The Putney School: students

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Finding their own way in their own words

Text of The Putney School: students

  • here students do

    finding their own w

    ay in their own w


  • in many ways your biggest project here is creating your best self. The self that can go out in the world and do good work. The self that can

    work hard and have a good time doing it. You know youve found that

    self when all 220 of your peers and 40 teachers give you a standing

    ovation in Assembly. Or when your Independent Study project turns

    into something that could provide a solution right here on campus,

    like improved energy efficiency in the dorms. Or when you finish barn

    work ten minutes earlier than usual and you sit watching the sun rise

    over a crazy green hill.

    If youre going to leave home, why not make it count?

  • theres nothing mindless about this place. The

    work program, for example, is so much more than

    checking off boxes on worksheets. Its about doing

    jobs well. Before I came to Putney, it was a struggle

    to wake up in the morning. Now Im up at 5:30 and

    working in the barn. Im not saying I always love it,

    but I do it. My biggest challenge has always been

    doing the things I just dont want to do. We get stuff

    done here.

    Im a more social person since I came to Putney.

    Ive expanded my group of friends everyone here

    is cool. Everyone has diverse interests. I played music

    before I came to Putney, but my music and my

    musical taste has really grown. The music I write and

    play now is a better reflection of my artistic vision. It

    has gained depth. Probably because Ive gotten more

    mature. Ive played several shows in the Northeast

    and Ive gotten interested in music production. This

    has given me a lot of confidence.

    Bens interest in music, acoustics and production have led him on a deep exploration of experimental music and the manipulation of sound to express artistic ideas. His transformation from a talented player to a young artist who thinks both expressively and academically about his medium, is exactly the kind of change we try to nurture in the music program. Cailin Manson, Music Director

    year: from :

    Bens fa L L win t er sPring

    Curriculum American StudiesAdvanced Literature & CompositionSpanish 3Physics

    American StudiesWriting & ResearchAdvanced Literature & CompositionSpanish 3Physics

    American StudiesMagical RealismSculpture 1Intro to Astronomy

    We get stuff done here.Im inspired by Cailin, our music director, and

    by my friends. Im inspired by my physics course,

    and by studying acoustics.

    I miss being in a city, but who Ive become has a

    lot to do with the people Ive met here. Progressive

    education is more than ideology. Its about people.

    Afternoon Activity Woods Crew Alpine Snowboarding Ultimate Frisbee

    Evening Art Jazz Combo Jazz Combo Electronic Music Composition

    Work/Job Calder Theater Tech Crew Dinner Waiter Morning Barn


  • caLeBs

    year: from :

    i didnt feel challenged at my old school. My

    friends were burned out. I wanted to know how to

    work with my hands. I didnt want to memorize

    information, take tests, and then forget everything.

    I came to Putney and saw the barn, felt the vibe, met

    some people and knew it was the place for me.

    Algebra 2


    History of Comparative Religion

    Conference Block

    American Studies

    Algebra 2

    Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner

    History of Comparative Religion

    American Studies

    Algebra 2

    Comparative Religion

    American Studies

    Algebra 2Comparative Religion

    American Studies

    7 am





    12 pm










    monday tUesday wednesday thUrsday friday satUrday

    Lunch/Cleaner Lunch/Cleaner

    Jewelry Electronic Music

    Soccer Soccer Soccer


    Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast

    Conference BlockConference Block Conference & Advisory

    Lunch/Cleaner Lunch/CleanerLunch/Cleaner Lunch/Cleaner

    Assembly AssemblySing

    The difficult things in life are so often the

    most rewarding.

    It seemed like the kind of school where you could

    really be an individual, but also part of a community.

    Ive become a leader in the Outdoor Program

    arranging hiking trips and taking kids who may never

    have experienced wilderness.

    The teachers here are clearly invested in their

    students. Because so much of our work in the

    classroom is discussion-based, we get to know each

    other very well. We help each other to develop ideas.

    For example, Im interested in homesteading

    last year in history we had a mock debate about

    utopian society that really forced me to refine my

    goals and think about what homesteading

    really means.

    I live in a cabin on campus and am getting

    my Wilderness First Responder certificate. I get up

    at 5:30 most days which can be pretty brutal

    but its good to know that you can do it. The difficult

    things in life are so often the most rewarding.








  • i chose putney because I could see it was a school

    that trusted its students to work independently

    without teachers looking over their shoulders. And it

    looked like fun. (I went to a very rowdy Sing on my

    visit to Putney.) I thought Id study photography, but

    I got interested in so many other things. I built a

    parabolic solar cooler my first Project Week. I took

    Music and Spanish and wrote some songs in Spanish.

    I built a traditional Adirondack chair. I really got into

    science, particularly physics. I did a research paper

    on whether the Church of Scientology should be

    taxed, and another on Putney during the McCarthy

    years. Its not all easy, but by the end of your first

    year here, you just want to high-five yourself.

    The teachers here understand that we all have

    very different learning styles. They find the explana-

    tions and the questions that keep us engaged and

    interested. And sometimes they just say, Go figure it

    out! They trust us to participate in community

    decisions. Im on the Standards Committee, which

    makes decisions about disciplinary action. Im also

    on the student council. We are passionate about

    this place. We live here.

    Ive gotten very involved in raising money for

    CITTA, a nonprofit that focuses on health,

    education, and economic development in India

    and Nepal, helping to build hospitals, schools, and

    womens economic development centers.

    Im so much more comfortable with myself, with

    public speaking, with taking on leadership roles

    since I came to Putney, and Im more a part of this

    community because of that confidence. Some of this

    comes from classroom work and some from the

    group work we do on campus.

    Ive also gotten so much better at thinking

    critically, without necessarily making a judgment.

    There are so many opinions out there! A lot of places

    dont teach you how to be on your own. But at

    Putney, if its cold out and you dont feel like doing

    your work, you just do it. You learn how to structure

    your time and set priorities. After all, there isnt

    a CEO in the world who is going to stand in front

    of a blackboard and say: This is what I want you

    to do next!

    fa L L win t er sPring

    year: from :

    By the end of your first year here, you just want to

    high-five yourself.

    Curriculum American StudiesSpanish 4PrecalculusPhysics A

    Writing and ResearchSpanish 4PrecalculusPhysics B

    SculptureAmerican StudiesPrecalculusSpanish 4College Planning Seminar

    Afternoon Activity XC Running Team Renaissance Fencing Jazz Dance

    Evening Art Weaving Figure Drawing Creative Writing

    Work/Job Dinner Crew Reynolds Building: Head Cleaner

    Lunch Kitchen Cleanup

    Project Week Electromagnetic Induction Toys

    Building Adirondack Chairs



  • i m on my way to teach kids in a school on the

    border of India and Bhutan for the summer before

    I go to the Rhode Island School of Design next

    year. A group of Putney students are going with our

    chemistry teacher, Hilary. Were going to talk

    about progressive education, do some projects, and

    meditate! Im going to take photos and keep

    a journal.

    I didnt fall in love with Putney the first time I

    came here. I fell in love the second time. You know

    what got me? I read about a particular student on

    the website. When I came for a second visit, I just

    happened to meet her. That made a big impression

    on me. It meant that the community was small enough

    that I could get to know people pretty quickly.

    Then theres the Art Department, which is so

    much better than at any other school. I think it was

    Evening Arts my sophomore year that I realized how

    many great skills I had already acquired and how

    much I knew about traditional photography. I felt as

    though I was ready to be creative on my own.

    Theres a lot of figuring out who you are in those first

    two years.

    Lynne taught me everything I know, technically.

    Ive had her for four years. Ive learned things from