Learning and Wellness®

Purnell is proud to be the only school to offer this integrated approach to all students. We serve average to high aptitude students with a range of specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia, language disorders, dyscalculia, processing disorders, ADHD, executive function challenges, anxiety, depression, and school avoidance. Our goal is to build each girl up so that she is aware of what she is capable of and can begin to imagine her future. We believe that every girl is capable of more than she knows.

Learning and Wellness® is an integrated proactive, collaborative, prescriptive, diagnostic approach to inform academic and extracurricular programming and student-centered support. We believe that support must never be separate or siloed. Instead, support must address Learning and Wellness® together in an intentionally multidisciplinary holistic way. Within this framework at Purnell, we work to build a school climate in which each student feels comfort, trust, safety and opportunity.

Purnell's learning environment


We know - and research in neuroscience and education verify - that students must feel secure in their environments to develop the self-esteem to take chances in academics, student life, creative arts, and leadership. Taking chances - and sometimes even fail safely - are essential to personal growth. Our goal is for each girl to discover herself and begin to engage and wonder and dream.


Hear more about Learning & Wellness® from our
Head of School Anne Glass


Purnell’s Learning and Wellness® approach emphasizes wellness because student well-being is the quintessential and most important factor in learning for all learners. Our Learning and Wellness® approach enjoys the full institutional commitment of our school. This integrated approach benefits all students and especially those who are diverse learners.

Learning and Wellness® promotes:

  • Mental clarity
  • Alertness
  • Attention, Focus and Concentration
  • Interest
  • Engagement and Motivation to Learn
  • Memory
  • Confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-advocacy

The Director of our Learning and Wellness® Program, Dr. Martha Torres constructs a learning profile for each student when she begins at Purnell. This is an individualized one-page summary of the student’s strengths, areas of challenge, interests, and suggestions of pedagogical approaches that we anticipate to be beneficial to the student. This document is shared with faculty to provide some background as we continue to get to know her at Purnell. This document is therefore a working-document that can evolve as we get to the student and she gets to know herself.

How students learn differently

Some girls need to discover success in ways not provided by large, traditional high schools.


  • Four years of English
  • Three years of History
  • Two years of foreign language or English as a Second Language unless exempt due to learning disability
  • Three years of Math (including Algebra and Geometry)
  • Three years of Science (including Biology and Chemistry)
  • One year of Performing Arts
  • One year of Studio Arts plus at least one Art History course



In addition:

  • All students must complete 10 hours of community service per year, participate in Project Exploration, and a yearly Seminar class
  • Students are required to participate in either a competitive or a non-competitive sport each semester