What is the Harbor School Method?
"When students are given a learning environment with low threat to their personal safety and self esteem and highly challenging academic content, the inevitable outcome is accelerated learning.
"The Harbor School Method believes education should be child centered and built on high expectations for both student behavior and academic endeavor. Decisions on every level should be based on the question, 'What’s best for kids?' The Harbor Method proactively sets up an environment that allows students to focus on learning, while in a safe, secure setting.
"Founded by 30-year Idaho educator & school administrator, Mrs. Rebecca Stallcop, the Harbor School Method has systematically taken the areas of behavior, academic standards, and school leadership and woven them together in a simple, yet complete and unique manner to create bully-free schools that focus on learning, not reactive discipline, and are places where both students and educators thrive.
"The Harbor School Method establishes this school philosophy, embraced by the principals, teachers and other adults involved in the school. The administrator, teachers, other school personnel, parents, and students must hold that every person in a Harbor School is valued and that every student will succeed at a high level both socially and academically. The Harbor School character education plan results in a safe school infused with positive peer pressure, students who are ready to learn everyday, and who possess the self-discipline needed to maximize theirs and other’s educational experiences. The academic program of a Harbor School is designed to meet the needs of students, not cater to the convenience of teachers, administrators, or the school calendar. That means that all styles and rates of learning are taken into account, yet expectations for achievement are not compromised. The Harbor School Method is evidence that where expectations are high and supported with proper instruction in an environment conducive to concentration and comprehension, the results are outstanding."
We believe that all children are capable of learning to higher levels if the conditions are present to do so. The name comes from a school’s total commitment to create an environment that is a “safe harbor” in which students can learn and develop into capable and young adults. The Harbor School Method has six hallmark components:
1. Accelerated Curriculum
The curriculum is college preparatory for everyone. Students perform skills that they are expected to master as well as stretch to. These stretch skills are repeated throughout the year and into the next grade level. Students often hear teachers say, “if you don’t get it today, you ‘ll get it tomorrow”. At each grade level, teachers use whiteboards to teach concepts and skills in an integrated manner across subject areas. Instruction is fast paced and designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for critical thinking and problem solving.
2. High Expectations School Wide
All teachers teach to the high end of ability to develop the competencies of all students. Harbor students know what is expected of them, both academic performance and personal conduct. Students experience the same expectations from grade to grade and teacher to teacher.
3. Personal Attributes for Life
All education at the school helps students develop personal attributes and work habits that will serve them well in school and beyond in their careers. Kindness, personal accountability, and citizenship are three of the character assets that are a school wide focus.
4. Proactive Training for Conduct
Expectations for behavior are taught , practiced, and modeled consistently across all grades. Acceptable behaviors are illustrated and taught in creative, fun, and non-threatening ways to prevent behaviors that are unkind. Students know that taunting, bullying, or negative peer pressure will be swiftly dealt with. Students know that they are expected to contribute in positive ways to their school community and will be held accountable when they do not.
5. Recognition and Reward
Students are recognized for their academic accomplishments, their attitudes, and work habits. Harbor Schools hold ceremonies to recognize students who demonstrate the attitudes and personal behaviors that exemplify school-wide expectations.
6. A Safe Learning Environment.
Teachers create environments in which students feel safe to succeed and to fail. Students develop perseverance, effort, and interest in learning. This builds their confidence to learn and seek challenges. Anxiety is minimized , humor is used to teach, and therefore students flourish.
Harbor Schools depend on the support and engagement of parents. Harbor educators must always remember that and cultivate strong parental engagement. The school actively works to earn their trust and confidence to provide a safe and productive learning environment for their children. Parents can expect the principal to protect instructional time, and interruptions are kept to a minimum. Your child’s instructional time is the highest value in a Harbor school. Emergencies are an exception. All other communication with the principal and with teachers is done before or after school.
Harbor practices are designed to develop work ethic, positive character attributes as well as academic assets. We encourage parents to support their children in their homework and to reinforce personal responsibility in their child. There is a high expectation for student attendance in order to instill a sense of high value and respect for their time at school. We believe this is a foundation for a habit of work that will serve them beyond school. For this reason, parents are asked to plan family trips and vacations around the school calendar. Leaders, teachers and parents share the mutual purpose for a successful educational experience for your child. That mutual purpose provides the foundation for problem solving as issues arise. Parents are encouraged to contact the principal to clarify facts regarding any issue that may arise. Harbor schools attempt to minimize stories or gossip and maximize facts and mutual problem solving.