Oahu Private School Guide Heading Into 2024
Nestled in the heart of the Pacific, Oahu isn't just home to stunning beaches and rich cultural history; it also boasts some of the most prestigious private schools in the nation. If you’re looking to make the move to Oahu and enroll your child, you want to be sure to choose the right one - and that you choose the right neighborhood for your home to match. This blog post was updated with the latest info on January 20, 2024.
The community lifestyle around your home is as much a part of your home as the building itself. Not only that, commute times need to be taken into account. After all, if you move to a neighborhood that’s a long commute from your work or your child’s school, your family might be too tired to enjoy the beauty of the paradise state.
In this blog post we set our focus on the private schools of Oahu, where personalized education is a philosophy. From small class sizes to specialized programs, these private schools create nurturing environments for students to thrive and become the leaders of tomorrow. Choosing the right school for your family will come down to a couple key factors. We’ll start with tuition and then discuss the schools and the areas on Oahu they’re located in.
If you’re ready to make the leap and get help with your move to Oahu, reach out at 1-(808) 698-6100
As of the latest update on January 20th, we are still in the 2023 - 2024 school year. This means these numbers are representative of the tuition for that period. They can be used to estimate the tuition for the 2024 - 2025 school year, but should be treated as just that - estimates.
Generally, tuition at these schools can range from around $10,000 to upwards of $25,000 per year. Some of the more prestigious institutions can run higher, with ‘Iolani offering Boarding admission for $63,600 and day admissions for $28,250. Smaller or religiously-affiliated schools often offer a more affordable option, with lower tuition rates while still providing quality education."
Understanding the financial commitment of private education is crucial. It's important to factor in the likelihood of annual tuition increases, which can range from 2% to 5% per year.
Many private schools on Oahu are committed to making education accessible and offer various forms of financial assistance. Scholarships can significantly reduce the tuition burden, while some schools offer aid that covers a substantial portion of the fees.
Honolulu & Diamond Head
Honolulu has it all - a bustling cityscape with plenty of boutique shopping and dining opportunities, wide open suburbs, and some of the best private schools in the United States. It has a unique blend of modern urbanity and traditional Hawaiian charm, and is a veritable melting pot of diverse cultures coming together in one.
Right next door, the Diamond Head area is a residential area (not to be confused with the Diamond Head neighborhood) to the east of Honolulu, housing many exclusive and highly sought-after properties. It is home to Diamond Head Crater, one of Hawaii's most iconic landmarks.
The neighborhoods in these two areas come in a wide range of property types. Whether you desire a private ridge community like Makiki Heights, or the luxuriousness of the greatly coveted Kahala - there are plenty of options. My personal favorite is the Diamond Head neighborhood, where I live.
Punahou School is one of the country’s largest independent schools, with an enrollment of over 3,700 students. Over Punahou’s 183 years, it has produced many notable graduates - including former president Barack Obama, teen golf phenomenon Michelle Wie, Olympians, and more. By all rights, it seems to live up to its claims of encouraging students to unlock their highest potential.
The primary mission of Punahou is to prepare students for a changing world. Renovations over recent years have transformed significant amounts of the campus into cutting-edge learning environments and sustainable facilities with indoor and outdoor spaces. Education at Punahou isn’t just about the core subjects - it prepares the students for careers of the future by teaching students to be adaptable and innovative.
Punahou is located at 1601 Punahou St, Honolulu. The most convenient neighborhood for Punahou would be Manoa, a cool valley neighborhood with magnificent views set at the base of the Ko’olau mountain range. Just a little bit further away is Makiki Heights - just a little over a mile from the school and right around the corner from where Barack Obama grew up.
‘Iolani recruits its teachers from across the world, bringing a wealth of experience united by their love of children and excellence in education. Although ‘Iolani is related to the Episcopal Church, there are no restrictions on religious background or gender. The only requirements are scholastic ability, good character, and promise of leadership.
More than 2,200 students of diverse backgrounds attend K-12 classes at ‘Iolani, working through a curriculum that prepares them for college. At the same time, the religious, athletic, extracurricular programs broaden their minds and allow them to enter the world with a sense of personal worth and responsibility to mankind.
‘Iolani is located at 563 Kamoku Street in Honolulu, just north of Waikiki. There are a few neighborhoods within a 10-20 minute drive of the school. Kaimuki is an adjacent neighborhood filled with charming older homes. Diamond Head is one of the closest and also one of my favorites, offering a lifestyle unlike any other. On the other side of Diamond Head is Kahala - the ‘Beverly Hills of Hawaii.'
Founded in 1908,Mid-Pacific Institute has evolved over the years to become a modern educational institution while maintaining its historical roots. The school is renowned for its innovative approach to education, embracing evolving technological platforms with state-of-the-art equipment. At the same time, it cultivates artistic and individual expression in its students, pushing them to their limits in a safe environment.
