Putney School, Putney, Vermont
“Dialogue” plays a huge part in the Putney community. Dialogue is different than conversation, discussion, or debate. Dialogue at Putney means working together. Putney doesn’t want students tuned out or disconnected. Students have to focus intently and practice mindfulness. Putney demands collective responsibility and interdependence. Putney is a simple place that is creative and grounded, visionary and practical.
Tour guide quote of the visit: “We work hard here. What does that mean? It means we make sacrifices to get things done. We are engaged. We are passionate. We struggle.”
Putney’s Work/Job (morning or afternoon barn, tech crew, dinner waiter) and Land Use programs teach and develop a sense of stewardship. Putney believes working with the land cultivates a good work ethic, fosters a respect for all life, and develops practical skills. Students are required to do one trimester of work on the land before graduation- gardening, farming, wood crew, trail maintenance and landscaping.
I sat-in on a Media Studies class which was lively, students were very involved and engaged in discussion. I also attended an All School Sing which invigorated and energized students for the day ahead of them.
Evening Arts (Afro-Modern Dance, Blacksmithing, Book Arts, ceramics, Electronic Music Composition, Fiber Arts, Figure Drawing, Jewelry, Madrigals, Photography, Theater, Woodworking) takes place six evenings a week from 7:30 – 9:00 PM.
Physically, Putney is set on a beautiful southern Vermont campus. The physical plan includes a new field house and strong visual and performing arts facilities. “The Center for Teaching and Learning” is a resource for all students and teachers, providing academic support, organizational help, study skills and math workshops. It helps students with specific challenges as well as meeting the general demands of their academic work. Putney understands that students have a variety of learning styles, capacities and strengths.