Stoneleigh-Burnham School
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Stoneleigh-Burnham School: A multicultural, accepting space for all

An environment where students from all walks of life come together — that’s precisely what describes Stoneleigh-Burnham School. As a boarding and day school for girls in grades seven to 12, it’s an institution that invites young learners from more than 12 states and 12 countries to its grounds. The natural result is a multicultural setting in which girls from different ethnicities and backgrounds live and learn, together. 

They do so in harmony — and it has everything to do with Stoneleigh-Burnham’s emphasis on having respect for every individual, regardless of what they look like or where they come from. In this, students are encouraged to develop and celebrate their own individuality and unique voice — proving to themselves and the world around them that diversity is a strength.

How is this done? By structuring its entire curriculum around the idea of helping students find their identity, express themselves, and discover who they are as learners. Stoneleigh-Burnham was the first boarding school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme — and it’s made all the difference. It encourages each and every student to think beyond what they know and make connections across different areas of study. 

During their IB years, students take up six different subjects in various areas — from the arts and languages to the sciences and mathematics. They learn in an interdisciplinary format, using each lesson to inform their experiences in others. It’s a programme that encourages critical and creative thinking, inquiry and questioning, open-mindedness and risk-taking. Nearly 100% of students who take the IB are successful in their pursuit. 

Stoneleigh-Burnham School,

Students from Stoneleigh-Burnham School take on a new challenge as they embark on a school hiking trip. Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Facebook

Then there are the many other opportunities for girls to explore their capabilities. One is the school’s focus on Debate and Public Speaking. The Debate and Public Speaking Society, for example, offers a world-class approach to helping students develop their communication and public speaking skills. Here, they learn to speak with confidence and clarity and have the chance to practice in a classroom environment. The Upper School, for example, incorporates presentation and public speaking skills into its curriculum. 

Students who wish to take this further are more than encouraged to do so. They can take part in speaking and debate competitions, both at a national and international level. When they do, Stoneleigh-Burnham girls do more than impress — they break records, too. In fact, 20 students have placed as World Competitors in debate and public speaking. Others regularly compete in World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships. 

The rest of Stoneleigh-Burnham’s curriculum is designed to offer students the chance to discover their passions. For example, the performing arts are integrated into the academic and co-curricular learning experience. Students have a wealth of options to try out; they can join the Middle School Chorus, study the intricacies behind putting together a theatre production or take up a Rock Band course. 

At the same time, Stoneleigh-Burnham girls learn one of life’s most important skills: to lead with compassion and empathy. There is a strong focus on social justice in the school, opening students up to the issues and concerns of the world around them and how best to respond to these. There’s also its spotlight on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — which helps create a safe space for all students based on the principles of humanity, integrity, justice and compassion. 

Being in an all-girls’ school only helps nurture this aspect. Research shows that an all-girls learning environment helps foster stronger self-esteem, greater chances for leadership, and higher aspirations in life. In a world that champions male success, girls at Stoneleigh-Burnham see themselves as leaders, pioneers, scientists, sportswomen and more. They know that they are capable of anything — and are confident in their chances of achieving their goals. 

Throughout this entire process, students can move forward with the knowledge that they will be supported at every turn. This stems across everything from making sure day students feel included in the entire schooling experience to implementing fail-safe structures in place for international students coming to the US for the first time. 

The result? A school that challenges and supports its students to truly discover who they are and what they have to offer. They leave Stoneleigh-Burnham with the capabilities to lead a better life, become responsible global citizens and excel in whichever path they choose to pursue. Above all, they leave with full confidence in themselves — and their value to the world around them. 

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