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Where girls are empowered to lead with integrity, confidence, courage and conviction.

S I M S B U R Y, C O N N E C T I C U T

Our mission The Ethel Walker School is an independent, college preparatory, boarding and day school for girls in grades six through twelve. Since 1911, The Ethel Walker School has excelled at preparing students to make a difference in the world. Members of this diverse community are dedicated to scholarship, the arts, athletics, wellness, and service. The satisfaction of achievement and the joy of friendship are fundamental principles as the School empowers girls to lead with integrity, confidence, courage, and conviction.

Fulfill your dreams; discover your talents Girls enter The Ethel Walker School energized to learn, empowered to explore, encouraged to grow. They emerge as young women prepared to make significant contributions to the global community. The Upper School (grades 9 to 12) blends the exceptional opportunities for academic and personal growth of a boarding school with the strengths of a college preparatory day school. The Middle School (for day students in grades 6 to 8) offers a nurturing and challenging educational experience designed to meet the needs of girls during these formative years. At Walker's, every student is encouraged to develop her talents, set goals, and achieve them; academically, socially and athletically.  The learning environment is designed exclusively for girls, allowing them to display their full intelligence without social distraction.   Leadership opportunities abound, course choice is set by individual interests rather than gender stereotyping, and learning takes center stage. 


Wellness at Walker’s




Creative Expression





20 Student Life 24

School Spirit


A Look at Campus


The Middle School


Applying and Visiting


“Walker’s students have an appreciation for the world around them, a commitment to service, the confidence to make a difference, and the strength to stand for what is honorable and just.” – ELIZABETH C. SPEERS, HEAD OF SCHOOL


Welcome. It is my pleasure to share with you what distinguishes The Ethel Walker School as a school and community. Walker’s girls are unique. They are confident, proud of their school community, and purposeful about their academics as well as the many other activities they take part in — community service, athletics, arts, student government, and more. This community has a sense of balance that is worth paying attention to in a society where finding balance can be a challenge. Here, real value is placed on a sense of warmth, empathy, and a “down to earth” quality. Walker’s hallmark is maintaining the right balance between academic rigor and compassion. Walker’s students come from many different backgrounds. We believe in diversity, whether it be socio-economic, racial, religious, ethnic, or simply of opinion — we are made stronger in our breadth. With a rich and storied history in girls’ education, we are a community of loyal constituencies who care passionately about academics, leadership, and service learning. Our commitments include a focus on environmental stewardship and community service. It is our talented and committed faculty who help our students grow, stretch, laugh, love, achieve, fail, try again, and ultimately become more of who they already were when they arrived on campus. The ethos of the School when Miss Walker founded it in 1911 included many of the same community values we hold dear today. The faces have changed over the years, yet the commitment to academic excellence remains the same. There is no substitute for visiting campus and speaking with our students and faculty. We look forward to meeting you! Sincerely,

Elizabeth “Bessie” Speers Head of School


Wellness at Walker’s 4

Our commitment to wellness directs much of what we do at Walker's. From forming lasting friendships to making contributions to the community, social and emotional learning concepts are woven throughout our curriculum and our daily interactions. In this context, a positive outlook and a life full of challenges that provide a sense of purpose and commitment to social change are key to a strong sense of well-being. Satisfaction involves a careful balance of fulfillment, challenge, a connection to others, and a commitment to service.

Our curriculum encourages girls to build cognitive and emotional skills that will help them develop the resilience and flexibility needed to succeed in our global society.

The overall wellness curriculum at Walker’s places a strong emphasis on knowing oneself, relating to others, and making healthy choices. The foundation for this way of thinking is laid in the Middle School program and is based on the five competencies of social and emotional learning:

• Self-awareness • Self-management • Social awareness • Relationship skills • Responsible decision-making

Emotional and physical well-being are important ingredients for success in all areas of life. Our wellness curriculum supports the development of the skills girls need to navigate life in the 21st century while maintaining a healthy sense of self, strong connections with others and a commitment to global responsibilities.


Wellness Curriculum


To flourish, build resilience, make sense and find meaning in our experience.

6th Grade: The 6th graders meet weekly for a wellness class that focuses on knowing oneself as a learner and friend. Topics include study skills, learning styles and health education. In addition, students learn that the development of healthy self-esteem begins with self-mastery and an understanding of one’s own strengths, competencies, and resilience.

7th Grade: The wellness curriculum in the 7th grade focuses on the physical

For more on Walker’s Middle School, see page 28.

and emotional changes which take place during adolescence. This weekly class addresses issues such as: healthy boundaries in relationships; the appropriate use of technology as a communication tool and resource; dealing with stress; finding balance; developing a healthy life style; and making responsible choices. The year ends with a group service project relevant to the Walker’s community.

