Decent school for average learners. Weak fit for high-ability learners. Contrary to Admin's representations, they do not differentiate. When asked how they differentiate, they say "all students here are gifted," so they end up teaching to the middle. (Pleasant politically acceptable excuse for not doing anything for high-ability learners.) Teachers don't have freedom to individualize their classroom practice to accommodate student variability. They reject any form of acceleration because, "we've never done that before." Kids who do succeed fit within a small tight box, and don't think outside that box. Despite the lack of a challenging learning environment, those kids who do stick around will learn how to study from a handful of highly experienced upper-school teachers specializing in language arts and math.
The people who go to Harbor Day, stand by it with conviction because of the over $20k price tag per child. This validates them. Putting money aside, if HD is going to attempt to compete with the best private schools back east, which they claim they can, then they should hold their students accountable for their character...just like back east. Meaning, high tuition = personalized curriculum, excellent moral and character building of the students, and elite educational opportunities. None of these happen at HD. The children leave at the end of 8th grade with a chip on their shoulder; certainly not sweet nor unassuming. These children are bread from day one to compete not within themselves, but with their peers, creating a cut-throat mentality and vibe. Girls are ostracized and segregated from day one, as taught by their Mommies, and boys are programmed to be an athlete....even at the expense of needing to be tutored 4 days a week because they are struggling, at least they are an athlete. We pay for the culture, not just the academics at a private school. One the 8th graders wrote with her grad picture that she wanted to be an OC housewife when she grows up. Need I say more??
I love Harbor Day. It is a warm, welcome environment where everyone and everything quickly becomes familiar. The academics are unbeatable for those who want a challenge, but they also have an incredible art program if academics aren't as much of a focus. I loved knowing that at Harbor Day, the education was the best there is. Especially the English and Foreign Language programs are incredible and easily give all HDS students a one or two year head start on kids from public schools.
Harbor Day is an amazing school! The teachers are so caring and passionate, the class sizes are fairly small so the students get the special attention, their English Department is probably what I'm most satisfied with. The way they teach, especially in writing massively helps the students grow as writers. Everyone is so friendly, they offer some great electives as well as outdoor education/field trips for each grade!
Harbor Day could be a great school if it wasn't being dragged down by the alumni. I don't consider teaching to the middle exceptional. ...It's lazy. Harbor Day needs more young, bright, excited, creative teacher! Kids should be inspired by the teachers and staff....A true lack of leadership. HDS needs to go bak and re-read it's own mission statements.
We have two children going to Harbor Day School We are very pleased with the high level of education that our children are receiving . The English department is excellent and we are continously amazed as evidenced by kids writing skills. On the negative side,the science department lacks passion and enthusiam in both lower and upper school . So supplement your child with extra science if that is his or her forte. For some reason, it seems that good science teachers are really hard to come by! On the whole, HDS really prepares students to to well in high school, no matter where they go. Good study habits are formed at an early age and students go on to good universities.
I have four graduates and two attending HDS. All have demonstrated a true love of learning. HDS does a marvelous job of instilling reading comprehension and reading retention. The school promotes a family atmosphere from K-8. Graduates have utilized their experience at HDS to gain acceptance to some of the top universities in the country. The 2005 class now graduating from highschool has around 50% acceptance to the Ivies, Stanford, etc.
I love Harbor Day! The teachers are great and the athletics are supporting and fun. We are taught one grade level above other schools. I must admit that the grammer and reading are a bit better than the math but the math is great too. We have P.E. every day. For lower school we have the following out of class subjects: Art, Science, Wood Shop, Music, Spanish, Computer, and Library. We also have special programs: BOB, Newberry, and Calldacout. This is the best School ever!
I go to Harbor Day and I love it. The class sizes are perfect and the teachers are marvelous! They teach to the best of their abilities.
We are happy with our children's education. The class size is small and the teachers are lovely. I will be honest and probably one of the few parents to admit that I find the small enrollment per grade limiting in terms of social exposure. Having my 2 children exposed to only 40 other children in his/her grade for nine years is not the most optimal situation.
Harbor Day School is a wonderful school with caring, committed teachers. Class sizes are small, and children are encouraged to learn a second language (initially Spanish in Kindergarten, and later French, Latin or Spanish). The art and music programs are marvelous. I can't imagine a better school for my children.
Harbor Day School offers an excelent environment and education for your children. The classes are kept small, the teachers are well educated and have advanced degrees, and the opportunities are aonderful.
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