Life at Punahou

Student Services

Academic, Learning and Social Emotional Support

In all divisions of the School there are deans, counselors and learning support specialists who comprise teams to provide student support in the areas of academic counseling, social-emotional counseling and learning support. We recognize that students have diverse needs and are impacted by a variety of factors. When students struggle, early intervention is key to effectively addressing learning and social, emotional or behavioral needs. If you have questions about your child’s needs, please contact your child’s administrative dean, in the Junior School, or dean, in the Academy.

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  • Junior School

    The mission of the K – 8 Student Support Department is to inspire and support students’ academic, social and emotional development through a safe, equitable and accessible environment. While the educational journey varies, the Department believes all students can achieve. The Student Support Department includes learning support specialists and counselors.

    To activate support, a team is formed, usually comprised of a student’s teachers, Dean and appropriate specialist(s). The team collaborates with other students, families, Punahou faculty and staff, and community providers as needed to realize those supports and fulfill the Aims of a Punahou Education.

    Learning Support

    All student supports are centered around helping students increase access to the high quality educational programming at Punahou. Learning support specialists collaborate within the Student Support Team to coordinate appropriate support structures at school.


    Counselors collaborate and consult with administration, school staff, teachers, psychologists and families to provide general guidance and faculty support to help students be successful at school. Counselors develop programs and activities that help integrate students into the school system and prepare them for life outside of school. Counselors encourage, intervene and advocate for students experiencing personal, academic and developmental difficulties. Support services include: counseling (individual and group), consultation, crisis intervention, social and emotional education, and in-class support. Counselors do not provide psychological treatment or ongoing therapy. If a child’s needs exceed school-based counseling support, referrals to community mental health providers are offered.

    With regard to confidentiality, School practices align with the American School Counselor Association Code of Ethics (A.2.e and f) as described below:

    • A.2.e – Counselors keep information confidential unless legal requirements demand that confidential information be revealed or a breach is required to prevent serious and foreseeable harm to the student. Serious and foreseeable harm is different for each minor in schools and is determined by students’ developmental and chronological age, the setting, parental rights and the nature of the harm. School counselors consult with appropriate professionals when in doubt as to the validity of an exception.
    • A.2.f – Counselors recognize their primary ethical obligation for confidentiality is to the students but balance that obligation with an understanding of parents’/guardians’ legal and inherent rights to be the guiding voice in their children’s lives. School counselors understand the need to balance students’ ethical rights to make choices, their capacity to give consent or assent, and parental or familial legal rights and responsibilities to make decisions on their child’s behalf.

    Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning

    Students’ social, emotional and ethical learning (SEEL) is supported throughout the school day in various ways. SEEL guides curriculum choices and classroom instruction, and is often integrated in core subjects, as well as middle-school advisory activities. Counselors contribute by supporting teachers and providing targeted classroom lessons focused on specific affective skills.
  • Academy

    Academy class deans partner to guide a class from the first day of high school through commencement. Deans and the student’s advisory teacher provide both personal and academic counseling. In February, the coming year’s program of studies is arranged during a conference between a student and his/her dean. Families should thoroughly discuss student course selections before the programming conference.

    Teachers are available for additional help in class and in office hours outside of class. The Academy has an open door policy; most teacher offices have no doors and students are encouraged to meet with their teachers whenever they feel the need. Additional teacher help is available in areas such as the Peer Learning Center, the Science Center Open Lab and study halls.

    Because high school can, at times, be challenging, programs are in place to help students develop the resiliency skills necessary for success. Students are supported in their learning journey by a number of caring adults, including their class deans, advisory teachers, counselors and faculty in the S+Well Department. The department is comprised of teachers, counselors and licensed psychologists equipped to support student needs. The department also offers a variety of courses designed to build resiliency skills, emotional regulation, mindfulness and healthy choices. The counselors may assess and refer students needing more extensive assistance to appropriate community resources.

