Award Year: 2013

Waikiki Elementary School

3710 Leahi Avenue
Honolulu, HI, 96815-4429

(808) 971-6900

Bonnie Tabor, Principal at time of Nomination


School Website


Waikiki School, a "mindful" learning community where compassion, academic excellence and harmony of heart and mind are nurtured within a collaborative community of lifelong learners.

Student Demographics
  • White: 12%
  • Hispanic: 7%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 11%
  • Asian: 43%
  • Two or more races: 27%
  • ELL: 22%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

Waikiki School has a unique curriculum, coupling common core standards, inquiry based instruction and the integration of Dr. Art Costa’s "Habits of Mind". Dr. Costa’s model emphasizes the explicit teaching of specific behaviors, including creativity, persistence, flexibility, and listening with empathy. The infusion of “Habits of Mind” coupled with the Philosophy for Children (P4C) model of inquiry, largely defines the school’s unique approach to nurturing both “heart and mind”. Through this approach, in addition to the tests they take at school, students are prepared to perform well on the tests of life.

Focus on the whole child is key to the school’s success. Classes in physical education, art, farming, sustainability, music, creative movement, and Hawaiian are provided weekly. Band and orchestra programs involve over 100 students. Grants provide residencies for community artists and environmental specialists. The school’s farm and orchard provide the arena for extensive project based learning. Organic foods and snacks are readily available for harvest. Worm bins, aquaponics, composting, alternative energy, and microbiology projects abound. University of Hawaii partnerships provide philosophy lessons and student teachers. An after school academy provides community taught classes in gymnastics, dance, rocketry, foreign language, skate boarding and more. International college partnerships provide student teachers from Japan, Australia, Korea. Adult education classes provide instruction for ELL parents. Lunch clubs in photography, marketing, entrepreneurship, painting are available. Community volunteers provide extra love and support as "lunch pals". Community connections routinely extend learning beyond classroom walls.

This abundance of opportunity engages even the most reluctant learners in the joyful process of learning, contributing greatly to the school’s consistent success.