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Harrisburg Academy, the 17th oldest non-public school in the country, was founded in 1784 by John Harris, Jr. in a room of his mansion (now the Dauphin County Historical Society on South Front Street in Harrisburg). Harris brought in a schoolmaster from Lancaster to teach his and his neighbors' children. Soon after, he granted “the rent, issues and profits of his ferry for the endowment of an Academy where German and English should be taught.” Two years later, with donations and materials from Harris and more than 80 of his neighbors, a log cabin school was built on a knoll 300 yards east of the Susquehanna River, probably behind the Harris mansion near Walnut and Third streets. On April 4, 1809, the State Legislature officially chartered the Academy under the Law of the Commonwealth as “an academy or public school for the education of youth in useful arts, sciences and literature." In 1947, under the leadership of Headmaster Raymond Kennedy, Harrisburg Academy merged with The Seiler School for Girls to become a coeducational institution. The Academy opened for classes at its current location in Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania on Sept. 28, 1959. Today, the Academy is an independent, nonsectarian, coeducational day school with a diverse population of students from age 3 to 12th grade. Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, the Academy belongs and ascribes to the policies and best practices of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Click to read more about our school in "Past and Future Dreams: A Brief History of Harrisburg Academy (1784-2009).
Given that our global society is changing at an unprecedented speed, planning how to best prepare our students effectively for the challenges of the 21st century is imperative as we look toward the future. The Academy's faculty and staff work tirelessly to answer the tough questions — what our students need to know, how they learn best, and how to assess student competence. We believe in student mastery of 21st century competencies and incorporate them throughout our curriculum and instruction, institution-wide -- from preschool, to elementary school, to middle school, to high school. We believe that this commitment will equip our students with the tools they need to solve challenging problems in a complex global society and collaborate successfully with people from around the world. For these reasons, many consider Harrisburg Academy to be the best private school in Central Pennsylvania.
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