An Extraordinary Learning Opportunity: The Pandemic Caused a Loss of Schooling, Not Learning

A message from Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools executive director Philip J. Bossert.


Philip Bossert 2016The COVID-19 pandemic turned almost everything in our lives upside down for many months and in the process highlighted many of the things that we take for granted on a daily basis. The pivot from in-person to remote education in spring 2020 made clear the important role that schools play in the functioning of an effective society. It also exposed just how weak the internet “utility” is—if it exists at all—in most of our homes as children and adults competed for bandwidth for work and school.


There is much talk in the media about the “learning that was lost” by students during the past 12 to 15 months. However, while it may be true that some—maybe even a lot—of schooling may not have happened during this period, I don’t think we should claim that learning was lost in most cases. To the contrary, the sudden shift from being busily out and about all day at work and school, rushing from one activity to the next, to being locked down at home together as a family for months created a variety of extraordinary learning opportunities. We all had to learn to do things differently and to coexist within limited spaces. This challenged our creativity and ingenuity, and provided an opportunity to appreciate many things that had perhaps been taken for granted under normal circumstances.


The employees of Hawai‘i’s more than 100 private schools worked overtime during the summer of 2020 to determine the best strategies for restarting their learning communities in the fall. Every one of them, large and small, developed a unique plan to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty and staff. And almost every private school opened at the start of the 2020-2021 school year for in-person learning or a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.


This is the 19th year that the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools, or HAIS, has teamed up with HONOLULU Magazine to provide families with this informational guide to the private schools in our state. My thanks on behalf of all HAIS member schools to HONOLULU Magazine and to the Private School Guide’s primary sponsor, Farmers Hawai‘i Insurance, for making this valuable resource available to parents and students across the state.


This Private School Guide provides a listing of most of Hawai‘i’s accredited and/or licensed private schools. The HAIS website,, serves as a helpful resource for families, offering both a list of private schools, each with its own profile page, and a search function that lets one specify the type, size and location of schools of interest. Each child is unique, and the school your family entrusts with your child’s education should be committed to his or her success as a learner and as a person.




Bossert Signature





Philip J. Bossert, Ph.D.
Executive Director, HAIS







200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Suite 401, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96817
(808) 973-1540 |  Email:  |