8th Grade: Walker’s values the following character traits: honesty, respect, perseverance, empathy, courage and compassion. The School believes that integration of these traits into all aspects of daily life is critical to character development and positive leadership among students. This course provides a purposeful approach to the cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects of character development and leadership acumen. Specifically, this class will: • • • • • 6

Build and reinforce positive social skills Encourage students to create both short and long-term positive goals Help students develop strong values and high standards Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills Ensure students understand the consequences of their actions

9th Grade: All of our 9th graders take a seminar with four seven-week units: Wellness, Digital Identity, Leadership, and Public Speaking. • Wellness: This unit incorporates life/study skills, personality assessments, and focuses on self-awareness and character strengths. The goal is to help students develop an understanding of their own personality type along with the skills necessary to collaborate and communicate well with others. • Digital Identity: Today’s students face unprecedented access to platforms for making their voices heard, connecting with others, and sharing information. The School recognizes the critical need to educate its students on the potential opportunities and pitfalls inherent in today’s digital landscape. This unit focuses on digital identity management, media literacy, and responsible online behavior. Students examine issues surrounding social networking, privacy (or lack thereof), texting, digital information storage and exchange, and cyber-bullying. The students collaborate on developing a “Digital Identity Survival Guide” to successfully monitor and shape their “digital footprint” and ensure safe, positive, and productive online activity. • Leadership: The class uses the model of “Inclusive Leadership” and stresses strong cultural self-awareness, dialogue skills, appreciation for how stereotypes and prejudice impact perceptions and interaction with others, and awareness that social systems provide advantages to some social identity groups and restrict access and opportunity to others. • Public Speaking: This rotation introduces the girls to the structure of a persuasive speech, as well as to techniques of strong oral and physical delivery. Using fact, value, and policy, they learn to construct a coherent, well-developed argument. Learning how to give and to receive constructive criticism is critical to their progress and ultimate success.

10th Grade: Every 10th grade student takes a one-semester course that focuses on women’s health issues, including common illnesses and their prevention, hygiene, nutrition, the reproductive system, sexuality and decision-making, sexually transmitted diseases, and emergency preparedness. Students have the opportunity to become certified in Adult CPR. The 10th graders also take a one-semester course on international human rights and wellness. The students research global situations that disempower women (such as child labor, lack of educational opportunities, child-bearing, human trafficking, poverty, and employment discrimination) and learn how they can help make a difference locally, nationally and internationally. With units on personal finance and micro-financing opportunities along with projects incorporating public speaking and research, this course builds on skills covered in the 9th grade seminar. The final project includes development of an action plan to help an international organization that works to alleviate some global situation affecting women.

11th Grade: Premised on the belief that character matters as much as knowledge, the Ethics Seminar focuses on helping students learn to value individual differences, make sound moral judgements, and live an examined life. The course provides lenses through which to examine and debate various moral issues and contemporary challenges. Students develop critical thinking skills to make moral decisions and examine their own moral values.

12th Grade: Workshops on time management at the college level, making responsible choices in social relationships and settings, and achieving a proper balance between academics, extra-curricular activities and social opportunities help our seniors manage a successful transition from Walker’s to the college of their choice. While there is not a designated “senior seminar”, the wide array of electives at the senior level share a common purpose of helping them focus on their growing independence and preparedness for college. 7

Learning Beyond Campus Junior/Senior Project The Junior/Senior Project is designed to provide an opportunity for each student to pursue an in-depth study of an area of interest outside of the traditional classroom. Typically the projects include a two-week internship and require the student to keep a journal during their time off campus and submit a paper describing the project and evaluating the experience. However, a student may do a summer long internship to satisfy this requirement. While students are only required to do one project to satisfy the graduation requirement, many opt to do one in both junior and senior years. Recent projects have included community service in Costa Rica, shadowing a cardiologist at a local hospital including observation of surgical procedures, developing and tracking an online marketing and sales strategy, working for a gubernatorial campaign during the fall election season, interning with a sea turtle conservation group, and coaching a youth sports program.

College Counseling Workshops for Juniors and Seniors These weekly workshops focus on choosing the right college and work to ensure that the students can successfully navigate the academic, social, financial and personal challenges at the college level. Visits with college admissions officers allow students to learn about the breadth of options available to them while visits from recent Walker’s alumnae provide valuable insight about appropriate choices and expectations.

Recent Junior/Senior Projects

• Internship with an oncology practice at an area hospital • Shadowing an internal medicine physician, participating in medical rounds with medical students in a teaching hospital • Representing the Barbados Equestrian Team at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore • Shadowing a nurse practitioner on her daily rounds


• Working with the US Small Business Administration to set up an eco-friendly start-up business that could produce School-required athletic gear

• Analyzing the impact and reach of a blog (set up about our New Zealand exchange program) that conforms with Walker’s Acceptable Use Policy • Working with a large-animal veterinary practice dealing with sheep, goats, horses and cows • Serving as a counselor and mentor at the Walker’s Summer Riding Experience camp • Writing a children’s book and investigating the process of getting it published • Working for a Republican’s gubernatorial campaign and a Democrat’s congressional campaign

Walker’s Exchange Programs Several exchange programs are offered at various grade levels at Walker’s. The School's program with its sister school, St. Catherine’s in Melbourne, Australia, is an alternating year program where St. Catherine's students attend classes at Walker's, take field trips (to museums and football games!), and live with host families in Connecticut. The following year, Walker's girls travel to Australia and become St. Catherine's students. They travel throughout Australia, visit with koala bears and kangaroos, and learn to like Vegimite! Other schools participating in exchange programs with Walker's are Nge Tawa School in New Zealand, and Scotland’s Dollar Academy.

