FAQ

These are some of the key questions the Department gets asked on a regular basis. Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Please contact the Communications and Community Affairs Office


Student/Parent Questions


What do all those acronyms mean?

Have a look at our list of acronyms. Something missing? Please email the Communications office.

What are the graduation requirements for Hawaii public schools?

Twenty-four (24) credits in the following course requirements: English, social studies, mathematics, science, world language/fine arts/Career & Technical Education, physical education, health and electives. Students are also required to produce a Personal Transition Plan that maps their post-graduation goals. Visit the graduation requirements page.

How do I register for E-School?

To register to take an E-School online course during the school year (Fall, Year, or Spring), you must see your School Site Facilitator. Your School Site Facilitator will collect the necessary information from you and will input it into the registration system. When this is done, you will receive an email providing next-step instructions that include your username and password, how to login to Blackboard, how to do a browser check, and how to begin the required E-School student orientation training course. For first-time E-School students, successful completion is required for course access, see E-School Student Orientation Training section. Visit the Online Learning Tools page.

If I don’t want to go to a public school, what alternatives are available in the public schools system?

Parents or legal guardians accept complete responsibility for the education of their children while they are being homeschooled. The Department is responsible for ensuring that satisfactory progress is made in the education of the home-schooled child and carries out this responsibility by reviewing the child’s annual progress report and monitoring student progress through the required tests at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10.

If I don’t want my child to be exposed to controversial topics in the classroom, what are my options?

Parents or legal guardians can contact their child's school to opt-out of a specific lesson or activity.
If I find something objectionable in curricular materials, what are my options?
You can make your concerns known to the principal and/or school librarian directly. They will work with you on a review of materials.
How do I obtain a geographic exception for a school?
Under Hawaii laws, all persons attending public school are required to attend the school in the geographic area in which they reside. However, permission to attend another school may be granted by the Department. More information and relevant forms can be found on this page.

What is my child’s assigned school?

Children are assigned to the schools that serve the geographic area in which the family’s or caregiver’s home is situated. You can view school service boundaries across the Islands by using our SchoolSite Locator tool. Please note: You should contact a school directly to verify your home is in the service boundary of that school.

What is the attendance policy?

Public schools' attendance policy is governed by state law and Board Policy 4140: Compulsory School Attendance Policy. It states: "The Department of Education shall make every effort to ensure student school attendance in accordance with the compulsory attendance law." The State of Hawaii's compulsory attendance law (Hawaii Revised Statutes 302A-1132) can be viewed here.

Students who are chronic absentees may be referred to Family Court. Pursuant to H.R.S. 571-11(2), Family Court can place a child under jurisdiction for truancy if the child is not attending school or is not receiving the educational services required by law.

Where do I find a copy of the school calendar?

These can be downloaded on the calendar page, here.

What is the cost of school breakfast and lunch? Does the Department provide financial help for families unable to pay for the meals?

Breakfast meals cost $1.10 for students in kindergarten through grade 8, and $1.20 for those in grades 9-12. School lunch costs $2.50 for students in kindergarten through grade 8, and $2.75​ for high schoolers. Families may qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast (30 cents) and lunch (40 cents). More information on how to apply for financial assistance is available here.

How do I get proof of graduation from a high school?

The Department does not provide duplicates or copies of diplomas. Once the original diploma is awarded, students can request a copy of the high school transcript from their alma mater that reflects the date of graduation and the diploma number. Use our School Finder tool to connect with schools.

I’m moving to Hawaii and need to research schools for my child. Where do I start?

This website is designed to provide comprehensive information about our schools and our programs. If your child requires custom supports — gifted & talented programming or special education, for example — please contact the person or office listed on the webpage and you will be assisted. Ultimately, students will need to attend the school that serves the geographic area in which you live, with few exceptions.

Where are parent authorization forms for student activities and/or travel?

Right here — Parent/Legal Guardian Authorization for Student Participation and Travel

Teacher/Staff Questions

What is the Educator Effectiveness System?

The EES is the Department’s induction, mentoring, training and evaluation system for teachers. It was designed with teacher input and piloted in 81 schools before rolling out in 2013 after union membership approved it. The goal is to provide the feedback, supports and training teachers need to maximize their effectiveness in the classroom. Visit the Educator Effectiveness System page.

What is the Comprehensive Evaluation System for School Administrators?

CESSA is the Department’s companion evaluation program for principals, with similar structure to the EES. Visit the CESSA page.

What are the unions that represent staff of Hawaii’s public schools?

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers​.

How do I access grants and other resources for school improvement projects?

The Department's Data Governance and Analysis manages the Grants Management System which lists grant opportunities and provides tools to assist grant seekers in completing grant applications. The website includes information about how to apply for and write grants. You can ​contact the Grants Management Team directly to learn more: DGA@hawaiidoe.org.​

How do I find out about capital improvement projects scheduled for my school?

For HI​DOE project and job information, please call the Office of School Facilities and Support Services, Facilities Development Branch at 808-​784-5040​.

How do I learn more about employee benefits and salary? How do I change my address? How do I check the status of my job application with the Department?

Contact the Office of Human Resources.

Community Questions

How do I address policy concerns with the Department?

The Board of Education is the governing body of the Department, and sets policy for the public education system in Hawaii. The Board meets every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, and for occasional meetings outside of that schedule, in Room 404 of the Queen Liliuoukalani Building, 1390 Miller Street, Honolulu.

What is the best way for me to volunteer in public schools?

Connect with our Help Hawaii’s Schools website for donations of time or assets. Visit our Get Involved page for more great volunteer opportunities.

What is the best way for my company to volunteer in public schools?

Contact the Corporate and Community Partnerships Office at 808-586-3687.

How do I sign up for adult education classes?

We offer classes at 10 adult education schools on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai.
What is the Staff Intranet and why is it locked?

Please review our page, About this website, Staff Intranet.

Researcher Questions

Who should I contact regarding research on Hawaii’s public schools?

The Data Governance Office manages research requests and activity through the research applications website. You can contact them directly to learn more: 808-440-2850, or DOEResearch@hawaiidoe.org.

How do I find reports on Special Education?

Our State Reports page includes the latest six-month report, with archived reports linked to from there.

Legislative Questions

Where can I find recent and archived reports relating to legislation about Hawaii’s public schools and the Department?

​Legislative reports for the current year can be found here, under State Reports. Reports dating back to 2002 are archived here.

Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3230

Email: doe_info@hawaiidoe.org

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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