High School Curriculum

Private school studentThe following courses may be offered over a period of two years. It may be that a course will not be available one year, but will then be offered the following year.  Check with the high school staff if you have a question about a particular course. Other electives may be available depending on the interests of the student body, but are not listed here. Students and teachers work to create course schedules according to graduation requirements.  All Seniors are required to do a Senior Project in their last year of school.


COMPOSITION I (.5 credit/semester)

This course offers students the opportunity to develop and understand the basic skills of reading, writing, listening, and oral communication through study and analysis of mythology, literature, poetry, drama, short stories, and vocabulary development.  Writing skills emerge through journal entries, research papers, weekly short stories, and group project presentations.  Development of grammar, spelling, and vocabulary takes place within the context of the writing assignments.   Reading aloud, class discussions, theatrical performances, debates, and speeches enhance oral communication skills.  A strong emphasis on reading, writing, and thinking skills complement frequent opportunities for assessment, analysis, and synthesis. 

COMPOSITION II (.5 credit/semester)

While this course explores all areas of language arts, reading, writing, vocabulary, oral communication, and spelling and grammar, the focus is on the writing process; pre-writing, writing, editing, revising and publishing.  Students study writing styles through exploration and analysis of literature.  Students develop a variety of writing skills through the writing process to include: descriptive, persuasive, creative, personal narrative, compare and contrast, poetry and historical research. A strong emphasis on reading, writing, and thinking skills complement frequent opportunities for assessment, analysis, and synthesis.  Writing assignments create the basis for teaching grammar, spelling and vocabulary.

LITERATURE (.5 credit/semester)

Prerequisite: Composition II or equivalent

   Literature is offered as an upper level humanities course wherein students will read a variety of texts including short stories, novels, poetry, and non-fiction prose all pertaining to a chosen theme.  The goal of the course is to expand the students' understanding about the theme while they learn to appreciate the form by which it is being communicated to them.  This goal will be achieved not only through the readings themselves, but also through critical thinking, discussions, debates, meditations, and writings centered around them.  Through these activities, students will learn to stretch their own ideas about our theme to include a plethora of perspective.  In this way, reading will open up an unknown world to them. Additionally, this class includes a hands on component whereby the students investigate and explore the class topic through their own eyes to gain a unique and individualized point of view.           

LITERATURE OF ROCK AND ROLL (.5 credit/semester)

In this class we will explore concepts in English composition and literature while examining major themes in Rock and Roll History.  The class will also touch on American History, Womens' Studies, African American Studies, and Art History.  We will be using a curriculum developed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The program is "intended to stimulate student interest and creativity, to develop higher order thinking skills and to promote interdisciplinary learning.” Some topics include: Rock and Poetry: A Thematic Project, Using Cross-Genre Comparisons to Find the Message in Hip-Hop, “And Still I Rise” Proud Black Women: Understanding the poetry of Maya Angelou through the lyrics of two female rappers, and Know Thyself: Reflections of the Adolescent Identity Crisis in Rock and Roll.  Students will write a mini research paper in MLA style at the end of the first semester and an independent study project utilizing multimedia sources at the end of the second semester.

JOURNALISM AND YEARBOOK (.5 credit/semester) (may be taken as an English or Technology credit)

While this course explores all areas of journalism, the focus of the class will be the production of the school yearbook. Students market, design and produce the school yearbook. Students gain a basic understanding of photo journalism to include but not limited to: photo composition, layout and cutlines. Students develop a basic understanding of layout and design and how to capture the reader’s eye.  Students gain a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Indesign.  Students learn and develop interview techniques, news writing, and feature writing skills.  Students learn organization, project management and the importance of meeting deadlines.

Social Sciences

WORLD HISTORY (.5 credit/semester)

This course is a study of the historical development of human experience focusing on major civilizations and cultures, which characterize different world regions today.  It examines the forces of change and continuity as they stimulate, constrain, and shape human experience.  It provides a framework for understanding humankind and a way of viewing the diverse social, philosophical, political, geographic, economic, and technological developments that have shaped the world today.


This semester long course focuses on the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, the rise of plantations throughout the 1900's and Hawaii's involvement in World War II.  Additionally, students will be asked to analyze significant contemporary issues that influence present day Hawaii, such as the Hawaiian Renaissance, the sovereignty movement, current land issues, and the influx of new immigrant
HAWAII AND ITS PEOPLE (.5 credit/semester)

This year-long course is a survey of Hawaii's physical, ecological and cultural history and present situation.  Beginning with island formation and traveling through ancient culture, immigration and modern culture, the course will examine the impact of people on our islands and the possible directions in which we are heading based on our current socio-political, economic and ecological situations.

