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8 Schools in Mānoa Valley (According to a Mānoan)

In terms of education and academic excellence, Mānoa is the gold standard. I know it first hand, as a product of Mānoa’s public education system. Not only does Mānoa boast top notch private schools, the public schools are rated as some of the top in the state.

By REAL. Updated Aug 04, 2022 | Neighborhoods, Living in Hawai‘i | 9 min. read
  1. Public SchoolsJump
  2. Private SchoolsJump
  3. Charter SchoolsJump

Before you find a realtor to help you find the home you’ve been dreaming about, the one with the dreamy kitchen and upgraded countertops, there’s one important thing you need to find out first. What schools will your children attend? For a family with kids, choosing a school in Mānoa may come before buying a home in Mānoa.

Whether your kids are just starting out in kindergarten or they are already off to high school, make no mistake, Mānoa Valley has got it going on. Let me walk you through some of the public and private school options Mānoa has to offer, and if those don’t satisfy you, I have a quick list of other options.

Public Schools

Mānoa Elementary

Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade
3155 Mānoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 988-1868

“We will rise to the test, and be our very best. Tigers you know are very strong, Yes we are. We will stand for truth, we are Mānoa’s youth. We’re Mānoa School Tigers you see. We’re Mānoa School Tigers, you and me!” I’ve got to say, there is something to be said for these really catchy school songs and alma maters. Repetition is key, that’s the only thing I can think of for me to still remember this snippet of my elementary school song at 32 or maybe the fact that I recently moved back to Mānoa and drive past the school every day.

Mānoa School was established as one of the first English-speaking schools in Hawai’i and was a gathering of children of immigrant families working fields that were plentiful in the valley at the time. My grandmother taught there a long time ago, way before I was born. As for the quality of teachers now, I can personally vouch for at least four of them. One of which is my sixth grade teacher, my favorite teacher, and the reason I didn't give up on school. This school is also the place that helped foster my love of writing, though I didn’t know at the time what GT was or why I was in it, I just liked the fact that I got to write and eat snacks after school.

Mānoa ranks pretty high in terms of Hawai’i elementary schools and #1 in my heart. There are a total of 536 students enrolled with a 16:1 student-teacher ratio. Mānoa School believes that everyone can learn; each person is a valued individual with physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs; learning is a lifelong process; and family and community involvement are vital to the success of students and the school. They also have an amazing friendship exchange program with Otemon Gakuin in Osaka, Japan. Recently, four Mānoa Robotics teams made it to the Robotics Worlds in Dallas, Texas where all four teams made their division finals by making it to the top 20. Each team won awards in their divisions.

Noelani Elementary

Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade
2655 Woodlawn Dr Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 988-1858

Photo credit: Noelani Elementary School

Home of the Green Geckos, Noelani Elementary is nestled close to the East side of the valley, behind Mānoa Marketplace and right across the street from Mānoa Public Library. Ranked #2 for Hawai’i elementary schools, the total enrollment is 428 students with a 19:1 student-teacher ratio. Amazingly, 84% of the students scored at or above proficient level for math and 85% scored at or above proficient level for reading.

At the very heart of Noelani School is their commitment to equity and academic excellence, meaningful learning, caring relationships and connections to the larger community. They encourage individuals to think independently and creatively, challenge their thinking, embrace curiosity, and ho’omau (persevere).

In my opinion, Noelani also throws one of THE best elementary school craft fairs, with nostalgic KC waffle dogs and more. One of the best qualities of both this elementary school and the previous one on this list is the great community involvement. The inhabitants of Mānoa Valley are always willing to give back and be a part of their community and schools, helping the next generation to learn and grow.

Robert Louis Steven on Middle School

6th to 8th grade
1202 Prospect St, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 307-3300

Although a part of the Mānoa zipcode, Stevenson Middle School is located just outside of the valley and located near the Makiki neighborhood, about a seven minute drive with no traffic from Mānoa Marketplace. I personally attended this school for 8th grade and this was the second school that I had a teacher believe in me and my writing so much, they entered me into a writing competition where I was published in a book. Stevenson Middle School has a student teacher ratio of 16:1, has over 21 clubs and activities, and has a 96% annual attendance rate. This school is also in its 3rd year of its 6 year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC). They also have a free after school program for its students. Their total enrollment is 643 students.

This school has also had some recent upgrades to its buildings and it’s looking better than ever. They are also known for their stellar band program. The band teacher my friend’s kid had a couple years ago was the same one I had, and the teacher had the same temperament–he was good, but intimidating. Admittedly, I did lie about doing my clarinet practice back then–but boy did he make us into great musicians!

Theodore Roosevelt High School

9th to 12th grade
1120 Nehoa St, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 307-0500

‘Tis with hearts full of pride dear alma mater! … Oh, sorry. I guess even though it’s been over 10 years since I graduated, I still know my alma mater by heart. Roosevelt is also just outside Mānoa Valley more in the Makiki neighborhood than Stevenson, although it is a part of the Mānoa zip code, and is again about a seven minute drive from Mānoa Marketplace–the high school and middle school are down the street from each other.

