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By state law, all children are required to attend school from the year they become age five by July 31 until age 18, or until graduation from high school if that comes earlier. Certain exceptions are allowed with Department of Education (DOE) approval. Kindergarten is required for all children who turn age five by July 31 but is offered in the public schools.

Hawaii's Public Schools have a lot of great students doing a lot of great things. Although private school is an option, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam is extremely proud of the successes of Hawai'i's Public Schools.

Public School

Hawaii is the only state in the nation where public education is administered on a statewide basis. Hawai`i's statewide school program is about the tenth largest in the United States, and the only single-unified system in the nation. There is one Hawaii State Board of Education and one executive administrator, the Superintendent of the Department of Education (DOE). This state school system is comprised of seven school districts, four on the Island of Oahu. The districts are further subdivided into Complex Areas ("mini-districts"), and the Complex Areas subdivided into complexes. Complexes consist of a high school, and the middle and elementary schools that feed into it. The four Oahu school districts are the Central District, Leeward District, Honolulu District, and Windward District. Contact information for the various districts can be found on the DOE website.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and Hickam Field are located in the Central Oahu District, as is most of the Navy and Air Force housing. Exceptions to this are our satellite sites, the Pearl City Peninsula and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific (NCTAMS PAC); both are located in the Leeward District. There are schools within walking distance of most military neighborhoods. The DOE administers 255 regular schools, 27 charter schools, and three special schools. Student Enrollment is approximately 182,000. There are also 11 Adult Community Schools.

There are no schools operated by the Department of Defense (DoD) in Hawaii. All public schools are under the Hawaii Department of Education.


All Public Intermediate schools, High schools, and Adult Community schools are accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Student Bus Transportation

State school bus service is partially subsidized by the State and generally available to students living beyond a one-mile radius of the school. Student Bus Transportation is available through the schools.

At School Meals

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) offers cash reimbursement at a "free supplement" rate to help non-profit or non-school-based organizations serve healthy snacks to children in after-school care programs. To participate, your program must be "area eligible" and your after-school program must provide educational or enrichment activities in a supervised environment. Contact your Child and Adult Care Food Program state agency to participate.

The National School Lunch Program offers cash reimbursement to help school-based programs serve snacks to children after their regular school day ends. To participate, your school  must run the National School Lunch Program and the after-school program must provide educational or enrichment activities in a supervised environment. Contact your National School Lunch Program state agency to participate.

The Summer Food Service Program is the nation's meal/snack program intended to meet the nutritional needs of at-risk youth during the summer months. Qualified Summer Food Lunch Programs can serve up to two meals or one meal and one snack per day for each child during the summer months.

Afterschool Snack Programs are provided by the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the National School Lunch Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides cash assistance to States to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The program operates in more than 72,000 schools and institutions, serving a daily average of some 7.4 million children. It is administered at the Federal level by FNS. State education agencies administer the SBP at the State level, and local school food authorities operate it in schools.

The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools and childcare institutions who do not participate in other Federal meal service programs. The program reimburses schools for the milk they serve. Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in SMP to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs.

School Sports

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA), founded in 1956, serves ninety-two public and private high schools throughout the state to support and promote athletics as part of the high school education program. HHSAA also implements the state championship programs for high school sports.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA), a member of HHSAA, was first organized in 1940 with five rural high schools.

Today there are twenty-nine member schools that compete in nineteen different junior varsity and varsity level sports. Here is a list of all OIA sports in alphabetical order:

Air Riflery
Basketball, Boys
Basketball, Girls
Baseball, Varsity
Baseball, JV
Cross Country
Softball, Varsity
Softball, JV
Soft Tennis
Swimming & Diving
Tennis, Girls, JV
Track & Field
Volleyball, Boys
Volleyball, Girls
Water Polo

What sports are offered will vary by school. Contact your school's administrative office for what is offered at your school.

Before and After School Programs

The A+ Program brings affordable after-school child care services to children in public elementary schools whose parents work, attend school or are in job training programs, so that the high incidence of latchkey children is reduced.  The program provides a safe, secure and nurturing environment for children after school and offers a rich variety of activities for the children. Children will be encouraged to use after-school time to complete homework assignments. Where difficulties are encountered, A+ staff will be available to help. Peer assistance will also be encouraged.

A+ services are provided on regular school days, beginning before school 6:00 a.m. to start of the school day and after school until 5:30 p.m. The program will not operate when school is closed, including school vacation periods, holidays, and Teacher Institute Days. A+ Programs will also be closed on days when school is open only half a day.

