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College Counseling

Harley’s Approach to College Counseling is highly individualized and student-centered. Students have direct access to college counselors throughout their Upper School experience, but really, each student is part of a team including faculty, administration, and staff. It’s our job to support each student and we want nothing more than to send students on to the next step of their journey at a right fit school for them. The student centered and driven process is wrapped in care, expertise, and professionalism.

We host college reps during times students are available (no need to miss a class) so they can make connections and learn more about potential schools. We also arrange campus visits for classes as field trips, host an alumni college day (where recent Upper School graduates return to share advice and answer questions), and help connect students with our international alumni network. In fact, representatives from schools all over the world actively seek opportunities to come to Harley and meet with our students!

Our college counselors are accredited and are part of national/global conversations on admission trends. They also attend and present at conferences across the country.

Beginning with our Grade 11 parent night, we offer informational sessions for parents, including one devoted just to financial aid. Our partnership with families is critical, as the college admissions world changes very quickly and having an expert to guide students and families through the process is essential.

View the downloadable College Counseling Guide

Clubs

“Club Rush” is an afternoon every fall in the Upper School when students have the chance to sign up for clubs for the year, and each year it is very different because new clubs are created based on student initiative and enthusiasm.

A few of this year’s choices: Sports Media, Social Action Club, Journalism Club, Feminism Club, Student of Color & Allies (SOCA), Gay-Straight Alliance, Tri M (music honor society), E-Sports Club, Euchre, Key Club (service), Animation Club, Dungeons & Dragons, Sustainability Club, Jewish Cultural Club, Astronomy Club, Biomimicry, and Beyond Soup (social justice/service).

Athletics

​Each and every year, students at The Harley School participate in HAC Athletics, and their success continues to be impressive, both as students and athletes. Our athletic program is an integral part of Harley, teaching student-athletes invaluable lessons about teamwork, time management, persistence, and competition.  Our program allows them to develop physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally as they represent their school on and off the field. They grow, mature, and work hard to be the best teammate they can, while creating lifelong memories with teammates who often remain friends for life. 

Helping our athletes to reach their potential are some of HAC’s best assets: our coaches. More often than not, they are drawn from the ranks of our faculty and  have a deep understanding of the personalities and abilities of the student-athletes on their teams.  

We strive to find the right balance of academics, exercise, and personal growth for everyone.  By offering a variety of sports at many different levels, all student-athletes find a sport they can be successful in. It is with great pride and pleasure that my team and I work to enrich the athletic lives of all our HAC student-athletes. Go Wolves! 

To learn more check out our athletics page.

Student Leadership

Our Upper School is filled with formal and informal opportunities for students to take on leadership roles. Whether following passions or learning new skills, student-driven opportunities take many shapes.

– Independent study: one trimester, full year, and multi-year projects have included automating our solar chimneys, coding handmade musical instruments, or developing a class on financial literacy for underserved high school students.

– Serving on student council

– STEM: Climate curriculum program, biomimicry program, NASA Hunch program

Clubs

“Club Rush” is an afternoon every fall in the Upper School when students have the chance to sign up for clubs for the year, and each year it is very different because new clubs are created based on student initiative and enthusiasm.

A few of this year’s choices: Sports Media, Social Action Club, Journalism Club, Feminism Club, Student of Color & Allies (SOCA), Gay-Straight Alliance, Tri M (music honor society), E-Sports Club, Euchre, Key Club (service), Animation Club, Dungeons & Dragons, Sustainability Club, Jewish Cultural Club, Astronomy Club, Biomimicry, and Beyond Soup (social justice/service).

Hospice

Unlike this class, death is not an elective. Although it is one of two universal human experiences, our culture often ignores, denies, or misconstrues the true nature of death and dying. What happens when we bear witness to this natural process in the cycle of life and develop our ability to be fully present with others when they need us more than ever? It has the potential to change us deeply and fundamentally while shining a brilliant light on the path of our own lives.

With the support of their classmates, teacher, and comfort care home communities, senior students are offered the chance to care for others who truly need their purposeful, non-judgmental attention. In the home-like setting of a comfort care home, opportunities for learning extend beyond a traditional classroom rubric and conventional methods of evaluation. In this course, students will certainly find tangible “learning outcomes” by studying the medical/physical processes associated with dying and the basic nursing assistant skills of comfort care. The ultimate goal, however, will always be rooted in true relationships and connection, which occurs only through empathy and compassion.

Learn more about the Hospice Program at Harley HERE.

Capstone/Independent Studies

This program utilizes environmentally-focused approaches to education and hands-on learning in order to foster the next generation of leaders through a lens of sustainability and problem-solving.

Food & Farm: These year-long and trimester-long classes are held outside as much as possible, allowing students to become leaders in our various growing spaces. They cover environmental justice issues as well as hands-on work such as planning and overseeing planting, harvesting, and preparation of the gardens.

Past year-long focus projects have included: Creating a native plant shade garden in the Wild Wood area, redesigning our hydroponic system, overhauling Harley’s high tunnel, and improving the irrigation system for the MicroFarm.

Culinary Arts: These classes have a two-fold purpose: to give students practical skills in cooking and the science behind different techniques in the kitchen, learning about food justice, food sourcing, labor topics, and sustainability.

Past topics have included: Examining a plant-based diet, looking at the carbon footprint of different meals and food preparation methods, proposing a low carbon footprint menu to the dining hall, links between food labeling and environmental issues of food production.

Beekeeping: This one trimester class provides hands-on training in beekeeping, how to be a beekeeper, and safety and other techniques for working with bees. Once trained students help with all aspects of Harley beekeeping such as hive inspections, honey collection and extraction, and teaching students in Lower School about our hives.

Students pick a research topic addressing honeybee health and the larger environmental picture.