US HISTORY (.5 credit/semester)

This United States History course is a study of the origins of the United States Constitution.  Students explore the different social, political, ideological and economical institutions that influenced the founding fathers and led to the birth of a new nation.  Students explore the governments of Greece, Rome and England as a backdrop to the U.S. Constitution.  Students will study, analyze and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources.  Students engage in historical, ethical, and political controversies that helped shape the Constitution. A strong emphasis on basic reading, writing, and thinking skills, complement frequent opportunities for assessment, analysis, and synthesis.


This Contemporary Global Politics course is a study of current world events that have and continue to dominate the headlines. Students will view events through the eyes of the media and through the eyes of soldiers deployed to Iraq. Students will interact with the 2-27 Wolfhounds (Infantry Brigade) while the unit is deployed to Iraq.  The soldiers will provide digital weekly updates and discussions points through Video teleconferencing and email.  This information will be analyzed and compared to information that is reported in the media. Students will address specific areas of interest, demographics, religion and culture, the Mission, related current events and any questions the students may develop. Upon return, the 2-27 will provide wrap-up briefings and discussions to students and faculty.  Students may participate in redeployment activities. 

This course will offer a historical perspective of environmental problems in Hawai'i. Students will look at biological and physical principles affecting human/environment interaction; impact on science, technology, value, Hawaiian culture, and perceptions of our community. Students will be introduced to contemporary legislation, policy, and management practices.  


ALGEBRA I (.5 credit/semester)

This course is designed to maximize acquisition of both skills and concepts.  Students will gain understanding in skills necessary to carry out various algorithms, develop and use mathematical properties and relationships, apply mathematics in realistic situations, and represent or picture mathematical concepts.  Throughout the course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in Algebra.  They will be able to solve linear equations, identify and graph functions, use laws of exponents, factor polynomials, graph and solve quadratic equations, and solve equations, inequalities, and apply them to real-life situations.

GEOMETRY (.5 credit/semester)

This course is designed to maximize acquisition of both skills and concepts including significant amounts of Algebra.  Students will gain skills needed in drawing, visualizing, and following algorithms; understanding of properties, mathematical relationships and proofs; using geometric ideas in real situations; and representing geometric concepts with coordinates, networks, and other diagrams.  The text, Geometry, published by Scott Foresman will require the students to read a geometry textbook and understand geometric terms.  The students will master skills involved with points, angles, and lines using congruence, polygons and symmetry, perimeters and area, three-dimensional figures, surface area and volumes, indirect and coordinate proofs, similarity, and working with circles.

ADVANCED ALGEBRA (.5 credit/semester)

This course is designed to maximize the development of understanding algebra.  Its wide scope includes substantial amounts of geometry integrated with algebra.  Throughout the text, Advanced Algebra by Scott Foresman, students will be expected to read and check their comprehension of terms, rules, explanation, and examples.  Advanced Algebra covers a variety of topics.  Students will be able to use and understand the language of algebra, variations and graphs, linear relations, matrices, systems, parabolas and quadratic equations, functions, powers and roots, exponents and logarithms, trigonometry, polynomials, quadratic relations, series, combinations and statistics, and dimensions and space.

TRIGONOMETRY (.5 credit/semester)

This course is focused on the study of the relationships among the sides and angles of a triangle. Students in Trigonometry should have successfully completed Algebra 1, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra.  Learning objectives include being able to recognize, manipulate, and use polynomial equations, and recognizing situations involving second degree equations.

CALCULUS (.5 credit/semester)

This introductory course will begin with the history of why calculus was developed. The student will then focus on learning the concept of limit and how it applies to the derivative and the integral. Students will be taught to look at a graph and recognize the limit and derivative of a function at a certain point, as well as recognize the integral of a function between two points.


PHYSICAL SCIENCE (.5 credit/semester)

This course is a transition into high school science courses. Students will understand science concepts through laboratory investigations, group activities, and research projects. Students will develop problem solving, scientific process, and mathematics skills through inquiry-based activities. It integrates chemistry, physics, and earth sciences by studying a variety of topics including force & motion, energy, sound, light, matter, continents, climates, and astronomy.

BIOLOGY (.5 credit/semester)

This course introduces the students to fundamentals of the biological sciences.  Building on the skills and concepts learned in previous science courses, the students explore the basic principles of cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, plant diversity, human biology, the human impact on the environment, as well as the six kingdoms in which all living organisms are classified.  A critical part of the course is the “hands-on” comprehensive laboratory exercises. The students gain experience in data collection, develop laboratory techniques and skills by using the laboratory supplies and equipment, and learn to write insightful scientific reports with an emphasis on critical thinking and use of the scientific method to describe the living world.