In addition, MWR offers a before and after school program at the Catlin Clubhouse. For your convenience, the program will drop off and pick up your child at these selected schools: Aliamanu, Pearl Harbor Kai, and Pearl Harbor Elementary Schools. Hours are Before School care Monday - Friday: 6:00 - 8:00 AM and After School care Monday - Friday: 2:30 - 6:00 PM.

Exceptional Children Programs

The Gifted and Talented Program office offers several programs for quality gifted and talented students. For more information go to the program website.

Running Start

A statewide program that provides an opportunity for academically qualified juniors and seniors to enroll in college classes through the University of Hawaii system as part of their high school coursework. This unique partnership between the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii (UH) System allows public high school students to attend college classes during the fall, spring, and summer while earning both high school and college credits. Currently, nine UH campuses participate in Running Start: UH Hilo, UH West O‘ahu and the seven community colleges (CC): Hawaii CC, Honolulu CC, Kapi‘olani CC, Kaua‘i CC, Leeward CC, Maui CC and Windward CC.

High School/Dual Enrollment Program

High school students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, have completed most of their high school graduation requirements, and can no longer benefit from high school offerings may enroll concurrently in UH Manoa courses while enrolled in high school. Eligibility is restricted to high school juniors and seniors.

Students wishing to take advantage of this program should follow the procedures for "Admission of Freshmen." Eligible students must present outstanding high school grades and SAT or ACT scores, be recommended by school authorities, and have the permission of their parent(s) or legal guardian to participate in the High School/Dual Enrollment Program.

Regular UH Manoa admission deadlines, normal tuition and fee schedules, course prerequisites, and admission requirements other than high school graduation all apply to the High School/Dual Enrollment Program.

Advanced Placement Courses and Exams

Through college-level AP courses, you enter a universe of knowledge that might otherwise remain unexplored in high school; through AP Exams, you have the opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at most of the nation's colleges and universities. There are up to thirty-two  courses and exams. AP allows students to complete many of the general education requirements. 

Student-Teacher Ratio

The Hawaii Public School System statewide student-teacher ratio as agreed upon by the Teachers' Union-DOE contract is 26.5 to 1. The ratio in grades K, 1 and 2 is 20 to 1. Some class sizes may vary slightly.  

Testing results

SAT results for Hawaii may be found online

Report Cards

The Department of Education has created standards-based report cards that allow teachers to report each student's progress towards achieving these standards.

There are two types of reports that are sent home; Quarter Report and Status Report.

The Quarter Report, sent home at mid-term, provides students and parents information about the student's progress in meeting Hawaii's standards. At the end of the semester, the Status Report is sent out. The Status Report is a summary report of the student's achievement of the standards for that reporting period. The reports for all four reporting periods, two quarter and two status, are on one form. 

Standards-based report cards will be given out four times a year. In the first and third quarters, each child will bring home a "quarter report" that will provide performance ratings on the state Department of Education's "general learner outcomes" (GLO) and a look at the child's progress toward meeting the standards. These reports will not include grades.

At the end of the first semester and at the end of the year, the GLO, ratings will again be included, along with grades based on the standards.

What the grades mean:

  • ME: Meets with excellence
  • MP: Meets proficiency
  • N: Approaching proficiency
  • U: Well below proficiency
  • NA: Not applicable at this time
  • ME and MP both mean your child meets the standards, with ME recognizing work that exceeds expectations.
  • N and U mean that your child is not meeting the standards and may need more time and opportunity to learn, adjustment to instruction, tutoring or other support.

For more information visit  the Hawaii Department of Education website contact your local school.

School Liaison Officer

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Hawai`i has two full-time School Liaison Officers (SLO). The School Liaison Officers can be reached at 808-471-3662 or 808-471-3673. The SLO assists families with school age children by providing information, resources, and liaison services. The goal of the School Liaison program is for children to have the best educational opportunities and experiences while in Hawaii, and to adequately prepare them for challenging educational opportunities after moving from Hawaii. Additional information on the School Liaison program can be found on Great Life Hawaii School Liaison Navy Region Hawai`i's Community Support Program website.

The military in Hawaii is involved in a unique partnership with the state DOE, the Joint Venture Education Forum (JVEF). The JVEF is a cooperative venture between the US Pacific Command military community and the DOE, to facilitate active military participation in Hawai`i public education, serving to advance the military community's responsibility in the pursuit of quality education for Hawaii's children. Through the JVEF, a "one-stop" shopping web site was created with comprehensive information on Hawaii schools.

