Wooster School

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Wooster School
Wooster Logo 240x240.jpg
Danbury, Connecticut
United States
Type Private, Co-ed
Motto Ex Quoque Potestate, Cuique Pro Necessitate
("From each according to ability, to each according to need.")
Religious affiliation(s) Episcopal
Established 1926
Founder Rev. Dr. Aaron C. Coburn
Head of School Matt Byrnes
Faculty 94
Enrollment 408 (as of 2005-06)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 6.5 [1]
Color(s) White, Maroon, and Black
Athletics interscholastic sports teams Hudson Valley Athletic League
Mascot The General
Team name Generals

Wooster School is a private, co-educational, college-preparatory Pre-K-12 school in Danbury, Connecticut, in the United States. The school was founded in 1926 by Aaron Coburn.

Wooster's four cardinal principles are simplicity, religion, hard work, and intellectual excellence. An Episcopal school, Wooster emphasizes community service and helping others. The school's mission is to "maintain a school for the intellectual, spiritual, ethical, aesthetic, and physical development of boys and girls of diverse backgrounds." Its motto is Ex Quoque Potestate, Cuique Pro Necessitate, roughly, "From each according to ability, to each according to need."

As of the 2003–04 school year, the school had an enrollment of 417 students and 56.1 faculty members (on a full-time equivalent basis) for a student-teacher ratio of 7.4.[1]

Notable alumni include award-winning folk singer and guitarist Tracy Chapman;[2][3] the painter Andrew Stevovich;[4] trial attorney Cyrus Mehri;[5] developer Marc Vandenhoeck;[6] Zachary Cole Smith, singer and frontman of DIIV; [7] and Neil Rudenstine, president of Harvard University for a decade in the 1990s.[8][9]

The school has earned 5 stars on the "Great Schools" web site.[10] It is a member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools,[11] and other prep school groups.[12]

Wooster School is named for General David Wooster, who fought at the Battle of Ridgefield for the Colonial side in the American Revolution. The battlefield for the Danbury Raid is near the campus.[13]

The school was the first prep school to actively recruit minority candidates as a "feeder system" for elite Ivy League colleges, such as Harvard University.[14]

Educational philosophy[edit]

Wooster follows a liberal arts tradition. Self-help has been one of the fundamental principles at Wooster since the school's founding in 1926. This philosophy places total responsibility for the physical environment of the school on the students. Students are not only responsible for cleaning and maintaining the campus, but also for the program's organization and management. As students in the Lower School (grades PreK - 5) progress through the grades, they assume more responsibility for their classrooms and the Lower School building. Students in the Middle and Upper Schools (grades 6 - 12) are in charge at all times of the upkeep of the whole school.

In addition to self-help and volunteering, Upper School students meet the requirement of 100 hours of community service outside the Wooster community, which can be completed between the summer before freshman year and graduation.

Seniors in good academical standing may also participate in the Senior Independent Study (SIS) program the last six weeks of their senior year, in which they pursue a community service project or career interest as a job off campus. Upon completion of SIS, each student submits a written report and makes an oral presentation to the faculty and senior classmates about what he or she learned.[15]

General information[edit]

Date Founded: 1926 – Rev. Aaron C. Coburn

Headmaster: Matt Byrnes, the tenth head of the school

Religious affiliation: Episcopal

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges


• Connecticut Association of Independent Schools

National Association of Independent Schools

• National Association of Episcopal Schools

Cum Laude Society

Size of campus: 127 acres (0.51 km2)

Number of school buildings: 15

School song: The hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past (based on Psalm 90)

Enrollment information[edit]

Enrollment: 354 boys and girls in grades PreK-12[16]


Number of full-time faculty: about 52[16]

Recent notice[edit]

From 2001 to 2004, Wooster School made some improvements to its physical plant, notably the addition of a new gymnasium and a middle school.[17][18]

The school is a frequent site of Toastmasters meetings.[19][20]

Wooster continues to retain its reputation as a leader amongst Episcopal schools;[21] the church's top educator award is named for former School Head John D. Verdery.[22]

The school's library received a grant of over $6,000 from U.S. Senator Chris Dodd's office to improve its Internet access through the E-rate grants.[23]

Wooster School students co-founded, and are hosts to, YRTA (Youth Reacting to AIDS), the first teen-run organization to increase awareness of AIDS and to assist persons living with AIDS.[24]


  1. ^ a b c Wooster School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  2. ^ Darling, Cary. "Doing it her way: Tracy Chapman goes against the grain with her reflective songs", The Orange County Register, May 25, 1990. Accessed October 19, 2007. "She was a student at Wooster High School in Danbury, Conn., with a budding taste for folk music and a flair for songwriting who corralled her courage and hit the pavement."
  3. ^ About Tracy Chapmen, official biography web site. Accessed October 22, 2007.
  4. ^ Diehl, Carol (2007). Andrew Stevovich: Essential Elements. Anita Shreve, John Sacret Young, Valerie Ann Leeds. Lenox, MA: Hard Press Editions. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-889097-70-1. 
  5. ^ FindJustice.com web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007. "His parents' educational aspirations led Mr. Mehri to the Wooster School. 'My years there had a formative influence on me,' he says. 'There probably isn't another prep school that has such a genuine commitment to diversity. Wooster really led the way in that respect. They had already integrated by the 1950s and the idea of diversity was embedded in the culture.' "
  6. ^ New Jersey News story on school board candidates. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  7. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1693522/how-does-it-feel-diivs-zachary-cole-smith-rolls-on/franchises/cover-story/
  8. ^ Gewertz, Ken. "Rudenstine's journey to Harvard began at 14", Harvard Gazette, May 17, 2001. Accessed October 20, 2007. "Now he was about to enter the Wooster School, a private, college-preparatory institution. Although it was located in Danbury, Conn., his hometown, he would live at the school rather than at home."
  9. ^ Catherine E. Shoichet, Rudenstine's Book Hits Shelves, June 05, 2001, found at Harvard Crimson web site. Accessed October 22, 2007. "In a 1998 speech given at the Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Mass., Rudenstine spoke of the root of his passion for reading—a meeting with a high school adviser during his first term as a scholarship student at the Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. “I don’t remember trying to articulate for myself, at the time, what this entire experience actually meant to me,” he says."
  10. ^ Great Schools web site
  11. ^ Connecticut Association of Independent Schools web site
  12. ^ Private School Report web page
  13. ^ Danbury Historical Society web site
  14. ^ Michael Lerner, Plan Seeks Applications From Southern Negroes, Harvard Crimson, February 20, 1963, found at The Crimson web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  15. ^ Wooster School official web site
  16. ^ a b Wooster School - Danbury, Connecticut
  17. ^ TSKP Architecture Firm web site
  18. ^ The Stamford Hospital Web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  19. ^ Toastmasters web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  20. ^ District 53 Toastmasters web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  21. ^ Anglicans Online web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  22. ^ Daphne Mack, Episcopal educators gathered in Hollywood for biennial conference: Peter Cheney roasted and three educators honored, Episcopal News Service, November 28, 2006, found at Episcopal Church, USA, Official web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  23. ^ Senator Chris Dodd's Government official web site. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  24. ^ Danbury Community Network official web site, YRTA page. Retrieved October 22, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°21′59″N 73°29′58″W / 41.3663°N 73.4994°W / 41.3663; -73.4994