Purnell accepts 7-day boarding, 5-day boarding and day students in grades 9-12, with an emphasis on developing the whole person in an all-girls environment.
Why Purnell? Because some girls need to discover success in a different way than those provided by traditional, competitive and large high schools. At Purnell, we offer a girl a chance to discover what she does best and to become the best she can at it. At Purnell, every girl “sits in the front row.” Teachers practice what works best for girls and teach their classes in interesting, interactive ways. As a result, girls are engaged in learning and they feel successful in the classroom.
The 83-acre former farm is in the village of Pottersville, with the rolling hills of northwestern New Jersey as a backdrop and the cultural opportunities of New York City just an hour away. Purnell is primarily a boarding school, grades 9-12, with an emphasis on developing the whole person in an all-girls environment. A close community of learners, Purnell celebrates differences and seeks out that which is unique in each girl.
The educational program is designed to engage a variety of learning styles with appropriate challenge and support for a wide range of abilities. The curriculum prepares all girls for the university or college that is most appropriate for her. It is a hands-on, integrated approach that stresses teaching girls in the ways that allow them to flourish. The Learning Center is integrated into the total program, so that teachers are continually trained by the Learning Specialist on ways to make accommodations for different learners within the classroom. There is time built into each day for students to seek one-on-one help with their teachers. This time does not conflict with athletics or extracurricular events. All ninth graders and new students to Purnell are enrolled in a Guided Study time where they meet with a teacher who helps them to organize their assignments, make decisions about how to prioritize work and learn to be self advocating, responsible students. A supervised study hall also occurs in the evening for students who need extra support. It is an adaptive curriculum designed to fit the individual needs of each student with emphasis on skills which can be applied in the classroom and the community at large. The classroom environment encourages students to take risks, meet new challenges, work independently, and apply what they have learned.
Building on Strengths
Purnell's award-winning G.P.S. Program grows out of a belief that building on a student’s strengths is the best way to help her grow into the person she was meant to become. At Purnell School, girls discover their strengths and use them to carve out a path toward a meaningful future. Many students come to Purnell with specific challenges to overcome and one of the important things we do is provide a framework for each girl to discover how she can address those challenges in healthy and productive ways.
The performing and studio arts programs have always attracted creative minds to Purnell. The dance troupe, acting ensemble, and singing group have consistently been of top quality and often have led to careers in these fields. The studio arts program at Purnell is extraordinary given the size of the school. Purnell not only attracts students who already understand their artistic talent, but regularly helps a girl discover unknown talents.
Purnell seeks teachers who are not only highly qualified in their fields (more than half of the faculty members hold advanced degrees) but also sensitive, compassionate, and enthusiastic people willing to give of themselves and committed to the philosophy of the school. Most faculty members reside on campus and serve as dorm parents, committee and publication advisors, coaches, and advisors to 2 to 5 students each. Students meet individually with their advisor, an adult friend and advocate, at least once a week.
The Director of College Counseling works closely with students and their parents in individual and group sessions to guide choices for each student's future. Colleges chosen in the last three years include American, Brevard, Drew, Carnegie Mellon, Dean, Elmira, Emerson, Franklin and Marshall, Gettysburg, Goucher, Ithaca, Lynchburg, Lycoming, Lynn, Marymount Manhattan, Michigan State, Montserrat College of Art, Moravian, Muhlenberg, NYU, Parsons, Pratt, Roanoke College, Rhode Island School of Design, Rutgers, Sacred Heart, Savannah College of Art and Design, Wagner, Washington College, Wells, Wheaton, and the Universities of Cincinnati, Denver, Hartford, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Purnell is committed to guiding students toward lifelong personal health, and every student is required to participate in interscholastic or individual sports four days a week. Competitive offerings include basketball, soccer, softball, and dance. Noncompetitive activities include horseback riding, weights and cardio, cross-country, and yoga. Horseback riding is available fall through spring at the nearby Redfield Farm.
The combined fee for tuition, room, and board for 2014-2015 is $49,900 for 7-day boarding, $48,00 for 5-day boarding, and $36,500 for day students. There is also an International Fee of $1,500 for all international students. Purnell has a rolling admission plan, and a candidate's file is presented to the Admission Committee after an on campus, Skype or phone interview has been completed and all paperwork has been submitted. Parents and the candidate are notified by email.
Type of School
Student Body GenderWomens
Religious AffiliationNo Affiliation
Scholarships for International StudentsNo
Conditional Admission AvailableNo
Type of HousingDormitory