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2017 Hawai‘i Private School Guide

(Sponsored) Find out what sets Hawai‘i private schools apart. Our Private School Guide has become the trusted resource for parents trying to find the best fit for their child’s education. Learn about the unique culture, classes and philosophies of some of Hawai‘i’s schools.


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What does accreditation mean for your child?

More than seals and acronyms, accreditation is an important factor in choosing the right school.


“When a parent applies to an accredited school, he or she knows the school has undergone a rigorous look at itself and has been approved by fellow professionals and an external accrediting agency,” says executive director of HAIS Robert Landau. He has worked around the world in accreditation since 1981. “To be honest, there are excellent schools that are not accredited,” says Landau.“But I am a strong believer in the process and think accreditation is an important indicator of excellence.”


In Hawai‘i, the largest accreditors are HAIS and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which work together with other organizations including Hawai‘i Catholic Schools to accredit private institutions here.


Accreditation is more than a rubber stamp of approval, it means “a school has undertaken a commitment to a process that involves a wide variety of people from administrators to board members, to community members to teachers, parents and students,” says Landau. Called the “self-study” process, accrediting a school means rigorous examination of facilities, curriculum, health, safety, governance and finances. 


This is no one-time exam. Rather, “accreditation implies a school wants to know where they can improve, what areas are in need of strengthening,” says Landau. “Accreditation is a journey that never ends, so every few years, the school is required to provide updated information, respond to previous recommendations, and demonstrate a strategic approach to development.”


A seal of accreditation signifies an examination of the comprehensive educational experience at a school. “I have seen many agencies move from a more checklist approach to a standards-based model where evidence of student learning and understanding is more important than resources or facilities,” he adds. This is useful for thinking ahead about college applications as well. “I always told my parent body that it was best to apply for college from an accredited school. After all, colleges and universities are accredited too. They know, understand and appreciate the importance and value of the accreditation process,” he says.


How do you know if the schools to which you’re applying are accredited or not? See our comprehensive Guide to Hawai‘i Private Schools, including accreditations. To help you navigate the acronyms, find a list of primary ones on the next page:


Primary Accreditations


American Association of Christian Schools. National Christian accreditation body with member schools in all but four states.



Association of Christian Schools International. Recognized by the National Council for Private School Accreditation. Accredits Christian schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade.



American Montessori Society. 



Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.



Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools. Local umbrella organization that is part of the National Association of Independent Schools.



North American Division Commission on Accreditation. Seventh-day Adventist accreditation organization.



National Association for the Education of Young Children. National association of early childhood educators. Accredits preschool through third-grade programs, including childcare and before- and after-school programs.



National Lutheran School Accreditation. Nationwide accrediting body for Lutheran schools.



Western Association of Schools and Colleges. One of six regional accrediting associations for schools and colleges. WASC covers California, Hawai‘i, other Pacific Basin areas and East Asia.



Western Catholic Education Association. Accredits Hawai‘i Catholic Schools.


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A Message From First Hawaiian Bank 


A Message from HAIS’ Executive Director


How Hawai‘i’s Independent Schools are Evolving in the 21st Century

Many independent schools in Hawai‘i and across the nation are rejecting traditional teaching styles to focus on new skills and project-based learning. Some parents worry this shift away from standard methods and tests puts students’ chances of getting into good colleges at risk. But educators say today’s constantly changing, technology-driven society requires different skills to survive college and beyond. Here’s how.


Applying to Private School: A Timeline

Thinking about private school for your child? Finding the right school for your child and getting her or him enrolled can take at least a year. Here is a 12-month timeline to make sure you don’t miss a crucial deadline along the way.


Catching Up 

You’ve missed a deadline in the application process; does that mean your child has no chance of getting admitted? Not necessarily. Here’s why there’s still a chance. 


What Does Accreditation Mean for Your Child?

You’ll notice schools claiming accreditation from an alphabet soup of organizations—AACS, ACSI, WASC, WCEA. We explain who these groups are and what their approval means.


What Are You Looking For? 

You and your child will want a clear idea of exactly what you’re looking for in a private school before you begin the search. Here are some general areas you might consider.


How to Ace the Interview 

The last, and often most dreaded, step of the application process is one that only your child can do: the personal interview.


Financial Aid FAQs

Commonly asked questions about financial aid.


Exploring Your Potential New Campus

Get a real sense of your child’s private-school options by digging deep into a campus visit.


Common Myths 

We debunk some of the most common rumors about private school admission with help from the folks in charge of who gets in. 


A Complete Directory to HAIS Independent Schools 

Information on 107 schools and two colleges.


2017 Listings of Private Schools 


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