Personalized Learning: The De-Grade-Ation of Education

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

Philip J. BossertIn a recent New York Times article, the education writer Alfie Kohn noted that when test scores across New York state began rising, the chancellor of the State Board of Regents said that educators should not be celebrating the success of New York’s teachers and schools, but instead should be worried that the testing standards were not high enough.  That is, if the teams are scoring too many touchdowns, it must be time to move the goalposts. Instead of seeking to help every student succeed at learning in his or her own unique manner, most of education has become a competitive sport of grading, ranking and sorting to make sure that only a few students are “winners”.


There are more than 140 private PK-12 schools across the islands of 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. Most of them still use grades and tests in some manner as one measure of student progress, but the majority of them also employ a wide range of individualized and personalized assessment strategies to ensure that every student succeeds to the best of his or her capacity for learning.


This is the 17th 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 for making this valuable resource available at no cost 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. And 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 schools you are interested in.


Your child is unique, and the school you choose for her or him should be committed to his or her individualized and personalized success as a learner. 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 O‘ahu Education Fair on September 21st at the Hawai‘i Convention Center or at the Maui Education Fair on September 22nd at the Maui Beach Hotel.



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:  |