Purnell School, the only college preparatory boarding and day school for motivated girls who learn differently, today announced it will cease operations on June 30, 2021, at the end of the current academic year. The board of trustees of the independent, not-for-profit private school, which played an important role in the lives of many young women over its 57-year history, made the difficult decision based on challenges related to the competitive landscape.
"Our board and leadership made this decision with deep regret, knowing that Purnell occupies a unique space in the independent school educational landscape," said Anne M. Glass, Ed.M., head of school. "We know this is a disappointment to our current students and well over 1,400 alumnae who called our school home. Purnell's board acted now while we are in a position to ensure a thoughtful and carefully managed transition for our students and dedicated faculty and staff. We are committed to following all our special spring traditions, including a very meaningful commencement celebration for the Class of 2021, as we also ensure that our students in grades 9 through 11 find new schools that meet their individual strengths and interests in the fall."
Purnell School was founded in 1963 by Lytt and Sis Gould, Hap Johnson, Carroll Boynton, and Ethel Stringfellow as a school that educated and celebrated girls with different learning styles and abilities – "a school that puts the girl first, a school which values each individual."
In September 1965, headmaster Gould welcomed the first class of 18 students to the 83-acre campus on Basset Farm, and over time, as the learning disability landscape matured, the mission of Purnell was clarified as a school that supported girls who learn differently. In 2016, the Learning and Wellness® program was founded to provide integrative and holistic support focused on the entire child's social-emotional and academic needs.
"Though we continue to believe Purnell School offers a unique learning platform that successfully supports individual student needs, we lack the funds necessary to make the significant changes that would sustain and strengthen our program in order to remain competitive into the future," said Martha Gallo, co-chair of Purnell School's board of trustees.
After holding much of the Spring 2020 semester virtually due to the pandemic, Purnell reopened its campus safely this fall because of the shared belief that in-person education and social interaction is superior to remote learning. With community cooperation, Purnell completed its fall semester with no positive cases of COVID-19.
All academic and student life programs will continue on campus as planned for the remainder of the school year, ensuring an engaging educational experience right up to graduation day. Purnell's staff and faculty will provide one-on-one assistance and support for each family as they move through every step of the process and into the next chapter in their education.
"Sharing this announcement now allows us to handle this transition with the same care and integrity with which we've led this school for decades," said Glass. "We are also working to ease the transition for our current faculty and staff, whose dedication to their duties and responsibilities has been critical to our girls' success."
About Purnell School
Founded in 1963, Purnell School is the only college preparatory boarding and day school for motivated young women in grades 9-12 who learn differently. At Purnell, intellectual curiosity and student support are never mutually exclusive. Through its proprietary Learning and Wellness® approach, expert faculty integrate educational rigor, academic support, and social and emotional wellness. Purnell is a safe, nurturing and empowering community of enrichment, leadership and equity of educational opportunities. Purnell is a member of the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, National Association of Independent Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools, Learning Disabilities Association of America, International Dyslexia Association, and is accredited by the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and STEM.org. Purnell is located in Pottersville, New Jersey. Discover "A World of Difference" at www.purnell.org.