After working for the Department of Education here in Hawaii for the last 8-9 years, I saw first hand the many problems that our public schools are going through.
Many parents choose private schools here in Hawaii for this exact reason. Public schools aren’t doing so good.
I’m very lucky that although I’m haole, I married a local lady and she has Hawaiian in her. Therefore my son of course has Hawaiian which makes him eligible to apply for Kamehameha Schools.
Yesterday was his “Testing Day”. I know parents are more nervous about this day then the kids are, because they don’t realize what a big decision this one little test will make upon the rest of their lives.
They don’t tell you much about the test in advance, and they tell you to just tell your kids that you are bringing them into meet with some teachers to “play some games”.
Some 220 plus kids are all competing for 40 openings on the Big Island campus. (2 – 2o student classes). They say the statistics on the Big Island and Maui campus are that 1 out of every 6 children that apply, make it into the school. The competition is even more fierce on Oahu where only 1 in 14 kids get accepted.
We arrived at the campus and I didn’t really know what to expect. It turns out that they test 3 children at a time one on one with one teacher per child in a small room just inside the Admissions office. (This is just on the Big Island, I don’t know about the other islands).
The test is about 1 hour long and while the parents wait in the lobby of the admissions office. During this hour, parents are presented with a 10-15 minute video of the overall functions of the school and the history of the school. After the video, one of the people from admissions then talks about the process of getting into the school, tuition, financial aid, general information about further testing and any other questions that might be asked by the parents.
The school itself is very new. I forgot to ask, but I believe it’s less then 3-4 years old at this point. It’s a beautiful campus located off the Highway just past Keaau. I forgot to bring my camera with me, otherwise I would have taken some pictures.
After the testing, I asked my son what went on and he told me what he remembered of the test. I won’t say anything that went on, because the school really wants to keep the testing a very strict and fair thing for all kids going into it. They do say that there is really nothing that a parent can do to prepare their kids for this test, however, having pre-school experience will definitely help them.
They will be returning letters to all applicants in February stating whether your child has made it through this part of testing and to come back for a “Classroom Setting” type of testing where the kids will be monitored to see how they behave and interact with other children… or that the admission process is closed and that your child has not been accepted.
Once your child gets into kindergarten, they are accepted all the way through 12th grade. However, if they aren’t accepted, they can’t apply again until 6th grade. If they don’t get in then, they can’t apply until 9th grade.
Kamehameha Schools is truly one of the wealthiest school in the NATION! The kids are all expected to at least apply to get into college upon graduation. There is also a lot of cultural field trips and events that happen that don’t happen at other schools.
I will feel fortunate if my son get’s accepted. If he does… I sure hope he can get financial aid. Found out the bus transportation alone is going to be $900 bucks a year. For the longest time, I thought all the kids got a free education, but that is just not the case. You have to make the financial needs criteria. Unfortunately, they will be using last years taxes, of course when I was working as a criteria. I wish that things like this weren’t based on previous years incomes as obviously last year, I made a hell of a lot more money then I am now.
Even so, if we don’t get financial aid… it’s still cheaper then the pre-school we currently have him enrolled in. Thank goodness we got a Pauhi Scholarship for it now.
Filed under: Education, Kids | Tagged: Education, Kids | 3 Comments »