Book Provides A Wealth Of Facts On Private Schools

Carol Chang
Wednesday - October 03, 2007
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Author/Mom Jacqui Pirl
Author/Mom Jacqui Pirl

It started with one unanswered question - What school is best for my child?

Three years and 500 pages later, Honolulu mother Jacqui Pirl finally got her answer by writing The Parent’s Guide to Private Schools in Hawaii.

“You can find out all you need about public schools on the DOE website,” said Pirl, whose book comes out this week.“But for private schools, it’s only what they tell you: good, good, good. So I started looking and found out that parents really wanted the information I have.”

What’s she’s got is facts on 71 schools, plus 10 public schools that she considers innovative or exceptional in some way. On her list from the Central Oahu area are Sunset Beach Christian School, Ho’ala School, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Hanalani Schools and St. Michael’s School.

She will sign copies of her book at noon Oct. 14 at Borders Waikele.

A University of Hawaii journalism graduate, Pirl and her husband (a Kalani High alumnus) have three children in three different schools, public and private. But Pirl’s keiki are exceptional in a sense because they have applied to dozens of schools, endured entrance exams and interviews as part of their mom’s research.

“Test after test, my children were my guinea pigs,” admitted the enthusiastic marketing specialist. “And they’re still speaking to me!”

Published by Kukui Press, the $30 paperback guide is thoroughly indexed and provides facts on each school, from its history right on down to its handbell choir. Pirl interviewed parents, students, educators and admissions directors, pored over brochures, handbooks, reports, school newspapers, curriculum guides and application packets. And in the course of her research, she discovered something else:“Some of the myths about private schools are not true. There are some really good small ones and some not-so-good big ones.”

The parents must also search themselves and examine their motivations for choice of schools. “They should ask, what’s so great about my kid, rather than what school do I want my kid to go to?”

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