Are you considering making a move to West Hawaii with school age children? LUVA Real Estate knows that choosing the right school is as much as a priority as neighborhood location and other important aspects when deciding when and how to move a family to West Hawaii. Luckily, for an island, we have some great choices for schools, including public, charter and private.
Public Schools in West Hawaiʻi
The public junior and senior high schools in the West Hawai’i district are Kealekehehe and Konawaeana. If you live south of Walua Road (which is basically a mile south of Kona), and west of Nani Kailua Road, your kids will be attending Konawena Junior High or Senior High, located in South Kona, south of the Kona Community Hospital. If you live north of Walua Road, your child will attend Kealekehe Intermediate and Senior High School. If you live in Waikoloa Village, your chiild will attend the intermediate school in the village and attend Kealakekehe (bus service is available)
A great way to get a feeling for the schools and their character, is to check out their various websites, listed below. We have counseled many parents on some of the individual facets of the schools, and we are happy to talk to you one on one to give you deeper insights.
Public High Schools
Konawaena High School
This school’s campus is older and Konawaena used to be the only junior and senior high for ALL the children in West Hawai’i. The two-lane road to get there in the morning and during afternoon pick-up is very congested, even now, with only half the population sending their kids there. The school does have a bus to help parents get their chiildren to school on time. Konaweana has a strong athletics program and the spirit in the area for the football team is remarkable. http://www.konawaenahs.org
This high school has a relatively new campus, located straight up from the Honokohau Harbor. The robotics team is one of the best in the state and has competed nationally. They have some fantastic facilities, including a full car shop, TV and art studios, and a commercial kitchen for the culinary students.http://www.khswaveriders.org
Public Elementary Schools
Unlike some of the local charter schools, Kahakai has the funding for special eduation and specialty teachers. The DOE states that Kahakai “is an official science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) school.” They have a computer lab, and my daughter had an excellent math experience there. Check the website for exact school boundaries. http://bit.ly/KahakaiElementary
This school is located off of Palani Road, up mauka from downtown. Their mission “is to provide a quality education that meets the academic, social, creative, emotional and physical needs of all students, in a safe, nurturing environment.” http://bit.ly/KealekeheElementary
The school is located in the desirable arts town of Holualoa, which is located at about the 1,000-foot elevation range, a mile up from Kona, and surrounded by coffee farms and plantations. Known for its tough academic policies, Holualoa “sets clear, measurable targets that are ambitious and challenging,” as their site says. The housing market in that area is very desirable. http://bit.ly/Holualoa
The school is located in South Kona, in the heart of the Kona coffee area, on the green slopes of Hualalai. The school is “committed to http://bit.ly/InnovationsCharter ensuring all students graduate college-and [are] career-ready through effective use of standards-based education,” according to their site. http://bit.ly/KonawaenaElementary
Charter Schools in West Hawaiʻi
Kona has seen the development of some very good charter schools. Most have a waiting list. If your plan is to move to West Hawaii and get right into one of these schools, heads up on this. There is either a lottery system or waiting list at each one. General time to put your name on the list is February.
Kona Pacific Public Charter School: Grades K-8
The school is situated on forty acres of land in South Kona, above the Kona Community Hospital, and selects students based on a lottery system. The school offers a Waldorf-based curriculum, interspersed with Hawaiian culture and agricultural sustainability.. “The curriculum offers a holistic, hands-on, project-based education inspired by Waldorf education, promoting student achievement in language arts, math, science, visual arts, musical training and movement.” http://www.kppcs.org/enrollment/
Innovations Public Charter School: Grades K-8
The list to get into this charter school, located almost directly above downtown Kona, is long. Founded in 2001, Innovations has a great reputation in town as a strong academic school. “IPCS is best known for its student centered learning in multi-age groupings, inquiry and project-based focus, thematic integrative curriculum, arts and technology integration, parent participation, and its caring and experienced staff.” https://www.ipcs.info
West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy: Middle School: Grades 6-8 and High School: Grades 9-12
West Hawai’i Explorations Academy, or WHEA, is located near the Natural Energy Lab and the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) area, near the Kona Airport, and within hundreds of feet of the Pacific Ocean, giving it a decidedly marine and technology sciences focus. WHEA also has a strong robotics team and is known for not having a “normal” classroom environment. WHEA is also a sought-after educational experience for students wishing to pursue careers in the marine and oceanography fields. This school offers a project-based and individual study program. https://www.whea.net
Hawaii Technology Academy
HTA empowers students to succeed through their blended learning experience, face-to-face, virtual and independent. Currently located in a commercial real estate building on the corner of Kuikini Highway and Hualalai Road, the school offers middle school and high school curriculm and parents become learning coaches. This school is a good fit for students who want to work away from a traditional classroom environment, but still want the connection to other students a few times a week and one on one time with teachers on campus. https://hi.myhta.org
University of the Nations: Pre-School
If you are coming with young children, this pre-school is highly regarded and located near downtown. They have a terrific educational and fun environment. You’ll need to apply early for this much sought-after program. https://ywamkona.org/ministries/preschool/
Makua Lani Christian Academy
Located on Palani Road, a few minutes up mauka from downtown, Makua Lani Christian Academy hosts its lower grades of K-7. The “lower campus,” as they call it, offers a Christian-based education for grades 8 through 12. https://makualani.com
Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy
HPA, as this elite school is known, is actually located in Waimea, about an hour north of Kona. It is the most expensive and is one of the finest private schools on the Big Island. “The mission of the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy is to provide exceptional learning opportunities and a diverse community honoring the traditions of Hawai’i.” Students can board in dorms at Hawai’i Preparatory Academy, starting in 6th grade. The school hosts an array of educational and sports opportunities. Some Kona students take a school bus to HPA to avoid having to board. https://www.hpa.edu
Also located in Waimea, Parker School offers a rigorous college preparatory experience coupled with a wide range of extracurricular offerings. Parker is the only school on the Big Island with an interscholastic speech and debate team, producing many state champions and national tournament qualifiers. A variety of interscholastic sports teams are offered, as well as recreational league teams for middle and lower school students. Approximately 50% of all Parker School students take advantage of the institution’s extensive financial aid resources. https://www.parkerschoolhawaii.org
If you would like to learn more, most of the schools hold open houses and speaking to other families and students who attend is a great way to find out personal experiences to help you make your decision about which is best for your student. If you would like to learn more about the neighborhoods surrounding the schools, LUVA Real Estate can assist you with available homes and historical statistical data.