Program Pillars

A Unique Learning Experience

What do today’s students need most from their high school experience to prepare them for college, careers, and civic life? Are we teaching enduring learning, inspiring deeper thinking, helping students excel in the habits of an intellectual life? The program pillars at Emma Willard School are designed to consider these very important questions.

With awareness that the world is changing and learners are changing with it, the Emma Willard School program equips our students to meet the extraordinary opportunities and challenges of their time. Our academic program is focused on what matters most in learning—relevance, enduring understanding, and multidisciplinary connection. In order to educate a generation of learners ready and able to meet the most pressing issues of our time, we commit ourselves to the following program pillars.
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Intellectual Flexibility

Emma Willard School strives to educate a generation of learners ready and able to address the most pressing issues of their time. During their time at Emma, students develop the intellectual flexibility to consider big questions and to work to solve big problems.

Purpose & Community

Fundamental to personal wellbeing is the life-long exploration of one’s self and one’s contribution to the world. The Emma Willard School curriculum fosters a sense of purpose in each student by emphasizing relevance, impact, and community connection.

Equity & Justice

Living and learning in a global and inclusive community requires persistent and purposeful practice. Our curriculum provides exposure to and understanding of the global community, and focuses on developing the skills necessary to build and sustain equity and justice in the world.
Using the program pillars as a guide, Emma Willard School faculty develop advanced course offerings that challenge students to think deeply and fuel students’ love of learning. These Advanced Studies courses are a part of a plan to phase out and replace AP™ course offerings with unique curriculum developed specifically for Emma students. In addition, the school has developed a Ninth Grade Program that is designed to meet the unique needs of ninth graders as they transition to high school. 

Academic Headlines

List of 3 news stories.

  • Head of School Jenny Rao: “The story we celebrate today has a number of interesting and inspiring protagonists, each of whom has moved the plot of this story along in important ways.”

    Celebrating the Opening of Starzinger Writing Center

    It was standing-room-only in the upper level of Dietel Library on May 15 for the celebratory opening of Starzinger Writing Center. A collaborative effort between the English Department and alumnae Stephanie Sides ’73 and Page Starzinger ’76, the center will focus on nurturing our community of writers for generations to come.
  • 15 Emma Willard Students have been recognized through the National Merit Scholarship Awards program

    Celebrating National Merit Scholar Recognition

    Emma Willard School is excited to announce that Stella L. ’23 has been named a finalist for the 2022–2023 National Merit Scholarship. In addition, 14 students from the Class of 2024 have been recognized for the 2023–2024 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards.
  • Head of School Jenny Rao celebrates with the Class of 2023 honorees

    Honoring Excellence, Citizenship, and Doing Good

    Emma Willard School celebrated academic excellence and exemplary citizenship at Honors Convocation on Friday, April 21. Families were invited to join the ceremony, both in person and through a live stream, and Katherine Smith ’14 gave the convocation address.
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285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to campus must check in with Campus Safety, which can be found at the red flag entrance to Sage Hall (Pawling Ave. entrance).