I am a former graduate of WHEA in 2006. I attended for my senior year which I regret entirely, let me explain: 1.) The dropout rate of this school is unbelievable, a TOTAL of 7 students graduated in my 06 class. Most students end up getting their GED after leaving this school, because they do not want to repeat an extra semester in order to graduate after transferring to a regular HS. 2.)They do not offer any kind of Prom or dance for Seniors, or anything special for the older students. They definitely cater more to the younger grades. 3.) The small school politics have a double standard, you are either categorized as a student likely to succeed or drop out, there is no in between. If one teacher does not like you or your group of friends, they will label you and your friends as "likely dropouts", this is not a joke! My advisory teacher had some kind of personal problem with me, and I had to get my parents involved to force them to switch me with a different advisory teacher. I was not allowed to work on certain projects because they said I was not a returning student, even though I was a senior. I was upset by the fact they were not willing to even consider making an exception.
My son goes to whea. Its a average school, what's special about it, is their more hands on. This school is like a small college, teachers are just there to help when students ask. If your a self directed learner this school is for you, but if as a parent if you have to tell your child to do their homework then this school will be very hard for them. What I didn't like was the lack of communication the teachers and staff have with parents. My child would get in trouble and they expected him to come home and tell me, what child tells on themselves? Plus the dress code is never followed I see girls in way to short of shorts, skirts and dresses. Bras straps showing, low cut shirts. Plus at the begging of the year I was told if your child ever does het suspended, they have a working suspension. Which is not true they just send them home without any extra homework. This school has the potential to be a great school if the staff pull it together, but its just average.
I graduated from WHEA in 2009 after attending for all four years of high school. This was after having attended Kealakehe Intermediate School for grades 6-8. It was quite the culture shock. (I suffered severely at Kealakehe.) WHEA is not perfect; no school is. That being said, it did provide me with countless opportunities to grow both academically and as a person. And it DEFINITELY prepared me for the intense workload at a University. I was able to slowly come out of my shell, take charge of projects, win awards for both my HSAT scores and public speaking in science at the state level, and learn as much as I wanted to learn. But that's the key to succeeding at this school. You (or your child) has to WANT to learn or to explore. Some students adapt like I did and thrive, others do better in a system that tells them what to do and how to do it. WHEA is not for everyone, and not everyone at WHEA should be at WHEA. But if you (or your child) have the drive it can set you up for great things. I am a concurrent degree candidate at UH Manoa in journalism and env. science, honors student, former Washington D.C. intern, public speaking award recipient, and member of two honor societies.
Reading Proficiency is #2 among all Hawaii public high schools. Math proficiency is consistently above the state average. 2010 College SAT scores: 122 points above average for Critical Reading 44 points above average for Math 99 points above average for Writing. Congratulations and well done, WHEA students!
I am a graduate from WHEA in 2006, I am currently working on a bachelors degree. If I could go back, I would not have finished my senior year at WHEA. Let me share my personal experience: I really did not get very much out of many of the basic academic areas. They focus mainly on writing long essays about research, which does indeed help you become a good essay writer. Everything else falls well below what is offered at a regular high school with the exception of the Electric car project (no prom, no wood shop, no metal shop, no art, etc.) If they do offer anything extra it was very stripped down, I found this very disappointing. I did very well with my school projects at first, but then problems started to arise with my advisory teacher's grading. Many of the young students were very disrespectful to me as a senior and tried to act smarter than me. I was treated more like a freshmen that a senior by some of the teachers, and was denied working on several projects because the they only let students from previous school years work on them. The school is much more catering to the young students. Only 7 kids were in my graduating class, most leave by senior year and I can see why!
I really enjoy WHEA. It's project based learning which in my opinion is a lot more practical to apply to real world situations than what can be learned in a boring structured classroom. It isn't perfect but that is what makes it WHEA. It's a hot environment that can be uncomfortable at times but being able to see the ocean at all hours of the day really makes up for it. What other students can say they go to school at the beach? In my opinion WHEA students are fortunate for that. I've noticed some negative comments coming from middle school parents and I would like to point out that middle school is already a very awkward time in kids lives. So please don't blame the school for your child's performance. Middle schoolers can be very judgmental and pressuring of each other that is gonna be at every other school out there.
This is not a good school, the campus consists of a few tents and portable toilets that the 6th grade teachers have their students clean (very unhealthy for the kids!) If you feel like you still want to enroll your children wait until after the 6th grade the quality of teaching improves after the 6th grade. I really believe my child would have been better off at any other school. The curriculum is far below grade your child will have severely limited opportunities which revolve almost exclusively around marine science. It seems like the school was started with good intentions even winning an award years ago but those intentions have long been forgotten and now the school is not even mediocre at best! I feel I have wasted my child s time and now I have to enroll my child elsewhere. I feel that this charter school is one that falls so very short of providing a quality education. Poor educational opportunities, ramshackle environment, by far the shortest school calendar I am sure in the U.S. (school hours are 9-2 most days and 9-12 on Wed. with many many many school closure days due to weather and safety issues).
WHEA works well for some students but does not work well for other students. My child did not learn much and suffered due to lack of positive social interactions. My child achieves better grades and is happier at Kealakehe. WHEA fell short of our expectations.
I currently attend WHEA and I absolutely love it there! It s challenging and I love a good challenge. So by the end of the year I know that my straight A s were well earned. You learn more academic skills than social skills at this school apposed to most of the other schools on Hawaii. WHEA is excellent!
I have a child that attended this school for 7th and 8th grade. He was disappointed because the school didn't provide text books for math and other subjects. The school is very close to the airport and he felt very distracted by the jet noise. When he needed extra help it was hard to schedule time with the teachers.
I have a child that used to go to Kealakehe Middle school. Now she goes to Whea, and she is a whole different person. Her skills have improved for the better, but if you send your child to Whea, they need to be able to write at least 300 words every night! It is a self motivational school, but in my opinion its the best on the Island! (grades 6-12) (www.whea.net)
You get what you give. Although my child struggled in this school, it was because of her own daily choices (which were not very mature). I was very pleased with the staff--they were highly communicative and tried different approaches. The school is not for everyone, but it is a solid program.
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