Upper School (7-12)

Upper School (7-12)

The Upper School is distinct from the Lower School in both geography and organization. Students entering the seventh grade adjust to departmentalized instruction and assume a more significant role in fulfilling their academic responsibilities.

Many extracurricular and athletic opportunities are available.

Upon entering ninth grade a student’s formal college-preparatory course work begins. Grades earned during the final four years at ‘Iolani constitute the transcript which is sent to colleges. Algebra I and foreign language credits earned in grades 7 and 8 and fulfilling graduation requirements will be listed on the transcript and calculated into the cumulative GPA.

As students mature, they are given increasing control over their free time. They learn the rewards of using their free periods wisely to study, conduct research, and seek help as needed. Responsible use of free time is a necessary habit for college-bound students.

Course of Study

The curriculum of ‘Iolani is designed to meet the entrance requirements of leading colleges. At the same time, it is sufficiently flexible and broad of scope to meet individual needs.

Minimal requirements for a diploma (see below) are supplemented by electives which depend on individual aptitudes and interests. Annually, each student chooses a course of study annually in consultation with the counselors, the Dean of Upper School, and the appropriate department head.

Diploma Requirements

All students are required to take a minimum of four courses each semester, not including art, music, and physical education. Five courses are encouraged, and no student will be allowed to take more than six courses.

Sixteen units are required for a diploma. They must include the following:

  1. Four years of English.
  2. Three years of the same world language and through the sophomore year.*
  3. Three years of math through Algebra II and math through the junior year.*
  4. Three years of history, including History of the Modern World in Grade 9 and U.S. History in Grade 11.
  5. Three years of science, including a course in biology, a course in chemistry and a course in physics or another science elective.
  6. Required courses in art, religion, guidance and physical education.

The rest of a student’s courses may be selected from a wide range of electives to bring the total to sixteen.

* A grade of C- or higher is required for placement in the next sequential level.

Provision for Gifted and Accelerated Students

‘Iolani accommodates students of all ability levels. Just as extra help from teachers and peer tutors assists those having trouble with a subject, a variety of provisions is also available for gifted and accelerated students.

Advanced Placement courses are offered in 23 different subject areas, from English and history to calculus and all three major sciences. Languages, computer and art also offer advanced placement courses culminating in AP exams which may earn a student college credit while still in high school. Students may also accelerate in math, computer and languages commensurate with their talent and background.

Examinations and Reports

Final examinations are held at the end of each semester and test the work of terminating courses. The grade received on the final examination is averaged as 20% of the final grade for the semester or year.

Reports are sent to the parents of all students at the end of each quarter (see School Calendar). In addition, mid-quarter reports are mailed to parents if a student is having academic difficulty.

A Typical Six-Year Program

The following six-year program will serve as a general guide for entering students:

7th Grade:

8th Grade:

English English
World Geography 7 Social Studies 8
Pre-Algebra Algebra I
Science Science
Language Language
The Arts Religion**
Guidance/Physical Education* Physical Education**


9th Grade:

10th Grade:

English English
History of the Modern World Chemistry
Algebra I/Geometry Geometry/Algebra II
Language Language
Life Skills/Art/Physical Education* Physical Education
Biology U.S. History
One Elective  


11th Grade:

12th Grade:

English Elective English Elective
Math Elective History Elective
History Elective Other Electives as needed
Science Elective (four solid courses minimum)
Physical Education  
One Elective

* One quarter each subject.
** Two quarters each.
One semester of Religion must be taken in Grade 10, 11, or 12.


Honors and Advanced Placement Expectations

Students are expected to maintain an average of 80 or better in honors and advanced placement courses. Students enrolled in AP courses must take the AP examination. Failure to do so without prior administrative approval will result in a failure for the course.

Independent Study Program

Seniors and second semester juniors are eligible to present a proposal for independent study in a subject not offered as a regular course at ‘Iolani. A student may request honors or regular weighting or a pass-fail grade. The proposal must be approved by the Dean of the Upper School or Dean of Studies; interested students should see the Dean for information.