My child attended this school for most of his elementary education. For the most part, the teachers are very caring and competent. I did like the emphasis on respecting yourself and others. There is good control of the environment where the students respect the staff and listen to them. Manners are expected and reciprocated. The principal pushes the SOLs way too hard - to the point that it scares the students. Also, once the SOLs are over, all the students do is watch movies and play. Rather than addressing conflict with parents head on, the principal chooses to avoid the situation. You can tell the staff questions her ability to lead. With the students, she is great though. In a nutshell, it's a good school with good teachers and lots of parental involvement. Just don't rock the boat and ask for something to change or an extra service for your children - then your family will be given a scarlet letter.
Harding is a wonderful small school where the staff goes above and beyond to meet the needs of individual students. There are many opportunities for students to be involved in after school clubs, run by staff, parent volunteers, and Virginia Tech students. The level of parental involvement is excellent and there are regular school events that bring the community to the school. It's been an excellent fit for both my children.
Harding Avenue Elementary School is a small K-5 school located in downtown Blacksburg. The small and open concept classrooms allow for a great learning environment. It truly feels like a community. There is GREAT community support from parents and Virginia Tech students. I can't say enough great things about HAE!!!
HAE is an excellent school! The teachers are very devoted to their students, as is the principal. Both of my kids went/go to HAE. Both kids have loved HAE and excelled there. It is a small school. and very multicultural. Many religions and ethnic backgrounds represented. They have a wide range of after school clubs as well. Their field trips include plays, walking field trips to the library, nature center, etc. I have recommended this school to friends as well who are moving to the area.
HAE is an amazing school which has become an extended family for us. The teachers and administration go above and beyond to educate and care for our children during the day. Test scores reflect this attention and care from the teachers and administration as Harding is one of the top schools in the State of Virgnia. Harding is somewhat unique in the area as it is very close to downtown Blacksburg so students are able to make regular field trips on foot to the Blacksburg library, nature center, and other museums in the area.
Both of our kids are going to this school and they and we love it. It has a great sense of community. Don't let the open layout of the classrooms put you off. We have heard from middle school teachers that they can tell which students went to Harding because they are much less distracted than children from other schools. The staff are very friendly and communicate very well with parents. The standard of education here is one of the highest in Blacksburg and the SOL scores back this up. There are also many after school activities for the children to enjoy which are very well organized and structured.
We could not be happier with this school! Terrific teachers and a very caring principal in a neighborhood school environment. The location is wonderful, as kids can walk to downtown Blacksburg or Virginia Tech for field trips. Your children are not one of many here, but are known and communicated directly with. And, the close proximity of parents mean high parental involvement. It's easy to get involved, and stay involved, in your child's education. This is an absolutely wonderful school!