Hawaii has a unique educational landscape, with numerous prestigious public and private schools. The Hawaii Department of Education oversees the state’s public school system, which includes more than 294 schools serving over 173,178 K-12 students.
The state is home to large schools with large campuses and huge enrollments. The schools serve thousands of Hawaiian kids, shaping the future of the Aloha State. This post will explore the thirteen largest institutions in Hawaii, from elementary level through college.
We dive deeper into each school’s academic performance, curriculum offerings, extracurricular opportunities, class sizes, overall student experience, and much more. Here are the 13 largest learning institutions in Hawaii today.
Waipahu Elementary School
94-465 Waipahu St Ext, Waipahu, HI 96797
Waipahu Elementary is a public school in Waipahu that serves roughly 965 students in prekindergarten through sixth grade. The enrollment places the school as the fourth largest elementary school in Hawaii. The school earns a 5/10 rating from GreatSchools.org.
Waipahu’s performance on academics is average. The students perform worse than most of their peers across the state. Only 31% attain proficiency in English and 30% in math. The school uses a project-based approach, with students required to complete two capstone projects every year.
The school also offers numerous enrichment programs to the kids. The award-winning Trek Trekkers program provides an excellent foundation for technology and media production. Students can also participate in sewing and a STEM course.
Waipahu Elementary has one teacher for every thirteen kids. This student-teacher ratio is lower than the state’s 15:1 average. Additionally, 87% of the teachers at the school have over three years of teaching experience — 95% hold state-approved certifications.
Ewa Elementary School
91-1280 Renton Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Ewa Elementary is an average-performing public school located in Ewa Villages, with roots tracing back to 1882. The school’s current campus was built in the early 1920s with several modifications and additions. It serves roughly 1,033 kids in prekindergarten through fifth grade.
The current principal at the school is also a former alumni who attended the school from kindergarten in 1959. Ewa Elementary’s academic performance is average. Test scores at the school fall below the state’s average. Only 41% of kids gained proficiency in English and 33% in math.
The school ranks as one of the state’s most diverse public elementary schools. 33% are from Asian backgrounds, 24% multiracial, 20% Hispanic, and 19% Native Hawaiian. 49% of the student body is from low-income households.
Ewa Elementary has a student-teacher ratio of 15:1. The school has a qualified faculty team, with 99% of full-time teachers holding acceptable certifications. Additionally, 89% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. The school also has a team of paraprofessionals that run the special education department.
Holomua Elementary School
91-1561 Keaunui Dr, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Holomua Elementary is an above-average performing public school in Ewa Beach. The school serves roughly 1,093 kids in prekindergarten through sixth grade. The enrollment places it as the second-largest elementary school in Hawaii.
The school earned a 6/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org. Most students at Holomua Elementary perform at or above their grade level in state assessments. 58% of the kids attained proficiency in English and 55% in math.
Holomua Elementary has a similar student-teacher ratio to that of the state, with one teacher for every fifteen kids. The school also has highly experienced teachers, with 95% of the faculty having over three years of teaching experience. All full-time teachers are certified.
Parents at Holomua are overly positive about their experiences with the school. Here’s what one parent had to say about their experience in a review on GreatSchools.org, “All around a great school! The teachers are caring and do a fantastic job with the kids. My daughter has been challenged academically and has learned so much in such a short time. She looks forward to school daily. The staff are helpful and friendly, always a pleasure to work with. This is our first experience with public schools, we’ve had our kids in private schools. We are extremely happy with Holomua and highly recommend this school.”
August Ahrens Elementary School
94-1170 Waipahu St Ext, Waipahu, HI 96797
August Ahrens Elementary is a public school on the island of Oahu in the sugarcane plantation town of Waipahu. The school opened its doors nearly a century ago on September 1, 1924. August Ahrens currently sits on a 14-acre campus serving over 1500 kids and 220 teachers and staff.
The school comprises ten buildings and 26 portable classrooms for kindergarten through sixth-grade kids. According to state assessment test scores, 56% of the students are proficient in English and 53% in math. August Ahrens also runs a gifted and talented program that supports intellectually-gifted kids with the appropriate level of challenge and academic resources.
August Ahrens has one teacher for every sixteen kids. 95% of the teachers have over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, all full-time faculty members are certified. The school also has an active Parents Teacher Organization that funds and runs numerous elective and enrichment programs.
Waipahu Intermediate School
94-455 Farrington Hwy, Waipahu, HI 96797
Waipahu Intermediate School is an average-performing middle school in the historic Waipahu community. Founded in 1966, the school currently serves 1,289 students in seventh and eighth grades. Waipahu Intermediate received a 5/10 overall rating from GreatSchools.org.
The school aims to prepare students for high school and life beyond by creating an environment that fosters joy in learning, exploring ways to find each child’s voice, and teaching the kids to use their talents productively. The school’s performance is average, with 47% attaining proficiency in English and 33% in math.
The school also offers enrichment programs, such as band, choir, video, and film production. Despite its vast student population, it has one teacher for every sixteen kids. 96% of the teachers are certified, and 91% have over three years of experience.
Hawaii Technology Academy Public Charter School
94-450 Mokuola St #200, Waipahu, HI 96797
Hawaii Technology Academy is a top-rated, tuition-free public charter school accredited by the WASC. The school serves roughly 1,363 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. However, the middle and high school sections contribute to more than three-quarters of the student population.
The school offers a unique approach to learning with a hybrid model that combines face-to-face instruction, virtual learning, and independent learning. Parents take an active role in their kids’ education, acting as Learning coaches that closely monitor the student’s academic progress.
Hawaii Technology Academy’s test scores are above the state’s average. 68% of the students perform at or above their grade level in English and 43% in math. The school offers a wide range of enrichment programs, including seven art courses, two music courses, a performance art course, and four world languages programs.
