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Education Laboratory School

Education Laboratory School is a charter school in Honolulu, Hawai‘i serving grades K-12. Prior to 2002, the school was known as the University Laboratory School or University High School (when referring to grades 9 through 12) when it was a part of the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. It is not to be confused with Punahou School, which occupied some of the buildings at the university when they were displaced from their campus by the U.S. military during World War II.


  • History 1
  • Notable alumni 2
  • Controversy 3
    • Use of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa facilities 3.1
  • Fire 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The school was originally founded as a place for education majors at then Teacher's College at the University of Hawaiʻi to practice their teaching skills. Between 1939 and 1941, an elementary school was built to give elementary and pre-school education students hands-on experience. A permanent building for this purpose, Castle Memorial Hall, was constructed at this time. It was a gift of Mary and Samuel Castle, who was one of the founders of Castle & Cooke.

Punahou School occupied Castle Memorial Hall and other buildings at the college during World War II (1942–1945). However, the college continued to operate.

Buildings for the high school were constructed after the war with University High School Building 1 opening in 1943 and University High School Building 2 opening in 1948. University High School Building 3 opened in 1957. Finally, the Multipurpose Building is opened in 1963. In the mean time the school graduated its first high school class in 1951.

In 1966, the school's focus changed to testing curriculum developed by the college for use in the Hawai'i Public School system under what is now called the Curriculum Research and Development Group (CRDG). Since this time, admission to the school is based on creating a cross section of the state's socio-economic groups to meet the needs of the testing of the curriculum materials. Over the years CRDG increased its marketing area of the materials they develop to across the United States and then internationally.

The university stopped funding the school in 1999 due to major budget cuts from the state of Hawai'i in the university's budget. Alumni and friends raised enough money to cover the loss of revenue for two years.

In 2001, University Laboratory School became the charter school, Education Laboratory School. The Hawai'i State Department of Education now contracts the CRDG to run the school and the university allows the use of the facilities on campus in exchange for use to test CRDG materials.

Notable alumni


Over the years an unusually high proportion of the students are children of university faculty members or relatives of politicians and other island notables. This has caused some to question the use of public moneys to fund this school including former Governor Benjamin Cayetano who essentially left the school with no funds. Some view his actions as a retaliatory act since his children were not among the aforementioned individuals admitted.

Use of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa facilities

When the Educational Laboratory School became a separate entity from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2001, there was an understanding that the school would become self-sufficient within two years. This meant being able to pay for its maintenance and not need any more university assistance. In 2003 the chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Chancellor, Peter Englert, suggested that the university concentrate solely on research and cease managing the school. He also suggested giving them a one-year contract to prepare to pay rent or move out. [1]


On June 13, 2006, a fire erupted on campus in the University Elementary School building. [2] The fire spread rapidly, causing a devastating amount of damage to the building. Among the sections lost were the orchestra room (along with newly refurbished orchestra equipment), the choir room, the performing arts room, the gym, and the athletic office. Arson is believed to be the cause of the fire. School officials are waiting on test results to decide how to clean up the rubble. Findings of lead may hamper and increase the cost of clean-up.


  • A brief history of the University Lab School by Dr Don Sanborn (UH College of Education) and Sean O'Harrow (High School Class of 1986)

External links

  • All-School 50th Golden Reunion in 2001 -- Please note: This was not a fundraiser to save the school
  • Official website
  • Alumni website

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