Darrow School

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Coordinates: 42°27′10.94″N 73°22′58.49″W / 42.4530389°N 73.3829139°W / 42.4530389; -73.3829139

The Darrow School
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110 Darrow Road

New Lebanon
Columbia County
New York

United States
School typeIndependent, Boarding & Day
OversightBoard of Trustees
ChairpersonRobert W. Kee '71
Head of schoolAndrew J. Vadnais
Teaching staff31
Average class size8-9
Student to teacher ratio4:1
Campus size365 acres (1.48 km2)
HousesAnn Lee, Brethren's, Hinckley, Neale, Meacham
School color(s)Maroon and white
Song"Simple Gifts"
AthleticsBasketball, Cross-Country, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, Outdoor Education, Alpine Skiing, Fitness
Athletics conferenceHVAL, NEPSAC
MascotDarrow Ducks
PublicationThe Peg Board
Endowment$3 million

The Darrow School is an independent, co-educational college-preparatory school for boarding and day students in grades 9-12 and PG. Its New Lebanon campus is a 365-acre (1.48 km2) property just to the west of the boundary between New York and Massachusetts in the Taconic Mountains and within the Berkshire cultural region.


The school's campus is located at the site of the largest and most industrious Shaker community in the country.[1] Darrow opened in the fall of 1932 as the Lebanon School for Boys. It was renamed "Darrow School" in 1939 in honor of the Darrow family, who settled the land and provided support and leadership in the early years of the Shaker community. In the later part of the 20th century Darrow began to accept female students.

More than a decade before the last of the Shakers left in 1947, they set in motion plans for a school. In 1932, the school opened its doors, re-purposing many of the original Shaker buildings as classrooms, meeting, dining, and athletic facilities, and dormitories for both students and teachers. Darrow School’s buildings have been well maintained throughout the school’s 83-year history, and although some accommodations have been made for modern living and learning, all renovations have been conducted in consideration of the Shaker principles of simplicity, function, beauty, and stewardship of both the historic site and the earth.[citation needed]


Darrow is a college-preparatory school with a curriculum that follows the principles of a liberal arts education. Most core subject courses are year-long, with students also choosing semester-long electives. Students are required to complete four credits in English, three in each of: social studies, mathematics, and science. Two credits of world language are required.

The School’s curriculum is project-based. Winterm, which occurs in the third quarter of each year, is a week-long program in which students design a prototype of an object that adds value to their community, and then attempt to build the object.

Hands-to-Work is a service opportunity that occurs every Wednesday morning. Rather than having classes on Wednesday, students work on- and off-campus doing volunteer work. Some examples of Hand-to-Work projects are: maple sugaring, kitchen crew, service at the Berkshire Humane Society, and literary magazine.

Student Body[edit]

The school currently enrolls about 110 students and employs 31 teachers. Students come primarily from New York and Massachusetts, however, the school has a sizable population from other states as well as countries such as Dominica, China, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and South Korea.


Darrow occupies the 365-acre (1.48 km2) site and buildings of an original Shaker village that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Darrow has 26 buildings, 4 playing fields, 2 tennis courts, 5 residential dormitories, the 15,000-volume Heyniger Memorial Library (a former Shaker facility originally known as the Second Meeting House), the 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) Joline Arts Center (opened in 2002), and a three-building science facility. In 2018, the Kurtz Innovation Center was opened in the Science Building, and features curricula and facilities dedicated to technology, robotics, 3D-printing, and more. Renovated in 2018, the largest building on campus, known as the Dairy Barn, comprises the Darrow Theater, the gymnasium and locker rooms, the Dining Room and kitchen, and the Kamenstein Student Center. The building also contains the Performing Arts Center (PAC), a facility that opened in 2015 for studies in music, theater, and film. The PAC has classrooms, a state-of-the-art recording studio, and spaces dedicated to individual practice, collaboration, media review, and post-production. It is where advanced teaching, individual practice, and professional production resources all come together.

The Living Machine™ is Darrow’s innovative ecological wastewater treatment center. The Living Machine™ was built in the spring of 1998, making it the country’s first ecological treatment center located in a high school, and still one of very few that exist in the country and around the world.[citation needed]

College Matriculation[edit]

In recent years, Darrow students have attended selective college and universities across the country, including Columbia University, New York University, Bucknell University, Wesleyan University, Grinnell College, Connecticut College, Syracuse University, Drexel University, Boston University, Bennington College, Berklee College of Music, Skidmore College, Oberlin College, Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Olin College, and Williams College.


Student participate in a number of competitive and non-competitive sports during the 3 seasons that fall within the academic year. Students may elect to participate in any of the following:

  • Fall
    • Cross-country
    • Soccer
    • Outdoor Education
    • Theater
    • Mixed Martial Arts
    • Dance
  • Winter
    • Boys Basketball
    • Girls Basketball
    • Fitness and Conditioning
    • Alpine skiing/snowboarding
    • Theater
    • Yoga
  • Spring
    • Lacrosse
    • Softball
    • Tennis
    • Ultimate Frisbee
    • Outdoor Education

Cost and Financial Aid[edit]

Tuition, room and board for the 2019-2020 school year is $59,740. Financial aid is available by applying through School and Student Services. Approximately 60% of Darrow families receive need-based financial aid, with an average award of $42,000/year.


The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has recognized The Darrow School as a Leading Edge Honoree for its curriculum innovation, specifically in the area of sustainability. The School’s Sustainability Program is an important feature of the academic program and examines the relationship between people and their resources.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Shaker Historic Trail, Mount Lebanon Shaker Society". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-14.

External links[edit]