Girls’ day/boarding, grades 9 – 12
Kate Windsor, Head of School
Susan Martell Jenkin, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Timothy Quinn, Chief Academic Officer
Located in the center of Farmington, Conn., Porter’s is a college preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades nine through 12. Founded in 1843 by lifelong scholar and educator, Sarah Porter, the school’s dynamic, rigorous, well-rounded approach to education prepares girls to expand their minds and grow into socially engaged, confident young women. With 322 students hailing from 23 states and representing 27 countries, Porter’s provides a diverse high school experience that helps young women become local and global leaders of the future.
A Brief History of Miss Porter’s School:
Sarah Porter founded Miss Porter’s School in 1843 in Farmington, Conn. The School, which had 25 students by 1847, grew with the encouragement of a group of Farmington fathers, who wanted the best educations for their daughters. Steadily increasing in national reputation and size, the School graduated 62 girls in 1886, many from the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states.
Miss Porter came from an illustrious and learned Farmington family. Her father was the minister of the Congregational Church for 60 years, and one of her brothers was the president of Yale University. She received the most-advanced education available to a young woman of her time, including tutoring by Yale professors. A life-long scholar, she not only mastered four languages, but taught herself Hebrew when she was in her 80s.
At her School, Miss Porter emphasized the traditional values she was raised with and the importance of women receiving educations equal to those available to men. As a traditionalist she believed that the School atmosphere should resemble that of a home, and that her pupils should be prepared to head their own households and pass along to their families the values she held so dear, including the importance of service to others
But there was nothing traditional about the educational opportunities she offered women. The curriculum taught at MPS in the 19th century included Latin, French, and German, spelling, reading, arithmetic, trigonometry, history and geography. Because Miss Porter believed young women to be as capable of learning as young men, her curriculum also included chemistry, physiology, botany, geology and astronomy. In addition, the arts were emphasized; Miss Porter hired prominent men to teach drawing and give music lessons, and chamber music concerts were frequently given at the School. Each student was expected to design her course selection to meet her individual needs and talents.
Miss Porter was also a firm believer in the value of physical exercise. She banned the fashionable trains and bustles from students’ dresses, because they limited a woman’s freedom of movement. She prescribed daily two-hour afternoon walks and encouraged horseback riding and tennis. In 1867, the School even formed a baseball team, called the Tunxises
After Sarah Porter’s death in 1900, management of the School remained in the hands of her nephew, Robert Porter Keep, and his wife, with management then passing to Robert Porter Keep Jr. In 1943, Miss Porter’s School was incorporated as a non-profit institution
Would Sarah Porter recognize the Miss Porter’s School of today with its more than 300 students? We think she would—and that she would approve. Just as in her day, girls today receive the finest education. MPS continues to emphasize the importance of the arts and athletics, and has instituted a community service requirement. And the School remains a place where girls feel at home and develop close friendships with other students and with adults in the community.