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PK-5 & Ungraded
Public district
Honolulu, HI

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503 Kamoku St
Honolulu, HI 96826

(808) 973-0070
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Map of Ala Wai Elementary School address.

May 27, 2015
I had the very unfortunate experience of working here as a student teacher for one semester. I came with years of teaching experience and a solid undergraduate education. I worked with a "mentor" in a class of second graders. This teacher was uncreative and dispassionate, and she primarily taught her dull lessons from the overhead projector. This approach forced the kids to remain still in their seats for the majority of the day, which is developmentally inappropriate for the age group. English language learners were frequently kept from their recess to finish work they had not completed, even though ELL supports were extremely inadequate and understaffed. It was very clear that this teacher was stressed by the curriculum and the principal's expectations, but she took this out on the children through frequent and punitive verbal abuse (yelling, shaming, and even once threw a child's paper on the ground because he forgot to write his name and told him: this makes me sick). The children were only seven or eight years old. The classroom climate was one of fear and intimidation. The most memorable "learning" that took place was that of survival, or how to avoid being yelled at by the teacher. At one point in the semester, I was even informed that the principal had gone to Las Vegas on vacation because he was "stressed." My understanding was that the poor professionalism and lack of commitment to the children was trickling down from the leadership, effectively creating an overall culture of unpleasantness. I will say that I met a few very nice individuals at this school, including other teachers. But the classroom where I worked was depressing and discouraging. Furthermore, several of the children in my class came from difficult home lives, only to be treated like garbage at school. I find this to be UNACCEPTABLE. If you are a parent in this district, I urge you to seek a district exemption so that your child can be spared the risk of such a negative learning experience. Based on the classroom where I worked, Ala Wai is a very sad place to be a child.

- submitted by a teacher
Teacher effectiveness: Very ineffective
May 27, 2015
I can only make this rating based on my evaluation of the teacher with whom I worked (a second grade teacher). I met many nice individuals on this campus. Unfortunately, this teacher was not one of them.

- submitted by a teacher
Develops respect: Strongly disagree
May 27, 2015
Real respect for others by children can only be gained through modeling desired actions and integrity on the part of the teacher, not through fear. Unfortunately, in the classroom where I worked, the teacher used yelling and intimidation to control student behavior and to achieve the illusion of "respect" from them. Students were not respected in this classroom, therefore they did not actually learn respect. What they learned was obedience in the face of authority in order to avoid punishment. This does not contribute to a foundation for a healthy society and democracy.

- submitted by a teacher

March 12, 2015
I went to this school as a child, and even from then I was always encouraged to push myself beyond the classroom, the importance of finding out more about my favorite lessons, and how to use the Internet and libraries during a time when not every student could have a computer in their home. The influence my teachers had on me really helped me throughout the later years of my secondary schooling, and today I'm attending college working to get a degree in psychology. I highly recommend this school to every child

- submitted by a community member

May 06, 2013
my daughter went there on her fifth year. and then my son just last year attended kindergarten there. both my children had a blast there. my son especially. he enjoyed everyday day that he went to school. and his teacher did an outstanding job. we moved last summer. the school his attending right now is mesmerized at how much he knows. he received a N.Gresham blue ribbon reward last fall for his outstanding effort. thanks to ala wai school for setting that foundation.

- submitted by a parent

August 11, 2010
My son went to this school last school year 2009-2010. He was in kindergarten, his teacher was extraordinary, she always went above and beyond with my son. I always saw the principal around asking for feedback and making sure everyone was on the same page. I love this school; my son had a beautiful experience. We left Honolulu because we are a military family and we truly miss this school.

- submitted by a parent

April 17, 2010
Our experience with Ala Wai Elementary has been nothing but positive. My oldest son has attended for 2 yrs now (K and 1st). His first grade teacher, Mrs. Sato, has gone out of her way to keep him engaged and challenged in class. This school really cares about it's students, academically and emotionally. Even with 'furlough Fridays' and budget cuts they continue to give it everything they have. The Principal, Mrs. Unni and Vice Principal Mrs, Mendonca are very active at the school, and highly visible and approchable. (I've even seen them directing traffic to keep our keiki safe). Mr. Yim, the lower grades Counselor, is always keeping an eye out for new ways to help the kids. Mr. Toby and Miss Ruthie from the PSAP program are dedicated to the children in their care. I would recommend this school to anyone.

