The Academy at Penguin Hall was recently featured in the Salem Evening News after they visited our campus, attended classes, and spoke to members of our staff and faculty. Their article gives an overview of our curriculum, the mission of our school, and our exciting growth. You can find the complete article below or on the Salem News website.
WENHAM — It’s been a whirlwind of a year at the Academy at Penguin Hall. The private, all-girls high school just opened this past fall to its first 60 students; the Penguin Hall estate itself was purchased last February for this purpose. Now, as the school’s first six graduating seniors have begun to receive acceptances from an array of colleges and prepare to receive their diplomas in the spring, the school anticipates doubling, if not tripling the size of its student body this fall. It also intends to at least double its teaching staff — the school wants to maintain its 10:1 student-teacher ratio — and intends to renovate potentially two floors of classroom space for the new educators. Other changes also include adding a fitness room and a “Windows to the World Room,” a large student gathering space.
The growth is welcome, but school officials say the mission is the same — to educate young women in not just academics, but to make them well-rounded and ready for the world beyond the Academy’s gates. “It’s about confidence and comfort with who they are,” said President Molly Martins. Additions to next year’s curriculum are planned, according to Julie Calzini, director of curriculum and faculty development. But the school will stay on its interdisciplinary path. For instance, one of the art classes at the school Wednesday dealt with climate change, asking students to consider its effects and come up with a related art project. Another class, Cars and Cities, takes a hard look at the automobile, and how society’s reliance on it has shaped urban planning. “It’s more about the skill set,” Calzini said. “The ability to research and write, and to be confident in one’s opinions.” The school has accommodated its students’ various interests. Multiple sports are available. There’s also musical groups and community service projects.
Though not a Catholic school under the auspices of the Boston Archdiocese, the Academy is “in the Catholic tradition of education,” explained Dean Tsouvalas, director of advancement and communications. All faiths are recognized and celebrated, Martins said.
At $22,800 for tuition in the coming year, investing so much in such a new school may make some parents nervous. But the school’s leaders are confident that what the Academy offers will provide teenage girls what they need. Plus, the school allows its students an alternative to the test-heavy ways of education in the past.
“We have an opportunity to evolve in a way that’s about learning organically,” Tsouvalas said. For students preparing to enter college this year, or a few years down the road, they have the ability to shape what the future of the school may be like. “That’s a powerful way to stand out from the thousands of applicants you have.”