CHEMISTRY (.5 credit/semester)

All of our students will eventually be required, as citizens,
to make decisions on a variety of issues that involve some under-standing of chemistry.  This course provides a student-centered, activities-based, issues-oriented approach to teaching the basic concepts of chemistry, as well as helping the students utilize this chemical knowledge to guide them in thinking through and making informed decisions about issues involving science and technology. Students are guided through eight units covering water needs, conserving resources, chemistry of food, nuclear chemistry, and personal chemistry and choices. Students will learn the major concepts, vocabulary, thinking skills and laboratory techniques that will be required in their continued studies and life.  The text, ChemCom, developed by The American Chemical Society, emphasizes chemistry’s impact on society, and provides a very engaging vehicle for the mastery of this material.


SPANISH I (.5 credit/semester)

Spanish Level I provides a broad introduction to the Language and Culture of the Spanish-speaking world.  Each lesson introduces new language and vocabulary in a situational context.  Emphasis is on high frequency words and expressions of contemporary spoken Spanish.  Students are eased into basic Spanish grammar structures, which are reinforced with oral lesson dialogs, and written exercises.  Students will gain an awareness of Hispanic culture as it applies to “everyday” situations and a basic knowledge of the history, geography, and traditions of Spanish speaking countries.  Paired communication, videos, regalia, and cultural activities supplement use of a textbook and companion workbook.  Various parts of the class will be conducted in Spanish. 

SPANISH II (.5 credit/semester)

Spanish Level II continues Spanish language acquisition by using more complex structures of basic Spanish and expands cultural and historical themes already set forth.  After a review of introductory structures and vocabulary, new material is presented with continual opportunities for written and oral expression.  Class will be conducted partly in Spanish and will consist of presentation, explanation, and practice of sounds, structures, and vocabulary.  Cultural material from the text lessons and the instructor’s experiences will also be presented.  Group activities to practice communication skills will also be provided.  Along with the use of our textbook and workbook, we will be using a monthly Spanish magazine.  This student magazine combines current news from the Spanish-speaking world with interviews, stories, and fun learning games.  The goal is to build cultural familiarity and language skills. 


This class is offered when there is sufficient student interest.

Fine Arts

DRAMA ( English credits based on hours/semester)
This course touches upon dramatic interpretation of written works.  Students will practice and develop skills in drama techniques including improvisation, character development, vocalization, physicalization, and ensemble work.  Towards the end of the second semester, the students will combine works in writing and drama to create and perform individual and ensemble performance pieces.


This course is designed to provide foundational skills in drawing, painting, and sculpture while providing students with the opportunity to develop, interpret and express artistic awareness in art appreciation and understanding of the elements and principles of art: including contour drawing, value rendering, color theory, painting techniques and spatial forms. This course is a pre-requisite for participation in other art courses.

Prerequisite: Art Foundations or teacher approval
This course builds on the technical and expressive skills explored in the Art Foundations class.  Emphasis is on developing individual strengths in drawing and painting including: Life drawing, Still life, Abstraction, Color Theory, Canvas Painting, Series Painting and Developing an Artistic Voice.  Students will learn advanced skills in technical drawing with graphite, pen-and-ink, print forms and various media.  Painting techniques with watercolor, acrylic, guache and oils will also be explored.  Art appreciation and understanding of historical styles will also be included in the course content and applied to individual works.  Development of a personal style and body of related works will be encouraged.  This course is a pre-requisite for Studio Art.

STUDIO ART (credits based on hours/semester)
prerequisite: Advanced Drawing & Painting or teacher approval

This class is a Visual Fine Arts course that emphasizes student individual expression.  Students new to the Studio course participate in an initial group project directed towards understanding and evaluating technical development and skill level. Students then chose independent art forms to work on with attention to individual expression and particular skill development in chosen areas.  Students are required to create and meet weekly goals and participate in final presentations and critiques of a body of related works.

CERAMICS (credits based on hours pr/semester)

This course emphasizes foundational skills in hand building, wheel-throwing and sculptural elements of ceramics.  Projects concentrated on development of basic skills and practice with various techniques, including coil, slab, pinch pot, press mold, impress and wheel throwing as well as decorating and glazing techniques.  Credits are determined by student attendance in class (variable by schedule) and projects accomplished.  Emphasis is on practice with basic forming skills while developing individual direction and expression through the medium of clay.  The course is repeatable as Advanced Ceramics with a focus on more in-depth development of chosen forms.



