The Mountain School
The Mountain School began in 1984 as the first semester program in the country. Each fall and spring, 45 academically motivated juniors spend a semester learning from each other, from dynamic teachers, and from the forests and gardens of central Vermont. While there are opportunities for outdoor activities including a solo camping trip, orienteering challenges, hiking and cross-country skiing the defining feature of the Mountain School is the farm and the rigor of our academic program.
The farm produces 100% of the vegetables, meat, eggs and maple syrup that the students eat during their four-month stay. This amounts to nearly one hundred different kinds of fruits and vegetables totaling around thirty-five thousand pounds per year. Fall semester students harvest a three-acre vegetable garden, make apple cider, plant winter crops in the greenhouses, cut down trees to heat our buildings, and help to rotate the cows and sheep from pasture to pasture. Spring students make maple syrup, assist with lambing, gather food from the greenhouses, harvest trees to heat our campus, take care of the barn animals, and plant the garden that a new group of students will harvest in the fall. Many of our graduates say that living the eat what you grow philosophy sparked a life-long awareness of where their food comes from and an appreciation for the value of their own labor.
The Academic Program
The Mountain School is for academically motivated students who love to learn. With a curriculum that offers only Honors and AP courses, serious students need not worry about sacrificing key coursework and college preparation. All students take English and Environmental Science and three of the following electives: US History, Physics, Chemistry, Humanities, Studio Art, Spanish, French, Latin, Chinese, and any level of mathematics. The Mountain School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and we’ve worked with over 300 sending schools in 30 years. The top three colleges that Mountain School graduates attend are Yale, Middlebury and Brown.
Five houses, ranging in size from five to twelve students, provide a comfortable place for students and faculty families to live and build lasting relationships. What's different about the Mountain School is that the student dorm is attached to a faculty home, and students spend 1/2 an hour each night with their dorm faculty, creating close and lasting bonds. Mountain School facilities are elegantly simple. While there is internet on central campus, there is no internet access in the residential houses by recommendation of Mountain School graduates. There is also no cell phone service on any part of campus. This allows students to put their phones away and focus on the place and people around them.
Many Mountain School graduates have gone on to create positive changes at the local and national level. Josh Viertel runs Slow Food USA, and Adam Werbach became president of the Sierra Club at age 23. Maggie Gyllenhaal has blazed a trail for women in acting, and Kim Master started a Green Building Consulting Firm in New York. Eden Trenor organized a thriving farmer’s market outside Seattle, and Dianna Garfield works with the Coast Guard to design green powering techniques for their ships. Billy Parish was awarded the Brower Youth award for his work leading the Energy Action Network. The Mountain School has an active network of nearly 3,000 alums that get together for various service events throughout the year.
Why Should You Choose The Mountain School?
All Mountain School students will embrace a vibrant intellectual culture, learn where their food and energy comes from, experience the satisfaction that comes from meaningful physical work, and understand the connections between their everyday actions and the world. Many alumni look back through their lives and point to the Mountain School as their defining educational experience, and their perspective on their food and their role in community is forever changed. We hope you will consider joining us in Vershire, Vermont!
Application deadline for the Mountain School: February 13, 2017.
Student Teacher Ratio
Focus / Specialty
Farm, Place-based Academics