Opening Doors

A Strategic Vision
for the Brearley School
Brearley’s mission has long combined outstanding academics with an insistence on larger purpose:
A passionate exchange of ideas within the School’s walls that would prepare girls of adventurous intellect to put their knowledge and habits of mind and character to meaningful use beyond.
From the moment of our founding, our goal has been to ensure all doors are open to our students and alumnae.
Brearley’s mission has long combined outstanding academics with an insistence on larger purpose: a passionate exchange of ideas within the School’s walls that would prepare girls of adventurous intellect to put their knowledge and habits of mind and character to meaningful use beyond. From the moment of our founding, our goal has been to ensure all doors are open to our students and alumnae.

“Opening Doors: A Strategic Vision for The Brearley School,” approved on October 7, 2014 by the School’s Board of Trustees, is the blueprint for the next chapter in this remarkable school’s story. Among the plan’s highlights: initiatives to maintain and enhance Brearley’s exceptional teaching and curriculum; research into healthy and holistic models of achievement and success for girls; and realizing a 20-year dream to modernize our schoolhouse—unlocking the full power and potential of our program and community.

Our vision for Brearley’s next decade will open new doors of all kinds for the School and our students, alumnae, faculty and families. We invite you to join us in the exciting work and opportunities that lie ahead.

Our School Program

Cultivating the
Adventurous Intellect
The cornerstone of this vision is a deep commitment to Brearley’s long history of—and success in—instilling critical thinking, creativity and active, responsible citizenship. It means we embrace the best of pedagogy and practices of our past with an openness to useful innovations for the future and further strengthening of what lies at the core of the Brearley experience: exceptional teaching and curriculum.

Our School Culture

Living Purposeful,
Balanced Lives
As a leader in girls’ education we seek to redefine the model of healthy achievement for Brearley students and girls everywhere. We want Brearley girls to enter the world confident in themselves, with a sense of purpose and compassion, belief in their own agency, a willingness to take risks and the resilience to overcome adversity. To achieve their full potential, Brearley students must understand themselves as individuals and as responsible and engaged members of a larger community, cognizant and inspired that their actions can and should have a positive impact on the world around them.

Our School Community

Access, Diversity
and Connection
Brearley’s historic commitment to access for talented girls of all backgrounds has yielded one of its greatest resources—alumnae who are making positive contributions to their fields of expertise, their communities, and the worlds in which they live and work. Standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, we seek to maintain this kind of access to an outstanding education for girls and to strengthen connections among the generations of Brearley students and alumnae.

Our Operating Model

Sustaining
Brearley
As one of the nation’s leading schools, Brearley is well positioned for effective sustainability. New plans to improve and modernize Brearley’s schoolhouse either through renovation or a new site support our program, curriculum and enrollment. Opportunities for shared program costs with partner schools; possibilities for new summer and alumnae programs and increased philanthropic support will ensure the long-term health of our School.

20 Years in the Making

A New Campus Model to Match 
Our Ambitious Program
Ever since the School completed its last major renovation in 1995, the Board of Trustees has been searching for ways to address Brearley’s need for space to accommodate our ever-evolving, ambitious program.
 
We are pleased to share the exciting news that Brearley is moving ahead on a campus project, which entails the addition of programmatic and instructional space at 70-74 East End Avenue in tandem with the renovation and modernization of our cherished schoolhouse at 610 East 83rd Street.
 
To guide us from conceptual design to project completion, we have retained KPMB Architects, based in Toronto. The KPMB team is being led by founding partner Marianne McKenna, one of today’s foremost architects. She has created the designs for many of the major cultural and educational institutions in the United States and Canada, with particular emphasis on sustainability, the blending of tradition and innovation and the creation of a positive impact on the urban environment.
 
Our guidelines for this work put a premium on designing thoroughly flexible and light-filled teaching and learning environments that maintain the intimacy and character that have always defined Brearley’s classrooms and common spaces. As outlined in the Strategic Vision, we aspire to a more balanced, open and accessible way of living the Brearley experience, and our new facilities will help us achieve these goals.
Messages about the Search for Additional Space and Brearley's New Campus Model

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  • Ellen Jewett '77

    President, Board of Trustees
    “This Strategic Vision is rooted in our core traditions: extraordinary teaching and the belief that girls draw on their intellectual abilities and a set of values and life skills learned inside and outside the classroom to test the unfamiliar. At the same time, we have challenged our students and our entire community to engage even more fully with the world.  I am delighted that Brearley has set such an inspiring and ambitious course.”
  • Jane Foley Fried

    Head of School
    “Brearley's Strategic Vision addresses a number of key themes: how to reconcile time-tested models with path-breaking innovation; the importance of instilling values—integrity and generosity of spirit—alongside intellectual passion and academic excellence; the understanding that an individual realizes her greatest potential when she challenges and understands herself fully as a person and as an active participant in a larger place and purpose; and the recognition that girls— their educational requirements and their capacity for leadership—are both equal and special.”