- submitted by a parent

January 24, 2009
Ala Wai School is awesome. The teachers and staff are very caring about the individual child. My child is fortunate to be in this school. I don't know the Principal personally but she must be quite a wonderful woman; Counselor Mr. Makaimoku is priceless.

- submitted by a parent

January 23, 2009
This school has the best teachers and principal and the school counselor is so positive in his dealings with the young students. Claudia England

- submitted by a community member

April 23, 2008
My son is in their Preschool. The teachers and aides are so good with the kids and I feel the communication lines between the teachers and parents is excellent.

- submitted by a parent

February 23, 2008
My daughter is in Kindergarten and I am very impressed with the way the teachers have been teaching. My daughter comes home everyday with something new. This is way different than when I was in School. Ms Unni and the Vice principal are always around to help the students and also attend alot of the parent functions or school activities. Today for example, there was a fun fair and I saw both principals there. This is an awsome school

- submitted by a parent

February 12, 2008
My child attended the Ala Wai from 1st to 5th grade and A+ for all 5 years and graduated. The teachers were wonderful, staff was helpful, classmates were great, and the fellow parents were friendly too! Ms. Unni is a hands-on principal, always there for the children and takes charge of everything! A wonderful person. No wonder Ala Wai Elementary was 1 of the 3 schools to be nominated for the NCLB's Blue Ribbon School Program! I am proud to say that my child graduated from Ala Wai Elementary School!

- submitted by a parent

September 26, 2007
My son is in K and is enjoying school and A+ at Ala Wai - so much so that he cries when I pick him up early! It is too early into the school year to yet determine anything on a learning level, so we are just happy that he is happy. Our only concern is the size of his class (25) and hope this is not the same in the higher grades. Aloha, Michele Pokung, parent

- submitted by a parent

December 20, 2006
First of all, my English is limited. However I'd like to talk about Ala Wai Elementary School. I have 2children, boy and girl who are from Japan. My children go at Ala wai Elementary School. They are 2 grade and 4 grade. They are so lucky why class teachers are wonderful and great teacher ever. I look back on this year I really appreciate school teachers who are class teachers, councelor teacher, and ELL teachter. My daughter came to Hawaii 3month ago. Class teacher who is so wonderful and helpful for her. My daughter enjoy going to school so far. Coucelor teachter help to go to school my daughter who was stuggled when she came here first time. My son's class teacher is a great teacher who is a kind and wonderful. I am thankful and greatful this year. I really appreciate them who are Mrs. Yamazaki, Mrs.Kwee, Mr.Yim and Mrs. Kobayashi. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

- submitted by a parent

February 27, 2006
My daughter is in the 1st grade at Ala Wai Elementary. She loves to go to school every day and enjoys learning. Her teachers are friendly, conscientious, and wonderful educators. When my daughter started Kindergarten last year, I reviewed and visited the five public schools near our home and work. We chose Ala Wai Elementary because of their caring staff, high standards, and school vision. The Principal, Ms. Unni, can be found on the school grounds everyday interacting with the children and providing guidance. Our family believes that the care and attention provided to each student is just as important as the curriculum taught each day. We firmly believe in Ala Wai Elementary and make every effort to support this school by helping with the PTSA, fund-raisers, and chaperoning fieldtrips. Ala Wai's Vision for our Children: Believe, Achieve, Succeed. Dream Big and Make It Happen! Wonderful concepts for children of all ages to learn.

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: May 27, 2015

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Ala Wai Elementary School
503 Kamoku St, Honolulu, HI  96826
(808) 973-0070
Last modified Ala Wai Elementary School is a Public school. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 6 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Ala Wai Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 20 reviews. Top