Roosevelt has only gotten better with age. They had just finished building the new artificial turf and synthetic track right before I graduated in 2008. More recently, they have a renovated auditorium and are slated for gym upgrades soon. Academically, they are ranked by the US News and World Report as the #1 high school in Hawai’i for 2022, and were ranked #1 previously in 2019 and 2017. The student-teacher ratio is 18:1 and they boast Division 1 athletics. They have a total enrollment of 1,448 students. Notable alumni include Olympic medalist Clarissa Chun and singing phenomenon, Bruno Mars.

Besides academics, this school is really a great place to make connections and meet people who help you grow up to be better than you thought you could be, teachers and students alike. My core group of friends I hang out with ‘til this day are people I met at this school and it isn’t uncommon to talk story with former classmates as we randomly cross paths.

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

2500 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8111

Though your child may not yet be college age, the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa is on this list as it is a STAPLE of Mānoa Valley and is a wonderful option for the future. Many students live in and around the campus and its location separates the valley from town on the East side. When classes are not in session, it is a beautiful area to walk through with some hidden gardens and streams behind the Center for Korean Studies building.

Campus center courtyard. Photo credit: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Established in 1907, the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa is the largest and oldest of the 10 UH campuses. The Mānoa campus is known for its robust research programs that are of international standing and its nationally ranked NCAA Division I athletics. This campus is also widely recognized for its strengths in tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, oceanography, astronomy, electrical engineering, volcanology, and Hawaiian studies.

Private Schools

Punahou

Kindergarten to 12th grade
1601 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 944-5711

Lauded as one of, if not the best private school on the island of O’ahu, Punahou is located just beyond the valley's mountainsides and towards town, just down the street from Roosevelt High School. Punahou has been educating students for nearly 180 years and is one of the country’s largest independent schools with 3,731 students. Their mission is to develop moral and spiritual values, intellectual, academic, and physical potential, creativity and appreciation of the arts, social responsibility, as well as develop appreciation for cultural diversity. The student-teacher ratio is 13:1. Yearly tuition is currently $28,960 for all grades and financial aid is available.

Punahou has an extensive list of notable alumni including former president Barack Obama, AOL founder Steve Case, famous golfer Michelle Wie, and gold medal olympian Carissa Moore.

Mid-Pacific

Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade
2445 Kaala St, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 973-5000

Named one of the best private schools in the Honolulu Area by Niche, Mid-Pacific (Mid-Pac for short) is located along the same vein as Mānoa Marketplace and Noelani Elementary, nestled in the East arm of the valley. Founded in 1908, Mid-Pac is innovation focused and Arts driven. They engage students with learning that encourages them to inquire, explore, imagine, and create. Their mission is to nurture and challenge students to develop intellectual, emotional, artistic, spiritual and physical strengths to become compassionate and responsible lifelong learners and global citizens. Mid-Pac’s student-teacher ratio is 9:1. Tuition is currently $27,511 per year for all grades and financial aid is available.

Notable Alumni include actress Keiko Agena, actor Daniel Bess, Japanese singer and actress Ayaka Kimura, film director and screenwriter Rob Letterman, and Major League baseball player, Isiah Kiner-Falefa (NYY)

Maryknoll

Kindergarten to 12th grade
1402 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 952-8400

Ranked on Niche as one of the best Catholic schools in Hawai’i, Maryknoll is located at the edge of Mānoa headed into town, down the street from Punahou and right before the freeway on-ramp. This school is Hawai’i's largest, co-ed K-12 Catholic school and has about 1,000 students. The student-teacher ratio is 14:1. They believe in fostering the development of the whole child in a nurturing and welcoming community through the fabric of innovation and strive to develop the whole child holistically, creating well-rounded students who excel academically and in athletics, the arts, foreign languages and social responsibility. They have Hawai’i’s only school-day Chinese Immersion program. The pre-kindergarten tuition is $16,000 and kindergarten to 12th grade tuition is $19,900 and financial aid is available.

Maryknoll Community Center and Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium. Photo credit: Maryknoll School

I wish you and your children the best in your next steps as a part of the Mānoa community and hope you enjoy living here as much as I have and embody all that this valley and its community have to offer! If these top 8 schools still haven’t really caught your attention, here are some other options to look into.

Other private school options:

Hanahau’oli School

Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade
1922 Makiki Street, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 949-6461
Tuition: $24,840

Montessori Community School

Preschool to 6th grade
1239 Nehoa Street Honolulu, HI 96822-3071
(808) 522-0244
Tuition:
Preschool and Kindergarten: $12,495
Elementary (1st to 6th grade): $15,895

Mo’o School (Montessori)

Co-houses Primary and Elementary students
Tuition:
Half-Day Primary (8:00am-12:30pm)
Ages 3 and 4: $12,260
Full-Day Primary (8:00am-3:00pm)
Ages 3 to 6: $14,392
Elementary (8:30am-3:30pm)
Ages 6-12: $12,526

Charter School Options:

Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter Schools

4th to 12th grade
2101 Makiki Heights Dr #2520, Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 945-1600

Voyager Public Charter School

Kindergarten to 8th grade
2428 Wilder Avenue Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 521-9770

University Laboratory School

Kindergarten to 12th grade
1776 University Avenue - UHS Building 3, Room 121 Honolulu, HI 96822-2463
(808) 956-7833

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