Emma Willard School

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Emma Willard School
EmmaWillardSchool.JPG
Gaudet Patientia Duris
Patience Rejoices in Adversity
Location
Troy, New York, United States
Information
Type All girls' private school
Religious affiliation(s) nonsectarian
Established 1814
Head of School Trudy E. Hall
Faculty 59 teachers
Enrollment 319 students
(203 boarders, 116 day) (63% boarding, 37% day)
Average class size 12 students
Student to teacher ratio 6:1
Campus 137 acres (0.55 km2)
Color(s) black, red, and white
Athletics 11 interscholastic sports teams
Mascot Jester
Emma Willard School
Location Pawling and Elmgrove Aves., Troy, New York
Area 55 acres (22 ha)
Architectural style Georgian, Other, Jacobethan Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 79001625[1]
Added to NRHP August 30, 1979
Average SAT scores 1907 (620 M, 633 CR, 655 Writing)

The Emma Willard School, originally called Troy Female Seminary and often referred to simply as "Emma," is an independent university-preparatory day and boarding school for young women, located in Troy, New YorkCoordinates: 42°42′43.85″N 73°39′49.49″W / 42.7121806°N 73.6637472°W / 42.7121806; -73.6637472 on Mount Ida, offering grades 9-12 and postgraduate coursework. It was founded by the women's advocate Emma Willard in 1814 and has an endowment of $83 million.[citation needed]

Academics[edit]

Emma Willard is an independent college-preparatory day and boarding school enrolling students in grades 9-12 and post-graduate studies. Class sizes at Emma are kept at a 16-student maximum; the typical student to teacher ratio is 6 to 1. Advanced Placement preparation is offered in all disciplines. Students also may enroll in courses at neighboring Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Most students take five courses each semester. Classes meet four or five times each week for fifty minutes, though lab sciences, seminars, and AP sections meet for varying lengths of time. An ESL program offers intermediate and advanced-level curriculum for international students. Core requirements for graduation include a minimum of four units of English; three units of history, foreign language, mathematics; two units of lab science (one each in biology and physics), two units in the arts, and one-fourth unit in health. All students must fulfill a community service requirement and take physical education or its equivalent each semester in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades. (Seniors must take at least ten weeks)

Emma Willard offers inquiry-based classes across all disciplines. In the fall of 2005, Emma began its Physics First program for all incoming ninth-grade students, which has students take a basic physics course in the ninth grade rather than the biology course which is standard in most public schools.

Educational philosophy[edit]

Emma's guiding educational philosophy, known on campus as EMpowerment, teaches that every young woman who attends Emma Willard will be encouraged to develop fully in all areas of her life—as a strong intellectual in a variety of disciplines, as a practitioner of her chosen passions, as a social member of the Emma community, and as a responsible global citizen in her future. However, the Emma administration does not always practice this philosophy, and often favors those who fit their desired mold of what an "Emma Girl" should look/act/be like over those who don't.

In keeping with this philosophy of personal development providing its own benchmarks, class rank is not provided. The grading system uses letter and number grades. It goes as follows: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, etc. accompanied usually by a number indicating where on the spectrum the individual student falls. Emma Willard's independent-study program, Practicum, allows students to pursue coursework at area colleges, career internships, community service, and individualized athletic training and competition off campus for academic credit. Over one-third of the students participate in Practicum each year.

Emma Willard students have worked to make Emma Willard School the first Fair Trade–certified high school in the United States. Originating with Natasha Kappaya and Natalia Choi, co-founders of the student group Slavery No More, this effort expanded into a large, widespread movement in the school with the involvement of the faculty, administration, and other student groups such as the Fair Trade group. Emma Willard received official certification as a Fair Trade school in 2010.

History[edit]

On February 20, 1821, Emma Hart Willard opened the Middlebury Female Seminary in her home in Middlebury, Vermont to provide young women with the same higher education as their male peers. Prior to Emma's founding her academic institutions for girls and young women, females had been systematically excluded from pursuing the advanced curriculum offerings in mathematics and the sciences that were taught to their male counterparts.