A kangaroo encounter during the Australian exchange in 2010

Other travel learning opportunities include the School's annual Habitat for Humanity and ServCorps trips, Middle School team building at Camp Jewell in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, an annual trip for eighth graders to Washington, DC, and trips to enhance the learning of specific curriculum, such as a recent trip by students studying Prairie Literature to a working farm. Learning is certainly never confined to the classroom at Walker's; the adjacent Walker’s Woods are used for science and literature study on a regular basis. 

Students recently traveled to Ghana to perform community service at a children’s camp.

• Local government internship shadowing the First Selectman and Town Treasurer

• Shadowing a cardiologist, including observing open-heart surgery

• Shadowing a pathologist and working in the hospital’s pathology lab

• Music industry internship with a professional musician/engineer/ production mixer

• Work with the CT Department of Environmental Protection doing regional water sampling and learning about fisheries management

• Law office internship with a Paris-based law firm

• Work at an art gallery helping to mount an exhibition of the student’s original work • Participate in a Spanish language and cultural immersion program in Costa Rica • Sales and marketing internship for a Hong Kong-based manufacturer

• Internship with a commercial photography studio • Assisting in a middle school, working with a student with cerebral palsy

• Architectural design firm internship • Study of wind power and a wind farm’s electrical output • Work with an accounting firm assisting with audit reports




pring break usually has Walker’s students and faculty chaperones traveling to build and rehabilitate homes for Habitat for Humanity and for ServCorps, a Hartford-based service organization founded by alumna Ruth Grobe ’69 and her husband, Richard. Recent destinations have been Columbus, GA and Galveston, TX. Walker’s was the first high school ever to volunteer on a build in Columbus; our girls joined 135 college students from five colleges. Together, they helped build six new Habitat homes. Jenna Truglio ’12 said, “I had no idea how much a house, something I often take for granted, could mean to someone.” In Galveston, ten Walker’s girls worked with ten students from Avon Old Farms School to rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina on a trip organized by ServCorps. The Walker’s group cleaned and did site work and finish work, which allowed homeowners to finally move out of FEMA trailers and back into their homes after Katrina. Students at the School are required to fulfill an annual community service requirement. Most of the service is performed in the Greater Hartford area, and includes ServCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Fidelco, Farmington River Watershed Association, Connecticut Riverfront Recapture, The Community Farm of Simsbury, and many more.

“Building houses for Habitat for Humanity has taught me that the smallest act of kindness can make a difference, and that there are many people less fortunate than I am. The lessons I have learned and the work ethic I developed will stay with me forever.” MELODY ALTSCHULER ’12 10

Environmental Stewardship The Board of Trustees adopted the following policy to reflect the School’s commitment to the environment: The Ethel Walker School is committed to protect and enhance the environment through education, research, community service and responsible administration. We seek to foster a community that teaches environmental awareness, local action, global responsibility, and the necessity of sustaining ecological systems.

Walker’s is a founding partner of The Community Farm of Simsbury, an alliance whose goal is to produce crops via sustainable farming practices, to provide resources for learning to public and private schools and community groups, to “provide food to the poor of Simsbury” as in the Farm’s original deed, and to offer community service opportunity and outreach. Service learning opportunities have included cleaning up the site, trimming shrubbery, and removing brush.

Environmentally-sound practices are a core value of the School, and we endorse the following fundamental principles which will enhance health, comfort and productivity while enhancing the earth for future generations: • Educate our students, faculty and staff to be responsible stewards of the earth, encouraging good environmental practices and sustainability through leadership and action • Protect our natural resources, particularly within our local community and the land that defines the School campus • Seek and evaluate opportunities to build or renovate campus buildings in ways that protect the environment and nature • Partner with local energy providers to conserve and reduce the consumption of natural resources In support of this statement, Walker’s has put into effect a number of

The Green Cup Challenge As part of its effort to reduce waste and conserve energy, Walker’s participates in the Green Cup Challenge, during which schools are challenged to reduce their energy consumption over a period of several weeks. The winner is the school which has reduced usage by the highest percentage.

environmentally-conscious programs and initiatives, and continues to be active in research and implementation of such undertakings. Recycling and energy reduction are the focal points of many on-campus programs. The School participates in the annual Green Cup Challenge, has implemented tray-free dining, and installed automated light switches, among other environmental

Today, the Green Cup Challenge includes 150 day and boarding, and public and private schools, in over 24 States and Canada.

initiatives. This publication is printed on recycled paper and uses soy-based inks. Our Green Cup Challenge video won first place in the national competition for GCC videos. Students have been increasingly encouraged to use video as a vehicle for their messages.



