Why The Frederick Gunn School?
We believe in having heroes.
The Frederick Gunn School is about people, really, and one person in particular — Frederick Gunn. Mr. Gunn (1816-1881) was a staunch abolitionist, intuitive educator, and all-round outdoorsman. He created a school and an enduring philosophy that encourages students to discover what they believe in and to stand up for it. Today we emulate his instincts and skills as an educator of young people and point our students to him as a model of the type of citizens the 21st century needs. Mr. Gunn's example reminds us of the importance of character, confidence, and commitment.
Raising a teenager is never easy. Why do it yourself?
Some parents react to the idea of a boarding school with the question, “Why would I give up that much control over my child’s life?” But a moment of reflection leads us all to acknowledge that the prospect of entrusting my child to a 24/7 community of expert adult educators who have committed their lives to helping young people meet and exceed their goals is actually the greatest gift a parent can give their child. After all, if we’re honest, most parents are doing the best they can, making it up as they go along, reacting as their child passes through developmental stages. The Frederick Gunn School offers adult teacher-mentors who have been there and seen that, and who are especially gifted at anticipating what's next for a teenager. Here we've created an environment dedicated to the ideal combination of challenge and guidance, adjusted to each student, so that a student discovers layers, abilities, passions that break through what they’d previously imagined possible. Doesn’t that sound like a partnership you want to enter?
We are a community.
The Frederick Gunn School faculty are a diverse group of educators who bring to our students a wide range of experiences and expertise. We are happy to introduce them and share their stories and voices here.
Our inclusiveness is our strength.
Here no one gets lost in the crowd, and in a matter of days a student will feel at home. Mr. Gunn understood the importance of a diverse learning community, and we take it seriously today as well. Still wondering whether boarding school is better? We have welcomed an international, purposefully diverse group of students for the past 170 years — that’s right, Mr. Gunn had exchange students! — because we want good students who are good people and who seek the good of others, too.
The outdoors shaped Mr. Gunn. It shapes our students too.
We live in boxes — houses, dorms, classrooms, offices. It’s important to get outside and orient ourselves in the larger world where there are no walls and the horizon is the edge of our universe. Mr. Gunn understood this and we continue the tradition today. Appreciating the outdoors and our place in it is part of a broad-minded education. It is also the best antidote we know to rediscovering our humanity in a world of screens that somehow shape our lives despite our best intentions. We believe that it’s not enough just to tell kids what they shouldn’t or can’t do — by reintroducing them to the unmediated natural world they rediscover enduring sources of self and joy.
What are students getting ready for? Really?
Our curriculum is broad and we encounter a wide range of topics in the classroom. But most importantly we learn how to learn, because that lasts a lifetime, long after we’ve forgotten the names of the Tudor monarchs. It’s preparation for college, certainly, but more importantly for life long after college.
Beauty breaks everywhere.
For 170 years students have come to study at a lovely campus surrounded by woods, trails, rivers, and lakes. Today Washington, Connecticut, and Litchfield County more broadly, is known as an idyllic community where city-dwellers find a country escape rich with charming shops, fine dining, and lovely accommodations including The Mayflower Inn & Spa, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection and just across the road from The Frederick Gunn School.
A choice for something better.
Students at The Frederick Gunn School spend their high-school years growing up, growing wiser, and growing more confident. They form lasting friendships by supporting each other as they step outside of comfort zones alongside faculty who truly believe in them. Coming to FGS is a choice to dig a little deeper — to get past the shiny surface of so much that’s around us. We would love for you to become a Highlander.