Miss Porter's School

Miss Porter's School is a private college preparatory school for girls located in Farmington, Connecticut. Porter's enrollment for 2017–18 academic year was 313; 200 boarding students, and 113 day students. Known for its nationally and internationally diverse population, the school draws students from 21 states, 31 countries (with dual-citizenship and/or residence), and 17 countries (citizenship alone). All told, international students comprised 14% as of the 2017–18 year.[2] Average class size is 10.[2]

Miss Porter's School
Miss Porter's School, Farmington, Connecticut.jpg
Miss Porter's School is located in Connecticut
Miss Porter's School
Miss Porter's School
Miss Porter's School is located in the United States
Miss Porter's School
Miss Porter's School
United States
CoordinatesCoordinates: 41°43′21″N 72°49′46″W / 41.72250°N 72.82944°W / 41.72250; -72.82944
TypeIndependent, boarding
MottoPuellae venerunt. Abíerunt mulieres. (Latin = They came as girls. They left as women.)
Established1843; 177 years ago (1843)
Head of SchoolKatherine G. Windsor
Enrollment325 total
212 boarding
113 day (2014)
Average class size10
Student to teacher ratio7:1
Campus55-acre (220,000 m2) township campus
Color(s)Green and White         
Athletics18 Interscholastic teams
Endowment$106 million
Tuition$63,595 boarding
$51,200 day[1]



Sarah Porter, the founder of Miss Porter's School

Miss Porter's School was established in 1843 by education reformer Sarah Porter, who recognized the importance of women's education. She was insistent that the school's curriculum include chemistry, physiology, botany, geology, and astronomy in addition to the more traditional Latin, French, German, spelling, reading, arithmetic, trigonometry, history, and geography. Also encouraged were such athletic opportunities as tennis, horseback riding, and in 1867 the school formed its own baseball team, the Tunxises.[3] In 1884, Sarah Porter hired her former student, Mary Elizabeth Dunning Dow, with whom she began to share more of her duties as Head of School. From then until her death in 1900, Miss Porter gradually relinquished her control of the school to Mrs. Dow.

Sarah Porter's will named her nephew, Dr. Robert Porter Keep, as executor of her estate, of which the school was the most valuable asset. Mrs. Dow's compensation for her position as sole Head of School was also specified in the will. As executor, Dr. Keep began extensive repairs and renovations to the school. While Mrs. Dow continued to receive a salary as per Porter's will, she became convinced that Dr. Keep, in diverting the school's income to pay for construction, was enriching his inheritance with funds that were rightfully hers. The conflict escalated and culminated in Mrs. Dow's resignation in 1903. She moved to Briarcliff, New York, taking with her as many as 140 students and 16 faculty members, and began Mrs. Dow's School for Girls, which would come to be known as Briarcliff Junior College only to be absorbed by Pace University in 1977.[4][5][6]

A banner hanging in a themed guest room in the Timothy Cowles House, at Miss Porter's School, gives insight into how Porter's girls lived during the mid 1900s

Dr. Keep announced in July 1903 that the school would reopen in October of that year with his wife, Elizabeth Vashti Hale Keep as Head of School, eleven teachers, and between five and sixteen students in attendance. After Dr. Keep succumbed to pneumonia and died on July 3, 1904, Mrs. Keep continued his legacy of renovation and construction. One of her many legacies was the establishment of a kindergarten for children of her employees.[7] The kindergarten, on Garden Street, is now home to the Village Cooperative Nursery School, and is no longer connected with Miss Porter's School. When Mrs. Keep died of influenza on March 28, 1917, leadership of the school passed to her stepson, Robert Porter Keep, Jr., who moved to Farmington from Andover, Massachusetts where he had been teaching German at Phillips Academy. From 1917 until the school's Centennial, in 1943, he and his wife, RoseAnne Day Keep, remained Heads of School at Miss Porter's.[4][8]

Mr. Keep appointed members to the first Board of Trustees including:

The school was incorporated as a non-profit institution during the school's Centennial in 1943, with the primary purpose as a college preparatory school rather than its previous reputation as a finishing school for the social elite.[4] Also in 1943, the school ended the tradition of choosing a successive Head of School from the Porter family tree, selecting as its Head Ward L. Johnson and his wife Katharine.[4]


Classes at Porter's are held Monday through Friday, with Wednesday as a half day. Porter's has a student-to-teacher ratio of about 8:1. Porter's utilizes a style of teaching similar to the Harkness Method, wherein students and teachers sit around an oval table for discussion-based humanities courses. STEM courses take place in traditional classrooms and/or labs, while arts are taught in studio.

