The Putney School - Review #11
Reflections and Advice:
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Small classes, progressive attitude, sustainability practices, emphasis on arts, importance of work ethic and effort, connection to the land, close community.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Putney was a challenging and fulfilling experience. It was not always easy, and sometime frustrating, but as far as high school goes, I couldn't possibly have asked for anything better.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I can't say I would have done things differently. I learned a lot. Boarding school is not easy, but I am so glad I stuck it out. There were times I wanted to go home (a few), but I am sincerely grateful for the experiences and relationships I left with.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved my teachers. I loved the barn, walking across the fields at 6 am, working with great people and leaving with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Putney leaves nothing untouched - although it may be at times overwhelming for a teenager, it allows for some in-depth experiences that stay for life.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Putney is a special place, but is not for everyone...if you want to be somewhere different, be challenged and be ready to get your hands dirty, go for it. You won't regret it. But it's no classic New England prep-school and all the better for it. Put on your Carhartts and hang out with Margie and Pete. Get your snowshoes and explore with Cathy. Go talk to Glenn about sustainability. Ask Marty what is in the jambalaya. See what Joe Fichter thinks of your latest idea for a sculpture - make sure it's weird. Honestly - poke around in the woods - there is art out there along with years of Putney student tradition.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I can best describe the academics at The Putney School as intimate. Having a familiar relationship with both the teacher and the students in the class enables a sense of security and openness that is rarely found in high school or college classrooms. It may be your soccer coach or your dormhead that is teaching you and your classmates about Linnaeus or the Romans. Being taught in a setting where it is encouraged to speak up and push your own limits of comfort is an incredibly important skill that Putney classes promote. Putney offers a curriculum that covers what most high schools would be learning and more - but with an emphasis on questioning and further exploring what we are taught. The classes are personal and challenging.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved Putney athletics. I played soccer all four years as well as horseback riding. There are no tryouts for the teams. This doesn't mean it's a 'Little Giants' situation, quite the opposite - many of the athletes are incredibly talented. What differs is the pressure to perform - there is no 'all-star' award to receive and the support and encouragement you give to your teammates is the same you receive. I remember one specific soccer game where Vermont Academy (our 'rivals') came through the KDU in their matching sports suits and bags, ready to sweep the Putney girls away. We met them on the field having painted our arms and legs with "war paint" only to be informed by the referee that it was against Vermont rules at which time the entire Putney girls team had to go jump in the puddle to rinse off our artful decorations :) We always had fun, it was serious play, but never over the top. We made up our own chants and pre-game dances and always had fun.
Art, Music, and Theatre:
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I did four years of African dance which was incredibly rewarding. Michelle Adams then taught the modern dance class after the Currier Center opened for its first year. Ines Gomez-Ochoa was our vibrant music director, and it was under her guidance that I enjoyed 3 years of chorus and orchestra. I was in the musical 'Cabaret', directed by the wonderful Karla Baldwin. The best part of the performing arts at Putney was the freedom to explore ones own interests and at the same time gaining an appreciation for the traditional aspects of the arts.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Evening activities were a big part of my Putney experience. From jewelry making to BASTA! (a political activism group) to stained class, blacksmithing and knitting, students are given opportunities to try so many different possibilities. The teachers are all experienced and patient, and students are encouraged to try as many different things as they want to.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorms at Putney are all pretty small which intensifies the feeling of being involved in a close knit community. Living in Grey House, the dorm furthest from campus was amazing - walking across the cow pastures in the morning and seeing the hills enveloped in mist was a blessing. The opportunity for seniors to live in cabins was the highlight of Putney residential life. Ten seniors are chosen to live in pairs in five cabins across campus. The cabins are incredibly independent - you are responsible for heating the cabin by wood stove and keeping the solar panels and indoor lamps working properly.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining is pretty varied and we were given the option of the main courses, salads, bread, coffee etc. As far as institutional food goes, it was pretty great. The Putney Special should be tried and possibly avoided. The jambalaya leaves something to be desired...
Social and Town Life:
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Quiet. Putney has a great Co-op, second hand store, general store (essential for Ben & Jerry's factory seconds), Sunoco for late-night junk food dorm trips, and a pizza place and diner. Other than that, Brattleboro and Northampton trips are offered as well as the occasional trip to Burdick's in Walpole, NH for the best chocolate ever.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
You get to know everyone. For all the frustrations of having 200 people on a hill all year, the quality of relationships is immeasurable.
Trip to Mass MOCA
Movie trip to Brattleboro
Alumni Reviews Review School
The Putney School Alumni #1
Class of 2016
Class of 2016
My school had a phenomenal work program, where students were expected to complete jobs around the school 6 days a week. These jobs included working on the farm, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, cleaning. . .
The Putney School Alumni #2
Class of 2016
Class of 2016
Putney is a vibrant community where teachers and students are actual friends. It’s conducive to personal growth and a place where I and other students found our passions. Everyone is excited and working on something. . .
The Putney School Alumni #3
Class of 2016
Class of 2016
Putney is a coeducational boarding and day school in Vermont. It values and practices progressive education, and has a diverse and rigorous curriculum. It boasts a strong academic program, along with a work job program. . .
Show more reviews (11 reviews)
Why Do a Gap or Post-Graduate (PG) Year?
Learn why more and more students are choosing to do a gap or post graduate (PG) year at boarding school.
May 05, 2022Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Teaching in a boarding school is the same as teaching in a public school, right? Not exactly. Some explanations here.
May 01, 2022Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
By "wrong schools", I mean schools that don't fit your needs and requirements. Finding the "right school' implies that the school meets 99% of what you require. More here.