Welcome to Purnell

We are a school where girls learn in a nurturing but challenging environment and develop both as individuals and as members of a community. Our success can be traced directly to the summer of 1962, when Purnell’s founding Head, Lytt Gould, and his wife, Sis, had a conversation with friends about the need for "a school which puts the girl first, a school which values each individual." The Goulds and their fellow founders created Purnell to be that school. They took the best of what was known about learning and education for adolescent girls who would not find success at more traditional schools, and they created an educational program, established traditions, and grew a community in which those girls would thrive.

More than fifty years later, we are still building on those programs and traditions as well as that commitment to the success of young women. We also continue to see Purnell girls thrive here and as they go on to succeed in college and in life. The ideal expressed by Mr. Gould remains as powerful today as it was in 1962. In fact, many of the most significant current understandings of adolescent development, girls’ education, and learning differences embrace those same beliefs.

Advances in areas such as student-centered education, learner-centered teaching, and experiential learning all start with the idea of putting students first. Our tradition of valuing each individual is our fundamental principle behind innovations around Learning and Wellness, Universal Design for Learning, differentiation of instruction, understanding of learner variability, and personalization of learning opportunities. These frameworks align with current research in instruction and neuroscience.

Purnell’s founding Guidelines - Consideration of Others, Use of Common Sense, and Truthfulness in all Relations – also resonate today through our initiatives around social-emotional learning, character education, and ethical decision-making. Purnell is uniquely positioned to make the most of these advances in thinking, because their core ideas have existed here for decades. These principles inform all that we do at Purnell. We bring them to life every day, so that our girls truly flourish while they are with us and have the skills and awareness they will need to excel in their lives after Purnell.

Purnell is built on very strong foundations, and we embrace current understandings of learning and teaching so that our students can develop the intellectual and emotional capacities to become confident, lifelong learners. If you are a girl who could thrive in our nurturing, educational environment, or you are that girl’s family, friend, or educator, Purnell would welcome your visit to our unique school and beautiful campus.

Come grow with us!

Warm regards,

Anne M. Glass, Ed.M.

Head of School