Students are required to take courses in the arts, computer science, English, ethical leadership, history, modern or classical languages, mathematics, and science.[9] Typically, students take a total of five to six units of credit per semester.[9]

On May 19, 2011, the Online School for Girls announced that Miss Porter's School and School of the Holy Child in Rye, New York had become consortium members.[10] Three Porter's faculty members are currently listed as teachers on the OSG website.[11]


Tuition and financial aidEdit

Miss Porter's offers need-based financial aid as well as a variety of merit scholarships. The school reports that, for the 2017–18 school year, roughly 34 percent of the student body receives some form of financial aid, with a total of over $3.3 million in aid awarded,[12] although fewer than 2% of the student body receive a full scholarship. In 2018, 37% of students received some form of need-based financial aid.[citation needed]


As of 2018, the school's endowment was estimated at $113 million.[2] The school is undergoing a capital campaign in 2018 to support a more consolidated campus that harkens back to its original roots. The campus at one time incorporated more than 90 buildings, most of which were in historical districts in Farmington and/or on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Consolidating the campus supports the school's mission of educating young women for the future, while incorporating its rich past as the school celebrated its 175-year anniversary.[13]

Campus facilitiesEdit

Academic facilitiesEdit

  • The Main building, the front door of which is depicted on the school seal, was built in 1830 as the Union Hotel on Main Street. Originally intended to serve patrons of the nearby Farmington Canal, it was rented by Sarah Porter in 1848 until her purchase on April 19, 1866.[14][15]
  • The M. Burch Tracy Ford Library, one of the newer academic facilities on campus, is named for the school's eleventh Head of School and houses over 22,000 volumes, electronic books, magazines, journals, newspapers in addition to a collection of 1,308 academic and entertainment DVDs and videos. The building also houses a computer lab and eight study rooms.[16]
  • Hamilton, previously a dorm, is currently home to the English and History departments. It was named for the Hamilton sisters, primarily Alice and Edith.
  • Jones Memorial, previously a pharmacy before the school's founding, is home to the language department, where students can enroll in Spanish, Latin, French, or Mandarin.
  • Olin, the main building for mathematics, science, and arts. This building is home to the school seal, which only seniors are allowed to step on.

Athletic facilitiesEdit

  • The Student Recreation Center, designed by Tai Soo Kim[17] and built in 1991, includes the Wean Student Center (a gift of the Raymond John Wean Foundation), Crisp Gymnasium with an elevated running track, a weight and exercise room, an athletic training room, and four previous squash courts which have since been converted into an Erg room, a free weight room, and a climbing wall.
  • The Mellon Gymnasium, designed by Maxwell Moore and built in 1962 as part of the theater-gymnasium complex, was a gift of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. It is home to Varsity Badminton in the fall, JV and Thirds Basketball in the winter, and is the designated indoor practice space for Varsity and JV Softball in the spring. It is also the official home of the Minks, Possums, and Squirrels, intercampus primarily sports rivalries that each New Girl is assigned to during one of the Fall Traditions. Outside of the Gymnasium, there is a statue for each of the three groups.
  • The Gaines Dance Barn, built c. 1930 and remodeled in 1993, is the 3,500-square-foot (330 m2) facility that serves as both rehearsal and performance space for dance groups. In March 1998, the facility was acoustically treated following complications stemming from the 1993 remodel.[18][19]
  • The Pool & Squash Building was designed and built by Stanmar Inc. in 2007.[20] As the newest athletic facility on campus, it contains an eight-lane, 25-yard (23 m) pool and eight international squash courts, and is nicknamed the "Cool House," as a combination of terms "Court" and "Pool House." It also contains multi-function rooms that are frequently used for receptions for Ancients, Trustees, and guests.
  • The Farmington Boat House, a cold storage boathouse on the nearby Farmington River, is home to the Varsity and JV Crew teams of both Miss Porter's and Farmington High School, shared in a unique public-private relationship.[21] The program is equipped with six Vespoli fours, a pair/double and three recreational singles.[22]


Interscholastic sportsEdit


Porter's competes in the Founders League with Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss, Kent, Kingswood-Oxford, Loomis Chaffee, Taft and Westminster schools. At the end of each season, Porter's competes against the league's most competitive teams in the New England Championships.[23][24] Porter's traditional rival is The Ethel Walker School.



