Miss Hall's School

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Miss Hall's School
Main Building
Meus Honor Stat (My Honor Stands)
Location
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA
Information
Type All girls, independent
Established 1898 by Mira Hinsdale Hall
Interim Head of School Mary H. Grant, Ph.D.
Grades 9-12
Color(s) Blue and Gold
Mascot Hurricanes
Tuition $44,350/year
Website

Miss Hall's School, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is a highly selective independent school for girls aged 14–18. Founded in 1898 by Mira Hinsdale Hall, a graduate of Smith College it was one of the first girls' boarding schools established in New England.

Today, Miss Hall's School offers a college preparatory curriculum augmented by two programs, Horizons and the Girls Leadership Project. Horizons is an experiential learning program in which all students do volunteer work in the community. Through Horizons, girls work in one of 72 off-campus sites to hone their communication and problem-solving skills, refine ethical positions, strengthen financial literacy, and explore interests for college majors and careers. Through the Girls Leadership Project, young women conduct research and design programs and workshops around the themes of "voice" and personal authority and leadership.

The school mission statement says that it "inspires and encourages each girl to pursue the highest standards of learning and character; to contribute boldly and creatively to the common good; and to seek a purposeful life based on honor, respect, and personal authenticity."

Average class size: 10; students of color: 22%; international students: 24%; 20 states and 18 countries; faculty with advanced degrees: 75%.

History[edit]

Miss Hall's School has chosen to date its founding from 1898, as that is when Miss Mira Hinsdale Hall began her forty-year leadership of the School, an era that brought the School to the forefront of women's independent secondary education. A broader historical view would be that the present school is a successor institution to one founded in 1800 by Miss Hall's great aunt, Nancy Hinsdale. That was the first girls' boarding school established in Massachusetts and the first attempt to provide advanced education for young women in the town of Pittsfield. The School evolved through various owners throughout the 1800s and was known at one point as the Pittsfield Young Ladies' Seminary. In 1898 Miss Hall bought the school that was sitting at South and Reed streets and began to apply her many talents to its expansion. For the next nine years, Miss Hall not only enrolled high school girls but also incorporated a coeducational primary day program into her school.

The School held, in 1906, certification in the New England Entrance Certificate Board, which allowed students who satisfactorily completed the College Preparatory Course to be admitted to Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Wells "without examination."

In 1908 Miss Hall bought the Colonel Walter Cutting Estate at the present location of the School, 492 Holmes Road. The School was officially moved to the new location in 1909, and the coeducational day school was discontinued. While still offering two courses of study, the "general academic" and "college preparatory," the School grew in reputation, and Mira Hall was well established nationally as a progressive educator of young women.

In February 1923, tragedy struck when a fire broke out in the ceiling of the school's gymnasium. All of the students and faculty escaped safely, but the fire took the life of one employee and destroyed the estate. Miss Hall, then 60 years old, chose to rebuild and in October 1924 the school's current Georgian building was completed. At that time, the school incorporated as a non-profit educational institution and established a self-perpetuating board of trustees. Winthrop M. Crane Jr. became the first board president. Miss Hall's School continued to grow in reputation, and became a nationally recognized college-preparatory school for girls. In 1931, Fortune Magazine, reporting on the modern trend in feminine education in private schools, listed Miss Hall's among the nation's top ten schools.

Mira Hall died suddenly on August 25, 1937, while on vacation in Maine. In the words of students who wrote a tribute at the time of her death, she "inspired in us the will to live our lives well and to make them worthy of her confidence in us."[1]

Academics[edit]

As part of its college preparatory curriculum, the School offers classes in math, science, history, English, foreign languages (including French, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, and English as a Second Language), the arts, and athletics, as well as an off-campus experiential learning program called Horizons. Students generally take 5 to 6 classes per semester and must complete at least 18 credits to graduate. There are seventy-six different courses offered in total. Currently, fifteen Advanced Placement courses are offered, with at least one in each discipline.

College counseling is offered for all students. According to school officials, recent college placements include: Boston University; Boston College; Bryn Mawr; Chicago Art Institute; Clark University; Colby; Colgate; College of Charleston; Cornell; Dartmouth; Georgetown; George Washington; Hamilton; Harvard; Lafayette; Lehigh; Middlebury; The New School; Northeastern; NYU; RISD; Saint Michael's College; Salve Regina; Smith; Trinity; Union; William & Mary; Williams College; Wellesley; Yale; Emory; and the Universities of California Davis, Massachusetts, Southern California, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

There are many clubs and programs, including: Vocal Ensemble, International Student Alliance, Grace Notes, Essence, Instrumental Ensemble, Jazz Band, Rock Band, PAaLS/Girls Leadership Project, Theater and Technical Theater Ensembles, Hallways - The MHS newspaper, SoL - The MHS literary magazine, Hallmark - The MHS yearbook, Latin Club, French Club, Spanish Club, Science Club, HIFA - Halls is for Animals, Z-Club - community service, HEAT - Hall's Environmental Action Team (Environmental Club), and Gay-Straight Alliance.

Athletics[edit]

Fall Teams: Cross Country V, Soccer V/JV, Volleyball V/JV.

Winter Teams: Skiing V/JV, Basketball V/JV.

Spring Teams: Lacrosse V/JV, Softball V/JV, Tennis V.

Non-Interscholastic Offerings: Aerobics, Movement and Dance, Recreational Tennis, Recreational Running, Fitness, Recreational Skiing, Intro to Sports.

Campus[edit]

The Georgian-style, 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) Main Building was built in 1923. It underwent an eight-year, renovation and expansion that began in 1996. In this building are classrooms, laboratories, choral and instrumental music rehearsal space, administrative offices, the Humes Euston Hall Library, and residential hallways. Other campus sites include the Anne Meyer Cross Athletic Center, Ara West Grinnell Teaching Greenhouse, Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center, and Jessie P. Quick Ski Chalet.

Notable alumnae[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°25′21.82″N 73°14′41.63″W / 42.4227278°N 73.2448972°W / 42.4227278; -73.2448972