Over the past decade I have helped tens of families moving to Hawaii and relocating jobs, homes, and schools. In Part 5 of my “Moving to Hawaii” blog series I’ll be presenting the Hawaii State School System. Those families making the move to Hawaii with children, no matter the age, will always ask me either, “How are the schools in Hawaii?” or “Todd, you have kids, what schools do they go to?”
First, let me state that I firmly believe that a solid educational foundation is one of the primary keys to any child’s development. Having said that, it is also vitally important for the parents, and children, to do their research and find the best education and school that meets the needs of the entire family.
To that end, I have put together an overview of the Hawaii State School System; information, facts, and data that I hope those moving to Hawaii can use when beginning the process of relocation.
Hawaii State School System
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education is currently the only statewide public education system in the United States. The school districts in Hawaii can be thought of as basically the same as the school districts of other cities and communities on the Mainland, but can also be thought of as similar to the state education agencies of other states. The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education oversees all 283 public schools, and charter schools, and over 13,000 teachers in Hawaii. It also serves approximately 175,000+ students annually.
Currently, there is a debate over Hawaii school reform that has to do with the structure of the State Department of Education. Specifically, whether it should remain centralized, or be broken into smaller districts. The main reason given for the current centralized model is equity in distribution of resources. All schools are theoretically funded from the same pool of money on an equitable basis. Supporters of decentralization see it as a means of moving decision making closer to the classroom, and thus achieving better student performance.
Hawaii School’s Ranking and Performance
In their May 2012 Edition Honolulu Magazine graded the 250 schools within the Hawaii Public School System and published their results in the “2012 Public Schools Chart.” For over a decade, Honolulu Magazine has looked closely at the Hawaii public education system, and ranked the schools using D.O.E. data. Year after year, Hawaii state assessment scores and school surveys show a wide, and growing, performance gap.
In 2011, Hawaii public schools celebrated marked improvements in their mathematics and reading scores, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) “The Nation’s Report Card” results. Hawaii was the only state in the U.S. that demonstrated statistically significant improvement in both reading and mathematics at both the 4th and 8th grade level.
Here are the NAEP overall gains in scores from 2003 – 2001 from Hawaii. Hawaii’s rankings in comparison to the Nation are as follows:
- Grade 4 Mathematics: 4th Highest Gains in the Nation
- Grade 8 Mathematics: 5th Highest Gains in the Nation
- Grade 4 Reading: 14th Highest Gains in the Nation
- Grade 8 Reading: 4th Highest Gains in the Nation
Moving to Hawaii: List of Hawaii Schools by Island
Public High Schools
Public Middle Schools
Public Elementary Schools
Moving to Hawaii: Private Schools and Public Charter Schools
Hawaii, known for its diversity and choice, also offers an excellent selection of both Private and Public Charter Schools. The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools has online resources to help you search, contact, and choose the Private School of your choice statewide. For Public Charter Schools, the Hawaii Public Schools Charter Network provides online research, and resources to navigate the many selections that are available throughout Hawaii.
Moving to Hawaii: Blog Post Reader Requests
Throughout this “Moving to Hawaii” blog series it’s been my pleasure to bring you a primer into what you need to do to prepare for moving to Hawaii. For me, there is no other place that I would rather live and raise my children; period.
There will always, of course, be the obvious tropical setting, sandy beaches, blue Pacific Ocean views, incredibly fresh island food, year-round glorious weather, and Hawaiian sunsets. However, the Hawaiian culture, people, and loving relationships that we build here are what keep me calling Hawaii home.
If there is a topic that you would like to see me write about, or an event that you’d like for me to cover through my blog posts, please feel free to contact me with Reader Requests anytime. I welcome getting to know those who read my blog and someday (hopefully soon) dream, as I did long ago, of moving to Hawaii.
A hui hou!