The Harris School (Texas)

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The Harris School is a non-profit private preschool, elementary, and middle school in Montrose, Houston, Texas.[1][2] The school serves children with severe developmental and neurological disorders and children who underwent serious emotional trauma.[1]


Hunter Harris, a psychoanalyst, established the school as a program of the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute's Child Development Center in 1987.[3] The school's current location opened in 1997. Originally it opened as a preschool, but since then it expanded to serving elementary and middle school students.[1] In 2007 the school received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[3]

Around 2010 the enrollment had declined in light of the late-2000s recession, and parents increased efforts to raise funds.[1]

Student body[edit]

As of January 1, 2010 the school has about 30 students.[1][3] The students include those with attachment issues, mild autism, bipolar disorder, and social delays induced by events before they were adopted from their original country of birth. All of the children have at least average intelligence and have serious emotional issues.[1] Susan Spencer, the principal, said in 2007 that even though the typical student may have above average to high intelligence, he or she is unable to succeed in a traditional school because he or she had emotional or social developmental delays or problems. Spencer added that "We see children who have a huge gap between their age and their emotional development, but with high IQ's. Their emotional problems interfere with their potential."[3] Spencer said that many of the children were adopted from foreign countries such as Russia, where they had received little stimulation before arriving to the United States, and therefore have attachment issues, social issues, and other aspects that The Harris School seeks to address.[3]

The school has a capacity for 45 students. Typically a student may enroll in The Harris School for three years, and then re-enter a traditional school after receiving therapy from The Harris School.[1]

Curriculum and program[edit]

Susan Spencer, the principal, said that the curriculum at The Harris School is based on the "Texas Essential Elements". The school assigns a psychoanalyst as a consultant to each family. The consultant meets the parents twice per week on a one on one basis. In the meetings the consultant discusses topics such as adjustment issues, avoidance of manipulation, consistency, handling tantrums, parenting skills, and sibling management.[3]


The school, as of 2007, has twelve teachers. They have degrees in psychology, undergo training for working with children with emotional issues, and have experience in working with children.[3]


In 2007 the tuition was $20,500 per year.[3] As of January 1, 2010 the school charges $22,000 per year. The school charges this tuition so it can provide low student to counselor ratios and small class sizes.[1] The tuition also includes therapy.[3] The school offers very little financial aid. Susan Spencer, the principal of The Harris School said in 2010 that, as paraphrased by Jennifer Radcliffe of the Houston Chronicle, that "Unlike some public schools' special education departments, the atmosphere is not adversarial and the school doesn't spend large amounts of money on lawyers to handle disputes with parents."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Radcliffe, Jennifer. "When all else fails, school offers troubled kids hope." Houston Chronicle. Friday January 1, 2010. Retrieved on February 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "Home." The Harris School. Retrieved on February 12, 2012. "900 Lovett Blvd Houston, TX 77006"
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lassin, Arlene Nisson. "MONTROSE / Harris School receives accreditation." Houston Chronicle. Thursday June 14, 2007. ThisWeek 5. Retrieved on February 12, 2012.

External links[edit]