Founded in 1935, the Putney School in Vermont offers a rigorous yet progressive, hands-on education to students in grades 9–12. Students here are encouraged to pursue their personal academic interests, as well as to “present their thinking in coherent and compelling ways.”
This approach is certainly working. Graduates gain entrance to the very best schools in the country; they attend Ivies like Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, and Cornell, as well as schools like Oberlin, Sarah Lawrence, and Boston College.
In addition to academics, students participate in an arts-based program two nights a week and must satisfy six jobs during their stay—lunch, dinner, barn crew, dish crew, substitute, and land-use activities—which helps instill in them a different kind of work ethic not generally found in the classroom.