"Decent school for average learners. Weak fit for high-ability learners. Contrary to Admin's representations, they do not differentiate. When asked how they differentiate, they say "all students here are gifted," so they end up teaching to the middle. (Pleasant politically acceptable excuse for not doing anything for high-ability learners.) Teachers don't have freedom to individualize their classroom practice to accommodate student variability. They reject any form of acceleration because, "we've never done that before." Kids who do succeed fit within a small tight box, and don't think outside that box. Despite the lack of a challenging learning environment, those kids who do stick around will learn how to study from a handful of highly experienced upper-school teachers specializing in language arts and math."
"The people who go to Harbor Day, stand by it with conviction because of the over $20k price tag per child. This validates them. Putting money aside, if HD is going to attempt to compete with the best private schools back east, which they claim they can, then they should hold their students accountable for their character...just like back east. Meaning, high tuition = personalized curriculum, excellent moral and character building of the students, and elite educational opportunities. None of these happen at HD. The children leave at the end of 8th grade with a chip on their shoulder; certainly not sweet nor unassuming. These children are bread from day one to compete not within themselves, but with their peers, creating a cut-throat mentality and vibe. Girls are ostracized and segregated from day one, as taught by their Mommies, and boys are programmed to be an athlete....even at the expense of needing to be tutored 4 days a week because they are struggling, at least they are an athlete. We pay for the culture, not just the academics at a private school. One the 8th graders wrote with her grad picture that she wanted to be an OC housewife when she grows up. Need I say more??"
"I love Harbor Day. It is a warm, welcome environment where everyone and everything quickly becomes familiar. The academics are unbeatable for those who want a challenge, but they also have an incredible art program if academics aren't as much of a focus. I loved knowing that at Harbor Day, the education was the best there is. Especially the English and Foreign Language programs are incredible and easily give all HDS students a one or two year head start on kids from public schools."
"Harbor Day is an amazing school! The teachers are so caring and passionate, the class sizes are fairly small so the students get the special attention, their English Department is probably what I'm most satisfied with. The way they teach, especially in writing massively helps the students grow as writers. Everyone is so friendly, they offer some great electives as well as outdoor education/field trips for each grade!"
"Harbor Day could be a great school if it wasn't being dragged down by the alumni. I don't consider teaching to the middle exceptional. ...It's lazy. Harbor Day needs more young, bright, excited, creative teacher! Kids should be inspired by the teachers and staff....A true lack of leadership. HDS needs to go bak and re-read it's own mission statements."