Signature Programs

Our Signature Programs are thoughtfully designed to help you find your strengths, passions, and, in the end, your success in college and beyond.

Purnell students in uniforms

Project Exploration


Project Exploration is a hands-on, project-oriented mini-term scheduled for three weeks during February and March. Students take one class 6 to 10 hours a day. During your sophomore, junior, or senior year, you will have the opportunity to expand your global awareness through intensive travel abroad experiences designed around interdisciplinary themes that focus on community service, in-depth cultural and language studies, and environmental science and sustainable living. Students who remain on campus explore interdisciplinary courses that change each year. On campus courses incorporate local travel, differing means of expression, and connections with outside resources. The program concludes with a Project Exploration Showcase, where students display their work and give presentations to the rest of the school and outside community.

Specialized Diploma Program


The Specialized Diploma Program allows you to explore and expand your strengths both within and beyond the classroom. Students who complete the program requirements will graduate with a program designated diploma in addition to the traditional high school diploma. Students will leave Purnell with a portfolio of high-quality work as a foundation for further study.

Creative Arts
The Creative Arts Specialized Diploma provides students with an opportunity to focus on either Studio Arts or Performing Arts. Students are required to choose an internship that focuses on Creative Arts, and take additional electives in Creative Arts.

Global Citizenship
The Global Citizenship Specialized Diploma provides students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of global issues, languages, and cross-cultural experiences. Students are required to choose an internship that focuses on Global Citizenship, and take additional electives in the various departments that qualify for the program.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
The STEM Specialized Diploma provides students with the opportunity to explore their strengths in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Students are required to choose an internship that focuses on STEM exploration, and take additional electives in STEM.

Post-Graduate Program


For the student who needs more time to strengthen her academic skills and mature before entering college, Purnell offers a post-graduate year. The program is individualized to the needs of each girl. Small, supportive class sizes and the attentive nature of the faculty creates an environment that fosters academic risks and challenges, even for students who have never been comfortable engaging in this type of learning. The post-graduate program is not a repetition of a student’s senior year, but rather an opportunity to expand upon her previous academic work, prepare for college, and strive toward independence.

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Project Ex

Three weeks every student looks forward to is our Project Exploration mini-term. During Project Ex, students get to choose an interesting project like performing in a musical production or exciting travel abroad.