In these uncertain times, schools island-wide had to quickly adjust to remote learning for their students. After two months under our collective belts, we talk to Lisa Varde of Haiku’s ROOTS School about how the school, parents, and the children are responding to this new world of education. For enrollment information, visit

How are you translating your education model into a remote learning experience?

At Roots School, our focus is on project-based, arts-integrated learning. During this time, our teachers plan lessons and have sessions via Zoom and send out weekly projects and assignments.  Roots supplies materials for various projects, and students complete them at home and share via Zoom, Google Classroom, Class Dojo, or Seesaw.

How are the students responding? What has been the most successful aspect of the evolving programs?

Students are responding very well, the hands-on projects in particular motivate our students to dive deeper into their learning. Students are doing well in their small groups sessions and in one-on-one sessions with teachers. We are also really taking this opportunity to be in close contact with parents in a new way that is strengthening our school community.

What have been your students’ favorite remote learning tools and resources and why?

Some students are thriving in this new format. We do know that designated small group and one-on-one time with teachers has been a huge help for all of our students. Our performing arts program has also been very successful during this time!

What are you hoping students will gain from this unique experience? 

We are already seeing evidence of our students learning important lessons in resiliency, adaptability and creativity. At the same time, we also try to keep a sense of normalcy when possible. For example, our performing arts teacher recently initiated a school-wide Talent Show, in which students and staff sent in videos of themselves doing their talent activity and we will have a scheduled viewing party when we all watch the final video at the same time.

How can parents support teachers and their schools?

Now more than ever, parents are our partners in their child’s education. We realize the huge burden it is for parents to serve as their child’s teacher at home. We strive to keep the lines of communication open between teachers and parents so that teachers can work to develop learning plans that work for each child. At Roots one of our core beliefs is that all children learn in different ways. During this time of distance learning, we still hold true to that belief and work with parents to help maintain their child’s love of learning. 

What are you hearing from parents on their concerns and how do you plan to meet the challenges?

Families everywhere are facing great financial challenges. Our families have a strong desire to keep their children at Roots, but are unsure about their financial futures. We are working hard to be able to increase our Tuition Aid Program, so that we can help even more families be able to keep their children at Roots where they can continue to receive a high quality education and individualized attention.

In one sentence, how would you describe what makes your school unique?

Roots School recognizes that people learn in different ways, and we focus on social/emotional learning in addition to project-based and arts-integrated academics that prepare our students for success in school and in the real world around them.

ROOTS School is now enrolling. 

ROOTS School is located at 700 Haiku Road, Haiku, HI. Tuition for the 2020/2021 school year is $8,850 and they are currently accepting new students. ROOTS School has a Tuition Aid Program and they partner with Kamehameha School’s Pauahi Keiki Scholars and Kipona Scholarship Programs, as well as Preschool Open Doors and PATCH. For more information, visit  or visit their admissions page for enrollment information.