Upper School Experience
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.
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.
Walker's Exchange Programs
We offer several exchange programs at various grade levels. Walker's program with its sister school, St. Catherine’s in Melbourne, Australia, is an alternating year program where Walker's girls travel to Australia for three weeks in June to attend classes at St. Catherine's. St. Catherine's students then attend classes at Walker's, take field trips, and live with host families in Connecticut for 2.5-3 weeks the following September/October. The next trip is this summer and is open to 8th and 9th graders. Other schools participating in exchange programs with Walker's are Nge Tawa School in New Zealand, and Scotland’s Dollar Academy. In their junior year, Walker's students also have the opportunity to study abroad in China, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Vietnam.
Spring 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.
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.
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.