Visit a class at Walker’s, and you’ll witness a lively, interactive learning environment. Free from the distractions inherent in a coed classroom, girls eagerly explore, question, analyze, take intellectual chances, speak up and rise enthusiastically to each new challenge. Learning at Walker’s extends beyond traditional classroom boundaries. Students and teachers here form genuine connections, and often continue their classroom conversations over meals, walking across campus, or while attending athletic events. This vibrant community doesn’t shut down at 3 p.m.; it’s a way of life that continues long after classes are over.



CLASS SCHEDULE Each class meets three times a week for one 80-minute and two 50minute blocks. This rotating block schedule allows students to engage in more focused and purposeful studies, expands possibilities for in-depth instruction and provides opportunities for both teachers and students to work creatively and collaboratively. On Wednesdays, classes end at midday following non-denominational Chapel, a weekly time for discussion and reflection on important community issues. The academic day begins at 8:00 and ends at 3:15, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Walker’s offers 167 middle and upper school


courses, including 16 Upper School

AP courses, 20 honors courses, additional workshops, off-campus study, independent projects, junior and senior internships and foreign exchange programs.

TECHNOLOGY @ WALKER’S A wireless campus, classrooms equipped with SMART boards, updated science and computer labs, curriculum covering digital responsibility, encouragement to use multi-media resources for learning and presentation, and a state-of-theart library add to the foundation for scholastic excellence which ensures Walker's graduates find themselves superbly prepared to succeed at the finest colleges in the nation. 

Visit for an overview of the Upper School curriculum


Every student is involved in the arts at Walker’s. Many discover previously untapped talents; for some a door is opened to a career or lifetime passion. Students with a strong artistic interest may pursue an arts concentration, delving deeply into one area of the visual or performing arts to develop skills at an

advanced level: preparing a portfolio for college admission or working with a master teacher in of teachers who are gifted artists, musicians, theatre directors and dancers/choreographers, Walker’s girls refine and develop their special talents and learn to appreciate the varied talents of those around them. They learn to express their unique creative spirit and to see the





choreographing original dance works. Under the guidance

world and its possibilities through different lenses.





Walker’s commitment to the arts is apparent in extensive curricular offerings in addition to extra-curricular options in theater, dance and music. A sampling of arts courses includes: Dance Workshop Dance Ensemble Playwriting Shakespeare for the Stage Acting Techniques Music Theory Music Major Drawing (6 courses) Painting I-III Photography I-III Digital Imaging Ceramics & Sculpture Graphic Publication 2-D & 3-D Design

Art for a Cause Walker’s hosts an Empty Bowls Project, with students, faculty, parents, alumnae and friends of the School pitching in on the pottery wheel to produce hundreds of handcrafted bowls which are offered for sale. Proceeds from this annual event benefit the Manna Food Pantry and the Connecticut Humane Society. 15

Leadership at Walker’s As stated in Walker’s mission, girls here are empowered “to lead with integrity, confidence, courage and conviction.” Training for leadership occurs at various points in the academic curriculum in units designed to enhance the growth of individual awareness, self-esteem and responsibility. Both formal and informal opportunities arise through participation in stewarding student government, captaining an athletic team, leading a club or a community service project. Walker’s firmly believes that one of the most important elements of leadership is responsibility. We teach our girls to listen well, to be empathetic, and to be inclusive. A sampling of the leadership opportunities available to Walker’s students is listed below.



Other organizations are the

President of the Student Body

Student Senate, composed of representatives

Cicerone Society (admissions

Vice President of the Student Body/

from each class, meets regularly to develop

tour guides), the Walker’s

and consider proposals that will improve

Activities Board and the Ethel

Head of Proctors Head of Judiciary Head of Activities Head of Day Students Head of Community Service Senior Class President

student life.

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE The Judiciary Committee includes both faculty and student representatives. This

Walker Athletic Council. Class officers, club presidents, team captains and junior and senior proctors are among the individual leadership positions

committee reviews disciplinary matters and available to Walker’s students. determines actions which are reviewed by the Dean of Students and the Head of School.


The highly individual process of choosing a college is one of the most significant adventures that await you. Our college advising program, which begins junior year, ensures that each student will discover the schools that she determines will best fit her aspirations and talents, and that will continue to challenge her with the kind of rigorous education she has received at Walker’s.

