Dr. Ed Davis, Principal at Harbison West Elementary School, was the guest speaker at St. Andrews Optimists’ May 17 meeting.
Harbison West is the third largest elementary school in District 5, serving more than 650 students. It is the only academic magnet elementary school in the District. Davis revealed Harbison West represents one of the most diverse student bodies in the Columbia area. There are 16 languages represented within the school.
The overall goal at the school is to produce what Davis called “Heroes.” The school has even developed a program incorporating the word as an acronym, as follows: H = hard working; E = empathetic; R = respectful; and O = open-mindedness.
Through a developmental process, the goal is to graduate kids who embody the HERO characteristics.
Each stage of the process builds on the previous one. Those are: 1. Belief in self; 2. (then) daily growth where the process takes precedence over grades; and finally 3. Soaring, or living into students’ capabilities. As one part of this process, students participate in Project Awesome in which they interact with students with disabilities. This program has been given favorable recognition by Special Olympics.
St. Andrews Optimists have partnered with Harbison West for several years. Through fundraising efforts, Optimists support the school’s Reading Heroes summer reading program, as well as the D.A.R.E. drug awareness program.