Filipino Americans and Education

Filipino Americans make up one of the largest Asian American ethnic groups in the United States. They constitute one of the largest ethnic student group in Hawaii’s public schools (23.5%) and are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in our nation’s schools. Despite our large numbers, colonial past, and historical presence in the United States, Filipinos continue to be underrepresented in mainstream education, curriculum, and research. Educators have a responsibility to meet the academic needs of their Filipino Americans K-12 students. Representation and research on Filipino Americans can help promote academic achievement and students reach their fullest potential.



The Filipino American Education Institute is named after Sistan C. Alhambra, the first Filipina teacher hired at a Hawai‘i public school in 1924 who later developed Hawai‘i’s first private Kindergarten school. In memory of her trailblazing spirit, the mission of the Institute is to connect the knowledge and resources of the nation’s leading scholars in Philippine and Filipino American studies, languages, literature, curriculum and pedagogy with the expertise of K-12 teachers to ultimately benefit Filipino American students.


The Institute will be organized around three phases: curriculum-making, curriculum- exchanging, and curriculum-applying. During curriculum-making, professional learning communities composed of representatives from each of the partners will collaborate to develop curriculum for the Institute. Teachers enrolled in the Institute will then have the opportunity to experience the curriculum and begin exchanging ideas on how to implement it in their classroom. Finally, teachers will apply the curriculum in their classroom with guided assistance and reflection.



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The Filipino American Education Institute is a partnership between the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa’s College of Education, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Social Sciences, Leeward Community College and teachers from the Hawaiʻi Department of Education to develop and implement summer professional development for teachers focused on meeting the academic, social and cultural needs of Filipino American students.