Having taught for a several years, Emma Willard perceived an egregious disparity in the curriculum offerings. In 1819 she promoted a comprehensive secondary and post secondary female educational institution, which would require funding by the State of New York. her address to the office of New York’s “innovative” governor DeWitt Clinton met with initial success. However, the New State legislature at Albany, on hearing her request, responded with mixed sentiment, and ultimately rejected her proposal. Many of the wives of prominent men steadfastly supported and promoted Emma's educational agenda to their friends and associates. Thereafter, the City of Troy's Common Council eventually raised $4,000 that would facilitate Emma’s purchase of a suitable flagship building for her proposed seminary for young women.

Emma had already obtained inexpensive accommodation in a nearby historic, already for the 1800s, Waterford, New York landmark farm. There she had come to rent two nondescript long and narrow stone structures—a former pre-Colonial Dutch estate's outbuildings—located in a picturesque setting along the mighty Mohawk River. The property's border still abuts the Erie Canal’s first but long defunct stone lock, near a major point of the Mohawk's primary arterial confluence into the Hudson River. However, in early 1821, due to a critical funds shortage, owed to a brief economic downturn that had impacted the region, Emma Willard was compelled to close her Waterford Academy.

Toward the close of 1821 she secured $4,000 in funding and relocated to Troy, downstream from Watertown along the Hudson River. The Albany Academy for Boys had been established in March 1813, just downstream from Waterford and Emma Willard’s temporary school; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) opened in 1824. Emma was able to formally found the Troy Female Seminary "for young ladies of means", becoming "the first school in the country to provide girls the same educational opportunities given to boys". The school was immediately successful, and it graduated many great thinkers, including noted social reformer and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Willard remained the head of the seminary until 1838, when she handed it over to her son.[2] In 1895, the school was renamed The Emma Willard School for Girls. In 1910, a new campus was built for the school on Mount Ida.

Co-curricular pursuits[edit]

Co-curricular pursuits range from sports and art to additional academic pursuits including, but not limited to: student newspaper, art, model UN, speech and debate, quiz team, and literary magazine.

As a fair trade school, students from Slavery No More study global social justice issues and sell free trade goods to the Emma community. Students also sign petitions fighting human rights abuses worldwide. Each year, students and faculty take service trips to countries in the developing world so Emma's women can see the world and make the changes they discuss in their classrooms throughout the year. In 2009, students and faculty traveled to Africa and to Casa de los Angeles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to care for the children of poor working mothers.

Student demographics[edit]

Emma girls currently hail from 22 states, and over 34 foreign countries. The fall of 2010 saw enrollment increase by 3% to bring the whole student population to 319 (203 boarding, 116 day).

Emma has a diverse population: of the 339 students, 55 are students of color (according to guidelines established by the National Association of Independent Schools), 88 are international students, and 45 have an alumna or current sister relationship to the school.

Emma maintains 13 Davis Scholarships, and 10 Capital District Scholarships.

Of the 440 applicants for fall 2010, 149 (34%) were offered admission and 102 enrolled.

Notable Alumnae[edit]

Campus[edit]

Emma Willard's 137-acre (0.55 km2) campus on Mount Ida, above the city of Troy, NY, contains 30 buildings. The three oldest buildings, all of collegiate Gothic style, include a cathedral-like reading room, classrooms, offices, a main auditorium, a dance studio, a lab theater, three residence halls, dining facility, a student center, and a chapel.

A modern art, music, and library complex opened in 1967. The library holds more than 34,000 volumes and 77 print and online periodical subscriptions.

Athletic facilities include a gymnasium with two basketball/volleyball/ indoor tennis courts, full facilities for fitness training and aerobic dance, a weight room, an aquatics center housing a competition-size pool, three large playing fields, and an all-weather track.

The three-story Hunter Science Center houses laboratories and teaching facilities for chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. Approximately 75% of the faculty reside on campus in houses and apartments.

The school was used as a filming location for the films The Emperor's Club (as St. Benedict's Academy) and Scent of a Woman (as Baird School). In both of these films, the school is portrayed as an all-boys school.

Athletics[edit]

Emma Willard has eleven interscholastic sports teams: field hockey, soccer, volleyball, tennis, cross country, swimming, basketball, lacrosse, softball, crew, and track. In 2007 there were 29 athletic coaches and affiliated personnel at Emma Willard.

Facilities include: aerobics studio, pool, weight room, two athletics fields, an all-weather track, eight tennis courts, and woodlands with paths for biking or running.

Affiliations[edit]

Emma Willard School is a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and the National Association of Independent Schools.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Willard, Emma C.". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 

External links[edit]