The school has striven over the last few years to really look at the time students take with homework and they have built in safety measures to ensure the children are not stressed out at the end of their day trying to complete homework. The homework is limited by the administration--different standards for different grades, of course--and students can attend Extra Help any day of the week with their teachers to complete homework or go over finished work to make sure it was done correctly.
The administrators at Harker understand that there is little value to providing an education if the student isn't taught how to be honest and to maintain personal integrity in order to both make the most of their education and to become the best kind of world citizens.
We have really enjoyed watching our children thrive at Harker. One of the most important factors has been that each teacher takes a personal interest in our children's welfare and performance. The safety factor is huge--from personal observation we have seen how well the school maintains its facilities, and how after school staff monitors student activity. The academics are tough, but interesting and entirely doable by any reasonably intelligent, hard working child as long as the parents support the child's efforts and help with homework. We are proud to be a Harker family and know that these years, and this excellent education, will resonate with our children for the rest of their lives.
Harker is an incredible school, with an amazing student body. The children are wonderful role models, focused and kind. My child has 13 students in his math and language arts elementary school classes (all at a similar or same level) so that there are few, if any, distractions for teachers. These children want to learn each day and they do! We have attended other private schools and in our experience K-8th grade schools can't come close to offering a similar experience due to lack of resources. Smaller schools mean fewer opportunities for differentiation, a less diverse group of friends, and fewer subject specialists to teach your child each day. We are a caucasian family from the east coast and have been "wowed" by Harker. It's the closest thing we could find to New England area prep schools and even better! You will be surprised how focused they are on developing the whole-child, while offering a very strong academic program. If Harker is not on your radar, and you live in the bay area, you are seriously missing out! Niche.com ranks it #1 in the country in terms of teacher quality and academics!
We absolutely love this school. Having arrived from NY we weren't sure what to expect but to say it is above our expectations is an understatement. A brilliant mix of academics, arts and sports. The school is very organised, believes is respect and community and has a high level of communications with parents. We could not be happier!
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!