100 100% of our graduates attend four-year colleges


Athletic and Equestrian Highlights

Athletics at Walker’s

Below, some highlights from recent years:

The School believes that the teaching and learning environment extends to the sports and activities arenas. Sports teach time management, instill a

Basketball • Seven consecutive winning years Field Hockey • CISAC Champion • League Champions • New England Qualifiers Golf • Individual Match Winners • Winning Seasons

commitment to lifetime fitness, and challenge participants to win with humility and lose with grace. Every student at Walker’s participates in a sport or activity as an essential part of our holistic approach to education. Walker’s offers programs for the novice as well as the athlete being recruited to play at the collegiate level, with varying levels including Varsity, Junior Varsity, 3rds and Middle School. Sportsmanship, leadership and discipline are emphasized at every level. Walker’s is a member of the Founders League and competes against schools

Soccer • New England Class #1 seeds • WNEPSA Tournament Qualifiers • CISAC Champions • All-State Players Volleyball • WNEPSA Class B • Ranked League Champions • Graduates play at NCAA levels Lacrosse • CISAC Champions • WNEPSA Class C Champions • Players named to Academic All American Team • Players participated in National Tournament for Lower New England • Alumna Susan S. Ford inducted into Lacrosse Hall of Fame • Graduates compete at NCAA levels

including: Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss, Kingswood-Oxford, Loomis Chaffee, Miss Porter’s, Taft and Westminster. Walker’s also participates in the Connecticut Independent School Athletic Conference (CISAC), which includes Chase Collegiate, Hamden Hall, MacDuffie, Westover and Williams. Our coaching staff has extensive experience and is comprised of faculty members as well as outside coaches and instructors, many of whom are former Division I and III coaches and/or players. The Middle School program follows the same philosophy and includes basketball, dance, field hockey, lacrosse, riding and soccer.

Softball • CISAC League Champs • WNEPSA Tournament Qualifiers • Premier team participants, off-season Ski Team • Top girls league ranked • Individual skiers participate in USSA and Junior Olympics • Individual New England Class B Champion Riding • Programs at all levels, from recreation through national competition • Extensive equestrian facilities with hundreds of trails • Alumnae competing at Division I and professional levels


Interscholastic teams: Basketball • Field Hockey • Golf Lacrosse • Riding • Skiing • Soccer Softball • Squash • Swimming Tennis • Volleyball Non-traditional teams: Dance – ballet, hip-hop, jazz and modern • Outdoor Adventure – hiking, trail works, bicycling, rock climbing, canoeing • Dance Ensemble Seasonal, non-competitive athletics: Dance Class • Musical • Personal Fitness Riding lessons • Theater • Yoga

Riding at Walker’s Riding has been an integral part of life at Walker’s since the School’s founding. In the decades since, thousands of

The Ethel Walker School is an active participant in the

riders have explored hundreds of miles of trails on campus,

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). The IEA

gained new skills under the watchful eyes of accomplished

program has developed nationally as a springboard to

instructors and felt the thrill of a hard-earned win.

collegiate riding.

Our nationally-acclaimed riding program accommodates

National and regional competitions dominate the

all levels of riding, from the absolute beginner to the most

Walker’s equestrian program throughout the year, for

experienced, competitive rider. Students may board their

hunter/jumper/equitation riders, eventers, and IEA

own horse at Walker’s or utilize the School horses available

riders alike.

for the lesson program and for lease. Walker’s riders placed in prestigious competitions such as Every Walker’s rider can be involved in all aspects of

the Maclay Regionals, Platinum Performance USET Talent

equestrian pursuits from equitation, hunters/jumpers,

Search, PESSOA/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals, New

dressage and combined training, to horse care and

England Equitation Finals and the American Eventing

stable management. We also offer a very unique equine

Championships. Riders have been in the ribbons at

science class.

Wellington, Lake Placid, The Hamptons, Syracuse, Saratoga, Southern Pines, and Vermont as well as the

Walker’s riders compete in numerous local shows and

many local shows attended.

travel to the top A-rated circuit shows in New England. During the winter months, riders have traveled to Florida

Our Interscholastic riders at both Middle and Upper School

to compete in the Wellington circuit. Walker’s also hosts

levels have placed in the top ten at Zone Finals, and have

their annual Fall and Spring Shows at the School’s

also been ranked as Regional Champions, in several cases

equestrian facility.

qualifying for Nationals. 19


Life Walker’s welcomes girls to a warm and closely-knit community where they are accepted and valued, feel the support of close friends, and thrive under the caring attention of dedicated adults. Walker’s is a friendly place where new students quickly feel at home and individuals are warmly welcomed. All our faculty are more than just teachers: they are advisors, mentors, confidantes, and on-campus family. Girls develop deep and lasting friendships here that continue throughout their lives. The bonds that develop through shared living are profound, and whether you’re a day or boarding student, the connections you’ll make will be a fundamental part of your Walker’s experience. Students come from around the world and from many different background, states, countries, religions, races and economic classes. Classmates and roommates from Illinois and El Salvador, New York and Mexico, Kentucky and Germany connect across cultural boundaries and forge friendships and understanding that last a lifetime.

