White Mountain School

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This article is about the boarding school in New Hampshire. For the style of painting, see White Mountain art.
The White Mountain School
Bethlehem, NH, US
Type Private, boarding and coeducational
Motto Levavi Oculos In Montes
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopalian
Established 1886
Head of School Tim Breen, Ph.D.
Enrollment 110 students
Student to teacher ratio 5:1
Campus Rural
250 acres (100 ha)
Color(s) Blue, White
Endowment $2 million [1]

Coordinates: 44°16′49″N 71°45′30″W / 44.28028°N 71.75833°W / 44.28028; -71.75833 The White Mountain School, often called White Mountain or WMS, is a co-educational, independent boarding school located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, USA. Established in 1886 as St. Mary's School in Concord, New Hampshire, the school moved to its current location in 1936, situated just north of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Nearly all of its graduates attend four-year colleges or universities.[citation needed]


The White Mountain School was founded in 1886 as an all-girls Episcopal high school called St. Mary's School in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1935, Dorothy McLane, the school's headmistress, moved the school north into the White Mountains region, to the estate of Ernest Poole in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire; the school was then renamed St. Mary's in the Mountains. One year later in 1936, the school was moved once more to its current location in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Over the next 25 years, the Bethlehem campus expanded with the purchase of new dormitories and the construction of new classroom wings. On January 3, 1964, the school's Main Building burned down. The following year, a new Main Building was constructed in its place. Six years later, in 1970, the school began accepting a small number of male day students, and in 1972 the school went completely coed and changed its name to White Mountain School.[2]


To graduate, students must earn 19 academic credits, including a minimum of 4 credits in English, 2 ½ credits in history, 3 credits in mathematics, 3 credits in science, 2 credits in world language, 1 credit in the arts, ½ credit in philosophy and religious studies and ½ credit in sustainability studies. Year-long courses are worth one credit; semester courses are worth ½ credit. Parents receive grade reports and teacher comments four times per year.

Outside the classroom, the school offers week-long field courses twice a year. Recent courses have included studies of Buddhism, Green Living in an Urban Setting, Winter Weather in the White Mountains, playwriting, the Island Culture and Ecology of Isle Au Haut, Maine, domestic service projects with Habitat for Humanity, international service projects in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and a student exchange program in France.

Faculty and advisors[edit]

Nearly all the teachers and administrators live on campus. Every student has a faculty advisor who serves as the primary contact for parents. 63% of the faculty hold advanced degrees as well as a variety of additional certifications important for their teaching and coaching responsibilities.

College matriculation[edit]

Recent WMS graduates have attended colleges and universities that include Boston University, Colby College, Cornell University, Duke University, Fordham University, Mount Holyoke College, New York University, Purdue University, Temple University, Warren Wilson College, and the University of Chicago, the University of Connecticut, the University of Michigan, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Vermont.

Student body[edit]

The White Mountain School enrolls approximately 120 students from around the country and the world, 52% male and 48% female. 80% of the student population boards and the remaining 20% are day students from surrounding towns.

In addition, all students, teachers and administrators participate in on-campus service through the Work Jobs Program. Duties include kitchen crew, recycling, or helping in the library. In addition to their campus jobs, all boarding students have rotating job assignments in their dormitories.


The school's 250-acre (100 ha) campus is located between the towns of Bethlehem and Littleton, New Hampshire on a hilltop providing views of the White Mountains. The McLane Academic Center houses the classroom wing, multimedia center and learning labs. The school library offers more than 7,000 volumes, an online catalog, several online databases, and an inter-library loan system with Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. The Fred Steele Science Center is equipped with SMART Board interactive technology and state-of-the-art labs which allow for a wide range of authentic projects. The new Catherine Houghton Arts Center houses dance, visual arts, and music studios. Students have access to these spaces and the practice studios and recording lab outside of class, too.

The school's dormitories are equipped with common rooms and wireless internet access. Most rooms are doubles. There are several faculty apartments in each dormitory. A school farm, including a student-built post and beam shed; a chicken coop with hens; an organic vegetable and fruit garden; and composting bins are part of the campus. A student center is located in McLane.

A 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) indoor climbing wall is part of an indoor sports center outfitted with Nautilus equipment, free weights and aerobic equipment. In addition, two athletic fields and an extensive trail system are part of the 250-acre property. The Health Services office is staffed by a registered nurse, who is also an emergency medical technician (EMT). She is assisted by another EMT. Around-the-clock emergency services at Littleton Regional Hospital are available 7 miles (11 km) from campus.


Students participate in afternoon activities each season of the year and can choose from a variety of recreational and interscholastic sports. WMS fields teams for boys and girls in lacrosse, soccer, basketball, cross-country running, sport climbing, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, and mountain biking. Students can engage in instructional and recreational opportunities in rock climbing, white water paddling, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. Additionally, students can pursue dance, yoga, theater, jewelry making, and community service in the afternoons.

The White Mountain School's rock climbing program was the first high school program, public or private, to earn accreditation from the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The sport climbing program partners with USA Climbing to provide multiple opportunities for competition. Students who choose to pursue outdoor sports learn the technical aspects of their activity and explore such important topics as minimum-impact travel, first aid, navigation, orienteering, trip planning, and natural history. Team building and leadership are important components of the program.

Extracurricular opportunities[edit]

Extracurricular opportunities vary from year to year, depending upon the interests of the student body. Current clubs include diversity club, astronomy club, electronics and robotics club, sustainability club and film photography club. The yearbook, “The Pendulum,” is designed and produced by students. Students interested in the performing arts perform in a cappella, dance and theater productions, and informal coffee houses. With a focus on international song and dance, a diverse cultural events series brings professional performers and artists to the school.

Each semester students can participate in community service trips. Opportunities are offered both within the U.S. and in international locations (Dominican Republic and Nicaragua). Community service is offered as a winter sports option, and is often part of the school's weekend activities.

Costs and financial aid[edit]

Tuition and room and board for 2012-2013 were $46,900. Day student tuition was $22,600. A student expense account is required in the amount of $1500 ($1000 for day students). Learning Center tutorials and the ESL Program have additional fees. Approximately 50 percent of the students receive financial aid. Eligibility is based on need as established by School and Student Services (SSS). Academic achievement, citizenship, and future promise are also taken into consideration when awards are made.

The White Mountain School offers two new scholarship opportunities. The E.E. Ford Sustainability Scholarship ($15,000 for boarding students and $7,500 for day students) is for students with an active interest in sustainability and the environment. The North Country Scholarship ($10,000) is awarded to day students who have achieved high honors and who have been actively involved in their current school and/or community.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "White Mountain School:Giving". The White Mountain School. Retrieved August 4, 2009. 
  2. ^ "History". White Mountain School. Retrieved July 26, 2009.