The Harley School

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The Harley School
1981 Clover Street
Rochester, New York 14618
United States
Type Independent, college preparatory school
Motto Become What Thou Art
Established 1917
Founder Harriet Bentley
Headmaster Ward Ghory
Grades Nursery - 12th
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Green and white
Mascot Wolves
Accreditation Institute for Independent Education and National Association of Independent Education
Yearbook The Comet
Avg. SAT 1850
Student:Teacher Ratio 7:1
Annual Tuition $24,100 - $24,750 (Upper School) [1]

The Harley School is an independent college preparatory school serving day students in Rochester, New York, United States. Founded in 1917 by Harriet Bentley, The Harley School spans from nursery school to the twelfth grade.


The Harley School was founded in 1917 by Harriet Bentley and a group of mothers who set out to establish a school for four-year-olds modeled after the schools of Maria Montessori. Originally called The Children's University School of Rochester, it hired a teacher to come from New York City to serve. The school was intended to be democratic, with scholarships for less privileged children, and to work as a cooperative. The original tuition fee was set at $8. The school was initially opened on Oxford Street in the city of Rochester, and later moved to Park Avenue. With the Spanish Influenza outbreak in Rochester in 1918, the school was shut down and in the fall of the same year Harriet Bentley fell ill and died within a week. In 1924 the school was renamed as 'Harley' in her honor, incorporating the first three and last three letters of her name. The school later moved to its current location on Clover Street.


The school is located in the suburb of Brighton, boasting a 25-acre (10 ha) campus composed of a newly remodeled main building, an athletic center known as the Fieldhouse which contains an indoor swimming pool, multiple tennis courts, and a landscaped courtyard. The grounds hold two soccer fields, a playground, and are bordered by a creek. A distinctive element of the building is the Arts Wing, which holds several art studios including a glass blowing workshop and pottery studio. The construction of the Chesonis Commons, a new building that will be dedicated primarily to robotics, woodworking, and humanities, is scheduled to reach completion in the fall of the 2013-2014 school year.


The average class size is 8 students, with 75% of the faculty holding advanced degrees. In 2005, 12 students, or 29% of the graduating class, gained National Merits status, the highest percentage in the state of New York. Classes are taught in the traditional fields of history, English, mathematics, science, and foreign languages. All students are required to take three years of a foreign language before graduating. For foreign language requirements, Spanish, French, and Latin may be taken by students. Starting in the 2008-2009 school year, Latin was added to the foreign language roster. The school offers many electives, including gender studies, theremin, glassblowing, writer's workshop, drawing and painting, ceramics, Ancient Greek, photography, and many others.


The school has 515 students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade, a record high number. The students come from more than 30 different school districts, 23% are minority, and 34% are on some level of financial aid. 95% of students take Advanced Placement tests. The school has 100% graduation and 100% gain college acceptance.[2]

Community service[edit]

All students at the Harley School participate in community service. Headed by faculty member James D'Amanda, the hospice program allows students the opportunity to offer palliative care both locally and as far away as Belize and India.[3][4] Harley is also home to the Horizons program, a six-week summer enrichment program for urban children of limited financial means in grades 1–8. Initiated in 1995 with 24 students, the Horizons program has grown to an enrollment of 107 in 2008.[5]


The Harley School maintains many traditions, such as its annual Candlelight Pan-Religious ceremony, and May Day, when school is dismissed early to allow students to interact outdoors. Other important traditions include the Halloween Parade, the Holiday Feast, the Scottish Exchange program, Lower School Pageant, and the 2nd grade overnight. Most recently, the student body with assistance from the White Key Club, has spearheaded a campaign to begin building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Student clubs and organizations[edit]

The school has a considerable number of clubs, especially in the Upper School. Prominent clubs include: Chess Team, Environmental Club, Forensics Team, Robotics Team, Ski Club, Student Council, Commons Student Council, Diversity Round Table, MOGII (the school's LGBTQIA+ club), Ultimate Frisbee, and Wolf Pack.

Student Athletics[edit]

Interscholastic leagues[edit]

Finger-Lakes West Division Section V Athletics

Sports teams[edit]

The athletics programs at Harley are paired with another private college preparatory school in the area, Allendale Columbia School, to create larger, more competitive teams. Before the union, Harley's team mascot was a tiger. The combined Harley and Allendale-Columbia teams, frequently referred to as H.A.C., originally competed as the Harley Allendale-Columbia Braves. In 1997, students of both schools voted to change the team name from the Braves to the Wolves. Team supporters are known as the Wolfpack. Their tennis team is the strongest part of their sports program—it received seventh place at the national high school tournament in California despite the small size of their schools.

The school has had success in the Finger-Lakes West Division, including recent sectional titles in Boys and Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Soccer, and Boys Basketball. The school requires one athletic sport a year in grade 9 and 10, and afterwards strongly encourages participation.

Interscholastic Athletic Teams
Sport Level Season Gender
Baseball V, JV, M Spring Boys'
Basketball V, JV, M Winter Boys', Girls'
Bowling V, M Winter Boys', Girls'
Cross-Country V, JV, M Fall Boys', Girls', Coed (MD Only)
Golf V, JV Fall Coed
Soccer V, JV, MD Fall Boys', Girls'
Softball V, JV, MD Spring Girls'
Swimming V, JV, MD Winter Boys', Girls'
Tennis V, JV, M Fall (Girls'), Spring (Boys') Boys', Girls'
Track (outdoor) V, JV, M Spring Boys', Girls', Coed (M Only)
Volleyball V, JV, M Fall Girls'

Athletic accomplishments[edit]

2006-07: Boys tennis (BB), Girls soccer (C)(Co-Champions with BK)

2005-06: Boys tennis (BB), Boys soccer (C)

2004-05: Boys soccer(C) 2003: Boys tennis (B) 1998-99: Boys cross country (Class D), boys tennis (C), girls tennis (C) 1997-98: Boys cross country (D), boys tennis (D), girls soccer (DD), girls tennis (C), girls track (D) 1996-97: Boys cross country (D), boys tennis (D), girls tennis (C) 1995-96: Boys cross country (D), girls tennis (C), girls track (D) 1994-95: Girls tennis (C) 1993-94: Girls tennis (C)


Corcoran, Patricia. "THE LEGACY OF HARRIET BENTLEY (1885-1918), FOUNDER OF THE HARLEY SCHOOL." Epitaph 22, no. 1 (2003): 1-5.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°7′12″N 77°32′57″W / 43.12000°N 77.54917°W / 43.12000; -77.54917