Living on Campus The main focus of Residential Life is to create an environment that feels like home. While dorms provide structure and have rules in place to help keep students safe, we also want to provide a caring atmosphere. Housefaculty in each dorm act as “parents away from home.” It is not unusual for them to invite students to their apartments to play board games or bake cookies. Proctors, a specially selected group of juniors and seniors, are often seen as “big sisters” to the younger girls, offering a liaison between housefaculty and boarding 20

Residential Houses Smith and Cluett, our two student residences, house more than 100 boarding students. Both residences have lounges, kitchenettes and laundry facilities. Student rooms have wireless access to the School’s computer network.

Weekends at Walker’s Weekends are filled with activity options, thanks to the Head of Activities (a



Approximately 55% of Upper School students live on campus.

member of the Big 7 student government), the Activities Committee, faculty, The Ethel Walker School Parents Association and surrounding schools. While some time each weekend is spent studying and doing homework, students have time for fun. They often attend football games at Avon Old Farms or Salisbury, travel to dances at other schools, visit nearby New York and Boston via School-arranged and chaperoned outings, go shopping or to the movies at nearby malls, or enjoy on-campus bonfires complete with s’mores. Cheering on Walker’s Wildcats at home or away games is a big priority also. Other nearby activities include skiing, ice skating at the International Skating Center in town, or cooking or baking in the dorms with housefaculty. Often, day students will stay overnight in the dorms with their friends, or a boarder might spend a weekend at the home of a day student. No two weekends are alike at Walker’s!


Meals at Walker’s Boarding and day students alike find that meals at Walker’s form a central part of their social life. Friendships are developed and classroom discussions are often continued over meals in Abra’s, the School dining hall. On a daily basis, meals in Abra’s abound with delicious options. With access to an extensive salad bar, freshly prepared vegetables, whole grains and vegetarian options, students are encouraged to try new things — not only by the School’s food service staff but by other students! The food service team also offers regular special tastings, such as a freshly prepared sushi bar, an olive bar, a locally harvested apple bar and more. The connection between nutrition and a healthy body is of course addressed within the wellness curriculum and at Advisor Lunches. The student-friendly menu in Abra’s is varied and appealing, designed to meet the cultural and dietary needs of a diverse community. Vegetarian options, salad bar, sandwich fixings, cereals and fresh fruit supplement the daily specials, which include traditional, contemporary and ethnic favorites. Food that tastes good and is good for you is a priority.

Clubs, Organizations & Affinity Groups With more than two dozen organizations to choose from, students are certain to find one that matches their interests or talents or simply sparks their curiosity. All clubs and organizations are led by students, for students, with the guidance of a faculty advisor. Don't see a club of interest? Start one! The Dean of

Members of BLSU (Black & Latina Student Union)

Students oversees the creation of new clubs and organizations. A sampling of popular groups: Amnesty International Art Club BAWA Health Initiative Black and Latina Student Union (BLSU) Chemistry Club Daemon Literary Magazine Dance Club Habitat for Humanity International Foods Club Multimedia Production Photography


Step Club

Walker’s has a flexible dress code and its guidelines leave plenty of room for improvisation and personal preference while maintaining a sense of appropriateness and personal dignity. “School Dress” events require girls to wear a uniform skirt, tailored pants or shorts and a solid collared shirt. Each student also is required to have one gray skirt in one of three styles and a white, collared shirt, which is worn to certain events and banquets throughout the year. On occasion, students are invited to wear “Special Event Dress,” which consists of dress slacks, skirts or dresses with dress shoes. There are also “Dress Down Days” throughout the year, when students can dress more casually.

Wear a solid-colored shirt with a collar. Small emblems, no larger than a quarter — are fine. It’s that simple!

Skirts (at least fingertip length please) allow many options. Choose from three styles — knife pleat, box pleat, or kilt — and seven colors: pink, blue, green, khaki, navy blue, dark gray and light gray. One gray skirt is required for special occasions.

On certain occasions, students may dress up in their spirit club colors — often in the craziest ways they can come up with — to show their enthusiasm and support. Suns wear yellow, red and orange, and Dials wear purple, blue and pink.

Flip-flops are permitted — and popular! — until November 1 and after Spring Break — otherwise, slip into any closed-toe footwear that’s clean and in good repair. Socks and tights need to be a solid color.

On chilly days, pull on a solid-colored crew neck, V-neck or a cardigan sweater, vest or fleece, or a solidcolored crew neck sweatshirt. No hoods please, and no writing or logos — except for Walker’s!

Tailored shorts may be worn until November 1 and after Spring Break, and tailored pants almost any time. They can be khaki, black, gray, navy blue or brown.

Dress Code


Walker’s spirit! Walker’s Fun Fact: The School’s two spirit clubs, the Suns and the Dials, get their names from the School symbol, the sundial. The sundial also gives rise to the school motto, Nullas Horas Nisi Aureas, which translates as “None but Golden Hours.”


their School spirit in grand


fashion at the annual

Wear these colors 䉴

Walker’s girls celebrate

Dogswood Day celebration. Suns and Dials compete in

where having fun is the


primary objective.

