Island School seeks students who want to learn, have an independent spirit, get along with others and enjoy new experiences. Island School values diversity and has a generous financial aid program to ensure a diverse student population.
Applications are accepted year round with invitations being offered as long as space is available. Inquiries and visits to the campus are welcome.
Island School's mission is to prepare our students to live productive, fulfilling lives as confident, responsible life-long learners and contributing members of society; to express fully the talents of our faculty and administration through a challenging curriculum that prepares students for successful higher education; to provide a safe, nurturing environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, initiative and respect for self and others.
The school year is organized by trimesters instead of semesters. This means that there are three major divisions of the 181 instructional days. Trimesters are shorter, more compact,than semesters. In addition, they fit a school year better than semesters. For example, the Winter Break falls in the middle of a trimester rather than just before the end of a semester.
Two days at the beginning of the school year are used to assess the achievement level of each student in language arts and mathematics. This information is used to determine class assignments for these subjects. As indicated in the pages that follow, Island School's educational program addresses all aspects of a student's potential – academics, the arts, and sports and games. In addition, the importance of civic responsibility is given attention, as the future of our democratic society is dependent upon an informed and involved citizenry. Practicing community responsibility is an essential aspect of an Island School education.
Island School’s academic program includes learning through music, art, self-understanding and social interactions, in physical strength and coordination (as in athletics), and in making discoveries (as in science). Island School divides its school year into three trimesters. In High School there are a variety of classes to choose from. For example, math classes range from Algebra through Calculus 2.
In 1975, seven women decided that Kauai needed a top quality, independent school as an alternative to the public system; thereupon, Island School was born, January 27th, 1977. It started with 12 students in grades kindergarten through eight and grew to 22 students by May.
The next year grade nine was added pursuant to establishing a high school. Grades ten, eleven, and twelve were added in the following three years. By then the total enrollment had risen to 68. Eight students were graduated during the three-year period, 1981 to 1983; however, the time was not right for a high school, and it was discontinued in the fall of 1983. From then until 1996, grades kindergarten through eight comprised Island School's offerings, with the number of students increasing yearly.
Kealia to Puhi
The first 14 years the campus was located at Kealia, the east side of the island. In 1989 the Board of Directors entered into discussions with American Factors, Inc., (AMFAC) about obtaining land for a new campus. The company agreed to donate 10 acres in Puhi, behind Kauai Community College, the present location of Island School. Construction of the current pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms took place the following year. Also, Hawaiian Dredging donated two large buildings. These were reconfigured into the current Administration Building and Main Hall. Then three portable classrooms were transported from Kealia. The new campus opened in September, 1991. The enrollment was 123 students.
September 11th, 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit. The three portables brought from Kealia were demolished, and the roofs of other buildings were either entirely gone or severely damaged. Eleven days after the hurricane, Island School reopened. Grades kindergarten through three remained at Puhi; grades four through eight used facilities at Kahili. By early December repairs were far enough along to permit students at Kahili to return to Puhi. In March, through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the unit now known as Brown Hall had been moved to its present location (where the portables had stood) and officially opened. A the same time, construction of three new classrooms for grades six through eight was underway. By the fall of 1993 all was again in order, with old facilities repaired and new facilities finished.
High School Reborn
Then came a capital campaign and a substantial gift from the Weinberg Foundation. The Weinberg Enrichment Center was constructed in 1995-96. This same year, the Board of Directors voted to restart the high school. The ninth grade was added in 1996-97 and tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades respectively each year after that. In 1998, Purdy Hall was constructed. Also, the Board of Directors again entered into discussions with AMFAC, this time about land immediately adjacent to the campus. This led to the purchase of twenty additional acres in the spring of 2000; half of this acreage has become soccer fields and a grass track. Island School began graduating students again in 2000.