Academics

Harbor’s motto, “Sine labore nihil” (“Without work nothing”), serves as the backbone of our academic program. This motto is weaved throughout our curriculum to frame our programs in mathematics; English; history; social studies; life, physical, and earth sciences; technology; visual and performing arts; and physical education, as well as Harbor’s “signature” academic programs, which are listed below.

  • A cross-curricular method of teaching using a STEAM philosophy that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics through student-centered, inquiry-based projects that develop real-world skills. Through this collaborative, in-depth approach, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in an authentic way, which fully prepares them for life after Harbor.
  • The highly regarded Singapore Math program that teaches students how to master mathematics through dynamic problem solving and communication. With a focus on long-term mastery of skills and in-depth understanding of concepts, rather than memorization and drills, the program instills more comprehensive and lasting understanding, as well as perseverance, as students develop confidence that they can solve even the most complex problems using many different tools and strategies.
  • Columbia University’s Teachers’ College Reading & Writing Project approach to literacy, wherein the "workshop model" is employed to teach children as "readers" and "writers," as opposed to simply teaching the skills of reading and writing. The four components of the workshop model include mini-lessons (involving whole-class teaching), work times (enabling opportunities for independent and partner work), and teaching share sessions. All components are highly collaborative and student-driven.
  • An upper school Advisory Program that emphasizes character-building, leadership skills, responsibility, and respect for others. In the program, every upper school student is paired with a faculty advocate and a group of four to six students. This small group dynamic allows for improved communication between Harbor and home through ongoing discussions between the advisor and parents. Advisors are aware of their advisees’ academic, social, and emotional wellbeing at all times and serve as the “first line of communications” between Harbor and home. Advisors meet with their advisees every morning before school and once a week during a weekly advisory period. Subjects for study in advisory include mindfulness, character building, leadership skills, educational skills, and respect for differences.
  • Global language programs in Mandarin and Spanish that incorporate listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as the in-depth study and celebration of the cultures related to those languages. The language department leads the school in our annual multicultural celebration where world cultures come to life through song, public speaking, art, and music. Through hands-on projects and formal study, students graduate Harbor with a solid foundation to move into high school level languages.
  • A Service Learning Program that provides students with opportunities to develop real-world skills by contributing to the world outside of Harbor. Students use their personal interests to research organizations that deliver services to the community. They can become involved in the cause directly or indirectly, by raising awareness in the school community or by making connections in the community and working for the cause. Past projects include:
      • Working with a local wildlife rehabilitation center and organizing an assembly
      • Researching ways to make affordable water filtration systems for villages in Madagascar and organizing a fundraiser to aid the efforts of scientists working in Madagascar
      • Working with Smithtown Food Pantry, bringing awareness to our school community about local hunger issues
      • Working with hurricane victims in Texas and organizing a gift card fundraiser for clothing, food, and home repair service.
  • A unique Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum designed to help prepare Harbor's Upper School students for the social-emotional rigors of high school and beyond is also provided. At Harbor, our Portrait of a Graduate is someone who is emotionally mature and ready to take on higher-level curriculum after graduating from Harbor. The goals of SEL are to encourage students to become grounded mature individuals who are emotionally insightful, who make thoughtful, responsible decisions, cultivate positive relationships, self-advocate, and demonstrates empathy in appropriate ways. Our goal is for students to grow in their ability to make short and long term goals that will take them down the path of success in life. Click here to see a list of colleges and universities attended by Harbor students."

While our Signature Programs are academic in nature, Harbor students also enjoy an athletic program that is equal in balance to our academic offerings. Our Upper School Athletics program, in particular, is built to enhance teamwork skills and leadership experiences while also teaching students the particulars to many different sports. Each student comes away with a strong working knowledge of rules of the game. Students are encouraged to reach their personal best, to learn about good sportsmanship, and to dig deep to develop interpersonal skills that will lead to success on the playing field and in life.