Based on my 15-year recent experience with Harker where my two children attended kindergarten through high school, Harker is a rewarding investment toward academic, extracurricular, and social excellence and toward admission in top colleges. Based on any metric, Harker is undoubtedly the best school in the Bay Area and is one of the best schools in the nation. The results speak for themselves.
When we were looking at schools, our goal was to find a community that would take a whole child approach to education -- nurturing their character and curiosity as well as their intellect. We're grateful to have found that at Harker. As parents I believe we all have the same dreams for our children For them to grow to be creative, independent thinkers who regard learning not only as a core strength but as a life-long passion. For them to be continually inspired, and in turn, inspire those around them. And most importantly, for our children to be happy and resilient as they grow to pursue their own path.. Every year, we watch our children realize a little more and more of those dreams with a sense of awe and profound gratitude. We are grateful for the teachers who carefully nurture their curiosity and encourage their out-of-the-box questions; the athletic, performing arts, and journalism departments that foster their spirit and sense of team; and their peer group who serve as uniquely caring allies. We have 3 kids with very different personalities/learning styles. One of Harker's internal mantras is "Challenged, not stressed" and we have found that to be true.
What I have been amazed by is how well my child's teachers really know her. For example, at parent teacher conferences, a few mentioned my reserved kid's sense of humor which is rather subtle. Teachers are quick to respond to parent emails and always go the extra mile to make sure my child is happy and confident. I love that she gets four days a week of PE where they really teach skills, and art instruction and music every week and a SEL component. The curriculum has age appropriate performing arts and public speaking opportunities starting in Kindergarten so the kids become confident in front of an audience. Finally, I was a little nervous about over intense academics and competition and cannot be more pleasantly surprised that it isn't the pressure cooker at all that I imagined. Harker stresses "challenge without stress" and there are three levels of language arts and math to meet their needs starting in K. My child started at the lowest level and has moved up after she learned to read (did not come in reading) and shown the ability to take on more challenge. Even at the first level, she was at least .5-1 year ahead of her public school friends. We are very pleased with Harker!
Having graduated, I realize that Harker really is a special place. It has prepared me so well for college that all the classes I have taken at university so far have been easy. The details and facts every student learns in school don t matter, but rather, the way students think and analyze determines their success. When you get a job, your boss will not care about your GPA, but rather he will care about how you think. If I prize anything that Harker has taught me, it is that I know how to think. None of my friends at college understand how special Harker is, because in truth, nowhere really compares. Treasure every moment of your Harker experience, because sooner than later, you will graduate and you will be expected to live your own life, perhaps even to make a difference in the lives of others. I used to think that the Harker moto, K through Life was a little exaggerated, but now I see that we alumni will carry a bit of Harker within ourselves forever, and everything we do will reflect back on the school. That s something that can only be realized once you leave, so I urge all remaining students, make the most of Harker, because you will truly never be in a place like it again.
If you want your kids to grow up with a love for learning, send them here. The "cool" kids here are the smart ones, and students legitimately enjoy helping each other and watching each other succeed. I attended Harker for many years, and I can confidently say that the classroom experiences and lifelong friendships I picked up instilled in me not only a passion for knowledge, but also a closely-knit network of amazing friends who are going on to do great things. Watch out in 10-20 years--many of our country's leaders will count themselves as Harker alumni!
Fantastic school! Though it's very expensive and it pushes the students to the MAX, it's a great school where the students truly learn.
Harker's learning environment is something unique. While I was a student, I always felt surrounded by creative, quirky, and passionate classmates and faculty. It was a great place to learn, challenge assumptions, and be challenged. The school offers quite a range of classes, and very thorough college counseling.
I feel so lucky to have attended Harker. My experiences at the school helped me see that I am capable of so much more than I would have ever believed--academically, athletically, personally. I cannot adequately express in words how deep my gratitude is to the many teachers, coaches, and mentors who genuinely cared about me, listened to me, and made me believe that I can actually contribute and make the world a better place. I graduated from the high school five years ago and am happy to still be in touch with some of the faculty and many classmates. I hope to be friends with these people for many more years to come. They inspire me to be the best that I can be!
I went to Harker from 7th thru 12th grade, and I wouldn't trade my time here for any other middle/high school. Here are a couple reasons why: - CLASSROOM SIZE: Small class sizes w/ extremely dedicated teachers - CLUBS: So many choices - everyone is welcome. - STUDENT COUNCIL: I landed a scholarship at Santa Clara University for my leadership experience in high school. - SPORTS: Never would have played all these sports at a big public school. - COMMUNITY: I don't know anyone that has as much communication with their high school alumni class as I do. The Harker Family is no joke. - COLLEGE READY: Most importantly, college was a breeze for me. We were academically challenged at Harker and it really paiid off. - INTERNSHIP/JOB READY: Landed internships easily during and after college and into my first job once finishing undergraduate school. High school is an important step. I can rave all day long about how much I appreciate the teachers, faculty, and friends that I have made about Harker.
My Harker education (middle school through high school) provided access to the best teachers, incredible extracurricular opportunities and resources, and inspiring peers. The opportunity to customize much of my learning helped me focus on subjects of strength and interest, taught by teachers who are truly passionate about their subjects and are incredibly caring, highly-qualified people. I can't overemphasize how valuable it was to be around people who pushed themselves academically as well as in their extracurricular passions--music, art, dance, athletics, student government, debate, entrepreneurship, engineering, etc. Being at Harker may not be right for everyone, as expectations ARE high, but you can't find a more challenging, yet primarily supportive environment in the area.
