Academics

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.

  • Mental Health Ambassadors at Emma Willard School strive to promote optimal mental and emotional wellbeing for all.

    Chilling with the Mental Health Ambassadors

    By Sandra Santana
    As we bid farewell to Mount Ida for the holidays, we are reminded of how hectic the season can be. Between traveling, gatherings, and the excitement of reuniting with loved ones, it may feel hard to keep up with classmates. After a semester of hard work and busy schedules, it may feel even harder to slow down to rest. While the definition of chill may look different to each of us, the Mental Health Ambassadors offer up some solutions.
  • History Instructor Emily Snyder

    Engaging Art History

    By Melissia Mason
    Last year, we announced a plan to “go beyond” Advanced Placement™ classes, replacing AP with our own Emma-specific Advanced Studies (AS) courses. Over the summer, faculty spent time together in a coordinated effort to dream of and plan for advanced classes that are student-centered, relevant, and meaningful. History Instructor Emily Snyder was among those faculty, pursuing a vision for “going beyond” with AS Art History.
  • Ava S. '22

    Works in Progress: Scientific Curiosity

    Ava S. ’22
    During our all-school Morning Reports, we have the opportunity for community members to give inspirational speeches during a segment called Works in Progress. These talks vary in theme from silly to serious and all points in between. Regardless of the topic, our community members are adept at discovering profound inspiration in all aspects of life. In this speech, Ava S. ’22 shares her reflections on scientific curiosity and the study of the human mind.


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