    Students can arrange conferences with teachers, chaplains, administrative deans, counselors, deans, principals and the president. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these resources. Additional support services may be set up for students on an individual basis. These include, but are not limited to, study hall, an invitation to participate in the Learning Strategies course, or one-to-one mentorships with selected teachers.
  • Learning Differences

    Parents of students with diagnosed and documented learning differences should inform their child’s deans or administrative deans of the situation and provide a copy of the diagnosis as well as any IEP, 504 plan or other official accommodations plan previously used. This information is key to engaging the supports we provide our students. School-based recommendations from providers are reviewed and shared with teachers.

    In the Academy, a frequently required accommodation is extended time in testing situations. If a student is eligible for extended time, s/he must make arrangements with his/her teacher at least three days in advance of the testing date. Deans and administrative deans can assist in planning time in the student’s schedule to accommodate this need. Due to the rules surrounding national standardized tests, a student who wishes extended time testing for SAT, AP, ACT and similar tests must have a formal, recent (within three years of standardized testing) diagnosis on file with the school as well as a documented history of using extended time in school situations. The School SSD Coordinator will assist students and families in completing necessary paperwork to receive extended time for national standardized tests.
  • Tutors and Tutorial Services

    Punahou School makes every effort to provide classroom instruction and other academic support to help each student thrive. Our philosophy of care is to work with students, their parents, teachers and learning support specialists to determine the specific academic support needed. Families considering tutoring or additional educational services are encouraged to consult with teachers and the student’s dean.

    K – Grade 8

    Teachers make efforts to provide extra help for students as needed before and/or after school. Additionally, time can be scheduled during study hall for middle school students who need extra help.

    Some students may require tutoring as an element of student support. When a specific learning need has been identified through the learning support process, families may choose to engage a paid tutor. Students in K – grade 8 may attend tutoring sessions after school. In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary for a tutor to meet with a student on campus. It is only in these instances that on-campus tutoring will be approved. No tutoring is approved during lunch or other classes.

    Grades 9 – 12

    While not strictly considered tutoring, teachers are available to provide extra help to students during their unscheduled time, and often before and after school. Students should assume responsibility for arranging conferences with their teachers. In addition, Academy students in need of frequent or in-depth tutoring may seek help from the National Honor Society in the form of peer tutoring or seek other peer assistance in the Learning Commons.

    In certain situations, however, a paid tutor may be appropriate. Parents are invited to confer with their child’s grade level deans for recommendations and help in securing private tutorial assistance for their children.

    Note: Teachers may not tutor students who are enrolled in their classes for remuneration and may not tutor (for remuneration) during school hours (7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
  • College Counseling

    Punahou seeks to provide both students and parents with the best information on college choices and admission requirements to aid in the application process.

    All Juniors attend College Guidance during the first semester. Our intent is to make the student as knowledgeable about post-secondary educational opportunities as possible.

    An extensive exploratory college conference is scheduled during the second semester for each junior. While a comprehensive report is sent home to parents following the conference, we encourage parents to attend the individual college conferences. Early in the senior year, a follow-up conference may be held to expedite college planning and application procedures.

    Punahou college counselors maintain a collegial relationship with the administrative and admission officers of local and mainland colleges and universities. Academy deans and college counselors frequently visit colleges which have major appeal for Punahou students to maintain a close working association and improve communication about our applicants. These visits often include talks with alumni who are enrolled in college about their college choices, courses and activities.


    College and Career Resource Center
    Alexander Hall

Campus Safety

Punahou’s 76-acre campus is a welcoming place for students and supports learning, sports, co-curricular activities as well as play and socializing. The campus also hosts families and community members attending the diverse activities and events on campus. The safety of students on campus is a high priority for the School.

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  • Staff and Resources

    Punahou employs a team of security guards who are a familiar and reassuring presence on campus. In addition to covering the campus and facilities, they assist visitors and direct traffic flow during peak times. The School also hires sheriffs as an added security measure.

    A system of security cameras are installed across campus, located at campus entrances in addition to other strategic points, such as common gathering areas. None are located inside buildings. These cameras support ongoing safety planning and assist Security when an incident occurs.