Social Justice

At Harley, our students learn how to evaluate social systems in order to identify complex problems in society through a lens of social justice. They take a hands-on approach to working for a fair, equitable society by researching, exploring and evaluating different perspectives, and offering solutions—both theoretical and practical.

Our faculty integrate social justice into our broader curriculum to assist students in gaining a foundational knowledge about what makes a democracy function. By gaining skills in ideating supportive pathways they become more exposed and experienced to how communities can undergo healing and restorative actions.

 

Capstone/Independent Studies

Students may create independent studies with supervising teachers throughout their Upper School experience or, during Grade 12, they can design Capstone projects—intensive collaborations with Harley faculty and off-campus mentors—involving rigorous academic study and culminating in public presentations. They are empowered to create their own curriculum, set goals, and work on time management skills in order to accomplish their objectives.

Independent Studies run the gamut from The Psychology of Sports to Furniture Design to The Neuroimaging of Alzheimer’s Disease. Capstones, meanwhile, are as diverse as the students who pursue them: Fictional Rochester, Autobiographical Art, Biomimicry Education, Organic Fuel, and Rochester Refugees. 

Indicative of Upper School curiosity and creativity, pursuits such as these distinguish our graduates in college. Through deep dives of this sort, Harley students master more than speaking, writing, and computing: they learn to communicate, advocate, collaborate, organize, listen, and empathize. 

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Performing Arts

Building Habits of Mind

Performing Arts at Harley

At The Harley School, we believe all children deserve the opportunity to express themselves through music and drama, and that the performing arts are a vital part of each child’s educational experience. 

We provide meaningful challenges for students who excel in one or more areas of the performing arts, but our programs concentrate on giving all students the opportunity for positive growth. Our faculty is committed to forging personal relationships that allow our young actors and musicians to discover and cultivate their abilities in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. 

In addition to discipline-specific skills, the performing arts help students learn more about themselves and the world around them. They develop understanding and empathy by thinking about the characters they play, the words they sing, and the music they play. Students learn to work as both as individuals and collaboratively as members of a team. They become more effective communicators as they share ideas with each other and with audiences. Throughout the learning process, children, tweens, and teens become more resilient by understanding that a mistake can be the beginning of an amazing opportunity for growth.  

The performing arts help us to tell our stories and share our feelings with each other. They are an expression of our humanity. Our goal as teachers is not just to teach theater and music, but to help our students learn to use those tools to tell their stories, express their feelings, and better understand our shared humanity.

—Ben Burroughs, Upper School Faculty

Nursery-Grade 4: Lower School

Our students immerse themselves in creative expression throughout their Lower School experience. Nursery students joyfully participate daily in Creative Arts, a class combining music and movement. This dedicated time for creative development is unique to The Harley School. Building on this foundation, our K-Grade 4 students further develop their musical skills through singing, dancing, playing Orff instruments, and learning the basics of music literacy. Our students also develop dramatic and public speaking skills through telling jokes, reciting poems, or sharing class presentations at our weekly assembly.

Grades 5-8: Middle School

All Middle School students participate in a music ensemble (choir, band, or strings) each year. All Grade 5 and 6 students also take one-trimester general music classes. In Grades 5-7, students participate in a one-trimester long drama class. Additionally, students in Grades 6-8 may select from ever-changing performing arts offerings as part of Flex Time during the last period of the day.

Grades 9-12: Upper School

Our Upper School performing arts programs are notable for promoting the exploration of authentic voice and promoting creative thinking. Students in band, orchestra, and choral ensembles perform throughout the year, while young thespians take the stage in fall plays and spring musicals. We also offer a wide variety of music and drama electives, which give students the opportunity to delve into more specific areas of interest.

At Harley, we integrate the arts into all levels of our curriculum. We understand working in the arts helps learners to develop creative problem-solving skills while boosting critical thinking; and we see this every day as arts instruction helps with the development of motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness.

A recent study from Rice University states: “…arts-learning experiences benefit students in terms of reductions in disciplinary infractions, increases in compassion for others and improvements in writing achievement. Furthermore, arts-education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations.”

Additionally, the National Association for Music Education notes “music teaches 21st century skills,” including creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

We believe opportunities in the arts are critical to whole person success.

Music

Upper School Ensembles

Choir

Wind Ensemble

Vocal Chords a cappella group

Orchestra

Chamber Music

Treble Choir

Jazz Band

Advanced String Orchestra

Upper School Courses/Extracurricular Activities

Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter

Introduction to Music Theory

Introduction to Italian Opera

Introduction to Non-Italian Opera

Introduction to American Musical Theater

 

Romantic and Contemporary Music

The Theremin: Origins of Electronic Music

Guitar

Jazz History

Advanced Music Theory

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Drama

Courses

Acting I/Scene Study

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Directing

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Drama Productions

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Upper School Spring Musical

Middle School Production

Mastering Monologues

Shakespeare Competition

Student-directed One-acts

24 Hour Theater Marathon

Our Faculty

Ben Burroughs

Ben Burroughs

Middle and Upper School Choir
(585) 277-1286
Beth Fox

Beth Fox

Nursery Creative Arts, Lower School Music 
(585) 277-1149
Kelly Stevenson

Kelly Stevenson

Middle and Upper School Strings
(585) 277-1227
Kristy Houston

Kristy Houston

Middle and Upper School Band, Performing Arts Department Chair
(585) 277-1176
Mike Kaupa

Mike Kaupa

Upper School Music
(585) 277-1287
Sarah Bajus

Sarah Bajus

LS & MS Music Teacher
(585) 277-1155
Tom Deckman

Tom Deckman

Middle School Drama Faculty

tdeckman@harleyschool.org...

(585) 277-1230

The Harley School

1981 Clover Street
Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 442-1770

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