Joy / Meaning

What a High School Can Be

We believe teenagers are capable and trustworthy. Our culture embodies respect for the individual and the rewards of participation in a community. We regard the curriculum as everything we do here — rigorous academics, the work program, the arts and physical activity all combine and intertwine to create students who understand what it takes to get things done. Much of a student’s life at Putney is experiential education, and they enjoy both independence and responsibility.

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Putney is my home away from home; it grants me security and happiness. The people are wonderful and the community makes me feel at home.” — Zoe ’23

As a progressive boarding school, students become scientists of their own education. They discover the ways in which they thrive and learn how to apply that skill set to their everyday life. With a choice of opportunities to express themselves from inside the classroom to on the stage, each and every student has the freedom to excel in their own individual way.

Learning Through the Arts

At our creative and performing arts high school in Vermont, students can follow their passions and develop their creative processes.

From creative writing to Afro-Caribbean drumming; blacksmithing and robotics, hip hop dance and songwriting, our Evening Arts Program lets students explore their artistic and creative possibilities. It is an opportunity for students to try something entirely new, or to delve more deeply into an art form for which they have already developed a passion. These classes are often led by wonderful local artists in the community.

We hold a deep and holistic dedication to the performing and visual arts. We believe the lifeblood of any community is when they gather to do things together, and music is the voice of The Putney School — whether it’s our weekly All-School Sing, playing guitar around the campfire or performing in the community orchestra. Whether you (or your child) are a beginner or a virtuoso aiming for a professional career in music of fine arts, the community is here to support your learning and creative expression.

Celebrating Community 

So much of life at Putney is outside of the dorms, and students can spend their free time as they please on campus. As a home-away-from-home, the school organizes many evening and weekend activities — many of them student driven. 

During our annual Harvest Festival, alumni, parents, the local community and friends of the school come together to celebrate fall through food, music, grafts, games and good cheer. 

Long Fall is another annual tradition at the beginning of the year, when students pack up and head out for a four-day, three night camping expedition. We believe that there is incredible value in every wilderness experience that can lead to inspiration, joy, and commitment to an environmental ethic. 

We also have a number of student-led groups on campus such as Poetry, Model UN, Diversity Committee and Sustainability Squad. And of course, we never underestimate the joy of relaxing on the hill in the sun, reading by the fire in the library and pick-up soccer games after dinner. 

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