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Monday, November 22, 2021
HSTA encourages teachers to apply for sabbatical leave
By News Release @ 9:31 PM :: 1861 Views :: Education K-12, Labor

HSTA encourages eligible educators to apply for sabbatical leave

Educators must have at least 7 years consecutive service to be considered

News Release from HSTA, November 16, 2021

Teacher sabbatical leave applications are now being accepted for the school year 2022–23. Teachers may apply for one semester or for the entire school year.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association contract calls for the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) to grant 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 2021–22 to consider applying for a sabbatical. Unfortunately in recent years, we have seen a decrease in the number of applicants for a sabbatical. Our data shows that less than 50 teachers applied in each of the last five years, and an average of 35 teachers qualified to take a sabbatical.

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 maile.horikawa@k12.hi.us.

Deadlines and dates

The following is a list of key deadlines and dates:

  • Jan. 7, 2022: Teacher submits DOE OTM 100-001, Sabbatical/Professional Improvement Leave for Certificated Employees, and supporting documents to principal/supervisor and Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) for review and signatures.
  • Jan. 21, 2022: CAS/Personnel Regional Officer sends DOE OTM 100-001 form via courier to Office of Talent Management (OTM); Employee Records and Transactions Section; Attention: Maile Horikawa, Teacher Sabbatical Leave; Dole Cannery, Suite 300.
  • Feb. 25, 2022: OTM sends notification of approval or non-approval to all applicants.
  • March 18, 2022: 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 currently provide the charter school with additional funding for sabbatical leave. HSTA is looking for charter school teachers who may be interested in helping us pursue equity in this area of funding. If you are able to help advocate in this area, please contact HSTA Deputy Executive Director Andrea Eshelman at aeshelman@hsta.org.

‘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.

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