Mid-Pacific Institute is a private school for Pre-K-12 founded on Christian values in 1908. It has a rich history of providing a challenging and developmentally-appropriate curricular continuum. The school today is recognized for multiple innovative programs including:
- International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
- Mid-Pacific Exploratory Program
- Mid-Pacific School of the Arts
- Immersive Technology Program
The campus consists of 43 acres at 2445 Ka’ala Street in Manoa Valley, Honolulu. The school is at the mouth of Manoa, a lush valley neighborhood, and surrounded by ridge neighborhoods to the east and west. To the east is St. Louis Heights, while to the northwest lies Tantalus and to the west lies Makiki Heights.
Beach Town - Kailua
When talking about beach communities on Oahu that have good private schools nearby, there is one immediately leaps to mind: Kailua.
Nestled on the windward coast of Oahu, Kailua offers a breathtaking blend of turquoise waters and fine, white sands. Known for its world-renowned Kailua Beach, the town is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with activities ranging from kayaking to windsurfing.
Kailua is a town of around 38,000 people, known around the world for its beautiful beaches. Kailua Beach is one of these, minutes away from Kailua and winner of Top Beach in 2019 by Dr. Beach. It tends to have smaller waves and steady winds, making it ideal for swimming, kayaking, and other water sports. If you're feeling adventurous, there are two small offshore islands that can be reached with effort.
Within Kailua there are two neighborhoods that really distinguish themselves. The first, Lanikai Kailua, is a small neighborhood of about 500 homes that has a focus on exclusivity through simplicity - unmistakably high-end, but with less of a focus on extravagance. The second neighborhood, Beachside Kailua, is one of the most desirable areas within the entire town.
Le Jardin Academy
Le Jardin Academy (LJA) was originally founded in 1961 as a single-room preschool.
Since then, they have grown into a leader in world-class education. LJA is known as the premier PK-12 private school for the windward community, and strive to develop knowledge, responsibility, and care in every student that passes through their doors. Emphasizing global-mindedness and personal development, Le Jardin Academy provides a diverse and dynamic learning environment, encouraging students to excel academically while fostering a sense of global responsibility.
LJA has an average 1:9 faculty to student ratio, ensuring students have the aid needed to reach their full potential. Students are provided with an education that consists of three programmes united under the International Baccalaureate philosophies and approaches for an internationally recognized education. The school's progressive curriculum, infused with technology and hands-on learning experiences, prepares students not just for academic success, but also to be thoughtful, engaged members of society.
Trinity Christian School
Trinity Christian School is a fully accredited, classical Christian PK-12 private grade school that has two campuses in Kailua, Hawaii. Trinity is the only classical Christian school in Hawaii, utilizing a method of education that matches how children learn naturally. They provide their students with the opportunity to learn a deeper vocation - beyond just getting a next job.
Trinity categorizes preschool and secondary education into three stages that are applied throughout the education.
During preschool through 6th grade, students at Trinity are tasked with the Grammar stage - building a foundation of knowledge. For 7th and 8th grade, the Logic Stage builds on that foundation and teaches students logical thinking, critical reading, and critical writing. From 9th to 12th grade, the Rhetoric stage teaches them how to combine their knowledge and logical thinking to form their own arguments.
West Oahu - Kapolei
Kapolei is a planned community in Oahu that takes its name from a volcanic cone. Often referred to as Oahu's "Second City," Kapolei is a vibrant hub located on the island's southwestern coast. As a planned city, Kapolei offers a unique blend of urban convenience and island charm, making it a popular destination for both residents and tourists seeking an alternative to the busier Honolulu metropolis.
The city is quickly becoming the second urban center of Oahu and is especially popular with military members stationed at the nearby bases. There is currently a project underway to construct a fixed-guideway elevated rail system - as of January 2024, the project runs from East Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium, with plans to extend to the city center by 2031.
Island Pacific Academy
Island Pacific Academy (IPA) is one of the premier independent K-12 schools in the nation. Students at IPA are encouraged to learn through experimentation, producing imaginative and self-reliant individuals. Critical thinking is nurtured in students, aiding them in the development of fundamental skills necessary to real-world situations.
American Renaissance Academy
American Renaissance Academy is a fully accredited private school founded in 2007 in Kapolei. Their aim is to enable their students to achieve their highest potential and lead the next generation of an evolving society. Students are provided with a comprehensive college-prep education that challenges students while instilling a passion for artistic growth and life-long learning.
Which school is Best for your family?
As our guide to Oahu's private schools concludes, it's evident that the island is a hub for quality education.
Which private school is best for your family ultimately comes down to your specific situation. To better identify which school would work best for you and your children, ask yourself - what do you want out of your future community? What kind of daily commute are you comfortable with? A beautiful neighborhood that matches your life is great, but a long commute can affect how you feel about it.
A 30 minute drive each way might sound short at first - but it ends up being two hours in traffic every single day. That’s why it’s important to account for all the factors before deciding where to enroll your child in one of our prestigious schools.
If you're looking into private schools because you’re planning to relocate to Oahu, our real estate team is ready to assist you in finding a home that meets your family's educational and lifestyle needs. Reach out at 1-(808) 698-6100 or email me at [email protected] and take the first step in securing a bright future for your family in one of the most beautiful places in the world.