School/Community Councils (SCC)

All Hawaii schools have embraced the concept of site-based management through the School Community Council (SCC) process. SCC encourages participation, flexibility, and empowerment for school communities. SCCs are composed of the principal, teachers, school staff, students, parents, and community members. This collective council shares in the decision-making process. The DOE encourages the public to actively participate at meetings with the Board of Education, school community councils, and parent-teacher organizations.

Joint Base Feeder Schools

There are 5 main schools that service JBPHH dependents. The three elementary schools that serve the base housing population are Mokulele Elementary, Hickam Elementary, and Nimitz Elementary. Aliamanu Middle is located about 5 minutes off base and is the feeder school for Radford High School (also located about 5 minutes from JBPHH). All schools fall under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii DOE.

School Calendar

All Hawaii public schools, except multi-track schools and charter schools, are on a single school calendar. The first day of school is usually in late July. The school year includes a one week Fall Recess, two-week Winter Recess, and two week Spring Recess. The last day of school is usually in early June.

School Assignment

The DOE assigns children to public schools based on their place of residence. Until you are assigned housing it is not possible to know which school your child will attend. If you wish to send your child to a school other than the one assigned, it is necessary to apply to that school.

For information on assessment scores and other statistics for individual schools, access to individual schools' web sites, and other information please refer to the DOE's "Military Families" website.

Geographic Exceptions

Students who wish to attend a particular school other than their home school may file a "Request for Geographic Exception" at their assigned ("home") school. Approval of the exception is based on space availability and on four priority considerations: student resides with a responsible adult living in the receiving school's area; student wants to attend a program of study not available in the assigned school; student has parents who are staff members of the receiving school; and student has sibling already enrolled in the receiving school. Schools with more applicants than spaces will use a chance selection process to approve or disapprove an application. Appeals of denial should be made within 10 school days after the denial. These will be reviewed by the district superintendent of the receiving school, who will render a full, written decision within another 10 school days.

Once accepted at a school on a geographic exception, students may continue at the school through their final year. However, the student must inform the school if he or she intends to leave the school. A geographic exception may be revoked, if the information upon which an application was based is found to be false.

Registration in Public Schools

Parents with school-age children arriving during the summer months are advised to contact the school serving their area as soon as housing has been assigned or housing has been established outside in the civilian community. Early registration is helpful to both the school and the pupil.

All students new to the state public school system must also bring in proof of a physical examination (preferably using a Hawaii State form) and immunization records. For information on school enrollment, go to the DOE's "Enrolling in School" website.

Students who live with someone other than their legal parent or guardian must bring a guardianship document. Students transferring into the public schools will need the following items at the time of registration:

  1. Release Card and SIS 11 - for local transfer;
  2. Birth Certificate - for out-of-state students;
  3. Proof of Current Address;
  4. Legal documents (as applicable, e.g., Power of Attorney if not living with a parent);
  5. Documents from previous school (i.e., Special Education Individual Education Plan (IEP), release packet from the previous school which includes an unofficial transcript or latest report card);
  6. Form 14 (Health Record) - for out-of-state students (Refer to HEALTH REQUIREMENTS section below);
  7. Results of Tine Test (Tuberculosis) (Refer to HEALTH REQUIREMENTS section below);
  8. Copy of the approved geographic exception, if applicable.

Health Requirements

The State DOE requires that students entering Hawai`i public schools for the first time to complete the following before admission to school:

  1. Physical examination, completed within one year prior to school entry; or, a signed statement or appointment slip from your doctor to prove that your child has a physical examination scheduled;
  2. Results of Tuberculosis examination, completed within one year prior to school entry;
  3. DTaP or DTP, 5 doses; Polio immunization, four doses; MMR, 2 doses (two doses of measles vaccine are required, with at least one of the two being MMR vaccine); Hepatitis B, 3 doses (required for school attendance for all students born after 31 December 1992 and for 7th grade attendance); Varicella, 1 or 2 doses (2 doses are required if the first dose is administered on or after the 13th birthday. A documented history of Varicella may be substituted for the Varicella vaccine requirement). All immunizations must meet the minimum age and intervals between vaccine doses.

Provisional enrollment: The law allows 30 days from the date of enrollment to complete all the health requirements except for the tuberculin test. A signed statement from a Doctor must be provided stating the student is in the process of completing health requirements.

