My son started at Haverford in 9th grade after going to a public school for 5 years. He loves the school and does not want to miss a single day. When being asked about bullying he stated that this is not an issue at all. He loves the atmosphere, the activities, and the academics exposing him to different activities and view points.
The Haverford school focuses on athletics before anything else as a way to garnish prestige for a school I've come to know as a $36,000 A range grade. It is difficult for a student to do poorly at haverford as grades are inflated and acidemic rigor lowered in order to meet the ability of recruited athletes. We also did not enjoy the all boys atmosphere as it had the opposite effect on our child. An all male education was touted as a way to let our son grow up independent of social pressures associated with co-education. However, once presented with real world, which is not segregated, he was unsure how to handle it. I've talked with other parents of older students who've viewed the same effects from time to time where the alpha male, dissmissive mindset comes out. Given the choice again I would not consider Haverford again and would skip right to coeducation as we are at now. Maybe this atmosphere and athletic prowess is beneficial to some but it did not prepare our son for the acedemic rigor of the school he now attends, nor did it prepare him for the reality of life as initially promised as we wrote the check.
Haverford is not the school it once was....and I am not just talking about the major drug issues that have received national coverage. The problem is resources. The upper school seems to get more than its fair share of resources and support which now includes crisis management and drug counseling. The lower school enrollment has dropped off significantly ....so the cut corners are evident. Until there is a major paradigm shift, I would never recommend it.
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love Haverford. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to attend this school in 2007. Coming from an under achieving public school prior to Haverford, the transition was smooth and quick. Although the school's mission is to prepare boys for life, I learned something in addition to that. I learned a lot about myself and the true value of an education; it's not just a means to a financial end (1st generation college student), but it's also a vehicle for enlightenment and bettering ourselves. Yes there's no denying one of the earlier reviews about "bullying". It's more hazing than it is bullying; it occurs once in a while, but the administration (as well as the students) handles it well. There is low tolerance for bullying and the bully is asked to leave the school. Hazing/bullying occurs at every institution of learning regardless of prestige, but it is small at Haverford compared to other schools. The "traditional" teaching style and (not as cutthroat as in the past) competitiveness is supported by the large percentage of graduates attending elite colleges. Colleges support that style :) - 2011 Alumnus, Colgate University Student
My son is in the lower school & I can't say enough good things. Our experience has been great. I have seen no competitiveness or bullying or teachers encouraging it. My son is non-athletic, shy, sensitive, sweet & calm, so I was worried when we decided to switch him based on the review below & am so glad I decided to ignore it. He is so happy at school. The boys are all incredibly nice & respectful of each other. Everyone gets along. His teacher is so warm & caring and is always in contact with the parents sending information and pictures. She teaches the boys to be kind & caring friends both in the classroom & during sports. I have had other teachers approach me (who I don't even know) tell me how much they love my son & how sweet he is. My son LOVES school, his teacher & art and science & can't wait to get there in the morning. The school also has a zero bullying tolerance and has kicked kids out for that. They understand technology is the future & integrate it into the curriculum. I think that sometimes Haverford gets a bad rep because of it's past , but that is no more & the new headmaster would never allow it. He is non-pretentious, down to earth & accessible.
This school provides high quality education, has very outgoing and brilliant teachers and students, and it really does prepare boys for life. I am a student in my 2nd year in the Upper School and I have become a completely different and matured person. The community is like a family and the opportunities that this school provides you are top-notch. With the excellent food and campus to top it off, Haverford is truly one of the best schools that a child can attend.
Honestly, I love working at The Haverford School. It is a dynamic and diverse community that sets high expectations for itself and supports its students and faculty well. We work hard and play hard, but also have a lot of fun together. There is a very intentional focus on faculty collaboration, professional development, and research into best practices in teaching boys. I think the school achieves a healthy balance of the 3 A's and other extracurricular pursuits in "Preparing Boys for Life." Beautiful campus, great energy and school spirit, and the boys keep us young at heart!!
I felt compelled to respond to the disgruntled parent who thinks that new teaching methods are superior. How can you argue with success ? This school has produced many accomplished alumni with their methods. The world is a competitive place and the sooner that this is learned the better. If you want a protective environment for your children, then home school them, and let them live in the guest room until their 25. But as Billy Joel said in the lyrics to Captain Jack, " you're 21 and still your mother makes your bed and that's too long".