Purnell School, the only college preparatory boarding and day school for motivated girls in grades 9-12 who learn differently, announced it received the STEM.org Accredited™ Educational Program trustmark through STEM.org Educational Research™ (SER).


Purnell earned the accreditation through its dedication to providing well rounded STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) opportunities for students with learning differences. In addition to the various engaging and inquiry-based STEM courses and internships available, Purnell’s STEM Enhanced Diploma provides students with the opportunity to explore and expand their strengths in these subjects, both in and beyond the classroom.


“We are honored to receive the STEM.org accreditation for our unyielding support of project-based, interdisciplinary STEM and STEAM education for girls,” said Anne M. Glass, head of school, Purnell School. “At Purnell, we recognize the enormous strengths and individual talents of our students – even and especially in those with specific learning challenges. Our nurturing educators strive to create an enriching and multisensory curriculum to ignite curiosity and a passion for learning for our students who go on to study in fields including, medicine, climate change, zoology, and coding.”


Purnell’s recently appointed Dean of Academics, and leading STEM educator Tracy Haswell, is creating an elective course this year that reflects the school’s commitment to delivering the latest in STEM education. The first of its kind, the course covers the neuroscience of learning differences. Understanding the role brain function plays in one’s learning style is critical to Purnell students’ self-awareness and self-advocacy. A proponent of design thinking, she also plans to establish an Innovation Maker Lab, where the students can apply creative thinking and engage in hands-on learning, enhancing their classroom experience.


“Purnell School’s passion for innovative instruction techniques and effective and supportive student-centered approach to teaching students with diverse learning profiles, exhibits a true excellence in leading the way in STEM education for girls,” said Andrew B. Raupp, founder and executive director, STEM.org. “In thoroughly assessing the school for the accreditation process, our team was impressed with their STEM academic rigor combined with a devotion to social-emotional well-being, giving their students the resources skills they need to think critically and succeed in the classroom and beyond.”


Founded in 2001, SER is the longest continually operating, privately held STEM education research and credentialing organization in America, and has served over 4,500 schools, districts, and organizations in over 25 countries.



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