Hawaii Association of Independent Schools


About HAIS

 HAIS is the state affiliate for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and also the state liaison for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). HAIS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. Leadership of the board is provided by heads of member schools.

HAIS membership is comprised of 98 private schools on all the Hawaii Islands. Member schools include several of the largest independent schools in the U.S., as well as some of the smallest. While distinctive with respect to mission and philosophy, HAIS member schools are united in helping children achieve personal and academic excellence.

HAIS Services for Families

Find a School
HAIS Member School Search Function – search by fields such as gender, boarding/day schools, religious affiliation, grade levels offered, enrollment and summer programs

Standard Application Online (SAO)
Online Common application for PK-12 independent schools. Using the SAO, you can complete one application with one set of transcripts and recommendations, then use it to apply to as many participating schools as you’d like.

Information about how to apply to Private Schools
A timeline and overview about how to apply to private schools.

Private School Awareness Campaigns
Making information about HAIS members schools accessible to families.

School Open House Listing
View all upcoming open house dates at member schools

Private School Guide
Provide parents with a "one-stop-shop" to learn more about the independent schools in Hawai'i.

Education Cheat Sheet
Blog created in partnership with HONOLULU Magazine, serving the purpose of demystifying educational trends and buzzwords.

Education Fairs
The HAIS Education Fair – offered on Oahu and Maui - offers a line-up of independent schools, exhibitors, guest speakers and keiki activities, giving parents a unique and free opportunity to have all their education questions answered in a central location.

Transcript Requests
Transcripts can be provided for individuals who attended independent schools that are no longer open.

Financial Aid FAQs
Common questions about financial aid answered on the HAIS website.

HAIS’s subsidiary, the Hawaii Council of Private Schools (HCPS), is charged by the state for licensing all private K-12 schools in Hawaii. Licensing of elementary and secondary educational institutions is important because it provides an independent, third-party assessment of a school’s safety, sustainability and program quality. Licensing is a membership requirement.

All Full Member Schools are accredited by HAIS and most are dually accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Through the process, schools hold themselves publicly accountable to families, foundations, corporations, financial institutions interested in supporting educational institutions, and all who seek assurance that a school meets certain generally accepted standards of educational quality, operation and staff competence.

Special Programs for Families of HAIS Member Schools
HAIS periodically invites guest speakers to talk about issues that are of concern to parents. These events are free and open to all parents of students at HAIS member schools.

HAIS Video Library
HAIS is responsible for producing films about current trends and happenings in education. All the films are free and can be accessed on the HAIS vimeo channel.

International Students
Accessible information about schools that accept international students and requirements for attending those schools.

Resource for the Media
HAIS provides data and reports on enrollment and tuition trends and often speaks on behalf of private education.

Legislative Watchdog
HAIS advocates on behalf of independent education in the state, often offering testimony on legislation that pertains to education.

Bi-monthly newsletter highlighting events, scholarship and news in the education community.

HAIS Independent Schools

Although each HAIS member school is driven by a unique educational mission, they all share a commitment to providing a safe environment in which young people can learn academic skills as well as the importance of hard work, leadership and good citizenship. At HAIS member schools, you will find high-quality educational programs, extraordinary teachers and family-oriented campuses. Almost all HAIS schools offer tuition assistance.
Independent is a key word, for an independent school is able to develop and carry out its own philosophy of education, choose those students it can serve best, and employ as teachers those it deems best fitted to instruct students. Selecting a school that is the right fit for a child can help set a path for life.

Applying to a Private School

Why an Independent School:
  • Teachers are more than just instructors: Teachers interact with their students not only as instructors in a classroom but as counselors, coaches, and leaders in all aspects of school life.
  • Curriculum: Curriculum is school and faculty determined. Teachers are afforded a great deal of autonomy to teach in individual styles and to choose materials they deem appropriate to the particular students they teach.
  • Administration: Their administrative structure enables them to respond rapidly to changing conditions and needs, to develop appropriate methods and materials, to take advantage of new discoveries in learning.
  • Parent Involvement: Parents can play an active part at independent schools, including in the governance - choosing trustees, and through trustees the school heads.
  • Privately Financed: They are financed almost entirely by private means through tuitions, contributions, and fundraising activities. They do not seek public funding because they know that public funding brings public regulation and with it the loss of the independence.
  • Accountability: Private schools are directly accountable to parents. The success of an independent school is largely dependent upon meeting the standards and needso of families
  • Self-Regulating: Independent schools are continually engaging in a cycle of improvement through their member accrediting agencies.
  • Personalized: Independent schools seek the most effective ways to educate the particular children they serve and in so doing provide for the needs of a diverse population.
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