Choosing a school

Public school students normally attend the school in the area where they live. Use our SchoolSite Locator tool to explore district boundaries for your neighborhood. Students who need to attend a school outside of their area may request a geographic exception (GE).

​​Mandatory school attendance

School is mandatory in Hawaii for students aged 5 (as of July 31 of the school year) through 18 (as of January 1 of a given school year). Please view HRS 302A-1132 for reference.

Students are required to attend the school that serves the geographic district where they live. You can use our SchoolSite Locator tool to view district and school service boundaries — simply type in your address in the upper left corner of the site, including city, until your address materializes in a drop-down menu. Select it and you'll be zoomed to the service area.

Please note: Enrollment counts and service boundaries are in flux, so be sure to contact the school directly to confirm it serves your home. Students and families experiencing homelessness should review this information.

​​​​​​Geographic exceptions (GE)​

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. GE applications for the next school year should be submitted between January 1 and March 1 to facilitate a decision before the end of the school year. However, applications for the current and next school year shall be accepted at other time periods whenever unforeseen circumstances arise, such as when a ​student relocates.

  • View our FAQs​ for GEs to learn more.

Homeschooling

The Department has a legitimate interest in and responsibility for the appropriate education of all school age children in the State of Hawaii and recognizes homeschooling as an alternative to compulsory school attendance. Homeschooling is a parent-initiated educational alternative and is not to be used by a school as a means for releasing students with behavior or disciplinary problems or students lacking credits to graduate from the local public school.

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 three, five, eight, and ten. When necessary, schools carry out their fiduciary responsibilities for the education of the child by following Department procedures for educational neglect.

​School Site Locator

See school district boundaries and explore school locations. Learn which schools belong to your neighborhood or desired neighborhood. This mobile-enabled tool, powered by Davis Demographics, is provided as a service to the community by the Department — but please check directly with a school to verify service area.

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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