Upper School

A Harley education is not merely a way-station on the path to college, it is an experience of intrinsic worth. We seek not just to prepare students for college, but for life itself.

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Next Stop: The World

The Upper School at Harley is characterized by close relationships among all our community members, a seriousness of purpose regarding the central aims of the students and the School, and a wonderful sense of engagement and fun. Upper School faculty care very much about the whole student—while we are deeply committed to their academic and intellectual growth, they are also devoted to their development as individuals and as civic persons.

Classes in the Upper School are small, as they are in all the divisions at Harley, so teachers come to know students as individuals with particular interests and strengths. Our class activities tend to be less teacher-centered and more student-centered than one might see at other schools. In the academic and intellectual realms, we seek to cultivate certain qualities in our students: originality, intellectual curiosity, tenacity, and a critical perspective. We want our students to be articulate and forceful writers and public speakers, and we engender both self-direction and self-awareness in them.

Outside of class, we try to nurture individuals and community members who have a keen global awareness and an understanding of their place in (and impact on) the world. Harley is a pluralistic community, a place where deep mutual respect and appreciation typify our relationships and our culture. We believe that constructive, respectful dissent is at the heart of positive change in a democratic society, and so we nurture that skill in our students. As a school, we try to function in an ethical, forward-thinking, and independent fashion, and we hope our students will adopt those qualities as they go into the world.

Become what thou art—is a particularly beautiful way of describing what happens at the School. As young people go through their teen years, they seek more than simply gaining admission to a “good college.” They also seek themselves, their true characters, the individual they are and will continue to “become.” Somehow, the magic of The Harley School really does forward this wonderful work, and that—not our test scores or college list or National Merit successes or other accolades—is why we love it.