I love this school! The academics are great, and there is a lovely background. People who think this is not a great school just cannot stand the competitive background. However, there will be a competitive background in any top tier private school. Also, competition breeds innovation. I would definitely recommend sending your child here.
After 14 years of a Harker education (we had pre-K, then!), I am an absolutely proud Harker alumna. As many people here have remarked, Harker is certainly an academically powerful institution. But, just as everyone also adds, it is so much more than that. When I hear about those dreaded middle school years or high school years from friends who didn't go to Harker, I realize how lucky I was. Sure, I had awkward days, and sure, I had days when I questioned myself. But, I never once questioned the value of who I was becoming. I never questioned my cool factor, whether I'd fit in with other people, or second-guessed raising my hand. I got to be fully me, on good days and bad. I had teachers who made me feel like my voice mattered, and that my peers' voices mattered just as much. That encouraged a high degree of empathy and respect, and an appreciation for a healthy discussion -- not yelling, not triumphant debate, just participating in a forum of intellectual curiosity. And, most importantly, I formed a family of my closest friends, mentors, and teachers. I couldn't have asked for more.
Harker has managed to exceed our expectations. The Whole Child approach to learning works. At Harker, every child shines. Some are athletic, while others are artistic or musical. And contrary to popular myth, there is no homework in kindergarten, and only a few minutes (literally less than 5 minutes) for 1st and 2nd grades. There is zero tolerance for bullying, and it just doesn't exist. Most of the parents I ve met are working people usually two people working full time jobs. No spoiled kids with entitlement issues, just children from hard working families who make sacrifices to send their children to the school. A word about tuition... Harker is the only independent school where tuition covers the after-school program, field trips, etc. When you add in the aftercare program and classes offered at the other schools, along with the various extra charges and fees, Harker tuition is about the same as other independent schools in the area. The facilities and enrichment programs at Harker are clearly the best.
I am a student at Harker, and have been since second grade. You may have read reviews alleging that Harker is an ineffective, over-priced school for snobby rich kids. In all honesty, Harker is nothing like that. Yes, the environment is academically competitive, but that doesn't mean that the students don't support each other. Also contrary to popular belief, Harker stresses a well-rounded education, complete with athletics, the arts, academics, and community. Because that's what Harker is. It's a big family where everyone helps each other. Unlike the stereotypical high school, Harker really doesn't have "popular" students. There is much less social pressure, and every person is encouraged to be themselves and do what they love. With the smaller student to teacher ratio, each student gets the help that they need. Also, I don't know where people have been getting their information, but coming from a student, the faculty and staff are absolutely phenomenal, well-qualified individuals. I'm not going to say Harker is perfect, but it's pretty darn close. You may come for the academics, but you'll stay for the people.
Harker is an awesome school! The teachers are very helpful and encouraging and the material is good. The sports coaches are excellent too. There's fun events, parties, concerts, after school activities, student council, a school newspaper, ect... it's awesome.
I am a student who currently attends The Harker School, and regardless of what other people think, I am so fortunate to go to such a great school. I am completely aware the tuition is far higher than most schools, but if it weren't for Harker, I don't think I would ever have such great self motivation to be the student or person I am today. The competitive environment is great for those who seek a challenge, yet never too much to "burn you out." The students there share the same ideas towards education, but contrary to popular belief, we don't let our grades dictate our lives. The teachers there are well chosen and are always ready to help students who ask. Harker has allowed me to not only excel in school, but also in creating lasting friendships and important skills, such as communication, (time)management, and maturity beyond my years. This school is not for everyone. It's for parents willing to make the financial sacrifice to prevent placing an anchor on their children's educational growth. and yes, it's true. If your child excels in a certain subject (i.e math), the school will push your child forward until the student feels challenged (7th grader taking AP Calc BC).
The Harker School provided my two adult children an excellent education, excellent work ethics, strong foundation and love for learning. Was it worth the money? Yes it was. Was it worth the hard work? I believe they would say yes. Some day they want to sent their children to Harker. That's saying a lot about a Harker School education.
Very disappointed with this school. I won't go into details due to the terms you must agree to on this platform, however, there is a lot to be said and I would strongly consider other schools.
I was definitely not satisfied with the sort of education they provided my child here. Teachers are unresponsive and despite requests by my child to get help, none was given. Only some teachers are good here and for the price you're paying, it's not entirely worth it.
With two sons in Harker's Upper School, I can now look back and comment on the stereotypes I heard prior to their entry to Harker. I had heard that it was a school for kids who did nothing but study, that it was a high-stress, unhealthy environment and that the average student was a rich, spoiled brat. I can state without hesitation that those characterizations are utter nonsense. Harker puts a premium on kids having a balanced life, with athletics, the arts, and many extra-curriculars being highly promoted and supported by faculty and adminstrative leadership. While many families do have considerable wealth, it is not a dividing line for friendships or for popularity at school. If anything, the typical Harker family is Asian (Indians and Taiwanese being strongly represented), with two-income earners who make the sacrifices to put their kids' education first. As a family whose kids did not attend Harker K-8, it was a highly competitive process to gain admission. Typically only 10 to 15 percent of all applicants from outside schools are admitted into the 9th grade, and a personal interview, three strong recommendations and high scores on their admission test is required.
Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.
The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
To start a new list, click OK. Otherwise click Cancel.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of Harker School, The on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for Harker School, The, including performance data and recently posted user reviews.