Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools Celebrates its 50th Anniversary This Year

A look back at some of HAIS’s significant milestones.


HAIS logoJanuary 1969

HAIS is organized at the suggestion of leaders of La Pietra, Punahou, ‘Iolani, Kamehameha Schools, Academy of the Pacific, St. Andrew’s Priory, Mid-Pacific Institute and Hanahau‘oli.



16 member schools.



First meeting of HAIS admission officers.


HAIS achieves IRS 501(c)3 status.



First elementary school accreditation in Hawai‘i: Holy Nativity School.   



Robert Witt is hired as HAIS’ first executive director.



HAIS becomes the organizer and convener of the Hawai‘i Executive Conference.



Hawai‘i is represented on the National Association of Independent Schools board.



HAIS becomes the fifth-largest independent school association in the United States with 50 member schools.


First statewide teachers conference—first conference to ever convene educators from independent schools in Hawai‘i.



The Hawai‘i Council of Private Schools is organized as a 501(c)3 organization and staffed by HAIS.



70 member schools serving more than 25,000 students.



HAIS begins jointly accrediting schools with ACS/WASC.



Partnership established with HONOLULU Magazine to produce the Private School Guide.



HAIS partners with the UH Mānoa College of Education to offer a master’s degree in Private School Leadership.



More than 100 member schools, serving more than 30,000 students.



The first Schools of the Future Conference held in October.



The Hawai‘i state Department of Education partners with HAIS to plan the Schools of the Future Conference.



Robert Witt retires from HAIS after 25 years of service.



Pillars of Peace Hawai‘i, at Hawai‘i Community Foundation, joins the SOTF Conference, adding a Social and Emotional Learning track.



Robert Landau is named executive director.



HAIS and HONOLULU Family launch the “Education Cheat Sheet” blog.


Phil Bossert is named executive director.



Senate Bill 980 passes, requiring all schools be licensed by HCPS or accredited by HAIS, ACS-WASC, WCEA or ACSI.


HAIS serves more than 35,000 students.



HAIS Services for parents


About HAIS

HAIS is the state affiliate for the National Association of Independent Schools, and also the state liaison for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. HAIS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. Leadership of the board is provided by heads of member schools.


HAIS membership comprises 100 private schools on all the major Hawaiian Islands. Member schools include several of the largest independent schools in the U.S., as well as some of the smallest. A big part of what HAIS does is help parents learn more about and find a school that fits their kids. Here are some resources you can use.


Find a School

HAIS Member School Search Function: Search by fields such as gender, boarding/day schools, religious affiliation, grade levels offered, enrollment and summer programs.


Standard Application Online (SAO)

Online common application for PK-12 independent schools. Using the SAO, you can complete one application with one set of transcripts and recommendations, then use it to apply to as many participating schools as you’d like.


Private School Awareness Campaigns

Make information about HAIS members schools accessible to families.


School Open House Listing

View all upcoming open house dates at member schools.


Education Cheat Sheet

Blog created in partnership with HONOLULU Family Magazine, serving the purpose of demystifying educational trends and buzzwords.


Education Fairs

The HAIS Education Fair—offered on O‘ahu and Maui—offers a lineup of independent schools, exhibitors, guest speakers and keiki activities, giving parents a unique and free opportunity to have all their education questions answered in a central location.


Transcript Requests

Transcripts can be provided for individuals who attended independent schools that are no longer open.


Summer Programs Listing

Search and view summer offerings at member schools.



HAIS’s subsidiary, the Hawai‘i Council of Private Schools, is charged by the state for licensing all private K-12 schools in Hawai‘i. Licensing of elementary and secondary educational institutions provides an independent, third-party assessment of a school’s safety, sustainability and program quality. Licensing is a membership requirement.


Special Programs for Families of HAIS Member Schools

HAIS periodically invites guest speakers to talk about issues that are of concern to parents. These events are free and open to all parents of students at HAIS member schools.


HAIS Video Library

HAIS is responsible for producing films about current trends and happenings in education. All the films are free and can be accessed on the HAIS Vimeo channel.


International Students

Accessible information about schools that accept international students and requirements for attending those schools.


Legislative Watchdog

HAIS advocates on behalf of independent education in the state, often offering testimony on legislation that pertains to education.



Bimonthly newsletter highlighting events, scholarship and news in the education community.



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