    On a large and open campus, each member of the campus community is encouraged to take campus safety seriously and support safety efforts. This includes driving safely and with aloha for others, respecting security and staff instructions while on campus, taking care of others on campus and being alert to unusual or potentially dangerous situations.

    Campus Security can be reached by calling 944.5777.
  • Health and Campus Safety

    To protect the safety and welfare of students and school personnel, Punahou School has the right to perform unannounced random and complete searches of person and property, and to seize any illegal substance, contraband or object that presents a threat to the health, safety and welfare of students or others. The Administration and authorized staff members may: perform a search of student’s pockets, purse, backpack, gym bag or other personal property; search student lockers, desks or other school property; or search student automobiles when on campus.

    No student may possess any illegal substance, object, contraband or stolen property that constitutes a threat to the health, safety or welfare of any person or persons on school property as determined by school administration. Contraband is defined as all substances or materials prohibited by school policy or state or federal law, including but not limited to controlled substances, drugs, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, guns, knives, weapons or incendiary devices. Any items that are contraband or are deemed to be disruptive or a general nuisance to the educational process may be seized by staff. Items shall be seized at the discretion of the Administration and subject to legal impoundment.

    Students in possession of the items described above or who do not cooperate with an authorized search may be subject to discipline as determined by school administration.
  • Emergency Procedures

    Punahou School’s Emergency Plan focuses on the safety and security of the children in our care. It addresses the challenges of a spacious and accessible campus, and takes advantage of its numerous resources: a faculty and staff dedicated to caring for children, a mobile staff with appropriate equipment to respond rapidly, and facilities and supplies which can accommodate and support children and adults during a variety of emergency situations.

    The Emergency Plan is in place to guide response in a variety of possible situations which have the potential of putting students at risk and/or disrupting school operations. A Crisis Response Team guides actions taken during an emergency based on standard multi-level warning systems pre-determined and communicated on campus. Teachers will have immediate responsibility for the students in their charge.

    Emergency information will be available on the public website,, which will be updated as information is known. Information may also be relayed via radio and/or TV broadcasts (when appropriate), and messages on the School’s telephone system. 

    Parents will be advised of the status of an emergency situation via an Internet-based communication tool, ConnectED, which enables the school to individually contact parents. It can send personalized telephone and/or email messages, essentially reaching all families within minutes. During the school year, Punahou will plan to use the system from time to time for non-urgent matters to ensure that telephone numbers are up-to-date and that the entire school community is familiar with its use.

    Parent support during an emergency will greatly assist school efforts. Parents should not immediately come to school until asked to do so. School staff will be focused on caring for students and access to campus may be restricted. The use of cell phones by students during an emergency may also be curtailed to ensure that students are attentive and that service for emergency personnel is not hindered. In the event parents are called to pick up their children from school, several helpful guidelines should apply:

    • In the case of multiple siblings or carpool situations, agree with children that pickup will be at the youngest child’s designated pickup area.
    • Unless an emergency precludes it, Dole Hall will serve as a center for students if they are unable to leave or have not been picked up.
    • Punahou’s Emergency Plan is under ongoing review and will be updated as changes in technology, facilities or capabilities may warrant it.


A program is carefully followed in an effort to improve each student’s physical and psychological health, to prevent disease or to control its spread, to maintain satisfactory community hygiene and safety, and to administer first aid for injuries that may occur during the school day.

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Food Services

Punahou’s food services encompass the logistics of feeding over 3,600 students and 600 faculty and staff daily with a choice of offerings in the dining rooms and snack bar. The school continues its commitment to providing healthy food options with emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat, high-protein meats, and locally grown meats and produce. There is a minimal amount of processed foods served, no artificial trans fats, no high fructose corn syrups and no deep-fat fried foods. The cafeteria also puts an emphasis on sustainable choices in its operation.

A menu is published monthly, sent to Junior School homerooms, posted in the Academy and is available at with links published each month in the Source, the parent e-newsletter. The menu is subject to change.

Students are expected to respect their cafeteria by using courtesy and common sense in behavior, especially related to quantities of food selected, and to appropriately clean up lunch and snack materials. This is an expectation of all Punahou students.

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