Our Curriculum

When students achieve both a solid understanding of basic learning concepts and are given the freedom to think critically, their desire to learn becomes self-motivated and they find the “joy in learning.”
When this occurs, our students want to command the direction and depth of their learning. We form the foundation for learning in this capacity in our Early Childhood and Lower School programs with our newly implemented Primary Years Program. We see inklings of it happening among our Middle School students fostered by the Middle Years Program. And we see it continuously in our high school, the Upper School, where our faculty and the IB Diploma Program encourage a spirit that says, “I’m ready to take charge of my learning.”
Harrisburg Academy’s academic curriculum encourages the arts, languages, and physical activity rather than cutting programs sometimes viewed as “expendable” because they don’t readily support standardized test score results. Our students learn about and live in a diverse community with an eye towards what it means to be a responsible global and local citizen.

List of 7 items.

  • Fine and Preforming Arts

    All Harrisburg Academy students, Preschool through 12th grade, have a multitude of opportunities to engage in fine and performing arts. Vocal music is taught at each level from Preschool to 5th grade. Our Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students participate in a strings program, which is implemented in small-group lessons and performed at concerts throughout the year. A beloved Academy tradition, students in 1st grade through 5th grade come together in a large-scale performance. In Lower School, the Academy's elementary school division, students also participate in art and instrumental music classes.

    Middle School students have curricular art and music classes and can elect to participate in MS Band, Orchestra, Chorus, and Drama. Each spring, the MS Chorus performs a junior musical; past productions include “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Seussical,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Students with a passion and skill for music have the opportunity to audition and "play up" with Upper School ensembles.

    Students in the Academy's high school, the Upper School, have many music and art electives from which to choose, including US Band, Orchestra, and Choir; Music Theory; IB Music; Watercolor; Architecture; and IB Art, to name just a few.
  • Humanities

    English
    Students use writing as both a form of expression and as a means of imaginatively and critically exploring works of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction essays from many of the most noteworthy writers of the past centuries, to today’s current authors.

    By writing frequently, students refine their skills over time, graduating with the ability to write logical arguments, complex literary analyses, creative works, and produce higher level research. Students use technology to enhance and complement their efforts. Harrisburg Academy’s English Department faculty follows a guided-study philosophy, challenging students to participate actively in class discussions, and encouraging self-reflection.

    History / Social Studies
    Harrisburg Academy's history curriculum focuses on helping students articulate their individual responses to four primary essential questions: 1) Why is it important to be globally aware?; 2) How does learning history cultivate a greater self-understanding?; 3) What is it about our American system of political and social democracy that makes it unique in today’s world?; and 4) How are religions both unifying and divisive?

    The history department faculty employ a process of guided study that incorporates multiple teaching strategies and learning experiences to help students to articulate thoughtful answers, supported by careful use of historical evidence, to these four essential questions. At the conclusion of their experiences with the Academy’s history curriculum, students will be able to answer these questions and will have gained the analytical, evaluative and research skills critical to any future study and understanding of American and world history.
  • Math

    Harrisburg Academy's mathematics department faculty members are committed to developing, strengthening, and guiding our students to attain and maintain high standards of computation skills and analytical thinking through all levels of math courses. In addition, we recognize and accept the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards and implement them where it is appropriate in the curriculum.
  • Physical Education and Health Class

    The Physical Education program at Harrisburg Academy is designed to promote and refine movement skills in a cooperative environment, setting students up for a lifetime of physical fitness. Early Childhood students have class every other day, while elementary school students have class every day. At this age, students focus on developing fine movement skills and learning and implementing safety rules and procedures, all while developing successful interpersonal communication.

    Middle School students continue to refine basic movement and motor skills learned in elementary school and begin to manipulate those skills in more dynamic and complex situations. Students will also begin to hear teacher feedback, learning to interpret feedback and improve skills according to formal measures of physical fitness. In addition, classes will highlight activity- and sport-specific practices and rules, which lead into an appreciation and understanding of lifetime sports activities focused on at the high-school level in Upper School.
  • Science

    The science curriculum guides each student to respond to the following essential questions: How is scientific knowledge created and communicated? How can technology enhance our ability to solve problems and make decisions? And what impact do science and technology have on our society?

    With these questions as a guide, Academy teachers foster and mentor students’ thirst for knowledge and natural curiosity. In active laboratory settings, students discover many of the major principles of science and see examples and applications of the content material taught in the classroom. They also the principles of safe laboratory work that they will need for their future study of science. Likewise, work with computer-based technologies provides the students with the tools and skills needed to solve real-world problems. We enjoy introducing activities that can be replicated or expanded upon at home, which keeps science exploration well within the reach of each child.
  • Technology

    The Information Technology Services Office is committed to providing students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, with direct access to state-of-the-art classroom technology and encouraging students to efficiently incorporate technology into their daily lives at school. From the integration of personal student technology to the inclusion of Viewsonic ViewBoard Interactive Flat Panels in the Academy classrooms, the school is on the forefront of technology innovation in Central Pennsylvania schools.
  • World Languages

    The small class sizes at Harrisburg Academy give students in modern language classes an exceptional opportunity to speak the target languages every day, with constant feedback from one another and the teacher. Students are first exposed to Spanish in preschool (Junior Kindergarten, specifically), and they continue expanding their knowledge of Spanish throughout their elementary school years in our Lower School. Beginning in Middle School, students continue to improve their communication skills in Spanish and/or French. Those who choose to continue their language study after graduation will find that the successful completion of the world languages curriculum has given them a solid preparation for study in college or abroad.