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Purnell School

Purnell School

Purnell School

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Purnell School

51 Pottersville Rd, Pottersville, NJ 07979, USA


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Purnell School

Our Mission

Purnell is a girls’ 9-12 college preparatory boarding school where girls who learn differently can flourish in a country setting near New York City. Our Founding Guidelines: Consideration of Others Truthfulness in All Relations Use of Common Sense Our Vision Purnell School exists to ensure girls discover their untapped strengths and potential, so that they are transformed into confident women. Our Value Statement Purnell School is in the business of transformation.  

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. At Purnell, girls are encouraged to try new things and when they do they feel the support of their peers and teachers. Purnell is a place where one can grow into the woman she is meant to be, find a college that is right for her and learn important values to help her live a meaningful life. Be yourself, explore your strengths, find success, discover Purnell.  

Our Campus

Purnell School is located in Pottersville, New Jersey an hour west of New York City and two hours north of Philadelphia. The school is right down the road from the headquarters of the United States Equestrian Team. The countryside around Purnell is horse and farm country, with picturesque rolling hills and deciduous forests. Rivers and streams meander across the landscape and even across our beautiful 83-acre campus. Purnell is safely nestled away from the distractions of the city yet close enough to take advantage of the cultural attractions on weekends.  The location is truly remarkable: close to the excitement and intellectual vibrancy of metropolitan areas yet removed enough to create a safe, reflective and inspirational atmosphere where growing girls thrive.  


For the past forty years, it has been our mission to nurture and support girls' learning and desire to grow. Over the last seven years, we have created an enrichment program called the GPS Program. This program has a distinct curriculum for each girl to discover her interests and strengths. Purnell emphasizes that all students are capable of learning. Our instructional methods allow students to discover their own learning styles and to become proactive in their learning process. Classroom requirements and activities are supportive of the development of effective study habits. Instruction is thoughtfully designed to help girls find their passions, and explore paths to learning that will lead to success in college and beyond. For example:
  • Teachers work to differentiate their classes so that every student learns skills, standards and content to her fullest potential.
  • Students work with their advisor and Individual Goal Coordinators to create an Individualized Goal Plan that provides structure and a clear path in order for each student to achieve her overall goal.
  • Each Wednesday, the entire school learns about and discusses the affinities of students.
  • Students and their parents participate actively in the process of demystifying their learning. With 110 students, we are able to do this for every student in the school.
Our English and history courses encourage students to develop critical reading, writing and thinking skills. A strong emphasis is placed on gaining a deeper understanding of the variety of human experience and communicating that understanding clearly. Math and science follow a college preparatory sequence, but are taught with hands-on, collaborative approaches. Girls are encouraged not only to find solutions, but also to understand all the facets of the problems themselves. The arts are not add-ons to the curriculum. Instead they are both integrated into other coursework and explored fully in outstanding studio and performing arts programs.  


Artistic expression is how we communicate meaning, history, passion, pain and the culture of our civilization. Creative expression is a hallmark of a Purnell education and our Performing and Studio Arts Departments offer a variety of experiences and opportunities for the experienced and the developing artist as well as those who simply want to explore. Many of our graduates have attended top art colleges after Purnell. Several Purnell graduates and some Purnell faculty are professional artists working in their fields. Purnell has extensive course offerings in both the studio and the performing arts as well as a full array of activities, performance opportunities and open studio times.  

Student Life

As a vibrant residential community, Purnell maintains a commitment to creating a wide variety of opportunities for student learning and fun beyond the classroom. The School offers a full range of competitive and non-competitive athletics, a wide variety of clubs and activities and a diverse offering of residential life activities in the dorms and on weekends. We understand that students are as likely to discover a driving interest or passion outside the classroom as in it and tailor our program to meet the interests of our students. A host of traditions and celebrations also make the Purnell experience memorable.
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