Wear these colors 䉴

a variety of challenges,


A Look at Campus

The main campus is situated on 300 acres, adjacent to the permanently conserved Walker’s Woods, containing the remaining acreage of the School’s original 600 acre parcel. These Woods are utilized for environmental education, walking, hiking, cross country and equestrian activities, and are permanently dedicated as open space through an agreement between Walker’s and the Town of Simsbury.

Beaver Brook Academic Center Beaver Brook houses the classrooms, science labs, visual arts studios, two

computer centers, Learning Center, dining room and social centers, Dean of Students Office, administrative offices, campus store, and the Admission Office.

䉳 Constance Lavino Bell Library


The library houses 30,000 books, a This lovely nondenominational gatherings and other programs. The lower level houses the Business Office.


chapel is used for all-School

digital library, seminar rooms, archives, tutorial rooms, computer lab and the Counseling Center.

Walker’s Fun Fact: The School store, “Diddle’s Depot,” is affectionately named

Ferguson Auditorium

for the founder’s nickname,

Diddle, which grew out of her young niece’s mispronunciation of Ethel. Diddle’s sells school

Our Middle School facilities adjoin a 350-seat auditorium, choir and practice rooms, and amphitheater.

supplies, snacks, stamps, Walker’s T-shirts and sweatshirts, and

arranges laundry services.

Middle School classrooms, a large social

Walker's Middle School houses center and computer lab, and the School's music and rehearsal spaces.

Russell Health Center

Walker’s Equestrian Center

An infirmary and medical consulting area (not pictured).

Facilities include more than full-size indoor arena, three

50 stalls, lighted outdoor ring,

Galbraith Activity Building

heated tack rooms, miles of

This multi-purpose facility houses the

wooded trails and multiple

gymnasium, training rooms, locker

turnout pastures.

rooms, fitness center and dance


van Gemeren Observatory The Observatory, situated atop a ridge on campus, interacts with classroom computers for astronomy

courses. It includes a retractable roof, and houses a 16" Meade telescope with a professional-grade optical system and a wireless link for remote operation. The solar powered facility is used regularly by students, faculty, alumnae and the community. 27

The Ethel Walker Middle School Walker's Middle School program is designed to foster a love of learning and to provide opportunities for girls to expand their unique talents (and even discover some they didn’t even know they had), explore new ideas, and develop the creativity and higherorder thinking skills needed to succeed in secondary school.


ur Middle School fosters connections, empathy, confidence and

intellectual curiosity. We know that when Middle School girls feel connected to something larger than themselves, they discover their strengths and focus on the joy of discovery (rather than on the drama of adolescence). At The Ethel Walker Middle School the visual and performing arts are considered a core academic subject. Girls dominate class discussions without social distractions. A girl who excels in math has the opportunity to accelerate, taking Algebra I, Geometry or even Algebra II. A student adept at a specific language may take Upper School level courses in that language.  English, Ancient and Modern Cultures, U.S. History, Ecology, Human Biology and Earth Science, and Visual and Performing Arts form the core of the Middle School curriculum. The emphasis is on project-based interactive learning that is one of collaboration between students and teachers. Math courses are differentiated, offering sections in Math Fundamentals, PreAlgebra and Algebra in a project-based setting. But the learning doesn’t stop there. Girls also take classes in study skills, time management and wellness, and participate in class meetings and community service activities. They learn to think creatively and to believe in themselves, respect their peers and develop the confidence to strike out in the world on their own as leaders, learners, caregivers and friends.

For a detailed look at our Middle School curriculum, visit


Tending the School’s organic garden,

At Walker’s, we teach girls about their opportunity to make a difference

mentoring elementary school children, running book and food drives, helping a village in Africa acquire access to clean water: all of these are opportunities for our students to learn about the world while they are changing it for the better. The best part is, if you have an idea, share it, and you can make it happen!


The Ethel Walker Middle School

Music, dance, theater, and especially the visual arts at Walker's are vibrant, interactive programs where students will discover their inner artist. Play in the orchestra, sing with the Choristers, create artwork for display in student art shows. Make a bowl on the pottery wheel as a gift, or to donate to our Empty Bowls project. Star in the Middle School Play or help design the colorful set.

Middle School Night of Excellence Each spring the Middle School celebrates a year of excellence in academics and the arts with a special event showcasing student accomplishments.


Walker’s Middle School athletic program provides

Athletics offered at The Ethel Walker Middle School:

not only great training and competition, but FUN! Walker’s Middle School softball, lacrosse,



field hockey, soccer, basketball

Field Hockey


and riding teams all have great



records and allow you to learn


the sport but also to enjoy great team spirit.

