Our Learning Environment

Our approach to learning is different than you have experienced before.

At Purnell, we understand that learning is not one-size-fits-all. Our students come here with varying learning styles, abilities, and cultural identities. We recognize—and celebrate—these differences by focusing on individualized, strengths-based learning.

Our Differentiated Instruction starts with an identification of your learning style. You’ll get to be a proactive participant in creating your academic goals, which we’ll base on your individual gifts, talents, and interests. We’ll monitor your progress continuously, and dynamically adapt class plans and assignments accordingly.

Purnell's learning environment

Learning Support

Support comes in many forms at Purnell. Our academic program is centered on your individual needs, supporting you when you need it, and challenging you when you are ready for it.

Whether it’s one-on-one tutoring to bolster reading and writing skills for a dyslexic or dysgraphic student, specialized instruction to help in math for the dyscalculic student, or a multi-sensory, inquiry-based classroom, whatever the learning style, our girls are given the learning support they need. Plus, our teachers are available every day to answer questions, clarify materials from class, prepare you for assessments, or to help you gain deeper knowledge about the material being covered.

Academic Blog

Learn about how we are transforming the educational experience for Purnell girls in our Academic Blog.

How students learn differently

Some girls need to discover success in ways not provided by large, traditional high schools. Read more about learning differences, and ways that Purnell can help.


  • 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