Posted 6.19.2012 in Articles by Jess
When moving to Hawaii with children, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is what school they're going to attend. Different schools on the different islands have better reputations than others in academia and sports. It's important not to just look at whether the campus is nice, but it's also extremely important to do some research regarding the school's SAT scores and their college acceptance rate. In these regards, it comes down to whether or not a private school is a better choice than public school. You don't want to buy a house on one island and have to send your kid to school on a different one.
In 1820 missionaries arrived in Hawaii and gave foundation to the education system here. There is a common trend of going to public school among children rather than attending a private school. Hawaii’s State Department of Education runs the United States' largest and centralized public school system. This state is unique because here unlike other states, there is a single unified public school system instead of autonomous schools in each community. The central school board in Oahu regulates all 284 public schools spread over the entire Hawaii State.
Private schools are also an option. There are about 128 private schools in Hawaii and an estimate of about 18 percent of Hawaii’s students attend private schools. Private schools generally enjoy a good reputation in terms of academia and athletics. They can differ in many ways; size, tuition pedagogy and curriculum. Some of them have an emphasis on academics, preparing students for college and others focus on personality development and creativity enhancement. To have a fair idea of private schools following is an account of a few of the best schools in Hawaii.
Most prrivate schools in Hawaii are co-educational and non-sectarian. Punahou School is considered to be the finest private school; located in Oahu, Honolulu, it has the nation’s best athletic program with first class sports facilities like an Olympic sized swimming pool, 8-lane track surface and opportunity for air riflery, basketball, bowling sailing and a lot more. It also has an excellent visual and performing arts facilities as well.
Lolani School is another private school and houses 1800 students. College preparation is the major focus and the students here are actively involved in athletics. 32 competitive sports are played here and 70 percent of the students participate in sports.
Private school, Kamehameha serves 6500 students. They are selective in offering admission; preference is given to the native people of Hawaii and has a religious orientation of Protestants. Tuition fee here is much lower than other private schools as it is funded by a trust. The school focuses on performing arts and college preparation.
Maryknoll is private and coeducational, Roman Catholic school with 1400 students. It is open for all and there is no restriction of origin while offering admission. Another Roman Catholic private school is Sacred Hearts Academy. This is an all-girls school and provides college prep with a wide range of academic activities. An emphasis on religious traditions and socioeconomic background, character and morals is given. Damien Memorial School is Catholic all boys school, with a strong and traditional academic environment. The studies here are quite college oriented. This school's specialty is its honor program. Advance placement of qualified students is made, so that they can earn college credit while still in high school.
Honolulu Waldorf School is a non-sectarian private school. It is among 1000 branches of Waldorf schools across the globe. This school pays great focus on child development and sees to it that the child does well through all the development stages. Students are encourages to be creative and bring about ideas of their own. A mandatory foreign language course begins in first grade. Students have to learn fine arts, music and other performing arts while their stay at Waldorf.
Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, has two campuses; Lower and middle school, and upper school. It has a great geographic diversity as it teaches more than 600 students, coming from all over the world. It focuses on giving individual attention to students; there is one teacher for every ten students. Institute emphasizes not only on college preparation but also on basic knowledge in all core subject areas. Students have unique facilities like having an access to resident teachers seven days a week, state of the art sports, performing art facilities and wifi connected campus.
Another good private school is Seabury Hall. It has a large 56 acre campus in the island of Maui. The worth of this school can be guessed by the fact that it was awarded the US department of Educations, Blue Ribbon; a designation that only one percent of the nation’s schools enjoy.
Island School is also worth mentioning. It’s a private co-ed school with its very own philosophy of the progressive school movement. They want their students to be active contributors in society and to have an interest in the outside world. This is done by encouraging them to develop performing and artistic skills. Athletics is also popular among its student body.
Private schools in Hawaii can be costly. Tuition fee is averaged around $12000 per school year, but because each school varies, tuition can range from $6000 to $ 30,000 annually. The high cost of a private education is a major disadvantage. Another disadvantage of private schools is that they can sometimes hire non-certified teachers and teachers there have a tendency to switch jobs. Furthermore, there is lack of diversity in the student population and this gives students lesser exposure. The public schools, on the other hand have a basic requirement for certified teachers, they place an emphasis more on core subjects and they have a more diverse student population.
Public schools have a reputation for giving higher salaries to teachers; they have larger classes so a student might feel lack of individual attention. At some public schools there can be a lack of facilities and equipment. As government bureaucracy is involved in public school systems so they do get equally distributed funding and staffing but the administration can be slow and policies inflexible. Momilani Elementary, Mililani Muaka Elementary, Liholiho Elementary, and Aikahi Elementary are good public schools while Kauai High, Wahiawa Middle and Olomana are among low ranked Hawaii public schools in terms of academia.
While these are mere suggestions for which school to choose when deciding on where to send your child, it's important to consider all of the factors. Maybe you'd like your child to focus more on a particular sport rather than academia or vice versa. In any case, the state of Hawaii has provided excellent private and public school education options.
Image (CC) Joel Abroad