Junior ROTC

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)  is a four-year elective program of instruction emphasizing leadership development, citizenship, self-discipline, character development, and basic military subjects. It provides a curriculum geared toward a military career as well as offering practical vocational educational experiences. Completion of JROTC may qualify students for a higher rate when they enlist in the armed forces or can lead to advanced placement in the senior division ROTC at the college level. The JROTC Program introduces students to all branches of the military without obligation to enlist.

Radford High School, Kalaheo High School, and Campbell High School offer the Navy JROTC Program, Leilehua High School offers the Army JROTC Program, Kapolei High School offer Marine Corps JROTC; and Aiea, Kailua and Moanalua High Schools offer Air Force JROTC.

College Bound

Approximately 68% of Hawaii's public school graduates pursue additional schooling either in colleges and universities or in vocational and technical schools. Students in Hawaii's public schools have consistently gained a fair share of national recognition for their scholastic achievements, winning National Merit scholarships, military academy appointments, college ROTC scholarships, Century III scholarships, Presidential scholarships, and other awards in electronics, mathematics, science, writing and art.

Private Schools

Some families choose to send their children to private schools in Hawaii. There are a large number of schools to choose from, with a wide range of tuition costs and special programs. Additional fees such as music, art, uniforms, books, registration, deposits or meals should be taken into consideration. Applications to many of the Hawaii private schools begins in the Fall of the previous school year; please visit individual schools' web sites for application procedures and deadlines. Most schools require entering students to take the Secondary School Admission Test or present a prior report card and undergo a personal interview. Please refer to the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) web site for information on member schools for more information.

It is recommended you do some research before paying any pre-registration deposits or signing any contractual agreements. Remember that private schools don't necessarily have the before and after school daycare programs, or transportation services that the public schools offer.

Home Schooling

The DOE recognizes home schooling as a viable and legitimate educational alternative for children. Parents electing to home school their children must inform the DOE of their intent. Notification is made to the local public school by completing DOE Form DLTSS 4140, Exceptions to Compulsory Education, or submitting a letter with a statement of intent to home school.

This notice of intent does not imply that approval is needed by the State Superintendent but, rather, that it will be acknowledged as a matter of record and will allow the Department to assist parents in their educational efforts. For more information, go the DOE's "Homeschooling" website.

Other home schooling requirements include:

Submission of an annual report of the home schooled child's progress;

Testing is required for students in Grades 3, 5, 8 and 10; testing is optional for grades 4, 6, and 7. Home schooled children will be eligible to participate in the minimum testing program at the public schools or parents may choose to arrange for private testing at their own expense. A student who wants a high school diploma can obtain one by achieving a satisfactory score on the General Education Development (GED) Test, which is administered by the various community schools. The diploma will reflect high school equivalency through Adult Education.

Families are required to notify the principal if the home schooling is terminated or if another educational program is initiated. For more information when you arrive in Hawaii, contact the Principal of your assigned school or the DOE Instructional Services Branch 808-733-9131.

Adult Education

Community schools, also known as adult education schools offer a wide variety of courses. Course offerings vary by school. They offer courses in basic elementary education, secondary education, to complete high school graduation requirements, adult literacy, naturalization, and culture.  For more information and to see the current schedule please go to the community schools web site.

There are many educational opportunities for adults. For more information please refer to the College/Technical Training article.

Associated Links

Military Youth on the Move
Answers to military children and teen concerns.

Military Child Education Coalition
Provides information and resources on military education needs.

DoD Schools
Provides complete information on all Department of Defense Schools run by DoDEA.

Military K-12 Partnership
Provides comprehensive information for all students.

Great School -- Find and Compare Schools
Find information on all schools nationwide.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center -- Head Start
Information about the Head Start pre-school program.

Search for Public Schools - National Center for Educational Statistics
Provides a web site to search schools nationwide from elementary through high school.

State Savings Plans -- Information on saving for children's education.
Allows user to search college savings plans (529 plans) in every state and provides information on how to begin a plan.

TALARIS - Learn about early childhood education.
Advancing knowledge of early learning and the importance of parenting.

Choosing a School for your Child - Department of Education
How to choose a school.

School Matters
Public source for information and analysis about nation's public schools.

SchoolQuest -- Designed by Military Child Education Coalition
School information designed for military Families by the Military Child Education Coalition.

USA4 Military Families
Seeks to engage and educate state policymakers, not-for-profit associations, concerned business interests, and other state leaders about the needs of military members and their families.

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