Reprinted from the Harker Quarterly March 2010 issue
We’ve got a great lineup of offerings this summer to keep your children energized, challenged and engaged! Many of our own Harker teachers will be joining the staff at that time and we are so excited to have them. In addition to being a fantastic way for your children to explore new interests or spend more time in a chosen area, summer also is an opportunity for teachers to branch out, teach different subjects or grade levels, or have fun with a favorite subject. Our teachers love to have learning adventures right along with our students.
Harker’s K-Gr. 8 Camp: Our Most Popular Program!
At the heart of this camp are top-quality morning academics – which focus on math, science and language arts – paired with a full and varied afternoon recreational program. “This year we have added new curriculum materials to make language arts and math classes more challenging,” said Kelly Espinosa, Harker’s veteran summer programs director since 1978. “Diann Chung and Patricia Burrows have been working with the school-year division heads to make sure summer materials are appropriate for all levels.”
Four-Week Program: Morning Academics, Afternoon Recreation
Gr. 1-4 students receive morning instruction in math and language arts, then choose two two-week electives. Elective offerings change annually and vary by grade level. This year’s options include Ready, Set, Write; Readers’ Theater; Comic Creators; Kitchen Chemistry; and Just Dance. For those in Gr. 5-8, the four-week sessions allow campers a chance to explore academic topics in depth, such as Zap It, an “electrifying engineering” class taught by Kristen (Nielsen) Morgensen ’93; Periscope Algebra, taught by Eileen Schick, Gr. 1-5 math department chair and Gr. 4 math teacher; Periscope Pre-Algebra, taught by Diane Plauck, Gr. 4-5 math teacher; and Forensic Science, taught by Ben Morgensen, middle school science teacher.
In KinderCamp, our youngest campers have a separate classroom and play area to help them with the transition to a classroom setting. Incoming Harker kindergartners have the opportunity to get comfortable in the school and learn to love Harker, which makes a tremendous difference when they start school in the fall. Harker kindergarten teachers Grace Wallace, Gerry-louise Robinson and Michelle Anderson will all be working with KinderCampers during the summer. Espinosa is excited that KinderCampers have this opportunity. “We are really lucky to have all three of these teachers!” she exclaimed.
Two-Week Program: Project-Based and Thematic
For those needing a shorter option, the two-week sessions are structured differently from the four-week sessions. Campers in Gr. 1-4 will explore the Big Blue Marble of planet Earth, learning about people, places and interesting things from around the world. Different sessions will focus on different continents. Kathleen Ferretti, Gr. 3 math and language arts teacher and Gr. 2-3 department chair, teaches the two-week sessions to Gr. 3 and 4 students each summer. Ferretti enjoys the field trips, the environment and the fun of teaching summer camps because “it gives me a chance to branch out and do some exciting learning-based activities.”
Kim Sandoval, Gr. 2 teacher, will be instructing Gr. 1 and 2 students during sessions A and B, and Sejal Mehta, Gr. 1 teacher, will be overseeing session C. Gr. 5-8 campers have project-based classes for their two-week sessions and can choose from courses such as debate, rocket science, Web design, robotics and filmmaking. Classes include hands-on activities, group projects, field trips and special guests. Michael Schmidt, a middle school computer science teacher teaching the Lego Robotics course, said, “It’s probably the most fun a kid could have with a computer, some Legos and an eagerness to solve problems.” Another exciting class offered this summer is Science To Go, an outdoor ed class led by Pete Anderson, middle school P.E. coach; Jim McGovern, lower school P.E. coach; and Ben Morgensen. McGovern has taught summer camp for many years. He loves “seeing students let loose and have a lot of fun during their summer!”
Many campers – and parents – love Harker’s summer programs, and come back year after year. Carol Whitman, whose daughter Alyssa, Gr. 3, attends camp, said they’re both fans. “Alyssa is very comfortable at Harker and enjoys the teachers and summer coaches. I like the balance between academics and having fun. Harker has succeeded in balancing academics with play.” She added, “Alyssa was happy every morning when I dropped her off at camp and when I picked her up in the afternoon. She enjoyed the challenge of math, and creating a diary for language arts. Most of all, she really enjoyed seeing her new camp friends every day!” Claude Cartee, parent of Allison, Gr. 3, said he and his wife enrolled their daughter in both four-week programs last year, but took her out for a few days for a quick trip to Disneyland. “She complained that she would rather be at Harker than at Disneyland,” he recalled with a laugh. The K-Gr. 8 Harker Summer Camp is held on the Bucknall campus. All staff members undergo rigorous training, and the camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.
Summer @ Harker: Additional Offerings
In addition to our longstanding and renowned K-Gr. 8 Harker Summer Camp, Harker offers a variety of other quality programs. Read on!
English Language Institute
The English Language Institute (ELI) offers intensive programs for international students ages 6 to 16 interested in improving their English and writing skills. Harker has earned a worldwide reputation for this program; in fact, annual receptions are hosted in Asian cities including Kyoto, Seoul, Taipei and Shanghai. Our students also get involved in this program each year. Those who speak the native language of any of the ELI students can help in the advanced classroom by engaging international students in academic discussions about their writing and language projects. These Harker students are great role models to our international visitors and provide a real-life peek into teenage life in the United States. Karen Glovka, lower school Spanish teacher, has been working with Harker’s ELI program since 2005. “It’s such a joy to watch the kids begin to understand and communicate!” Glovka said.
Designed for middle and upper school students, Summer Institute, held at the upper school campus, offers both credit and non-credit courses for those who wish to complete a required class or spend some extra time on a favorite subject. Courses include art, math, science, expository writing, driver’s education and more. The Harker Forensics Institute offers courses in Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Student Congressional Debate and Individual Events.
Swim School: Instruction and Camps
The Harker Swim School offers all levels of private, semi-private and group lessons for ages 3 to adult at Harker’s beautiful new Singh Aquatic Center on the upper school campus. Also offered this summer are a variety of aquatic camps: Aquatic Fitness Camp (Gr. 4-8); Water Polo Camp (Gr. 6-12), taught by Harker’s water polo coach Ted Ujifusa (who will also provide swim instruction during the K-Gr. 8 camp); and Competitive Swim Camp (ages 11-18), led by Harker swim coach Bart Wells. “These programs are a great way for Harker kids to get additional instruction and build relationships with varsity coaches here at Harker,” added Espinosa.
Soccer: Harker Soccer Clinic and Just4Kicks
Harker Summer Soccer Clinics offer players two options to learn techniques, improve skills and have fun while learning from some of the best coaches in the Bay Area. The Harker Summer Soccer Clinic, for students ages 10-16, is led by varsity soccer coach Shaun Tsakiris. Players are grouped based on a combination of age, playing ability and gender with a different age-appropriate skill targeted each day. They also receive individual player evaluations. This camp offers kids a great chance to work out with and learn from our own varsity coach. Plus, surprise visits by professional athletes and prominent players will also be a part of each week. Coach Tsakiris has appeared in four consecutive NCAA tournaments, won a national championship in 1997 and earned UCLA’s MVP award in 2000. He played professionally for the Rochester Rhinos in the USL from 2002-06 and currently works with top club programs.
The Just4Kicks half- or full-day programs are for players ages 5-12 who are grouped by grade: K-Gr. 1, Gr. 2-3 and Gr. 4-6. Instruction and activities are based on age and ability level, and players who stay until 4 p.m. will enjoy additional soccer-related activities as well as a swim period each day. Coach Tom Vischer, Just4Kicks founder, has been coaching youth soccer players, ranging in age from 2 1/2 to 18, for the past 15 years. He has also been a coach or trainer at the select club level with numerous teams.
Tennis: Camps and Instruction
Harker partners with Oakwood Tennis Center to provide quality facilities for our tennis programs. Oakwood Tennis Center is on Saratoga Avenue just minutes from our Saratoga campus, and is equipped with five beautiful and well-maintained courts.
Run by Craig Pasqua, Harker varsity tennis coach and director of Harker tennis programs, Harker’s Summer Tennis Camp is open to kids ages 6-18. The camp provides quality instruction from professional coaches for all skill levels in two programs. Both include on-court technique instruction with a ball machine, video self-analysis with the instructor and tactical strategy. Tennis Camp for students ages 7-14 is designed for players wishing to improve their tennis knowledge and skill base. The Harker Oakwood Tennis Training System, for ages 6-18, offers four- to seven-week sessions for competitive tennis players who want to combine team practice with weekly interclub matches. Players under 19 desiring to compete will learn advanced technical strokes, footwork and sports psychology.
Harker has been providing quality summer programs for more than 50 years, and our programs – and facilities – have grown and evolved over the years to meet the needs of our families and the greater community. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned for highly qualified and well-trained staff; outstanding programming; and a very safe and nurturing environment for all. Plan to spend your summer @ Harker! For more details and to register, visit http:// summer.harker.org or click on the summer ad on the Harker home page. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408.553.0537.