Strategic Plan

MIssion Statement 2021

Harbor Day School provides an academically challenging, well-balanced education in a nurturing and inclusive family-centered environment. Our faculty inspires curiosity and a desire to learn, and cultivates in students the confidence, strong moral character, and perseverance to thrive. We celebrate diversity and traditions, value collaboration and innovation, and cherish our community and the lifelong relationships developed.
Gradatim ad Summum  

The motto of Harbor Day School, meaning “Step by Step to the Top,” reflects the importance of a strong primary education. With each grade a student completes, he or she adds more knowledge, allowing for personal growth. Each step taken builds upon the previous step for the comprehensive and well-balanced education for which the School strives. This motto encompasses the mission by allowing for steady personal progress which in turn develops our eager, collaborative, and creative students who are prepared for their secondary education and beyond.

Core Values

Challenging Curriculum
We value academic excellence and provide a challenging, well-balanced curriculum that prepares students for a rapidly evolving world.
Excellent Teachers 
Excellent teachers form the foundation of Harbor Day School. We will continue to attract and retain an outstanding and diverse faculty.

Integrity and Social-Emotional Learning
Harbor Day School develops self-reliance, strong moral character, and social-emotional intelligence in our students. 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Harbor Day School fosters socially responsible and empathetic students who recognize and embrace differences among the members of our society.
Nurturing and Inspiring Environment
We provide a warm, innovative, and secure learning environment that inspires students and teachers to think creatively and work collaboratively.

Vibrant Community
Harbor Day is an active and engaged school community characterized by supportive relationships, shared values, wellness, and social responsibility. 
Together, we ensure that a Harbor Day education and its traditions can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Strategic Plan FAQs

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Why do we have a strategic plan?

    A key role of the Board of Trustees is to create the mission for Harbor Day School and provide medium- and long-term strategic direction for the school. The Head of School’s role is to implement the mission and follow the Board’s guidance with regard to strategic direction.
  • Q. What was the process for creating the strategic plan?

    This plan represents the culmination of more than five years of collaboration between the Board of Trustees and the Harbor Day School administration. Extensive survey data from the faculty/staff/administration, parents, alumni, and 8th graders were used as inputs into the plan. We also did outside research on trends in independent schools and on challenges that students face in high school. We had multiple retreat and workshop events that were attended by trustees, members of Parent Council, faculty, staff, and members of the HDS administration. Once a draft of the potential Core Values was created, subcommittees were formed to explore each value and develop Strategic Goals and Implementation Steps. We feel that the process was comprehensive and thorough, and are grateful to those of you who participated whether through responding to a survey or participating in a subcommittee.
  • Q. What does it mean that we have elevated the importance of the motto, Gradatim Ad Summum?

    When we started this process, we hoped to create an easy-to-remember, one-line mission for the school that everyone would know from memory and could refer to easily. In the course of our work and research, we decided that we preferred to have a more detailed and thorough mission statement. Gradatim Ad Summum is already the motto of Harbor Day. It means “step-by-step to the top,” and illustrates the approach to education at Harbor Day. We look forward to featuring this motto prominently on our new campus.
  • Q. Why have we changed the mission?

    Best practice is for mission statements to be reviewed by schools every few years. We refreshed the mission statement to reflect the very clear themes that came out of the strategic plan research, including:
    • the joy of learning that Harbor Day students experience,
    • the grit and perseverance that students develop through the curriculum, particularly in the Upper School, 
    • the fact that Harbor Day graduates thrive in high school, and
    • the warm community feeling that so many of us value at Harbor Day. 
    We feel that it is important to incorporate these ideas into the mission because they represent much of what makes Harbor Day distinct from other independent schools. 
  • Q. What do the Core Values mean for the school?

    The Core Values represent the elements of Harbor Day that are most important to us collectively as members of the school community. There was very clear feedback from the constituents who were surveyed that these six values are important to us as a community.
  • Q. Does this mean that there will be changes to the curriculum?

