The Punahou Journey

Instilling in students a true passion for learning throughout a lifetime is the ultimate goal of a Punahou education.

A Punahou education celebrates diversity and inspires excellence all while recognizing the individuality of each child. Students move through their path from kindergarten through grade 12 in developmentally appropriate ways with care from teachers and staff that help make a large school feel smaller. Students are supported in self-discovery and develop character traits and habits of mind that prepare them to make a difference in the world.

Junior School

Punahou’s Junior School, encompassing kindergarten through eighth grade, is comprised of three varied learning environments: Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood, Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5, and Case Middle School, for students in grades 6 – 8. The Junior School Principal, two Assistant Principals, six Administrative Deans and Junior School faculty support approximately 2,000 students in their journey through the Junior School, building confidence and independence along the way.


The Principal, Assistant Principals and two Deans per grade level oversee Academy students. Each dean pair moves with their class of more than 425 students through the four years in the Academy. Classroom size averages 18 – 22 students, with some smaller seminars and labs, and larger lectures. 

Academy students have increasing levels of choice during the four high school years. They select courses from an extensive catalog, personalizing the mix of classes in a modular schedule.

With the student at the center of the Academy curriculum, the goal is to provide students an environment and variety of experiences that will enable them to develop the skills and attitudes necessary for success as lifelong, independent learners prepared to contribute to their community and make a difference.

College preparatory graduation requirements include credits in English, language, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, and visual and performing arts. Each year, 99% of graduates go on to college.

List of 5 items.

  • Personalized Learning

    A student-centered classroom puts students in charge of their own learning, letting their natural curiosity, wonder and imagination lead them. Along the way, students come to understand how they learn best and gain an internal motivation and passion about their own learning. As a result, learning becomes more meaningful and students remember what they’ve learned into the future.

    A competency-based learning approach is one way Punahou has emphasized personalized learning. With different options for assessing students on what they’ve learned, competency-based learning supports the unique learning path of every individual student.
  • Core Curriculum

    The educational program sets standards that are rigorous, challenging and age appropriate. As students move through grade levels guided by highly qualified faculty, multiple paths in core subjects ensure that students are intellectually stimulated and moving at a pace that’s appropriate for them.
  • Integrated Curriculum

    Learning across disciplines is valued at Punahou because it encourages the type of thinking needed for real-life problem-solving. Throughout the K – 8 experience, the single classroom and team structures allow for collaboration on cross-disciplinary projects, while the Academy, organized by departments, offers multiple approaches to learning through combined courses and class projects.
  • Inquiry-based Learning

    Through inquiry-based learning, students engage with real-world problems in a meaningful way by posing questions, testing assumptions, and drawing conclusions about the world around them. Teachers design these experiences to provide structure for progress and growth as students develop skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship.
  • Modular Schedule

    Punahou’s modular schedule runs on a six-day cycle from A – F. Each cycle day rotates so that it lands on a different day of the week. It’s a unique schedule that has been in place since the spring of 1970.

    In the Junior School, curricular sections and special classes (music, art, chapel, etc.) typically follow a pattern based on these cycle days.

    For Academy students, this customized schedule offers the opportunity to develop personal responsibility, make use of time between classes and activities, and pursue interests from a selection of core academic classes and a variety of electives.

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