Who we are

The Putney School is a co-educational boarding school for grades 9-12 founded in 1935 By Carmelita Hinton. We are a progressive school, in that we value the idea that education is something to be actively pursued rather than passively received.  When students learn by doing rather than being told, they develop confidence, deeper understanding, and resolve. Our continued commitment to Ms. Hinton’s fundamental beliefs, and our deliberate choices for our community and curriculum have put Putney at the leading edge of education in America.

We are both creative and grounded, visionary and practical. We are a community of people who think for themselves, invent, design, experiment, compose, write, build, and chase down new ideas. At the same time we work on the land, take care of ourselves and each other, and know what it takes to make a community run.

We are progressive. We value experiential education, the idea that people learn best by doing, rather than by being told. Students here view their education as something they are pursuing, rather than something being done to them. We value collaboration more than competition, and regard education as the creation of intelligence rather than the transmission of information.

We believe that teenagers are capable and trustworthy. Students play an active role in running the community.  Students are part of every decision making body of the school, including the board of trustees.  Our school council debates the real issues of the community, from the grading policy and graduation requirements to cell phones and community service. Students run the entire work program, which runs the farm, cooks, cleans, and maintains the campus.

We are both academically rigorous and culturally informal. We take our intellectual tradition seriously, but do not wrap it up in formalities. Here you will work harder than you have ever worked, but the work will be yours and you can have fun doing it.