Award Year: 2020

Waikiki Elementary School

3710 Leahi Avenue
Honolulu, HI, 96815-4429

(808) 971-6900

Ms. Bonnie Lee Tabor, Principal at time of Nomination

Hawaii Department of Education Honolulu District

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Waikiki School, a vibrant learning environment that strives to create mindful, ethical decision-makers committed to making the world a more 'thought-full' place.

Student Demographics
  • White: 18%
  • Hispanic: 11%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 4%
  • Asian: 35%
  • Two or more races: 32%
Waikiki's organic farm transforms students into stewards of planet earth.

Waikiki's organic farm transforms students into stewards of planet earth.

At a retreat in early 1990, grassroots pioneers translated their dreams for an ideal school into their design for Waikiki Elementary. Envisioning a "mindful" school with a focus on nurturing the harmony of heart and mind, pioneers laid down the blueprint that has sustained the school ever since. Over the decades, Habits of Mind have provided the foundation to bring this early vision to life. Through their practice, we prepare students to do as well on the tests of life as they do on the tests they take at school. Philosophy for Children provides the school's second foundational pillar. This model teaches students "how" to think not "what" to think. Students learn to question assumptions, listen with empathy, respect diversity, think collaboratively, and have a voice in decision-making.

Our sustained commitment to these ideals over the decades has resulted in high academic performance and students who graduate with a strong sense of character and civic responsibility. A deep commitment to developing the whole child is another key to our success. A broad range of arts, science, and instructional approaches are woven into our integrated curriculum. A comprehensive sustainability program and the school's organic farm and orchard provide an unlimited arena for student driven exploration and experimentation. As one student summed it up, "A lot of schools do textbooks. We get to do things, like building solar powered trains, electric cars, and growing vegetables to feed the hungry."