Harker is truly a wonderful school, however, it is meant for smarter students that are willing to work hard. The school places students in different levels for different subjects, depending on how they perform. If the student was smart enough, he or she could study Calculus in middle school. Truthfully, the amount of homework assigned isn't too bad. In middle school, the amount of time it takes to finish homework usually ranges from 1-3 hours. Some parents may think that a couple of hours spent on homework a night is insane; however, if that is the case, Harker is not the right school for their children. On the other hand, if the student is efficient enough, they can finish most of their homework before school even ends.
My daughter, currently a sophomore in a 4 year college, went to Harker for four years during her high school. She had a great high school experience and the school prepared her very well for college. She got admitted to top colleges and has been able to handle the academic rigour of college life very well. In my experience, schools like Harker which focus on academics are not for everybody specially kids who cannot handle the psycological pressure and intensity that comes with having so many smart kids around them. The one area that I would like to see more improvement is improvement in athletics.
Harker is a place where you can be taking Multivariate Calculus and Differential Equations senior year and have half the class filled with sophomores and juniors. The school has forced me to develop a sense of self unrelated to grades or GPA, something most students don't develop till college. For example in 2008, about 1% of students nationally achieved an 800 on Critical Reading and Math sections of the SAT. At Harker, 14% of students got an 800 on Critical Reading, and 13% got an 800 on Math. The top students at Harker are the ones submitting research papers to Seimens and the Intel Talent Search, to traveling to international Climate change or Peace talk forums for teens. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is not competitive, and student's social lives are healthy.
My children have been at Harker since kindergarten and first grade and are now in the high school. I am 100% pleased with the school. Their teachers have been phenomenal. Last year, I think every one of my older child's teachers had Ph.D.s in their subjects. When I talk to the teachers, it is obvious they absolutely love what they do and it shows in how they treat the kids. When I see how beautifully my children write and the concepts they come up with I am always floored. When I go to the performing arts shows, I can't believe the talent and thought that has gone into the programs. Harker has brought out the best in my kids. I really do think Harker made all the difference for my children and I am really thankful that I made the financial sacrifices to send them to Harker.
Kindergarden through 2nd grade is amazing. My child had a wonderful time and developed academically and socially. Starting in third grade is when it gets scary. My 8 year old was given a locker, had 9 different periods and 7 different teachers. There was homework in 4 different classes and test and projects due regularly. Homework was about 1.5 hours M-Th. 4th grade homework went up to 2-3 hours per day and the 5th grade homework load was an average of 3-4 hours per day. The school will not admit that there is this much homework. They say just do 15 minutes per subject and have a parent sign it off. However, if you don't do your homework you will not understand class and fail the exams because you will not be prepared. In grades 4&5, Harker is tough and your child will quickly grow-up and their childhood will be lost.
While I loved my experience as a student, Harker also gave me the skills and confidence to succeed once I left. Harker indeed helped me get into a college I was very happy with, but it also helped make college a positive experience. For example, Harker s rigor prepared me to major in math, making me very rare as a female and non- classic nerd type. I saw many friends struggle in or avoid courses that were too intimidating. Many skills Harker cultivated leadership, critical thinking, a firm belief in personal integrity, dedication to my community have helped me succeed at work and shaped who I am as a person. Harker is expensive, is academically difficult, and keeps students busy from morning until night with extracurricular commitments. But it s also true that it s worth the effort. Thanks so much to my parents for the sacrifices they made to send me to Harker!
The best prep school on the west coast. My daughter is graduating in 2009 from the high school. She loved the school, its resources, excellent teachers, world class labs and an opportunity to involve in plethora of extracurricular activities. She has been saying each day this week that she will be missing the school. We will miss it too. Every day while dropping and picking her up from school; we always felt a connection with the school. The atmosphere, the new technology building, the athletics facilities, the student body, and the teaching staff were all so overwhelming. She is matriculating to a top college this fall along with 13% of the seniors who are matriculating to one of top 6 (HMSPYC). There will be another 15% of the class matriculating to rest of US News top 20. Around 12% will join UCB and another 15% will be joining USC. Even
Like all high schools, it can be difficult to fit in and assimilate into the atmosphere. Yet this is not the case at Harker as a 'We are Harker' mentality includes people from all spheres of friends. Harker's reputation for excellence in extra curricular activities and academics prove to be more than enough reason for you to send your child to this prestigious school.
This is my eighth year at Harker. I haven't really been to any other school to know what it's like, but Harker is an average society. Harker has created an image for itself: an academically rigorous school with lots of challenges and lots of extracurricular activities all under a big hood of care. Harker is a big private school where kids can become cliquey, mean, and just down right horrible. The new administration doesn't really care about the kids, but they care about the parents spending an extreme amount of money. Harker is a good school, but only if you have the right teachers. If not, you won't really learn anything, and that course becomes useless. Harker can be extremely easy too, but only if you got into Harker based on how smart you are, not because your parents were willing to pay extra money for their annual fund. Please reconsider.
