From a Harding Parent with 1st, 2nd and 4th grade Students ~ Jessica J.
I just wanted to say thank you. The kids are loving school and so far we are really impressed. Malachi had a rough year last year, and he's been saying lately that he LOVES school, which is so exciting for us. Before we moved here we were told by acquaintances that there was only three okay schools in Santa Barbara and if we weren't in those districts we needed to transfer. I didn't know any better, so when we first got here I put in for a transfer (before visiting the school). We loved Harding right away, and loved the international perspective. Anyway, we got a call a couple weeks ago saying our transfer was approved and we said, no thanks, we love Harding. We've been spreading the word to anyone who asks.
So, again, THANK YOU!
From a Kindergarten Harding Parent ~ Andrea C.
As a parent of a kindergarten student at Harding, I am so happy that we chose our neighborhood school, and feel very lucky that our neighborhood school is Harding. From even the first week, the many years of experience of the teachers, the attentiveness of the principal and the beautiful and clean campus made us feel confident in our choice.
Being at a neighborhood school means that we feel like we are part of our community. We walk to and from school every day, all the while our son shouts "hello" to other students who he knows from his class and the playground. Having play dates with other kids from school means we don't have to leave the neighborhood.
From an academic perspective, Harding has exceed our expectations. There are just under 20 children in our son's class, and for the first six months there was a student teacher from UCSB working in the classroom with the teacher. The classroom is fun and lively with lesson plans that involve movement and creativity. Weekly "homework" is to read to your child nightly and choose a few fun and simple activities to do together. By December, our son knew all of his letter sounds and several sight words and is now proudly sounding out new words with confidence. The emphasis on and celebration of literacy at Harding is empowering for the kids and every month there is an assembly to celebrate the children's academic and school citizen achievements.
Our hopes for our son's first year of school were that he would feel excited, confident and happy to go to school, that he would learn to be a good listener and good citizen and make new friends. We feel that at Harding, our son is having exactly that experience.
From a Harding Parent with a 4th and 1st grade student ~ Pamela E.
"Harding is the best kept secret on the Westside. This is my family's second year at the school, and I have students in 1st and 4th grades. The teachers are dedicated to student success, more so than at any other school we have attended. Teachers remain at the school for years. They could probably find easier places to work--admittedly, the high percentage of English language learners who attend the school add a layer of complexity to teaching. We too, could find an easier, more comfortable school to attend, where everyone looked like us--my family is in the racial minority here--but we value diversity and want our kids to have the rich education Harding provides.
Veronica Binkley has been the principal since we arrived at the school, and we are continually amazed at how involved she is in both the big-picture leadership of the school and the minutiae of everyday student life. When conflict arises between students, she is happy to mediate and treats all students with respect while holding them to a high level of responsibility.
We have also appreciated the rich after-school enrichment clubs offered, including photography, cooking, clay art, drawing, music, and gardening. Even better, the school's parent group (the Harding School Foundation) offers the classes at an affordable price so that kids can choose multiple classes and build on their already holistic education.
My only disappointment with the school is that more of my Westside neighbors do not attend. That is already changing since we arrived. I hope that trend will continue as more people discover this hidden gem!"