The school has one teacher for every sixteen kids. The faculty team is highly qualified, with 97% holding professional certifications and over three years of teaching experience.
Mililani Middle School
95-1140 Lehiwa Dr, Mililani, HI 96789
Mililani Middle School is a highly-rated public school that seeks to offer a safe, nurturing, and challenging environment for its students. The school serves roughly 1,585 kids in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. It is the largest middle school in the state.
Mililani Middle offers an integrated curriculum with various instructional strategies and flexible scheduling. Students at the school are performing better than their peers across the state, with most attaining their grade’s proficiency requirements in state assessment tests. 70% gained proficiency in English and 51% in math.
The school has a qualified faculty team with roughly 102 full-time teachers. This translates to one teacher for every seventeen kids. 95% of the full-time teachers are certified, and 88% have over three years of teaching experience.
The school offers numerous opportunities for the students to grow their interests and develop their abilities outside the classroom. Mililani Middle has over 29 clubs and societies and ten athletic teams your child can join.
Mililani High School
95-1200 Meheula Pkwy, Mililani, HI 96789
Mililani High School is a top-performing public school in Mililani and is the only public high school in the town. The school has a student enrollment of 2,620 students, making it one of the largest high schools in the state.
The school offers a rigorous college preparatory program, with 96% of the students graduating after four years. 62% of the graduates proceed to college. 53% of the students sit for the ACT examinations.
Mililani High offers 23 advanced placement courses with a 23% participation rate. The students also get an opportunity to earn college credits through the dual credit program in which 1% of the students participate. The school also offers the Project Lead The Way Computer Science curriculum to students that may be interested in STEM.
The school maintains a student-teacher ratio of 17:1, slightly larger than the state average. However, the teachers employed are highly qualified, with 88% having over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, 93% have professional certifications. Students can also join the numerous clubs, organizations, and sports teams available to develop their social skills outside the classroom.
Waipahu High School
94-1211 Farrington Hwy, Waipahu, HI 96797
Founded in 1938, Waipahu High School is an above-average public high school on the island of Oahu. It serves roughly 2,797 students in ninth through twelfth grade and is the second-largest high school in the state. The school has a student-teacher ratio of 16:1.
Waipahu High School campus is divided into six nationally-certified model academies in arts and communication, health and sciences, natural resources, industrial and engineering technology, professional and public services, and O’hana of Excellence. The academies offer numerous industrial certifications and work-based experience to prepare students for college life and beyond.
The school has a four-year high school graduation rate of 84%. 88% of the students sit for the ACT, with 49% of the high school graduates proceeding to college. Waipahu High offers 17 AP courses, with 9% of the students participating. 8% of the students participate in dual enrollment classes that allow them to earn college credits while in high school.
James Campbell High School
91-980 N Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Tucked 15 miles from Downtown Honolulu is the largest public high school in Hawaii: James Campell High School. The school hosts roughly 3,075 students in ninth through twelfth grades. It’s named after James Campbell, a Scottish-Irish industrialist that relocated to the New Lands and was one of the largest private landowners in Hawaii.
James Campbell High School sits on a 38-acre campus with 15 major buildings, 44 portable classrooms, and an athletics complex. The school is divided into six academies: business, agriculture, and IB; creative media; health services; Freshman Success, public and human services; and science, technology, engineering, and math. It also runs the naval JROTC program that has earned national recognition for many years.
The school has an 89% high school graduation rate, with 51% proceeding to college. The school offers 21 advanced placement courses in which 20% of the students participate. 3% of the students also enroll in dual credit programs, enabling them to earn college credits.
Kapiʻolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816
Kapi’olani Community College is a small two-year community college that offers undergraduate programs. The school has a total enrollment of 6,100 students and is the third-largest college in the state. The school operates on an open enrollment policy where any student with a high school diploma or GED can enroll.
The school has over 23 Majors, with Liberal Arts and Humanities being the most popular. Health, business, personal and culinary services also attract attention from most applicants.
The school charges roughly $3,144 as tuition fees to Hawaii residents and $8,280 to non-residents. 58% of undergrad students received financial aid, averaging $4,326 per student.
Leeward Community College
87-380 Kulaaupuni St. Wai'anae, HI 96792
Leeward Community College is a small, two-year community college in Pearl City. It is part of the ten campuses of the University of Hawaii system. The school has a total student population of 6,413. The school has an open admission policy, with anyone having a high school diploma or GED certificate able to enroll.
The school accepts AP credits, dual credits, and credits for life experience. The most popular majors at the school are liberal arts and humanities, business, education, and communications technology.
The school’s annual tuition fee for Hawaii residents is $3,144. Out-of-state resident tuition is roughly $8,280 per year. 59% of full-time students receive financial aid, with the average aid package totaling $4,775 per student.
University of Hawaii at Manoa
2500 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI 96822
Established in 1907, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the flagship university for the University of Hawaii system. It is a major teaching and research facility on a 320-acre campus serving over 19,098 students.
The school offers over 200 undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs. The school has an acceptance rate of 70%, with the students admitted having an average 3.67 GPA.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa charges an $11,304 tuition fee to in-state students and $33,336 for out-of-state students. 72% of full-time students receive financial aid, with an average aid package of $8,043 per student.
Finding The Right School
Hawaii offers more than just pristine tropical beaches and picturesque landscapes. The state also runs a robust education system, with numerous top K-12 schools and colleges. It is also home to numerous large schools that serve thousands of Hawaiian kids.
The schools in this list offer unique and varying educational offerings, from traditional curricula to hybrid pedagogies and academy-model systems. The schools can be an excellent pick in your search for the right school in Aloha State.