News and Events

Phillips Exeter Academy Opens Summer School, Expands Harkness Outreach in New Hampshire and Illinois

Movers carefully cart a Harkness table from PEA into a classroom at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in Raymond, NH

July 6, 2012

Exeter, NH—Phillips Exeter Academy’s Summer School opened this week, welcoming more than 780 students from 40 U.S. states and 48 foreign countries to its 94th session. This year, classes run July 1 through August 4 for rising eighth-graders through students who have completed 12th grade; they will spend five weeks on the Academy campus.

Off-campus, Exeter’s Summer School has expanded to three sessions of math and English for almost 30 seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders from Iber Holmes Gove Middle School (IHGMS) and Raymond High School (RHS) in Raymond, NH. “Raymond Round Tables,” a partnership established three years ago between PEA and Raymond Public Schools, reports having more high school students on track to take challenging classes and apply to more competitive schools. This year, PEA gave the school district two Harkness tables to be used in IHGMS’s and RHS’s classrooms. The Harkness teaching method – which offers more intimate and individualized instruction in a smaller classroom setting – was established in 1930 with a gift from philanthropist Edward Harkness.

Summer School Director and Modern Languages Instructor Ethan Shapiro says he is excited about the growth in this year’s partnership with Raymond schools. “We have more students this year than we’ve had before; we’re pleased about this as well as having students from Raymond schools attend summer school here on our campus,” he says. “The interest has gone up every year since we started. The Raymond school system is committed to continuing,” he says.

Raymond School District Superintendent Dr. Jean R. Richards says Iber Holmes Gove Middle School earned the New Hampshire “Middle School of Excellence” award this past school year partly due to the partnership with Raymond Round Tables. “We are very proud of the students, faculty and staff at Iber Holmes Gove Middle and Raymond High schools. This is a wonderful partnership that we get a lot out of. I only hope that we give back as much as we get. Raymond Round Tables provides everyone with the opportunity to have strategies to dig deeper and think deeper. Harkness provides students with more rigor and relevance. [As a teaching method,] Harkness truly has stood the test of time; it is an older method but it’s also a 21st-century method of learning,” she says.

Also this summer, two PEA faculty members will travel to Chicago, IL, to give presentations on Harkness teaching to faculty and administrators of the Noble Street Charter School network, a multi-campus organization of public charter schools that serve 6,500 students throughout Chicago.

Back on campus, Exeter’s Summer School program—once again one of the world’s largest and most diverse summer academic enrichment programs—offers more than 100 courses in its UPPER SCHOOL program, which includes traditional high school subjects as well as instruction in psychology, social sciences, computer studies, drama and dance, SAT preparation, music and at least 18 sports programs.

The ACCESS EXETER program, for graduates of Grades 7 and 8, provides intensive study in the arts and sciences, including courses in sustainability; problem-solving in physics, math and computer programming; instruction in modern languages, English and philosophy; ceramics, creative writing and drama; and literature, science and photography. The program features class clusters in Project Exeter: A Greener Earth; The Land and the Sea; Problem-Solving: An Odyssey of the Mind; A Global Community; The Creative Arts: Let Your Spirit Soar; and Exeter C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation

All students are urged to participate in physical education and will have access to numerous sports facilities. The summer program also puts out a weekly newspaper, and students are offered field trips and excursions.

For more information, visit the PEA Summer School webpage and read the program director’s greeting. To request a 2013 Summer School Catalog, click here, and read more from past participants about their summer experiences at Exeter. You can also contact the Summer School by email, phone: 603-777-3488, fax: 603-777-4385, visiting their webpage or Facebook fan page. To learn more about the Academy and its events and programs, visit our website. You can also call the PEA public events line at 603-777-4309.

—Famebridge Witherspoon