Dear Harbor Families,
It’s the height of admissions season in the independent school world, and we have been busy talking with prospective families, hosting student visits, and facilitating tours and open houses at Harbor - often for several families each day! I always find it invigorating to speak with families considering Harbor to share our mission and what makes us truly unique compared to other school options - our intentionally small school and class size, low teacher:student ratios, emphasis on social emotional learning, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, dynamic interdisciplinary program including Spiral (!), understanding of learning differences, and focus on early childhood and early elementary development - just to name a few.
The best part of these conversations during family tours, though, is witnessing prospective families actually seeing the magic of Harbor in action, and sharing the many stories of our students and families - your families’ stories, and my family’s story - about how Harbor has made the difference in a child’s development and a family’s experience.
Many of you know that I grew up as a student in the public school system for elementary, middle, and high school, and spent the first ten years of my teaching career teaching second and third grades in Howard County Public Schools. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties when I found what education could be like in the independent schools. Later, as parents, Bill and I, like many of you, thought carefully about the public school in our neighborhood when purchasing a house, and despite my career path in independent schools, have thought a lot about and remained open to the idea of sending Emily, and later Jude, to our local neighborhood public school.
As time has passed and we have personally experienced our kids’ development within the support, care, and personalized experience at Harbor, it has become clear that, for our family, the independent school experience is “worth” the financial investment in our kids’ future. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but as Emily approaches the end of her educational journey at Harbor (deep breath!), she has developed into a confident, kind, and capable student who is ready for her next school environment. (So have all of her classmates, by the way!) For Emily, a young person who is naturally reserved in larger groups, her confidence and leadership skills have developed in ways that we think never would have happened in another school. Her learning differences of dyslexia and dysgraphia have been identified and supported in very personal and targeted ways throughout each year at Harbor from JK until grade 3 - and she is entering “the wider waters” from this safe Harbor with solid skills, the ability to persevere through challenges, a certain confidence, and a love of reading (how many families of third graders with dyslexia can say that?). Bill and I couldn’t be more proud - and more grateful to the teachers at Harbor.
So far, Emily has visited two of the four schools to which she is applying, and while none are quite like Harbor, we are confident in the process and in the knowledge that this next step after Harbor will give her just what she needs at just the right time. I’ll let you know how it goes!
In the next few weeks and months, the admissions season will continue; we appreciate you sharing your Harbor stories and experience with friends and neighbors, and sending prospective families our way! And for your family and child, keep your eyes open for re-enrollment information, to be shared in early February!
Head of School