The Putney Curriculum

At Putney, There’s No Such Thing As Extracurricular. Everything Is Learning

You are going to be learning all of the time – inside and outside, with teachers and fellow students, through your jobs and leadership roles, in independent study, at campfires, and in classrooms. This section of the website is a menu of choices, but it is also a call to action: a call to be creative and work hard. At Putney you will learn to be bold and innovative, to work and to lead, to consider yourself and others, to live at home and out in the world, and to build sustainability into all of your efforts.

Education for Creativity and Innovation

Education that fosters creativity is crucial to your ability to be useful in the world. Twice a year, you will design and carry out lengthy self-designed independent projects. Independent studies and exhibitions will require you to dig deeply into an area of interest and create new questions and connections.

Education for Leadership

At Putney, you will practice leadership and learn through experience. You will help to run work crews, lead dorms, and sit on committees. You will find yourself in lengthy debates about how to run a community in which individual freedoms must mesh with a responsibility to the group. There are more than 50 leadership positions in which students are leading their fellow students to get work done, or in which students are part of the decision-making processes that make the community run. This work is vital to the school.

Education for Sustainability

Putney stands for a way of life, and we realize that this life must be an environmentally sustainable one. Throughout our history, the land use program has been a key element of a Putney education. New technology and old are combined to find ways to live more lightly on the land. Our science program includes Physiological Ecology and Complex Systems, as well as biology and chemistry classes that use the natural world as their laboratories. You will be required to work on the farm, in the gardens, and in the woods in order to graduate.