I have attended Harker for 5 years now, and I am in high school. I actually look forward to coming to school every morning, which is not something that can be said for the average teenager. The focus is on academics, but I am able to take honors/AP classes while also participating in sports, journalism, and performing arts. I love this school, and would recommend it to all
This is the worst school my child has ever attended. She went to the Harker Elementary school and attended for 2 years. In 4 grade, she had 3-4 hours of homework. 3 to 4 hours! All the other children that go to different schools have to do half of that. So at 9 years old, she became stressed. Harker's way of teaching was incredibly vacuous. After 3rd grade my daughter became so stressed and depressed at school that she started cutting herself and crying all the time. She gained a lot of weight. She was also having a friend problem. Harker has a major clique and stealing issue. My daughter has had 2 sweaters and about 10 mechanical pencils stolen. She only gets 7-8 hours of sleep per night without watching tv. So please think twice next time you want to admit your child to this terrible school.
Harker is an excellent school for motivated students who find academics interesting and rewarding. The milieu of the middle and upper schools are wonderfully supportive of 'smart kids'. The arts are highly supported, with top level dance, drama, and music departments. Debate is very strong; every branch of debate is represented and highly ranked. The science department is amazing; this year there were the most Intel semi-finalists in the country, and a thriving research division. Staff make sure that no bullying or negative relationships take root at the school, and create a safe and positive environment. The high school has elements of a college campus, with an abundance of opportunities to challenge oneself endlessly. I can't say enough about how much our children have benefited from this school, from top college acceptances for our older children, to the wonderful life long friends all our children have made.
Consider before you send your kids to Harker. Overall, it's an exceptional school, especially for those academically focused. However, the 3 levels within the grade creates side effects. First, it's a bit of a myth that it's fluid -- kids do change levels, but it's not as easy as it sounds. It's easier to move down lthan to move up because of their grading requirement. Even in 1st or 2nd grade, the kids are very well aware of which level they are in, and they tell each other they are 'smart' or 'dumb' depending on which level they are in. When the kids are moved down a level, their entire schedule gets changes (3rd grade) then their social world changes because their friends are no longer in the same schedule. It feels punitive. The best teachers are reserved for the top level. For the best students, the best teachers.
I'm a student in the 7th grade, and this is my second year at Harker. The academic coursework is good for students like me who are lucky enough to have great teachers. Some teachers aren't very good, but the students don't report it and the school doesn't know. The sports program could be better; in 7th grade we only have 3 days of PE and only really sporty kids can get into the teams. The atmosphere is pretty competitive, with awards for almost everything. I enjoy going to school every day...school is fun and the food is good.
If you value your child's education, Harker is the school for you. Yes, it is expensive and It has not been easy for me. However, Harker provides so much more than other private schools and the facilities are amazing. I have no regrets of selecting Harker as the school for my children. The teachers have been wonderful, who have communicated with me well. There also seems to be good communication between the teachers and counselors. The after school program is unlike any other..offering karate, private music instruction, dance, gymnastics, art, cooking, yoga..just to name a few. Harker has helped me to have a child who is confident, respectful towards others, and strives to do her best. I cannot think of any other school who will better prepare my children for college and give the children so many opportunities.
Harker is an excellent school.High performing learners matching its highly qualified faculty.It maybe true that Harker is expensive but you get the best in academics and athletics. If I had kids and the money, I would definitely send my kids to this very prestigious school.
I've been Harker for about eight years now, and I could not feel more comfortable with the setting. We're used to the overload of homework. The students have way too much control though, and I honestly think some abuse it. Yeah, it's expensive, but we have a lot of aspects to explore. Some teachers are amazing while other lack skill. Harker teaches so much more than English or Math or Science. The vast expanse of opportunities makes Harker what it is, regardless of its strive for more money.
Despite all the reviews about Harker's outstanding academics, it is truly a place that lacks the integration of crucial critical thinking skills. The work that the teachers assign takes almost no thinking and the teachers also do not have high standards for their students. Also, many teachers are too close to their students. Students believe they are the smartest people but it's not true at all; it is a fake illusion.
I have to agree. Harker is all about money and although their academics are standard it is highly over-rated. If you want a strong academic school try challenger. However, challenger does not offer all of the extra activities offered at Harker but then their tuition isn't as high either. With the tuition Harker charges of course they can offer all of the extras. Challenger's academics are way above Harkers but be aware it is very challenging and not for your average student. However, if your child is very bright challenger will serve your needs at
'More flexibility with class choices?' Are you kidding? Harker has many scheduling problems and way too often are seniors unable to take certain classes simply because not every class is offered every period. Just because Harker offers so many AP's doesn't mean that each AP can be taken by however many students. Hardly, this is the case.
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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.
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