The Commons

Center for Engaged Learning

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Experiential learning and problem solving in the Commons

The Commons is the first PreK-12 education space in the country to offer students multiple dimensions of education around creating a sustainable future. Here, students are immersed in a learning environment that promotes student engagement and active learning–a space where theory and practice come together on a daily basis.

Officially opened in January 2014, the 15,000-square-foot structure earns its status as a “living building” because it generates its own energy, heats and cools with renewable nontoxic resources, captures and utilizes water and carbon in its greenhouse, and operates efficiently using students as the “brains” or controls for managing its operations.

Learn more at The Commons Blog

Experiential learning and problem solving in the Commons

The Commons is the first PreK-12 education space in the country to offer students multiple dimensions of education around creating a sustainable future. Here, students are immersed in a learning environment that promotes student engagement and active learning–a space where theory and practice come together on a daily basis.

Officially opened in January 2014, the 15,000-square-foot structure earns its status as a “living building” because it generates its own energy, heats and cools with renewable nontoxic resources, captures and utilizes water and carbon in its greenhouse, and operates efficiently using students as the “brains” or controls for managing its operations.

Learn more at The Commons Blog

Sustainability as a vehicle for learning 21st Century skills

The Commons supports a rich social curriculum that puts our students in charge of resource use and waste production. Students in the building work toward a net-zero operation in energy, water, and carbon dioxide. We are able to offer our students a unique and creative educational experience that challenges them to think differently about science and our environment as a whole. This is an experience they don’t get anywhere else in our region.

The Commons is also home to new educational resources at the school, including the Briggs Center for Civic Engagement, Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education (CMEE), a design lab and maker space, and our Middle School Science Center.

Briggs Center for Civic Engagement

The Briggs Center for Civic Engagement focuses on programs that put students, faculty, and the institution in positions of civic leadership. Harley is nationally recognized as a leader in partnerships that close the achievement gap for urban students from impoverished families.

Recently, the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, Monroe Community College and The Norman Howard School launched summer programs based on Harley’s model and we have formed a regional consortium, the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association. Harley is partnering with the University of Rochester to develop an implementation plan for such regional consortia.

Briggs Center for Civic Engagement

The Briggs Center for Civic Engagement focuses on programs that put students, faculty, and the institution in positions of civic leadership. Harley is nationally recognized as a leader in partnerships that close the achievement gap for urban students from impoverished families.

Recently, the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, Monroe Community College and The Norman Howard School launched summer programs based on Harley’s model and we have formed a regional consortium, the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association. Harley is partnering with the University of Rochester to develop an implementation plan for such regional consortia.

Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education

The Center for Mindfulness and Empathy Education (CMEE) evolved in response to the increasing recognition that mindfulness and empathy play an indispensable role in humanizing our education system. The Center’s launch was supported by an E.E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership grant, one of the most prestigious grant programs in the country for independent schools.

Caring for Others

Harley has developed a unique methodology for teaching emotional intelligences through the Harley Hospice Program. In this elective, students in their senior year volunteer to care for the dying in Rochester area hospice and international locations.

Click here for a trailer of the documentary, “Beginning with the End,” by Rand Harshaw. This documentary features Harley students in our Hospice program and aims to answer the question, “Can empathy be taught?”

Teaching Empathy

Harley has developed a unique methodology for teaching emotional intelligences that foster empathy through the Harley Hospice Program. In this elective, students in their senior year volunteer to care for the dying in Rochester area hospice and international locations.

Click here for a trailer of the documentary, “Beginning with the End,” by Rand Harshaw. This documentary features Harley students in our Hospice program and aims to answer the question, “Can empathy be taught?”

The Center’s Mission

“To empower Nursery to Grade 12 teachers, students, staff and parents with the requisite tools and support necessary to foster a sustained, compassionate presence through the development and nurturing of programs that demand authentic human engagement, stimulating our inborn capacity to compassionately connect to and understand others, embracing their situation as our own.”

Harley is committed to sharing its experiences with others in the educational community. The University of Rochester Motivations Research Group will conduct research and each year the CMEE holds an institute that brings together leading theorists and practitioners to further the teaching of emotional literacies.

Empathy & Service

When compassionate empathy is combined with service, a teaching paradigm emerges that shapes and strengthens neuroactivity in the brain. The skills of empathy, compassion, and mindfulness are educational outcomes essential for global citizenship. It is our goal to help educators teach these skills.

Empathy & Service

When compassionate empathy is combined with service, a teaching paradigm emerges that shapes and strengthens neuroactivity in the brain. The skills of empathy, compassion, and mindfulness are educational outcomes essential for global citizenship. It is our goal to help educators teach these skills.

Admissions to The Harley School

Please contact us to schedule a personal tour or class visit. Click below or call (585) 442-1770.

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