Dr. Thompson, our Principal, is a fantastic leader. Her attitude and direction of focusing on the children is visible throughout the halls and playgrounds, as demonstrated by caring teachers, staff, and students. I interviewed several (more than 15) principals when I was making home buying decisions, and am so thankful my children get to go to Harlan.
Derby.....that's another story.
This is our first real schoolyear at Harlan and so far we regret that we just bought a house in this schooldistrict because of that allegedly great elementary school....its just NOT. It starts with the principal, who is as cold as an iceblock and superficial, just cares about the reputation of the school. In my opinion she does not really care about the kids, what actually should be her first thought. Thats why also most of the teacher are not very warm and just try to function to do their job. As a parent i am really missing the feeling that the teachers at Harlan do their job because its their passion, not just becomes its the way how they earn their money. Harlan puts so so much pressure already on their youngest students (kindergarteners) regarding math and reading, instead of working on their social skills, which are at least as imortant as good grades. Its really sad to see how less they care about that the kids next to learning also can have a good time with their classmates and become strong personalities. I wish they would understand that education is just one of the puzzle pieces to build a successful person. The best part about Harlan is the office staff....
I am a parent who places a very strong emphasis on academics. When I hear parents remark, "oh, it's just kindergarten", it makes me cringe. I moved to the district for the schools, and I was on the verge on sending my child to one of many prestigious private schools in the area. I m glad I changed my mind. My son just completed extended-day kindergarten at Harlan, and I am very pleased with the quality of his teacher, organization, caring for the children, exposure to technology, and strong weight on academics. I believe his teacher prepared the entire class to almost a second grade level! Even more, the principal (Ms. Thompson) is simply wonderful. She is accessible, witty, caring, loves the children, balanced, and fair. The librarian (Ms. Stayer) is also phenomenal. Additionally, although there is little diversity at the school, Harlan is the only elementary school in the district that has its own African-American Family Network subsidiary (from the district-wide organization), so the parents are highly involved, as well as a Diversity Committee. The only concern I have with Harlan is the level of involvement of parents in the PTA. Thus, do yourself a favor and check out Harlan.
Amazing school! We have been in this neighborhood and have children attending Harlan since 1995. The shift of philosophy that occurred in 2005 has brought this school to new heights. Each child is treated with great care. The teachers and each staff member facilitates ongoing communication with parents and one another to be sure each child gains a positive school experience. Yay to Harlan! We love you dearly!
Not only does Harlan have an outstanding teaching and administrative team, the Harlan community is incredibly warm and supportive. It is an amazing place and blessing for my children to have an opportunity to be part of such an excellent learning environment with caring people!