Dana Hall School
|Dana Hall School|
|45 Dana Road
Wellesley, MA 02181
|Head of school||Caroline Erisman|
|Campus size||52 acres (210,000 m2)|
|Color(s)||Blue and white|
|Athletics conference||Eastern Independent League|
|Rival||Newton Country Day School|
Henry F. Durant founded Wellesley College and soon discovered that many of his students needed further preparation before entering college. To address this need, Charles P. Dana, a Wellesley businessman, gave Durant a building to use for housing students in a new preparatory school; this served as the first site for Dana Hall School.
Julia and Sarah Eastman, hired from Wellesley College by Henry Durant to run this new school, began classes at Dana Hall School on September 8, 1881. The founders believed in the equality of women and their right to be educated. Durant and the Eastmans avoided unnecessary rules, stressed individual development and offered a full program of liberal arts education for young women.
The Eastman sisters retired in 1899. The school was then bought by Helen Temple Cooke, whose energy and brilliant mind were dominant forces in the school until her death in 1955. During Miss Cooke's tenure, Tenacre, Dana Junior, Dana Hall, and Pine Manor Junior College were added to form the Dana Hall Schools.
Pine Manor became independent of Dana Hall in 1962, as did Tenacre in 1971. When Pine Manor relocated to Chestnut Hill, Dana Hall moved down Grove Street to the adjoining Pine Manor campus, adding new dormitories, a new dining center and a new gymnasium. The lower grades (seventh and eighth) formed the current Dana Hall Middle School, and the grade nine became a part of the Upper School. The sixth grade was added to the Middle School in 1984.
Dana Hall School's commitment to excellence in education has been reinforced by a succession of exceptional women leaders. Alnah J. Johnston, (1938–1962), Edith B. Phelps (1963–1973), Dr. Patricia A. Wertheimer (1973–1981), and Dr. Barbara S. Powell (1981–1983). Dorothy O. Farmer served as acting head in 1962-1963, as did Ann E. Bekebrede for the academic year 1983-1984. Elaine W. Betts became the eighth headmistress of Dana Hall School in 1984. In 1993, Blair H. Jenkins became the ninth head of school, sharing leadership with Elaine Betts until her retirement in 1995. Jenkins retired at the end of 2008, and in the fall of the 2008-09 school year Caroline K. Erisman became the 10th Head of Dana Hall School.
English The English curriculum engenders excellence by teaching students to be sensitive and responsive readers, confident and articulate writers, logical thinkers, and effective speakers. Students learn literary analysis and interpretation through instruction, class discussions, and composition. Opportunities for creative expression emerge from responses to literature as well as from personal experience. Writing is viewed as a tool to construct meaning as well as to communicate understanding. Students write frequently. All students are required to take a one-credit course in English each year.
Language Foreign languages are an integral part of a sound education. Beginning courses emphasize the skills of listening and speaking; subsequent courses help students develop their writing, reading, and critical thinking. A library of films on video and DVD provides a valuable addition to the curriculum. The School’s digital language lab enhances all aspects of courses, especially in listening and speaking. All classes have access to and requirements in the lab. All students must study and earn credit in a foreign language through the third level in order to graduate.
Mathematics Preparation for continued mathematics study at the college level is a primary goal of Dana Hall’s Math Department. Students develop an appreciation of mathematical concepts and of the power of logical argument while learning to analyze problems and accurately apply the principles of mathematics. Students also learn how to organize quantitative material and recognize the value of mathematics in both the natural and social sciences.
Science Development of students’ understanding of the natural world and their role in it, their ability to apply the methodology of science, and their awareness of societal concerns relating to science are fostered in Dana Hall’s science program. Courses are designed to be challenging and to encourage student responsibility, independence, and precision. The sequence of Dana Hall’s courses highlights the interconnectedness of the natural sciences and allows a student to apply the knowledge she has gained in previous years. Traditional classroom and laboratory work provides students with the sound background needed for college. All students are encouraged to pursue three or four years of science, especially those who are considering a highly selective college or a career in a science-related field.
Social Studies Social Studies courses foster an appreciation of both Western and non-Western worlds. In addition to work in United States history, each student investigates one of the following areas: East Asia, Africa, Russia, the Middle East, or Latin America. Students study social and cultural developments, the history of political institutions, and the interaction of traditional and modern societies. Teachers ask students to read closely, think critically, write persuasively, present powerfully, and collaborate effectively.
Academic Technology/Computer Science The Academic Technology/Computer Science curriculum is a dynamic program that prepares students to work and compete in a global world. Students are challenged to improve their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. They get hands-on experience with a variety of computer applications that allow them to build their skills developing solutions to problems, enhancing their communication and presentation skills, and improving their productivity.
Fitness/Athletics Fitness and athletics offerings are a vital aspect of a total education essential for a healthy mind and body. The Fitness/Athletics program is designed to meet the varying needs of students. Within the program are numerous opportunities for decision making, challenge, confidence building, and teamwork. The program engenders an appreciation of one’s own talents as well as the talents of others. Students are exposed to skills in a wide variety of team and individual sports, and they develop an appreciation of sports as players and spectators. Throughout the program, students learn the value of fair play and sportsmanship.