This course is designed to ensure all students learn basic hardware and software competencies including choosing the appropriate software for a given need.  Learning goals include basic networking and Internet use in a Macintosh environment and application skills including word processing, spreadsheet, list management, and database functions using Microsoft Office. 

WEB PAGE DESIGN (.5 credit)

Web Page Design introduces students to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the programming code on which web pages are constructed.   Using basic text editor software, students learn how to create a simple web page using basic HTML elements.  Students then build pages with increasing levels of complexity.  The more complex skills include inserting, aligning, and sizing text and images; controlling text and font color, creating absolute and relative page links, editing page backgrounds; and creating tables with text and image content.


The Advanced Web Page Design content expands upon skills learned in the basic course to include study and practice using ordered, unordered, and definition list elements, frame elements, form elements, and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) conventions.

Independent Study

Independent Study is available as a semester course (.5 credit) or a yearlong course (.5 credit/semester).  Students are required to take several elective credits for graduation.  At this time, independent study is offered to help fulfill the elective credits required for graduation.  During the semester or the year, students may choose from a self-directed independent study, a class on the Internet, or a correspondence course.  The self-directed option designed by the student based on their interests, objectives outlined by the Department of Education, and supported by a professional adult.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION (.5 credit/year)

This is a fitness and health physical education class.  Students will perform a variety of cardio vascular and muscular strength and endurance exercises that will aid in the development and improvement of overall health and fitness.  Students develop teamwork and cooperation.  An emphasis is placed on sportsmanship, discipline and effort.  This is a pass/no pass class.

DANCE (.5 credit/year) (may be taken as PE or Fine Arts credit)

“Dance as Art” is formed on the philosophy that the basic qualities of dance are within the reach of everyone and dance is an activity through which enjoyment and aesthetic satisfaction may be found. The class is an opportunity to use dance as a means of communication and expression while conditioning the body through core strength building and kinesthetic awareness.

Health / Guidance

HEALTH (Grade 9)

 In this course, students will explore and have a common vision of the ever-changing process to achieve their individual potential in the physical, social emotional, mental, spiritual, and environ-mental dimensions of health and well-being.  Students will learn the National Health Education Standards that will facilitate each student to be aware of their everyday health.  The course will be implemented through lectures, guest speakers, role-playing, video studies and testing for understanding.  This is a pass/no pass course.

GUIDANCE (Grades 10, 11, 12)

This course explores personal, academic, social, health and character issues.  It is designed for students making the transition to high school and helps them to begin looking at the person they would like to be -- academically and professionally as well as personally.  It also concentrates on self-awareness, decision-making, and college and career exploration.  Representatives from various colleges will present information to the students concerning requirements and college life.  The students will attend college fairs and research colleges to present to their classmates.  Emphasis is made on preparing the students to take PSAT and SAT/ACT tests for college admission.   This is a pass/no pass course.


A minimum of twenty-four credits is required for graduation from Ho`ala High School, with one credit awarded for 120 hours of study.  Most courses require demonstrations of knowledge through portfolios or exhibitions.  The twenty-four credits include the following:

            English                                      4 credits          

            Social Science                          4 credits  (Including World History, US History, and Modern Hawaiian History)      

            Mathematics                             3 credits          

            Science                                    3 credits  (Including Biology and 2 Science Electives)        

            Foreign Language                    2 credits                      

            Performing/Fine Arts                2 credits

            Physical Education                  2 credits

            Health/Guidance                      2 credits*

            Elective Courses                      2 credits

            Technology                              .5 credit

* Students are required to take guidance class each year regardless of credit count.

Extended Learning Time
Teachers provide Extended Learning Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays for students wishing to seek additional help. These sessions are optional and not mandatory. However, Extended Learning Time can be mandated for students if needed, for any length of time

Tutors for students struggling in reading and spelling are available for an additional fee. Tutors are trained in the Orton-Gillingham method. Please call the office if you are interested in having your child assessed and placed with a tutor.

College Fair
In the spring semester, grades 9-11 (12 grade optional) attend the National Association for College Admission Counseling College Fair at the Convention Center. Students have the opportunity to meet with representatives from higher education institutes from around the world as well as attend workshops covering important college admission topics.

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test used for college entrance. It also gives students a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. Students receive feedback on strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. They can then focus preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice. It also provides the opportunity to see how the performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college and enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11). This test prepares for the SAT exam. They become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions seen on the SAT.
Ho`ala School offers the PSAT on Wednesday October 17 to sophomores and juniors. Fee for the test is applied to semester fees.

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