Serving the Children of East Honolulu Since 1949


What is the timeline for the admission process?
Applications must be submitted by December 1 to be considered in the first round of admission decisions. Decisions by the admission committee will be made by April 15 and parents will be notified by mail in accordance with the common reply dates of the HAIS (Hawaii Association of Independent Schools).  Families are given until May 10 to respond to an offer of admission.  Applications will be considered after December 1 on a space available basis. 

What is the birthday guideline for applying to HNS?
Applicants to all grades should meet the birthday guideline (June 30th for boys, August 31st for girls).

What does the admission committee consider in making their decision?
The admission committee reviews the same criteria for each applicant including teacher reference reports, transcripts/report cards, parent input, and assessments and observations made during the school visit.  The admission committee is comprised of faculty members representing various grade levels, specialist classes, and administration.

How many students are accepted at each grade level?
Every grade level at Holy Nativity is considered an entry point.  The number of students accepted at each grade level is contingent upon the number of current students that return for the following year. Current Holy Nativity families have until mid-March to place their tuition deposit to reserve their child’s space in the next year’s class. We grow our class sizes in the Keiki 3’s class, in pre-kindergarten, and in kindergarten, and therefore we are assured of being able to accept a few new students to these grade levels each year. We typically have a few openings at our other grade levels as well due to students moving on to other schools or relocating. 

Does Holy Nativity have a wait list?
If the admission committee feels that an applicant is qualified for admission yet we do not have a space available for them at that time, we may place the applicant in our qualified wait pool.  Applicants placed in our wait pool are not ranked. The admission committee will refer to this wait pool to fill any openings that may occur between May and August.  When a vacancy becomes available, the admission committee reviews all applicant files in the wait pool.  The committee considers many variables including the dynamic and balance of the class as well as priority for qualified siblings of currently enrolled students, children of alumni, and members of The Church of the Holy Nativity.

Can we re-apply next year if our child is not offered admission this year?
There are often more qualified applicants than available spaces at most of our grade levels. We therefore recommend that families who we are unable to offer admission to in a given year consider re-applying in the future.  A number of factors including a child’s readiness for our program, a large applicant pool, and space availability all may change from year to year.

How do we receive information regarding financial aid?
All families are welcomed to apply for financial aid.  To be eligible for consideration for financial aid at Holy Nativity School, you must complete your application by March 1.  Please visit our website at and click on the Admission page where you will find a link to the financial aid application. We use School and Student Services (SSS) to process financial aid applications.  SSS is a service of the National Association of Independent Schools. Please note that neither a family’s request for financial aid information nor a family’s financial status is considered as part of the admission criteria.

What are the highlights of the HNS program?
At Holy Nativity School, our well-trained teachers provide individual care and guidance each day to our students. We provide our students with an integrated, research-based curriculum which is developmentally appropriate and aligned with national standards. Small group and individualized instruction in a nurturing environment contribute to the quality of our program.

In addition to classroom teachers who provide a solid foundation in the core subject areas, students also attend Music, Art, Religion, Computer Technology, and Physical Education classes weekly with our specialist teachers. Teachers work collaboratively, insuring a seamless transition between grades, maximizing the cumulative effect of instruction. A commitment to professional development by the administration and faculty keeps Holy Nativity School’s teaching practice grounded in the best research available. The strong academic program is balanced by the profound respect for, and thoughtful education of, the individual’s role in creating compassionate communities, global and local.

Standards are designed to provide a school with the means to make sure that its curriculum is cumulative (builds on itself), sequential, systematic and internally consistent. Since their purpose is institutional, standards are not helpful in charting an individual child’s educational progress. Most benchmarks, for example, cover several grades at once, acknowledging that children progress at differing rates, and focus on process (that is, “problem solving”) rather than discrete skills alone (memorization of addition facts to 12+12).

Our full WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)accreditation, assures that our program has been found to meet or exceed the appropriate standards level.

Discussion of an individual child’s progress has to take an integrated view. This is why schools offer conferences and progress reports. Holy Nativity School also offers weekly newsletters, class newsletters, and an articulate and caring faculty and staff.

Review our “Expected School-wide Learning Results.

What makes an independent school worth the trouble of applying and—yes—paying the expense to enroll your children?
excerpts from The Independent School Advantage by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

  1. High academic standards. Independent schools nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, and encourage critical thinking. A larger percentage of students at independent schools are enrolled in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools.
  2. Small classes and individual attention. Independent schools have low student-teacher ratios that encourage close connections with students. The median ratio in NAIS schools in 2008-2009 was 8.6 students to 1 teacher (meaning that half have a higher ratio and half have a lower ratio).
  3. Excellent teachers. They usually teach in their areas of expertise and are passionate about what they do. With more autonomy within the classroom, teachers are able to develop a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually.
  4. Greater likelihood of a student completing a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.
  5. Education for the whole child. Independent schools nurture not just students’ intellectual ability and curiosity but also their personal and social growth and civic conscience. Opportunities extend well beyond the classroom to athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and school leadership experiences.
  6. Inclusiveness. Schools maintain diverse and vibrant student communities and welcome and respect each family.
  7. A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals for the student.
  8. The opportunity to choose a school with a mission. You can select a school whose philosophy, values, and teaching approach is right for your child.
  9. And most important: An education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.