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.
I work at this delightful, small, challenging school and also sent my son for grades k-12. The faculty and staff are top notch, the campus is gorgeous, the offerings are many, and the quality of education is excellent. My son was well prepared for college.
We had high hopes that Island School would challenge and support our academically gifted daughter. The academics were sound but there was is much inappropriate behavior at this school (among staff and students both) that it distracted from the educational component. My daughter was uncomfortable and asked to transfer to public school after one year.
Island school helped me develop myself intellectually and made a huge effort to ensure that I graduate with a proper education despite challenges that I went through. I also learned subjects that no other school on Kauai is able to offer, including Mandarin Chinese. If your child is an advanced learner this is a great school to get them to fully apply themselves. My brother is very advanced in Math and got as high as Statistics! Island school offers challenging courses that prepare students for the real world. On the other hand if your child wants to be in marching band or football, or would be better off with a lot of people to chose from to make friends than public school would be better because as a private school, this school is relatively small, although it is constantly growing in numbers.
I am a parent of a former student. I would advise families considering Island School to do some careful in-depth research before enrolling their child. Our experience in the elementary was fine but there are some real problems at the middle and high school level, particularly in the science dept.
As a former student and graduate of Island School I can honestly admit that the faults of the school are easily outweighed by the quality of student it produces. My classmates and I attend colleges where we find ourselves at the top of the class due to the competitve edge given to us from a small school in the middle of the kane field. The staff at Island School always took the extra effort to make sure to teach not only knowledge but wisdom.