MIDDLE SCHOOL RETREAT The beginning of each school year is highlighted by a Middle School retreat to Camp Jewell in nearby Litchfield County. Sixth and

If you’re a rider or

seventh graders spend an entire

interested in learning to ride,

day at the camp, and eighth

Walker’s nationally

graders an overnight. The entire

recognized, championship

Middle School participates in team

program gives you every

building activities while enjoying


an outdoor getaway.

In keeping with the

Eighth graders enjoy a special "Promotion Ceremony" each year before

School's commitment to

moving on to the ninth grade. Families and friends attend this special event

women in leadership roles,

which includes distinguished prizes, faculty addresses, student

the Middle School has its

performances and much pride!

own student government, with students serving as Middle School President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.

When you complete your Walker’s Middle School experience, you will emerge prepared to meet the challenges of high school head on. 31

Applying to Walker’s Finding the right school — the right fit for you — is essential. The interview and application process is designed to help you gain insight into the Walker’s experience. In turn, we want to learn more about you as a student and as a person. Together we can help you determine whether Walker’s is a good match for your goals and interests. Walker’s welcomes applications from girls who seek a vibrant and challenging education in a friendly and dynamic community — one that welcomes students

ADMISSIONS TIMETABLE Fill out our online information request or contact the School to indicate interest. October/November/January Schedule a visit to Walker’s or make a reservation to attend an Open House.

with a variety of talents, interests, outlooks and backgrounds. We carefully consider each student’s complete profile to determine her potential

October–January Take standardized testing.

for success at Walker’s. Through the application process, including the required personal interview, we try to assess a student’s academic performance and aptitude, character and citizenship, adaptability, talents and potential outside

February 1 Deadline for applying to Walker’s.

the classroom. The Ethel Walker School is committed to building a strong and diverse community of students. We recognize that not every family has the financial

March 10 Candidates are notified of the admission decision.

ability to pay the full cost of a Walker’s education. Our financial aid program is designed to help make Walker’s affordable to all qualified students who are offered admission. All financial aid is based on demonstrated need and is subject to the availability of funds. The financial aid application is available at

April 10 Enrollment contract and deposit due. We welcome your visit and your admissions application. Our priority application deadline is February 1. If you have any questions about the application process, please call the Admission Office at 860.408.4200, or email

Learn more about The Ethel Walker

To be considered for admission, the Admission Committee assesses whether a student will benefit from and contribute to the Walker’s community.

School by visiting us online at — and then visit us in person! Experience part of a day at

Elements of an application include:

Walker’s: observe classes,

• • • • •

athletics and activities in

Application form and Student and Parent Statements Academic Transcript English & Math Recommendations SSAT Scores (TOEFL Scores if non-English speakers) Personal interview (via telephone or Skype if necessary)

progress, tour the campus, see how the students interact, have a meal in Abra’s dining room. Only by visiting can you truly understand the exceptional experience Walker’s offers young women. Whether you attend one of our scheduled Open Houses or would like an individual family tour, we welcome your call at 860.408.4200 to arrange your visit.

We look forward to meeting you! 32

In 2010, Simsbury was selected as the first and only town in Connecticut for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

Contact the Admissions Office

Walker’s campus is situated on 300 acres of forest, playing fields, and pastures, with

Telephone 860.408.4200

academic, arts and residential buildings. The original campus

Fax 860.408.4201

encompassed 600 acres; in


2007, 300 acres were permanently conserved as


Walker’s Woods.

The Ethel Walker School 230 Bushy Hill Road Simsbury, Connecticut 06070

Walker’s Celebrates its Centennial in 2011

Finding Walker’s The Ethel Walker School is located in Simsbury, Connecticut. We are an easy drive from Boston or New York. The closest airport is Bradley International Airport, which is just 20 minutes away. Detailed directions to campus can be found on our website at


The Ethel Walker School CT New York City

MA Hartford R RI

R Boston

The Ethel Walker School admits students of any race, color, religion, and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics and other school-administered programs.

Ethel Walker (right) with students.

Who was Ethel Walker? The Ethel Walker School was founded in 1911 by Miss Ethel Walker, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. In 1917, Ethel Walker acquired over 600 acres of land in Simsbury and moved the School to its present location from its original site in Lakewood, NJ. First and foremost, Ethel Walker believed girls’ education must be academically rigorous, providing a sound preparation for college and imparting lifelong intellectual curiosity and a love of learning. In fact, during the School’s early years, Miss Walker required that students pass the entrance exam to Bryn Mawr College in order to receive an Ethel Walker School diploma. This commitment to a challenging academic program with a focus on college preparation remains central to the Walker’s mission in the 21st century. Miss Walker was also a great believer in the sound body/sound mind approach to learning. Horseback riding and other forms of athletics held an important place in School, as did theater and creative art. The legacy of Ethel Walker remains alive today via the School’s commitment to academics, the arts, athletics and riding.

230 Bushy Hill Road Simsbury, Connecticut 06070 p 860.408.4200

Admissions Viewbook 2011  

2011 Admissions Magazine for The Ethel Walker School.

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