Performing Arts Courses are offered in dance, theatre, instrumental music, vocal music, and music history, on many skill levels and in many styles. Performance opportunities are available during the academic day as well as after school. Students are required to enroll in a one-half credit course in the performing arts and are strongly encouraged to explore many offerings to develop their expression and understanding of the relationship among the arts.
Visual Arts Courses are taught at the beginning through to the advanced levels, offering strong sequences for portfolio preparation and college admission. The program is enriched by trips to museums, lectures by visiting artists, and exhibits in the Dana Hall Art Gallery. Student artwork is exhibited throughout the School on an on-going basis.
Student life 
Extra-curricular activities include more than 20 student clubs at Dana Hall, including Hallmanac (student newspaper), Focus (yearbook), Best Buddies, Community Service Advisory Board, Chamber Singers, K2K (peer tutoring), and Outing Club. In addition to on-campus dances, movies, concerts and student performances, weekends feature faculty-chaperoned off-campus outings, from the local mall to Boston art museums and sporting events, to overnight trips to New York.
Boarding students in grades 9-12 live in one of six dormitories on campus, which are supervised by house directors, house assistants, and student proctors. To strengthen the community, all day students and faculty members have a dorm affiliation. The affiliate program brings together boarders and day students along with the faculty for overnights, cookouts, outings into Boston, and late night snacks.
Dana Hall is committed to community service as part of a complete academic and social education. The Community Service Program encourages involvement with people both in and beyond the school community. The program fosters concern for the environment through school-wide service projects and through the activities of clubs, classes, and individuals. The Community Service Coordinator, with the help of student leaders, plans individual and group projects and facilitates communication about community service throughout the school. The student Community Service Advisory Board plans and leads outreach projects to local shelters, hospitals, and other organizations.
Dana Hall fields competitive teams in basketball, cross-country, fencing, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, riding, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. In 2009-10 Dana Hall won three Eastern Independent League (EIL) titles in varsity field hockey, swimming, and softball. Students and faculty also benefit from use of the 93,000-square-foot (8,600 m2) Shipley Center for Athletics, Health and Wellness, which aims to strengthen Dana Hall's expanding sports program and integrate the School's health and wellness programs.
The Riding Center
The horseback-riding program at Dana Hall has been available for students since the 1930s and has grown to be one of the school's most popular attractions. There are two indoor riding arenas, one outdoor arena, a main barn area with an office and tack room, a second indoor barn for all the horses, and outdoor paddocks. Lessons and boarding for privately owned horses are available. The barn stables forty-five horses with about half being for daily school use and the other half being privately owned.
Students in the high school are offered the option to take horseback riding as their spring, winter, or fall sport. The Dana Hall Interscholastic Equestrian Team was established in 2002. Both middle and upper school students are able to join the team and compete against other teams in their Zone (Zone 1). A Therapeutic Riding program is also provided at the Riding Center. The program helps disabled children gain confidence, strength, and problem solving skills. It also offers Dana Hall students a way to partake in community service on the school's campus.
Travel and Exchange Dana Hall students have a unique opportunity to take part in an educational program away from our campus in Wellesley. Programs include School-Year Abroad (China, France, Italy and Spain); the High Mountain Institute in Colorado; exchange program with Ruyton Girls' School in Australia; and The School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C.
Traditions are a part of life at Dana Hall. There are several Step-Sings throughout the year when the students all gather together to celebrate and sing their class song. During the fall there is Senior-Sophomore, where the seniors are assigned a sophomore whom they take care of for the week, giving them colorful posters and small gifts. At the end of the week, the seniors each dress up their sophomore in a fun-spirited costume then reveal themselves to the sophomores, forming a bond that lasts much longer than just the year.
Revels is a play written by Dana faculty, and each December the junior class performs it for the whole school in celebration of the winter solstice and to kick off the winter vacation. As a way to introduce themselves to the school, the freshman class performs a talent show called Cabaret every year. And finally there is the Mid-Winter tradition, a completely secret tradition that occurs between the juniors and seniors. All is known is that juniors receive their class rings.
Notable alumnae 
- Princess Aisha bint Al Hussein (1986)
- Margaret Wise Brown (1928), children's author; wrote Goodnight Moon
- Elizabeth Farnsworth (1980), biologist, singer, illustrator
- Rosario Ferré (1956), author, poet, contributing editor of the San Juan Star
- Helen Hartness Flanders (1909), folklorist
- Nina Garcia (1983), fashion director at Elle magazine, judge on Project Runway, author
- Opal Kunz (1914), aviatrix
- Lila Mayoral and Rosario Ferré, both former First Ladies of Puerto Rico
- Sharon Olds (1960), poet
- Madelyn Renee, opera singer, soprano
- Hillary Bailey Smith (1976), Daytime Emmy-winning soap actress
- Frances Simpson Stevens, painter associated with the Futurist movement
- Karen Stives (1974) gold and silver equestrian medalist at the 1984 Olympics
- Susan Sykes, better known as Busty Heart, television personality
- Alexandra Wentworth actress and comedienne