    The strategic plan provides direction and resources to the Head of School and the administration. There is nothing in the plan that dictates changes in the curriculum. With support from the strategic plan, the administration has made it a priority to continue the strong academic and co-curricular program at Harbor Day and look for opportunities to expand and improve the program. We expect any changes in the curriculum to continue to be driven by teachers and Department Heads working closely with the Heads of Upper and Lower School (as has been the approach at Harbor Day for decades). The Board of Trustees has never had responsibility for curriculum at the school and does not intend to start getting involved now.
  • Q. Will this change the hiring approach for faculty and staff?

    The Head of School is responsible for hiring the faculty, staff, and administration at Harbor Day. The Board of Trustees supports the Head of School’s efforts to continue to attract and retain the highest quality teachers and other professionals to work at Harbor Day. There is nothing in the plan that represents a departure from current interviewing and hiring practices.
  • Q. What is the travel grant mentioned under the Excellent Teachers Core Value?

    One of the clearest messages the Board of Trustees received from the surveys was the value that our community places on our wonderful teachers. To honor the exemplary service of our teachers, we have created a travel grant that will be awarded to teachers who reach certain service milestones at Harbor Day. The Board of Trustees and administration are thrilled to be able to honor our teachers in this way.
  • Q. Will this change the approach for Integrity and Social-Emotional Learning at Harbor Day?

    The integrity and social-emotional curriculum at Harbor Day continues to evolve, particularly as our faculty attend professional development and learn best practices and innovative ways to build character education into the curriculum. The Board of Trustees is grateful to be able to provide resources for faculty professional development, largely thanks to contributions to the Annual Fund, and we look forward to the continued advancement of this element of the HDS curriculum.
  • Q. Will there be more service opportunities at Harbor Day?

    The research that was used for the strategic plan emphasized the importance of volunteering and “giving back” to the younger generation of students. Harbor Day and Parent Council already provide wonderful opportunities for service for students and families. The Board of Trustees looks forward to seeing the school continue to emphasize this element of the program, potentially including additional service opportunities.
  • Q. How will we ensure that the warm culture and sense of community carries over to the magnificent new campus?

    It was clear from the survey data that students, families, and employees of Harbor Day are very happy with their experience at the school. While there are always opportunities to improve and expand certain elements of the school, in general, the Board of Trustees is grateful that our community’s levels of satisfaction and happiness are very strong. With that in mind, it is important that the same warm, cozy, family feel that attracted so many of us to Harbor Day persists in the new building. The Board of Trustees’ Building Committee has worked closely with the Administration to ensure that this Harbor Day feeling carries over to the new building. This will be achieved by intentionally giving the new school a very residential feel, creating many areas on campus to display student artwork, purchasing age (and size!) appropriate furniture, bookshelves etc. for the classrooms, and finding ways to use the phenomenal new collaboration space to keep our community close.
  • Q. How will the strategic plan be implemented?

    The school’s Administration has the responsibility for implementing the plan. We anticipate the creation of an Implementation Committee to ensure progress on the plan.
  • Q. How will the school pay for the implementation of the plan?

    Working with the Head of School and the administrative team, the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee is working on a five-year budget plan for the school. The intent is for the costs of implementation of the plan to be incorporated into the budget of the school. It is also possible that some resources from the Annual Fund will be used to pay for aspects of implementation of the plan.
  • Q. I want more information about the strategic plan. Where can I get it?

    The Board of Trustees and the Harbor Day School Administration are very proud of the strategic plan and would be delighted to talk with you more.

Harbor Day School

3443 Pacific View Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92625 Phone<title><script type="mce-text/javascript"> (function(a,e,c,f,g,h,b,d){var k={ak:"984895077",cl:"EfBCCP-Fv3UQ5ZzR1QM"};a[c]=a[c]||function(){(a[c].q=a[c].q||[]).push(arguments)};a[g]||(a[g]=k.ak);b=e.createElement(h);b.async=1;b.src="//www.gstatic.com/wcm/loader.js";d=e.getElementsByTagName(h)[0];d.parentNode.insertBefore(b,d);a[f]=function(b,d,e){a[c](2,b,k,d,null,new Date,e)};a[f]()})(window,document,"_googWcmImpl","_googWcmGet","_googWcmAk","script"); </script><head><body>1-949-640-1410<html></html></body></head><br><br><br>
Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.
Harbor Day School does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, or other programs administered by the School.