i had two boys attend island school for 3 years. elementary and high school. this school, hands down, is the BIGGEST waste of $$ we ever spent in Hawaii!
Logistically, its very difficult to get ANY teachers to go a small island in the south pacific. But to get GOOD teachers is even a bigger challenge. This school FAILS on both counts.
Evidence is the fact that they had a Math teacher teaching chemistry, because they "took a chemistry course in college". What?! It reminds me of the old car commercial, where the bad mechanic says "I seen a guy fix one of those once". This teacher even admitted to the class "im not a chemistry teacher!"
There are several other examples where this school employs teachers in a "cut and paste" fashion, because of lack of teachers on the island.
Its a shame because the island could use a private school, but not worth $14k a yr for less than public school quality teachers. Half the kids go because they are "afraid" of immersion with locals. the other half because they "think" the education will be better. NOT the case!
the headmaster is just a complaint department. he does nothing to discipline the teachers because he needs them more than he needs students. its supply and demand. more kids need/want a private school and this is the only game in town
Our child was enrolled in the Pre-K program last year and said this year... "Mommy, I love Island School! I Don't ever want to go to any other school. I want to go to Island School all the way to high school!" We think it says a lot about an educational setting when the children feel welcomed and comfortable. They have a wonderful "buddy" system where the 5th graders are paired with Preschooler and is made to feel safe and welcomed in the school. This is the beginning of the school year, but I have heard they also do this in kindergarten as well with another grade. I think this is a great program to prevent bullying. In addition to the social aspect, we feel the the education experience our child received and is receiving is top notch.
I graduated from Island School and my child attended here until we moved to the mainland. As a student I feel like Island School prepared me well for college, so much so that many of my undergrad courses were easy. As a parent I truly appreciate the fact that each elementary teacher has an aide so that all students are attended to. Island School also provides multiple extracurricular subjects every day like Hawaiian Studies, Music, Art and PE. This is much, much more than students in the public school system receive and I believe that it is a critical component to a well rounded education as it helps keep students energized.
Our high school child has been at Island School for 3 years. She has absolutely thrived in the learning environment and moral culture of this school. Pros: highly qualified, caring, dedicated, excellent teachers - we are impressed by the entire teaching staff, but particularly by one of their science teachers, Mrs. Sullivan (she is dynamic). Cons: No middle school sports, very limited high school sports, limited music program consisting of chorus (by the finest teacher) and ukulele instruction but, no band program, administration that cowers to parents who complain that the classes are too difficult, & very few extra-curricular clubs or opportunities. The school website claims there is a school robotics program but unfortunately, this is no longer true (only an island-wide club at the mall). Also, contrary to their sales pitch, the impressive gym seems to be used by neighbor school kids more than Island School students. Nonetheless, the school offers a rigorous college prep curriculum, attracts academically driven students, has a great college counseling department, nurtures the whole child, and provides a safe, wholesome and happy environment. It is the best on the island.
Kauai's largest private school. Virtually all graduates attend college assisted by perhaps the best college counselling program on island. Students attend from both ends of the island and all places in-between.Special academic effort placed on science/math/robots, theater and music, sports at the varsity and junior varsity level and technology through-out the school.
I am a parent of two students who attend Island School. Honestly, I am so glad that my children Island school as they are academically challenged and the curriculum is fun and balanced. The teachers are the best and are dedicated..and go beyond what is expected. I read some of the reviews....and some that were negative...its probably because their child got disciplined and got kicked out. Our decision to make the financial sacrifices is well worth the payoff. They both love learning, and its been wonderful!! Joan Shaw has done an excellent job in helping students get into awesome colleges. What I like about the school is that they really make the students be responsible for their learning, and they challenge them academically.