Harbor Day integrates character education into the curriculum using the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Read more on our Character Education page.
Recognition for various achievements encourages self-esteem and a positive spirit. Many awards are given at regular assemblies like Kindergarten Caldecott Awards or Fourth and Fifth Grade Newbery Awards. Other recognized achievements include the “Pat-on-the-Head” honor roll, Blue-Gold athletic competitions, “Word Masters” Competition, the Geography Bee, art shows, math awards, Latin conventions, and the Harbor Lights literary magazine.
Occasional, brief assignments begin in Kindergarten. As the children move through the grades, they become accountable for more extensive independent work. In addition to its essential value as practice and preparation, homework provides children with an opportunity to take responsibility for their own work.
Parents receive written reports on their children's achievement four times per year, including teacher observations and evaluations. By fourth grade, trimester reports include achievement and effort grades in addition to written comments. Formal parent-teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year. The Head of School, school division directors, and the faculty encourage open communication with parents.
The Harbor Day School students, faculty, and staff are all involved in the “Families” program. A Family is defined as a group of nine or ten students, one from each grade, and an adult. Harbor Day has 44 Families who meet together once a month during the school year to get to know one other, to discuss values, and to share activities. The Families increase the sense of school community, build familiarity among students in kindergarten through grade eight, and become a vehicle for projects that benefit the school and its community.
Parent involvement is a hallmark of Harbor Day School. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in supporting their child's education. Coordinated by the Parent Council Board, more than 200 parent volunteers staff the library, organize the Fall Benefit, Grandparents' Day, the lunch program, and various other Parent Council committees.
Family involvement provides critical support for school operations, enrichment opportunities, and the academic program. Most importantly, it maintains the close ties between parents and their children during these formative years when values are established.
The students at Harbor Day School participate in many community service projects throughout the year. From kindergarten to grade eight, students have abundant opportunities to experience the spirit of volunteerism through involvement in worthy projects. Students in eighth grade are required to do 15 hours of community service. In 2012, a Community Service Committee was added to the Parent Council. This committee emphasizes volunteerism and coordinates family service days throughout the school year.
Field trips to museums, galleries, laboratories, and theaters throughout Southern California add to the enrichment opportunities offered on campus. In Upper School, students attend outdoor education trips that emphasize the development of the whole child.