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Want to Get the Most Out of High School? Start With Middle School

The high school years have become increasingly challenging for families to navigate. For better or worse, the college process begins earlier and earlier and students cannot wait until ninth grade or later, to develop a strong academic identity, a solid record of achievement and a clear set of scholastic goals. Parents who discover in high school that their child is not fully engaged in learning, has lost interest in extracurricular activities, or has too few opportunities to explore their unique interests, find it exceedingly difficult if not impossible to get their kids back on track.

If you want to make sure your child gets the most out of high school, you need to start in middle school.

One of the most crucial junctions in a young person’s life is during the 6th and 7th grade years, and these middle school years are unfortunately a time when some students begin to disengage from school. Without intervention before high school, lack of interest in school and other issues may have deepened to the point where they have far-reaching impacts.

In a 2009 middle school policy and practice brief, “Putting Middle Grades Students on the Graduation Path,” Dr. Robert Balfanz, a noted researcher from Johns Hopkins University, called these formative years the most important and fertile years in a child’s education, and a time when educators really have a chance to change a child’s trajectory. Dr. Balfanz cites the ABCs – chronic absenteeism, behavioral problems, and low course grades – as off-track indicators signaling the potential for lower graduation odds.


A Strong Partnership Between Parents and School

The Harvey School is an independent college-preparatory day and boarding school serving grades 6-12 in Katonah. “We know the middle and high school years are a pivotal time in any young person’s life, a time to be challenged, engaged, and excited about new experiences and opportunities,” says Dr. Brendan Byrne, Head of Harvey’s middle school. “It's important for parents to consider what environment will bring out the best in their child. Young people need schools that will promote their intellectual growth and allow them to be engaged in meaningful activities outside of the classroom. Nowadays, it is important for kids to feel connected. Schools should be communities where students can participate in academics, the arts, and athletics. Through engaging school programs, kids can build positive relationships with peers and teachers. When not given these opportunities, young people may gravitate towards activities outside of school, which might not always bring out the best in them."  

Families in Westchester County and beyond have chosen The Harvey School because it inspires young people to develop the confidence and leadership qualities needed to succeed in the 21st century. With academic excellence at the forefront since 1916, students benefit from a wide variety of offerings targeting artistic exploration, athletic achievement, community service, and global awareness.


A Welcoming, Warm Environment

With 10 students in a typical classroom and a 6:1 student teacher ratio, students receive individualized attention tailored to their needs, talents, and interests. Students develop enduring relationships with their teachers and advisors, offering them a lifetime of support for career recommendations, decision making, and mentorship.

Students thrive with individualized attention, and The Harvey School’s focus on inclusive participation offers opportunities for all students to enjoy academic studies, sports teams, creative arts, and a broad array of exciting extracurricular activities.


Diverse Student Body

Harvey students represent a diversity of languages, cultures, and customs, offering an environment which helps to prepare them for the realities of the global world in which they live. International students from four different overseas nations join a co-ed student body from the tri-state area to create a school community that’s geographically, socio-economically, racially, religiously, and ethnically diverse.


Deep Community Engagement

Learning to take personal responsibility as an active member of a larger community is emphasized as an essential skill at The Harvey School. The parent of a middle school student said, “If my child’s not prepared for class, she knows it’s not fair to the other students. She wants to contribute to meaningful classroom discussions and not let the others down by being unprepared for class.”


Academic Excellence

Honors and Advanced Placement classes challenge the most capable students, and The Harvey School boasts a 100% rate of students admitted to four-year colleges. The Harvey School is fully accredited by, and is a member of, the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).


Signature Programs in the Sciences and Arts

The Harvey School’s groundbreaking robotics program has garnered a National Robotics Championship, and the robotics team took 1st place at the B.E.S.T. New Rochelle Tournament and finished 2nd in the NYS Championship. Established in 2014, this exciting program functions as a combined Robotics Lab and Makerspace, complete with 3-D printers, computers, and iPads, and a full array of traditional construction tools and electronics. Students create prototypes and products to augment classroom learning.

A hallmark of Harvey's intensive science curriculum is the Science Trajectories model, which allows 9th grade students to delve into six separate units of study and explore all the scientific disciplines offered at the higher levels.

Each year, budding playwrights create one-act plays and produce more than ten Black Box Productions in The Walker Center for the Arts, the school’s world-class arts facility, where all performing arts classes, concerts, productions, and community performances take place.


Athletic Programs for All Students

Physical fitness is one important foundation for a healthy life, and all students are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of sports. The Harvey School has 33 sports teams, including 15 at the varsity level, many of which are coached by Harvey teachers. The school has won 25 sports championships since 2000. The school’s beautiful 125-acre campus has an ice rink, weight room, fitness center, six tennis courts, athletic center with three gymnasiums, and six athletic fields.


Now Accepting Applications for 2018

Now is a very good time to consider enrollment options for 6th to 10th graders who wish to begin classes in the 2018-19 school year. New students are typically enrolled in 6th or 9th grades, though spaces are occasionally available for 11th and 12th graders. New students usually begin their studies in the fall, though accommodations may be made for those who are accepted at other points during the year. All inquiries should be directed to the Office of Admissions. The vast majority of the school’s selective enrollment decisions are made during the winter months prior to the next school year.

The Harvey School offers a traditional co-ed college-preparatory curriculum for students in grades 6-12 in a warm, welcoming environment. Its mission is to inspire critical and creative thinking while instilling and nurturing the values of respect, integrity, and self-reliance. About 90% of the student body attends on a day-school basis, and the remaining 10% of students (grades 9-12) participate in an optional five-day residential program. More than 25% of students receive some form of financial aid.

For more information, or to apply for admission, please visit go.harveyschool.org/i-am-harvey.

The Harvey School
Office of Admissions
260 Jay Street
Katonah, NY 10536
Phone: (914) 232-3161
Email: admissons@harveyschool.org


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