One Size Fits One: The Myth of the Average Student

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

TPhilip J. Bosserthis is the 16th year that the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) has teamed up with HONOLULU Magazine to provide Hawai‘i 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 Guide’s primary sponsor, American Savings Bank, for making this valuable resource available at no cost to parents and students across the state.


In his book, The End of Average, Harvard professor Todd Rose debunks the myth that schools can structure their curriculum for the so-called “average student” or that teachers can “teach to the middle” or that standardized tests tell us much if anything at all about the learning experiences and potential of individual students. The average student does not exist; and most individual students do not benefit as much as they are capable of from an “average” educational experience.


There are more than 100 private schools in Hawai‘i and every one of them is different – in size, in educational philosophy, in learning program and culture – and each offers a unique approach to providing learning experiences for individual students. The back pages of this Guide provide a list of these schools, alphabetically by island, with contact information and links to their websites where you can find additional details about their learning environments.


The HAIS website – – also offers both a list of private schools – each with its own profile page – and a search function that lets you specify the type and location of school you are looking for. For the first time this year, HAIS is providing a free online application – the Standard Application Online (SAO) – that allows parents to fill out a single online digital application form and then submit that application to as many different schools as they wish. More information about the SAO is provided in this Guide.


Your child’s education is important and your child is not average – nor should her or his school be. Check out what Hawai‘i’s private schools can provide for your student.


We encourage you to email us at or call (808) 973-1540 for more information about HAIS member schools, our services and programs, and other valuable resources. And we hope to see you at this year’s Education Fair on September 22nd, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.



Philip J. Bossert, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools

200 N. Vineyard Blvd., Suite 401; Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 973-1540  |  Email:  |