- Music Notes Ring True at the Academy:
I taught in the Pennsylvania public education system for the past nine and a half years, but since coming to the Academy, I have noticed so many differences within these walls that might seem small, but make a world of difference to me as an educator.
I love my job. I love my students. I love what I am teaching. And most importantly, I love who I am when I am teaching at the Academy. In the past, I was always fighting for my program, working countless extra hours to work with students, and managing those who didn’t think that what I taught mattered. I also had very large class sizes, where I was not able to really know my students, or have time to help them succeed.
Here, I am still working my tail feathers off, sometimes even later into the evening than in the past prepping for the classes I teach, but I don’t mind doing the extra work necessary to put together wonderful programs, beautiful concerts, and fun lessons for our students and their families.
Academy students appreciate the work I do, and so do the parents. Never have I ever been brought to tears by parent emails, letters, and comments after a performance of my ensembles. Never have I felt so supported by my heads of school. Plus, the class sizes here are amazing! I’ve gone from a normal class size in a public education classroom of at least 28-36 students to having 18 as the largest class. It makes a world of difference for everyone involved. It is tiring at times, teaching two Junior Kindergarten classes in a row, (Wow, how do those ladies have energy at the end of the day!) but I am getting used to the type of energy that I need to keep the students active in the lessons, and I find I am really enjoying the time with my students. I actually look forward to Mondays now, and come home smiling because I feel valued.
At Harrisburg Academy, I know that my efforts are actually making a difference in the lives of my students. The Academy has shown me what education can be, and I am so thankful and happy to be a part of the Academy family.
Mrs. Darowish is hosting a MINI Class as part of our Summer Session programming this year! Make sure to check out the Musical Theatre Workshop for an opportunity for your student to take part in the excellent fine and performing arts programming at the Academy beyond the academic year.
- A Blueprint for the Academy's Future:
In creating the model for our strategic planning, the administration made a few key decisions. First, we endeavored to engage our entire school community in the process. This approach allows all Academy community stakeholders, as well as friends of the Academy, to provide feedback. We also decided to shorten the strategic planning timeline from five years to just three. This allows the Academy to more quickly adapt and react to the rapidly changing educational world in which we function.
At the core of the strategic planning process is our Planning Committee, made up of trustees, parents, faculty, and administrators. This group attends each of the strategic planning meetings and engages in the many group conversations that generate a whole host of innovative ideas and suggestions.
Our first few strategic planning meetings have resulted in thought-provoking conversations and creative ideas. Each week the dynamics are different, as new parents and community members join the discussion. By using one broad question each week, the meetings become our own Academy "think tank," as multiple groups wrestle with the same question but come up with radically different feedback. The five guiding questions used in our strategic planning model are as follows:
How do we achieve the long term enrollment goals at the Academy?
What internal improvements and partnerships with other organizations (including global ones) can be made to the academic, extracurricular, and co-curricular programs to provide an experience of excellence for our students? (April 24)
How does the Academy best demonstrate its value to parents, alumni, and the greater Harrisburg community? (April 30)
How does the Academy achieve the goals of our new Comprehensive Campaign and continue to build a culture of philanthropy? (May 15)
How does the Academy attract, cultivate, and retain its most talented faculty to achieve the mission of Harrisburg Academy and provide our students with the 21st century skills they need? (May 22)
Please join us for our two final conversations. Don't miss your chance to have your fingerprint on the blueprint for the Academy's future.
For more information, please visit our website.