Harlan Elementary School is located in the Norwood Park Subdivision of Florence, Alabama, and encompasses kindergarten through grade 4. It was named in honor of a prominent businessman, Sam C. Harlan, who was Chairman of the Board of Education during the period of the Great Depression. Mr. Harlan prevented the Florence City School System from closing by personally signing a bank note backing money borrowed by the Board of Education to keep the schools open when the state ran out of school funds.
Harlan Elementary School was opened in September 1955. The single-storied, L-shaped, red, brick building was surrounded by 18.9 acres of attractive grounds. It contained 14 classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, and an auditorium and was staffed by a faculty of 13 teachers and a principal and a half-time assistant principal. Its enrollment of 420 consisted primarily of students living in the surrounding neighborhood.
It is worth noting that Harlan Elementary School has always had an unusually active Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). In 1956, its second year in existence, parents formed a library committee, and volunteers staffed the Harlan Elementary School Library until the 1967-68 school years, when a full-time librarian was employed. Today the PTO is still very active in volunteering and fund raising at Harlan.
After four major renovations at Harlan Elementary School, there are now 30 classrooms. At the present time Harlan Elementary School has a staff of 67 people. There are 38 teachers and five units each in kindergarten, 1st grade 2nd grade, and 3rd. In 4th grade there are four teacher units. There is one principal, half time assistant principal, one counselor, and one media specialist.
Harlan Elementary School has two outstanding after-school enrichment programs that accommodate working parents. The Enrichment program has been at Harlan for approximately 12 years and was implemented by the Harlan PTO for working parents. Harlan offers an additional after-school program called F.A.L.C.O.N., which is funded through Title I. The school is well known in the community for providing an excellent education for all students.
Harlan Elementary is an accredited school through Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Harlan is an Alabama Reading Initiative School and all teachers have been trained as Alabama Math, Science, and Technology (AMSTI) teachers.
Our staff members are dedicated and genuinely care about "our" students. Because of their dedication, Harlan received state recognition as a CLAS Banner School (2005) and a Torchbearer School (2007, 2011,2013). Harlan was the only Torchbearer School winner in North Alabama in 2010-11. Harlan was selected as the Alabama winner of the 2010 International Reading Association Exemplary Reading Program Award. Ten of Harlan's teachers have achieved National Board Certification (NBC), and one more teacher is working toward National Board Certification. In the spring of 2011, Harlan was presented a first place trophy in the "Steve Trash Litter Champ" competition, presented by the Shoals Chamber of Commerce "Keep the Shoals Beautiful" committee. Judges visited our school, assessed the cleanliness of the school inside and out, and rated our recycling program. Our faculty and staff strive each and every day to provide an excellent education for our students, as well as an outstanding environment inside and outside of our school to enhance learning for all of our students!