The Gunnery - Mr. Gunn's School

Tel: (860)868-7334
  • Frederick W Gunn, teacher, individualist, outdoorsman, believed strength of character to be the goal of true education.
  • In 1850 he established a school that cultivated scholarship, physical fitness, mutual respect and personal integrity - the four cornerstones on which character is built.
  • The Gunnery of today still stands squarely on the principles of its founder.
  • A skilled and committed faculty leads a diverse student body in a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum, rigorous athletics and a broad array of artistic and social activities.
  • The values of citizenship and social responsibility are reinforced in a small, cohesive community which promotes maturity, dedication and lifelong accomplishment.

School Overview

Religious Affiliation Nonsectarian
Grades Offered Grades 9-12
Offers Post-Graduate Year Yes
ADD/ADHD Support Yes
Year Founded 1850

Student Body

Total Students 286 students
Student Body Type Co-ed
Students by Grade The Gunnery - Mr. Gunn's School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers 55 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio 5:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size 12 students
Number of AP Courses 21 courses
List of Courses Offered Link to List of Courses
Classroom Dress Code Formal
(Khaki Pants and Blue Blazer, modified in September and May)

Finances and Admission

Admission Deadline Jan. 15 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost $57,000
% on Financial Aid
Admissions Director Sara Lynn Leavenworth
Admissions Associate Alexandra Ince


Total Sports Offered 14 sports
Sports Alpine Skiing, Baseball, Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Ultimate FrisbeeAlpine SkiingBaseball,
Cross CountryField Hockey,
Ice HockeyLacrosse,
TennisUltimate Frisbee,

School Notes

  • The School - In 1850, Frederick Gunn fulfilled a lifelong dream by establishing a school for boys and girls in his home of Washington, Connecticut. In this setting, he and his wife sought to develop each student's intellect, character, and values. In 1911, The Gunnery became a school for boys, but it returned to coeducation in 1977.
  • More than 156 years after its founding, the school's goal remains the same: the education of each student to his or her highest potential in an atmosphere of academic excellence, competitive athletics, and strong, nonsectarian moral guidance. Students are responsible for promoting their own intellectual, physical, and social development and contributing to the well-being of others. The Gunnery's special character and strength result from the unique manner in which faculty members both challenge and support students in preparing them for the demands of college and later life.
  • The 220-acre campus borders the village green of Washington, a small, historic town in the foothills of the Berkshires in western Connecticut. By car, The Gunnery is about an hour from New Haven and Hartford, 2 hours from New York, and 3 hours from Boston.A nonprofit corporation, The Gunnery is directed by a 22-member, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The school's physical plant is valued at $30 million. The endowment is $21 million.
  • The Gunnery is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is approved by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the Connecticut State Department of Education. It is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Secondary School Admission Test Board, A Better Chance, and the Cum Laude Society.
  • Academic Program - The curriculum reflects the school's commitment to a liberal arts education as the most appropriate vehicle for developing intellectual curiosity and the basic skills of communication and inquiry. The Gunnery aims to prepare students both for the rigors of college study and for lifetime learning. Students generally carry five courses for each of the three terms, which are approximately ten weeks in length. To graduate, students must complete 4 years of English, 3 years of mathematics, 3 years of laboratory sciences, 3 years of one foreign language, 3 years of history, and two terms of art. Additional noncredit requirements include one term of ethics in the sophomore year and one term of public speaking in the junior year.
  • The curriculum is unusually varied; Advanced Placement courses and many electives are offered in all disciplines. In the spring term, seniors may apply for independent-study projects by submitting formal, written proposals. During independent-study projects, some seniors leave the campus to work full-time; others remain on campus, retaining a partial academic schedule while researching a project or working in the community. In both cases, a student designs his or her own project, works closely with a faculty adviser, and submits a written final report. Faculty-supervised study hall is held in central locations for all students who have not yet achieved Academic Merit status. Academic Merit students may observe monitored study hall in their dormitory rooms. Study hall is held from 8:00 to 10:00 each night except Saturday; supervised study halls are also held during each class period. Classes, which average 12 students in size, provide a seminar atmosphere, allowing for maximum student-teacher interaction. In certain disciplines, students are grouped by ability.
  • The grading system uses the designations of distinction, high honors, honors, high pass, pass, low pass, and no credit to reflect a student's achievement in a course. Six grade reports, containing detailed written comments, are issued during the year
  • When hiring new teachers, the school carefully looks for individuals who are enthusiastic about teaching and working in a variety of roles with young people. Most faculty members live on campus, coach, and lead activities. Each student works closely with a faculty adviser, who serves as a mentor throughout the student's years at The Gunnery.
  • College Placement - Careful and extensive college counseling, beginning in the winter of a student's junior year, is conducted by 1 full-time and 1 part-time college counselor. Each student's academic record, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal promise are all evaluated at that time, and a preliminary list of colleges is drawn up by the student in conference with his or her parents and the college adviser. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to talk with college representatives who visit the campus every autumn. Students also conduct research, visit campuses, and attend college fairs. By the end of the junior year, their options are refined; in the senior year, each student files applications to approximately seven colleges, generally no later than January 1.
  • In keeping with the school's tradition of sharing responsibility, students are given opportunities to become school leaders. The student body is led by 6 elected senior prefects, who serve as liaisons with the faculty and Head of School. Selected students serve as residential assistants, working closely with dorm parents in running each dormitory and in supervising evening study halls. Students are also instrumental in implementing The Gunnery's work program and such organizations as the Red and Gray tour guides and the Student Activities Committee. Also, faculty members and students serve together on the Disciplinary Committee.
  • The Gunnery has clearly defined rules by which each student is expected to abide for the benefit of all. A first violation of a major school rule usually results in the student being placed on probation; a second violation may result in dismissal.
  • Athletics - The Gunnery views required athletics as an important part of the overall development to be promoted in each student. Nearly all sports involve team participation and competition with other schools. Fall offerings include crew, cross-country, field hockey,  8-man football, and soccer. Winter offerings include basketball and ice hockey for boys and girls and competitive ski-racing for both boys and girls. Spring offerings include baseball, crew, golf, lacrosse, softball, and tennis. Students must participate in at least two sports in their first year and one sport every year after that. Students may choose from the following as alternatives to competitive sports: artistry and technique, ballet, community service, dance, fall play and winter musical, musicianship, Model United Nations, Outdoor Club, Recreational skiing & snowboarding, X-term (fitness program) and Yoga.
  • The Ogden D. Miller Memorial Athletic Center includes two full-sized gymnasiums, the fully equipped Noto Fitness Center, a weight room, a wrestling room, and locker and shower facilities. The Linen Ice Rink was renovated and enclosed in 1996. The newly restored Haddick Field House provides additional locker, shower, and storage areas. There are four clay and four hard tennis courts, a new boathouse on Lake Waramaug, four athletic fields, and a cross-country course. In addition, students have access to the 2,000-acre Steep Rock Reservation and The Gunnery's Neergard Woods, 70 acres of woodlands, where the school cabin is located.
  • Extracurricular Opportunities - