This article was originally published in the fall 2012 Harker Quarterly.
Harker’s campuses were a hubbub of summertime activity as the school opened its doors to the public, extending its huge variety of programs to local students, both Harker and non-Harker, and to students from around the globe.
This year saw a potpourri of summer programming options: from Camp+ for younger children, to the Summer Institute for middle and high school students, to a bevy of sports offerings, and the world renowned English Language Institute program.
In fact, for the last 50 years Harker has served as a recognized resource for a wide breadth of summer happenings. New this season was expanded programming for the sports camps. According to Kelly Espinosa, director of summer programs, Harker has always had tennis, soccer, swimming, and sports performance camps. But added this year were football, basketball, volleyball, and water polo camps.
Much thought went into the new sports camps, which integrated lower school and middle school athletics with upper school instructors to create a seamless path for athletes within their chosen sports. Moreover, sports camp participants taking a morning sports program had the option to enroll separately in another camp’s afternoon activity as well.
At Harker, known for its academic excellence, athletic camps were just one of the summer options. For K-6 students, Camp+ offered a full day of morning academics and afternoon activities. Located on Harker’s lower school campus, parents chose sessions by their preferred format, with full-day, partial-day and morning-only options. Students had the choice of enrolling in either Core Focus or LoL (Learning opportunities in Literature). Both programs concluded at 11:30 a.m. to make room for the afternoon activity program, which lasted until 3:30. Core Focus is a three- or four-week math and language arts-focused program. LoL is a two-week integrated curriculum centered on a literary theme. After-care was provided until 5:30, which included pool time, archery and a climbing wall, among other activities.
Meanwhile, The Harker School’s Summer Institute (SI) gave students from grades 6-12 the chance to earn credits, learn new skills and follow their passions. This year’s institute attracted 722 students, with many taking multiple courses. New offerings were art classes, including portfolio preparation in 2-D and 3-D drawing. The for-credit courses included a variety of classes in math, history and technology. Upper school enrichment courses spanned math, writing, art, history and driver’s education. Middle school enrichment was also offered, and included several core subjects as well as classes such as So You Think You Can Cook? and Champion Chess. All SI participants had access to the libraries, pools and a prepared lunch. In addition to sports offerings, Camp+ and SI, each year more than 100 international students – from elementary through high school – participate in Harker’s renowned english Language Institute (eLI) program. They come with the goal of improving their English speaking and writing skills but leave with a breathtaking exposure to cultural adventures as well.
It may be an old cliché, but when it comes to educating these foreign students, the world really is their classroom. Weekly field trips provide international students exposure to local points of interest such as the Golden Gate Bridge, beautiful California beaches, Northern California redwood forest and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The trips are incorporated into the curriculum and students use their travel experiences to create written and oral projects for presentation.
“Harker has been offering outstanding summer programs, held on the school’s safe, secure and centrally-located campuses, for more than 50 years. We have everything a camp consumer could want,” said Espinosa, noting that whether just out of preschool or about to enter their last year of high school, students of all ages and backgrounds can find their perfect summer program at Harker.
For more information on Harker’s summer offerings visit www.summer.harker.org.