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The school year in Hawaii has some unique aspects compared to other states. With a more tropical climate and location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the aloha state structures its academic calendar differently.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Public schools in Hawaii typically end the school year in early June.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover details like the average last day of school for Hawaii’s public school students, when graduation ceremonies usually happen, how the calendar differs between islands, and more.

Average Last Day of School in Hawaii

Early June End Date

Most public schools in Hawaii wrap up the academic year in early June. The exact last day varies a bit between the different islands, but generally falls within the first week or two of the month.

For example, in 2023, the final day for students was June 2nd on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. Meanwhile, Kauai schools finished on June 9th.

The early June end date gives students and teachers a nice break before summer gets into full swing. The timing also lines up well with popular travel seasons, allowing families more flexibility for vacations.

Differences Between Islands

While the majority of Hawaii public schools end in early June, there are some small differences between the islands.

  • Oahu tends to wrap up the first week of June, right after Memorial Day weekend.
  • Maui and Hawaii Island usually end around the same time as Oahu.
  • Kauai sometimes goes a week later than the other islands.
  • Private schools often finish slightly earlier in late May.

The minor variations in last day dates likely come down to pragmatic scheduling issues for each district. But overall, the islands share a common early June finale ahead of the summer break.

Hawaii Graduation Dates

May and June Ceremonies

High school graduation ceremonies in Hawaii typically take place in May and June each year. Most schools hold their commencement exercises in late May or early June, just before or after the school year officially ends.

For example, in 2023 most Hawaii public high schools had graduation ceremonies scheduled between May 22 and June 2.

These late spring graduation dates allow seniors to complete their final exams and projects before walking across the stage to receive their diplomas. The pleasant late May and early June weather also makes outdoor graduation events more feasible and comfortable in the Hawaiian islands.

Lei Draping Tradition

A popular tradition at Hawaii high school graduations is the lei draping ceremony. After the graduate walks across the stage and receives their diploma, they are welcomed into the arms of loved ones waiting to drape them with flower leis in a symbol of pride, support, and aloha.

Beautiful garlands of orchids, plumeria, carnations, and maile leaves are layered over the new graduates. Friends and family members take turns draping multiple leis over each graduate until they are nearly covered in the vibrant colors and sweet smells of Hawaiian flowers.

It is a beloved way for the community to embrace the students moving on to the next chapter of their lives.

The lei draping tradition dates back centuries as a Hawaiian cultural practice to honor loved ones in times of celebration. Today it remains a heartwarming highlight of high school graduation ceremonies across the islands.

Hawaii Intersession and Summer School

Multi-Track Year-Round School

Some schools in Hawaii operate on a multi-track year-round schedule to maximize the usage of school facilities. Under this system, students are divided into groups that attend school on staggered schedules with different vacation and intersession periods throughout the year.

For example, while Group A is in school from early August to late October, Group B may be on vacation. Then Group B returns to school while Group A goes on break. This schedule evens out the number of students attending school at any given time.

So even though the school itself is open year-round, each individual student still gets lengthy vacations and summer breaks. The total number of school days is just distributed differently across the calendar.

Summer Session Offerings

Most public schools in Hawaii offer summer school opportunities lasting 4-6 weeks. Sessions typically run from late May or early June through July.

Some key reasons students attend summer school include:

  • Remedial or make-up courses to improve weak areas or failed classes
  • Credit recovery to meet high school graduation requirements
  • Grade advancement courses to get ahead for the next academic year
  • Enrichment activities in sports, arts, STEM fields, etc.

Course offerings, costs, and enrollment procedures vary by school. Many districts prioritize serving special education students, at-risk students needing remediation, and high schoolers lacking credits to graduate on time.

Some schools also partner with local colleges and universities to allow students to earn early college credits over the summer.

What Impacts the School Calendar in Hawaii?

Weather and Natural Disasters

Hawaii’s tropical climate and vulnerability to natural disasters have a significant influence on school calendars. Frequent heavy rains, flooding, hurricane threats, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes often lead to school closures or schedule changes.

For example, in 2018, the Kilauea volcano eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island caused several weeks of school cancellations due to air quality issues from volcanic smog (vog) and ashfall. Many schools were forced to operate on limited schedules or implement online learning temporarily.

Additionally, Hawaii’s susceptibility to tropical storms means an active hurricane season can wreak havoc on the school calendar. Schools may take extra precautionary measures, adjust start dates, or build in extra closure days in anticipation of storms.

Tourism Industry Influence

As a popular tourist destination, Hawaii’s peak visitor seasons also impact school calendars. School boards consider tourism patterns when setting calendars to maximize learning time and minimize disruptions.

For example, most schools have a longer winter break encompassing the last two weeks of December. This allows families in the tourism industry some flexibility to meet holiday tourist demands. Spring break timing also aims to avoid overcrowding tourist sites during peak spring travel months.

Additionally, the Aloha Friday practice of having half-days on Fridays limits absenteeism for families in tourism. Students also get exposure to Hawaiian culture and community connections on Aloha Fridays.

Looking at the Full Academic Year

August Start Date

Schools in Hawaii typically start their academic year in early-to-mid August. The exact start date can vary a bit between school districts, but most begin classes during the second week of August.

For the 2023-2024 school year, here are some examples of back-to-school start dates across Hawaii:

  • Honolulu County Public Schools: August 7
  • Hawaii County Public Schools: August 9
  • Maui County Public Schools: August 14
  • Kauai County Public Schools: August 16

Starting school in August allows students and teachers to complete the first semester before the December-January winter break. It also lines up the end of the school year in late May or early June before the peak summer vacation months.

Holidays and Vacations

Students and teachers in Hawaii get several breaks from school throughout the academic calendar. Major holidays and school vacation periods include:

  • Labor Day in early September
  • Fall Break in October (1 week)
  • Thanksgiving Break in late November (1 week)
  • Winter Break in late December through early January (2-3 weeks)
  • Spring Break in March or April (1 week)

Hawaii public schools also close for various state holidays like King Kamehameha Day in June, as well as voting days. There are also teacher work days sprinkled throughout the year.

The winter and spring breaks offer students some nice long vacations to recharge. Families often take advantage of the time off to go on trips together.


To summarize key points, while most Hawaii public schools finish up classes in early June, factors like tourism needs, local economies, and island weather variations contribute to some differences across the state.

Graduation ceremonies generally happen in late May or early June. The school calendar also includes an intersession or summer school session to make up the shorter academic year compared to other states.

We covered all the details around when school ends in this Hawaii education guide, from the average last day to impacts on the calendar. Now you understand the aloha state’s unique scheduling of its academic year.

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