Our child started Kindergarten here in the Fall (we got a spot through the magnet lottery) and she has absolutely loved it. It has a very low teacher turnover rate - far below the district or state average. Principal Pugh has a clearly evident commitment to the success of the students and the school. Harris has a low student:teacher ratio, giving the students more attention. The "cafetorium" is packed on event nights. The curriculum is well established and the environment is structured and conducive to learning. Uses a positive reinforcement system to encourage good behavior.
My child attended this school for kindergarten and transferred to another school before first grade. The violin program was great and I could tell the teachers and staff had good intentions, and the curriculum was outstanding. The year ended with advanced reading skills (couldn't read at the beginning of the year), a love for writing (didn't write at the beginning of the year) and playing the violin (ditto), yet my child was so ready to transfer to a new school, I was happy that it came through. The environment at RN Harris is extremely regimented, which may be good and necessary for some kids - my child needed another approach. LOVED going to preschool but lost that feeling during kindergarten (it's back now). As a parent, it was hard to participate. Staff verbally encouraged parents to volunteer but made it difficult by not confirming needs, not supporting the PTA, informing parents of school events and meetings the day before and much more. Proactive communication and proactive parent inclusion would be great assets to the school community. This said, if I had to, I would have given it another year, just in case that year was an anomaly.
My daughter is finished Kindergarten at R.N. Harris in June & will be starting in August for 1st grade. She absolutely loves school & is always looking foward to what they'll be doing. I couldn't belive the work she was coming home with in Kindergarten, but it makes me feel that much more confident that she is getting a great education.
I am a parent of a 2nd grade child that goes to R. N. Harris Magnet School and all I can say is WoW! My husband and I previously toured the school with the principal before applying and were impressed then. The principal, the staff and the teachers are friendly, caring yet efficent when it comes to my daughter's needs from the bus transporting her to having her in an accelarated class. The Core knowledge Curriculm is so much better than the traditional alone that most schools only offer. And I know first hand because I am an educator myself. My Daughter also loves the strings program and dance that is offered weekly as well. Thank you R.N. Harris for educating my little one to be better equipped for the world ahead! Proud Parents of R. N Harris Magnet School!
Best secret in Durham! My son has attended this school for 3.2 years. I love the Core Knowledge curriculum. Core incorporates social studies into daily learning. Instead of social studies and history being a separate subject, (which rarely happens at the elementary level) it is included in daily study of math, reading,and art. For example, (in second grade) during math time the kids had an Indian bizarre. Students brought in 10 items to 'sell' to each other for rupees. Many lessons were learned in this activity, such as managing money, negotiation, relating to others, understanding of a different culture, not to mention math. How cool is that? And that was not the only creative in-class learning event like that that year. They also had a Chinese New years celebration which involved building and constructing a dragon for a parade, a tai chi demonstration, sampling Chinese food with chopsticks. *Small close-knit*
This school is a hidden jewel. My child transferred to RN Harris mid year. The principal and administrative staff were very friendly and welcomed my child. The school creates and maintains a positive behavior support atmosphere. It appears that the teachers and other staff work there as a team. This school creates one of few environments where the secretary actually answers the phone (instead of sending you to voice mail) and the principal knows your child by name. Additionally, this school partners with local universities to provide extra curricular activities to the school and assist with academics. It has been a wonderful experience for my child and I am a proud parent of an R N Harris student.