In 1997, the Crew Team ranked 1st in the New England Championships.[25] In 2009, the Varsity Crew Team placed fourth in the New England Championships.[25]


In 2012, the Varsity Squash team placed fourth in New England Championships. Following the 2014 NEISA Team Championships, Varsity Squash ranked 8th out of 16 teams in Division A of the New England Interscholastic Squash Association (NEISA).[26] Participation in the 2014 NEISA Individual Championships earned the team 74 points and 6th Place overall.[27]


In 2010, the Varsity Volleyball team defeated Convent of the Sacred Heart to become the 2010 New England School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class B Champions.[28]

Student lifeEdit

Residential lifeEdit

Approximately 75% of Porter's girls live in dormitories, all but one of which are former Farmington private residences left to the school. Each dormitory has a house director who lives in a private suite or apartment in the dorm, often with his/her family. One of the school's distinguishing features is that house directors' primary responsibilities are within residential houses. Each dormitory, with the exception of the two senior dorms, has two Junior Advisors who serve as peer counselors and mediators.[29]

All student residences are equipped with the TellEmotion Polar Bear Program, technology developed at Dartmouth College,[30] in order to encourage conscientious energy consumption among students. Each display features an animated polar bear at various degrees of comfort or distress depending on the building's current energy consumption. Additionally, students can monitor their dorm's progress and even compare it to that of other dorms using the software's graphical analysis feature.

Student publicationsEdit

  • Salmagundy is the school's student-run monthly newspaper, founded October 27, 1945. Salmagundy is now both an online and paper publication.[31]
  • The school's journal for scholarly writing, Chautauqua, sharing its name with the US adult education movement, offers publication examples of student research across a variety of academic disciplines.
  • The school's yearbook, Daeges Eage, literally translates from Old English to "eye of the day," from which the modern word "daisy" is derived.
  • Haggis/Baggis, the school's magazine for literature and fine arts, features student poems, short stories, photographs, and artwork. Since it was first published in 1967,[32] the magazine has received numerous awards and recognitions.[33]
  • The Language Literary Magazine is a yearly publication which showcases writings by foreign language students, including essays, poems, commentaries, and dialogues.

Notable alumnaeEdit


  1. ^ "Miss Porter's School Facts & Stats". missporters.org. 2013–2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Miss Porter's School Facts & Stats". www.porters.org. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "Miss Porter's School ~ School History and Archives". Porters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Davis, Nancy; Barbara Donahue (1992). Miss Porter's School: A History. ISBN 0-9632985-1-8.
  5. ^ "The Independent". Archive.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  6. ^ "The Ghosts of Briarcliff Manor". River Journal Online. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  7. ^ Alfred Emanuel Smith; Francis Walton (1917). New Outlook. Outlook Publishing Company. pp. 686–687. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "54 Main Street : Historic Resources Inventory" (PDF). Farmingtonlibraries.org. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Miss Porter's School ~ Overview". Porters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Rathgeber, Brad (May 19, 2011). "Miss Porter's School and School of the Holy Child in Rye, New York Become Members of the Online School for Girls". Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Our Teachers". Online School for Girls. July 27, 2011. Archived from the original on November 18, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  12. ^ "Miss Porter's School ~ Financing a Porter's Education". Porters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  13. ^ "New Community Life Building Confirmed". Miss Porter's School. March 11, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "Historic Buildings of Connecticut » Miss Porter's". Historicbuildingsct.com. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  15. ^ "60 Main Street : Historic Resources Inventory" (PDF). Farmingtonlibraries.org. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "Miss Porter's Honors Former Head of School with Library Naming". January 14, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "Miss Porters School | Student Recreation Center". TSKP.com. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  18. ^ Daniels, Frank (September 1, 1999). "The taming of the barn". Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "Schools of Thought - TownVibe Bedford - September/October 2010". Townvibe.com. June 4, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ "`Town Of Farmington, Ct" (PDF). Web2.farmington-ct.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  22. ^ "Miss Porter's School ~ Facilities". Porters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "Miss Porter's School ~ Program Offerings". Porters.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Founders League". Foundersleagueathletics.org. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Miss Porter's School ~ Porter's Summer Sports Academies and Other Offerings". Porters.org. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  26. ^ "NEISA Girls Team Rankings". February 10, 2014. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  27. ^ "Miss Porter's School New England Championships". Porters.org. February 24, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  28. ^ "Miss Porter's School ~ Porter's Varsity Volleyball Wins NEPSAC Championship". Porters.org. November 23, 2010. Archived from the original on December 28, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "Boarding and Day". Porters.org. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  30. ^ "Where Sustainability Comes to Life: History and Values". TellEmotion.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  31. ^ "Salmagundy - 0002". Myvirtualpaper.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  32. ^ "Haggis Baggis" (PDF). Porters.org. 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  33. ^ "ERIC - An Exemplary High School Literary Magazine: "Haggis/Baggis.", 1986". Eric.ed.gov. Retrieved July 16, 2016.

External linksEdit