This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted January 17, 2015
- a student
The Harrisburg Academy is an overall decent school. I have gone there since kindergarten and have made some very close friends. Some of the teachers are very supportive and nice while others are terrible. The food at Harrisburg Academy is awful. It tastes fake and the silverware has old food on it. The elementary school is very good, but the middle school does not offer enough extracurricular activities. The drama options are low and the only sorts offered are basketball, lacrosse, and soccer, because there are not enough kids to play.
Personalized college counseling with a dedicated and knowledgeable college counselor is one of the best unsung heroes of Harrisburg Academy s upper school program. The college counselor is great! She advocates for our students and helps colleges understand the caliber of our school. She s really focused on getting to know the students first hand teaching the college prep class twice a week to all of the juniors of course I know this will help her tailor letters of recommendation, when the time comes! Other parts of the college prep program include having the students participate in a mock application review process and hearing from guest speakers. Her knowledge, energy, confidence, and enthusiasm serve our students well. I also love her open door policy it sounds clich but it s not! This type of service is clearly an advantage of being in the Academy s upper school. I cannot imagine there is another school in our area that has a college counseling program or person like this.
I love that the students enter the classroom with a love of learning. This provides the catalyst for teachers in every department to work together with students and parents to develop the whole child. The students are actively engaged in learning. Their education is supported by caring teachers and parents, and they are challenged academically from the age 3 to 18. I feel fortunate to be able to establish a building block in each child's development and work together in our family community.
Choosing Harrisburg Academy is the best parenting decision we have ever made. The benefits of a Harrisburg Academy education are too numerous for one note local school districts continue to delete or minimize the non-core subjects (like orchestra, music, art, foreign language) while increasing class sizes. Our children need the well-rounded education (like that offered at the Academy) that enables a well-rounded mind and attitude -- a necessity in a shrinking global economy and world. We also love the small school community and the attention that each student receives at Harrisburg Academy, allowing a student-teacher relationship that focuses on growing THAT student and not just teaching to a test or the lowest common denominator.
We are a family with a child enrolled in Early Childhood at the Academy and we love it. I think an asset to our experience has been the cheerful greetings on display at the beginning (and end) of every day. Whether it be on the curb while exiting the car, being greeted by a hello or a good morning, or assistance in holding the door while juggling backpacks, musical instruments, gym bags, etc, or speaking to the teachers as they prepare for another day, the warm welcoming faces and interactions are a huge asset to the school community. At the end of the day, staff sending children home from the lobby with motivating thoughts on a most productive day, is like passing off a baton in a relay. At most other schools, teachers and staff would be in their offices preparing for their busy work day, and greeting parents and students for twenty minutes every morning would not be an option. But this short, yet valuable, "face time" that occurs at the beginning and end of every school day is unmatched. It makes me as a parent feel at ease knowing that I have passed the baton into capable, caring hands. I leave the parking lot with a smile and I feel I have made the right choice.
Every child deserves a school better than Harrisburg Academy. There are practically no extracurricular activities for older kids. There are some good teachers but more that are lackluster and seem to be marginally engaged with the whole process. FYI this fall 2 well liked teachers quit with, in one case, 1 day's warning, and last year the college counselor left suddenly, leaving the seniors in a bind. What does that tell you about the work environment? The kids backbite, harass and bully each other, with no intervention from the teachers. Course choice in high school is extremely limited. The graduation class contained 19 students last year, so there really aren't enough kids to offer curricular variety. Considering the cost of enrolling your child here, you would do better in the public school system. It's such a disappointment.
Harrisburg Academy, has been a disappointment to our family. We expected our child to be challenged and the school to have stronger academics than the local public schools, it does not. The Academy's art and music program as well as lunch and nutrition program are simply phenomenal. The smaller class sizes as well as the exclusivity of the student body should be a perfect pairing enabling the school to create rigorous individualized curriculum, instead the academy teaches to the center of the room leaving the children below, behind, and the children above, bored. Not what our family expected from the top private school in our area!
The students, teachers & staff embraced our family when our child began 5th grade at the Academy in 2011. It was the smoothest & warmest transition we've ever experienced at any school, at any grade - & we're military, so we've had many transitions! We are thrilled with the Science class - complete with a real lab that most kids won't experience until high school - & the Bill Nye-Science-Guy sort of hands-on enthusiasm Mrs. S. brings to the classroom & engenders in the students...so much so, our child signed up for the after school science club (free) to do more experiments! Art class is seriously wonderful (complete with a NYC fieldtrip to the Met!) . The 6th grade Ancient History class feeds my child's craving for all things Egyptian & archeological - just like her 5th grade Geography class fed her interest in studying foreign countries. We love the foreign languages - esp. Latin beginning in 7th grade - & after school sports options (our child swam last yr. & will do the tennis program this yr.) & small class size. The diversity of the student body plus the school's emphasis on technology & a 21st c. curriculum makes it perfect for my 21st c., citizen of the world student!
Great Academics that push the kid and gets them ready for college. The school has great teachers because they can teach how they want, not a strict guidline. Art and Music are strong as well as Gym time. small classes. My son loves the school, unfortuntly a little longer ride for him, but he enjoys it. disruptive kids are removed from school, I love the trouble makers are not asked back.
What is there NOT to like about Harrisburg Academy? The teachers are excellent, extremely caring, and appreciate the uniqueness of each student. The same can be said for the school's administrators and principals - their commitment to educating the whole child is clear with every decision, every newsletter, and every event. The curriculum is challenging, but not out of any child's reach. With so many schools cutting music, phys ed, and foreign language classes, it's a relief to know that Harrisburg Academy will never let that happen within its campus.