The page is adapted from our former “Handbook for New Families.” We are trying to include only the things you need to know for the first few days of school and not overwhelm you with too much information. Always refer to the school’s website for additional information or ask your child’s teacher for clarification. Detailed policies and procedures can also be found here in the Harvard Student and Parent Handbook, and you will receive a hard copy of this with the start of school.
Harvard starts class at 7:30 am. Students may arrive at school as early as 7:00 am and may be in their classrooms as early as 7:20 am. The tardy bell rings at 7:35 am. Students must stop in the office for a tardy slip pass in order to enter their classroom after this time.
Students are dismissed at 2:50 pm and must be picked up promptly unless they are attending the Eagle’s Nest after-school program.
Between 7:30 am and 2:50 pm, all entrance doors are locked except the main entrance door (big green door on Harvard Street). Before and after school hours, the other doors may be used.
Morning drop-off is allowed through any door to the school. For drivers, children may be dropped off on Harvard Street in front of school, on 9th Street at the entrance to the north parking lot, or on 8th Street at the south pavillion. Please do not drop students off in the middle of the street or allow them to cross in the middle of the street. Please refer to the parking map if you choose to park and walk with your child into the school.
If desired, all students may be walked to their classrooms in the morning before 7:30 am. Because children are dismissed simultaneously, there are many people inside the hallways at 2:50 pm. Therefore, it is best for parents or guardians to wait at the designated exit point for their child’s classroom.
To pick up south pavillion students at 2:50 pm, the car line starts on the eastern side of the intersection of Cortlandt Street & 8th Street. Cars begin lining up around 2:40 pm. Teachers and staff are there to help direct traffic and make sure kids get into the right cars. Please observe Texas State law and do not use your cell phone in the school zone or in the car line.
Many families live close enough to walk to Harvard. This is a great option, and we remind you to watch for traffic and follow the directions of the friendly crossing guards. Although not encouraged, students may ride bicycles to school. They must wear a helmet and lock the bike on racks located under the south pavillion.
The bus schedules for qualified magnet students are coordinated by the front office. Harvard Street becomes a one-way thoroughfare heading north when school buses are dropping off in the morning and picking up in the afternoon.
Regular attendance helps your child embrace the routine of school. Of course, from time to time, absences may occur. For the official rules about attendance and absences, you MUST read the relevant pages in the Harvard Student and Parent Handbook. If your child is sick, please call the school office to let them know as soon as possible. You can, of course, notify the teacher via email, but the front office also needs to know from you.
The Harvard cafeteria is a busy place! The day starts with free breakfast for all students each morning. Student K–5 eat breakfast in their classrooms. PreK students report to the cafeteria each morning for breakfast. Please see the Harvard Student and Parent Handbook for more details about breakfast and lunch.
Students may either bring a lunch from home or purchase a lunch at school. A monthly menu is sent in the Tuesday Home Communication Folder and is linked through the Harvard website. Additional items may be purchased such as chips, ice cream, and fruit snacks. You can access your student’s lunch account online at www.parentonline.net. You may use a credit/debit card to pay online or you may bring (unfortunately exact) cash (no checks) to the front office daily, weekly, or in advance. It is not recommended to send cash with your student to buy lunch themselves. This website allows you to
- check your child’s cafeteria account balance
- see prices of lunch items
- view your child’s purchases
- set limits on what they may buy
- make payments, and
- receive low balance email messages
Younger children still need some down time during the busy school day. Therefore, Harvard PreK and Kindergarten classes take a break for about 20–30 minutes each afternoon in the fall. The PreK students continue to take an afternoon rest through the remainder of the school year while kindergarten classes stop after the winter holiday and do more classroom activities instead. They are not required to sleep, but they must remain quiet and still. You will need to provide a nap mat for your PreK child to sleep on (although this was included with the school supplies ordered through the PTA if you choose that option). A cover for the mat is not necessary. NO mat is required for kindergarten students. Just check with your child’s teacher for details.
Kindergarten students enjoy visits from their upper class buddies. Buddies are 5th graders who come to the younger children’s classroom to read or do other activities together. They also may take one field trip together during the year.
All students participate in specialty classes once a day outside their regular classroom for 55 minutes. The Math, Technology, Engineering and Science (STEM) classes are part of Harvard’s school-wide magnet program. These classes rotate on a six-day schedule as follows:
- Technology Lab
- Science Lab
- Physical Education
- Math Lab
Recess at Harvard
Harvard recognizes the importance of exercise for children to be healthy and do their best in school. Therefore, several opportunities to move are built into the school program. Physical Education (PE) is one of the specialty classes mentioned above in which all students participate once every 7 school days for 55 minutes. In PE, student learn exercises, health and nutrition, and sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball, and track & field. The health and the physical education curricula are posted on the Harvard website under Physical Education so you can follow along with what your child is learning about various topics or how they demonstrate various skills. Please help your child dress appropriately for PE by wearing sneakers with socks and pants/shorts (depending on the weather).
The children also have recess every day for 30 minutes, supervised by their teachers where they start with some laps around the 1/4 mile track and then enjoy free play. The school has developed an alternate recess schedule to ensure kids get moving even on inclement days:
- Structured Outdoor Recess takes place either on the Harvard track or under the south pavilion. The students walk or jog with periodic stops for exercises.
- Structured Indoor Recess (for rainy days) occurs in the classroom. The teacher determines the time for the recess break and uses exercise DVDs (provided by the PTA) with the students. Board games, centers, arts and craft activities may also be used.
Eagle’s Nest After School Program
Eagle’s Nest is Harvard’s after school program run by an outside organization called Children’s Initiatives After School Program (CIASP). The Eagle’s Nest office is located in Room 134 where you may register, pay, and ask questions. Registration packets are available in the late spring for the fall semester and in the late fall for the spring semester. Parents are encouraged to use curbside pick-up on Harvard Street from 3:15 pm to 6:00 pm. Information is also available on the Eagle’s Nest page on the Harvard website.
A number of different programs are offered including:
- An afternoon snack for all Eagle’s Nest students immediately after school dismissal
- Full-time extended day from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm Monday – Friday
- Half-time extended day from 3:00 pm – 4:45 pm Monday – Friday
- Homework assistance for grades 1-5
- Occasional Days purchased in groups of 5 days to use as needed during the year from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- Enrichment classes, times and days vary (such as karate, cheerleading, piano, Mad Science)
- Refer to the Eagle’s Nest webpage to learn about care on Early Dismissal Days