATE,” she added. “We have emerged ever-confident in our ability to prepare highly qualified teachers to serve Hawaii’s elementary school students.”

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