Why White Mountain?
There are many reasons that students and families have chosen the School since our founding in 1886. However, we believe that five unique aspects—some timeless, some contemporary—have and continue to define the White Mountain experience across generations through today and tomorrow.
The White Mountain School is a tightly-knit community. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explores the importance of community size. Research shows that once a community extends beyond approximately 150 members, it becomes more bureaucratic, and the relationships become more shallow. Because of our size, students and adults forge deep relationships that often last a lifetime. In our community, no student is invisible, and each one contributes to the well-being of the group. At White Mountain, everyone matters. Everyone.
Our primary goal is to help our students become curious, engaged, life-long learners. We believe that asking great questions is as valuable as knowing answers, and we help students learn to frame and follow their own questions with rigor and creativity. Our approach of student-driven inquiry takes students out of the passenger seat and puts them in the driver's seat. Students learn that education, at its most fundamental level, is an inquiry process—searching for answers to questions that matter most.
As a college-preparatory school, our curriculum is structured according to the traditional liberal arts model; however, our ultimate focus is the intellectual engagement and development of our students. We believe that a broad approach to human understanding of our world and its interconnections is essential to success in college and life. Our classes focus more on discussions than lectures because we know that students must explore ideas on their own to truly learn. Our curriculum offers a breadth and depth that is unique in a small school setting, and we work to engage each student by linking the curriculum to current issues and personal interests.
The research is clear: academic success in college depends on the development of Essential Skills and Habits related to organization, studying, research, critical thinking, communication, quantitative reasoning, curiosity, reflection, collaboration, and persistence. Through our curricular focus on student-driven inquiry, White Mountain students develop the skills and habits they need to thrive as learners in college and beyond.
As an Episcopal school, we honor and celebrate the unique worth of each individual. We welcome students of all faiths and encourage them to grow in their own understanding of spirituality. While our formal practice of religion is modest (our chaplain leads an ecumenical Morning Reading once a week), our informal practice is expansive. We are guided by the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire’s idea of "Infinite respect for one another … radical hospitality for the world." Our Episcopal heritage inspires our commitment to local and international community service. It informs our relationship to the natural world. It is why we have always been a school that respects each student as an individual with unique talents and passions.
Our visionary headmistress Dorothy E. McLane, better known as "Aunt Dot," moved the School to The White Mountains over seventy-five years ago, which has had several remarkable, lasting effects and a profound influence on who we are and how we learn together. Aunt Dot moved the School here because she knew that the mountain setting would help students develop humility and vision. In these mountains, we are "surrounded by things greater than ourselves." We connect with a purpose beyond ourselves. In these mountains, we see new vistas, and we expand our vision. Our mountain setting inspires us to explore more broadly, think more deeply, and experience the fullness of life. Our mountain setting also allows our students to explore and excel in unique outdoor, athletic, educational, and recreational offerings.
We are a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in our Episcopal heritage, we prepare and inspire students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.
Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a gender-inclusive, college-preparatory boarding and day school for 140 students grades 9-12/PG. Our purpose remains true to the original focus of New England boarding schools: the development of mind, body, and spirit.
Levavi Oculos in Montes, or "lift thine eyes to the mountains," from Psalm 121.
We enroll 140 students annually, approximately 80 percent of whom are boarding students and the other 20 percent of whom are day students. Our students hail from all over the United States and the world. In fall 2020, 18 states, the District of Columbia, and 12 countries were represented in our student body.
Our School has 28 dedicated faculty members, 50 percent of whom hold one or more advanced degrees. Visit our Team Directory to learn more about our dedicated teachers and staff.
The White Mountain School offers more than 50 academic courses, ranging from introductory to Advanced Placement level. As part of our LASR (Leadership, Arts, Service, Research) Program, students propose and develop a major individual course, project, or program of their own as a graduation requirement. The average class size is ten students, and the School has an overall 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
The White Mountain School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and all faculty in our Outdoor Education Department (OED) are accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Our OED is also certified by the Association for Experiential Education (AEE).
Additionally, the School is a proud member of the following:
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
- National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES)
- The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
- Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
- The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE)
- The Independent Curriculum Group (ICG)
- Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB)
- Small Boarding School Association (SBSA)