McCubbin provides specifics to interim admissions plan changes

The Maui News
August 11, 2002

Staff Writer

Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hamilton McCubbin
Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Hamilton McCubbin,
on Uncle Charlie's KNUI radio show, August 9, 2002

HONOLULU – Saying it wanted to improve student recruitment, Kamehameha Schools announced Saturday a set of interim changes to the admissions procedures at its Maui and Big Island campuses.

Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin first revealed the approved changes Friday during an appearance on the KNUI AM 900 ãTalk Story with Uncle Charlieä Maxwell radio show.

Details of the interim changes were announced formally on Oahu.

ãThe changes are designed to improve student recruitment and to better align the Maui and Hawaii campuses with the communities they serve,ä McCubbin said Saturday.

The changes will be in place for only one year and will not apply to the Kapalama Campus on Oahu.

The four interim changes for the Hawaii and Maui campuses are:

  • A one-time waiver of the application fee.
  • Kamehameha has received community feedback that the $25 application fee presents an obstacle to some families. It is expected that waiving the fee for one year will encourage more applications.

  • No applicants screened out at Preliminary Evaluation
  • Applicants to the Maui and Hawai`i campuses in grades 1 through 10 will not be screened out in any Preliminary Evaluation process. This process is utilized at the Kapalama campus to help manage the large number of applications received. Because there are fewer applicants to grades 1-10 at the Maui and Hawai`i campuses, the Preliminary Evaluation screening will be waived for those grades.

  • Suspend use of minimum scoring threshold.
  • A minimum cut-off score will not be used to eliminate any applicants to the Maui and Hawai`i campuses in grades 1 through 10. The admissions criteria remains the same, and applicants will still be evaluated on the basis of test scores, grades, teacher recommendations and ratings by the Rating Committees.

  • Allow applicants from West Hawai`i` to apply to either the Hawaii Campus or Kapalama Campus.
  • Kamehameha's campuses on Maui and Hawai`i are intended to serve the children and families of those islands. It is Kamehameha's desire to provide more opportunities for more children on these islands to attend Kamehameha Schools programs. For the current admissions cycle, residents in KS' West Hawai`i district (Honoka`a to South Point) will be eligible to apply to either the Kapalama campus as boarders (grades 7-12) or to the Hawai`i campus as day students (grades K-10). Previously, students from West Hawai`i and remote communities on Maui were eligible to apply only to the Kapalama Campus, which has boarding facilities. Students from remote communities on Maui will continue to be eligible to apply to either Maui or Kapalama campuses (grades 7-12).

Again, these changes will apply to the Maui and Hawai`i campuses only for the admissions cycle that begins August 15, 2002.

The interim changes were shared with a number of stakeholder groups, including the alumni association Board of Presidents, the Kamehameha Schools Board of Advisors, the Maui Campus Advisory Council, KS admissions staff, faculty and administrators from Maui and Hawai`i campuses, Kapalama administrators, and others.

KS Maui Advisory Council member and kupuna Charlie Maxwell, who hosted CEO McCubbin on his morning radio show last Friday, characterized the changes, "It's the start of helping all Hawaiian children to have a chance to enroll in the Kamehameha Schools, and I think it aligns with the wishes of Ke Ali`i Bernice Pauahi Bishop."

KS Advisory Board member and Maui alumni region president Judge Boyd Mossman was supportive of the changes. "I think these interim measures should be well received by most in the Hawaiian community," he stated. "KS alumni want to help support the Hawaiian preference policy, and we'll be working hard alongside the schools' administration to recruit sufficient applicants for the 9th and 10th grades."

Corey Au, president of Kapalama's Association of Teachers and Parents, added, "Even though these interim changes are only in place for one year, they are responsive to the concerns of the Hawaiian community and I think they will boost student recruitment on Maui and Hawai`i."

"Kamehameha Schools is committed to working with the community to make appropriate longer-term changes to the admissions process," said Dr. McCubbin. "We anticipate significant and thoughtful input from our community advisory meetings, and we expect those discussions to focus on changes to our procedures and processes that will go into effect for the admissions cycle that starts in August 2003. These interim changes can be a starting point for that dialogue."


Kamehameha Schools provided written answers to questions expected from its announcement of changes in school admissions procedures.

QUESTION: Why is Kamehameha Schools making these changes?

ANSWER: We believe they will increase our pool of applicants to the Maui and Hawaii Island campuses and allow us to serve more Hawaiian children, which is the focus of our Strategic Plan.

QUESTION: Why isn’t the Kapalama Campus included?

ANSWER: There are roughly 4,400 applicants to the Kapalama campus every year for 450 openings. The applicant pool does not need to be increased.

QUESTION: Kamehameha Schools already has an admissions review process planned. Why do you need interim changes?

ANSWER: The admissions review process that we’ve planned will involve input from the community and will continue into February. The changes that result from this review won’t be effective until the 2003-04 admission cycle for the 2004-05 school year. These interim changes will be implemented during the current admissions cycle, which will begin Thursday for the 2003-04 school year.

QUESTION: Did the $25 fee really keep some on Maui and Hawaii from applying?

ANSWER: Yes. The Maui and Hawaii campuses are new and their enrollment is growing and many families have children in several grade levels that are eligible to apply. They would have to pay application fees for each child. This will be less of a problem as the school’s capacity is reached and vacancies are available only at certain grade levels.

QUESTION: Why not waive the application fee for Kapalama?

ANSWER: The interim changes are designed to increase the number of applicants to the Maui and Big Island campuses.

QUESTION: How does the preliminary evaluation process work?

ANSWER: The preliminary evaluation is a review that is based on an applicant’s test scores, teacher recommendations and grades, and is performed by Admissions Department staff prior to applications being passed on to the rating committees for further review. The preliminary evaluation process is used at the Kapalama Campus to manage the large number of applications received. 

QUESTION: Why are you suspending preliminary evaluation at the Maui and Hawaii campuses?

ANSWER: Because there are fewer applicants to grades 1 through 10 at the Maui and Hawaii Island campuses, the preliminary evaluation will be waived for those grades. 

QUESTION: If you suspend the scoring threshold, how will Kamehameha Schools decide who is admitted?

ANSWER: The applicants will still be evaluated by the Rating Committees on the basis of criteria that include test scores, grades and teacher recommendations.

QUESTION: Why isn’t Kamehameha Schools eliminating the preliminary evaluation and the minimum cutoff score for kindergarten applicants?

ANSWER: The kindergarten admissions process is quite different from the processes used for grades 1-12. And due to the limited number of kindergarten vacancies on all campuses, there continues to be a need to manage the number of applications received with a preliminary evaluation procedure. 

QUESTION: Will the Hawaiian preference policy be affirmed in the temporary procedures?

ANSWER: Absolutely. The Hawaiian preference will still be applied before applicants are admitted.

Return to Kamehameha Schools page

Return to News page

Ho`iho`i Mai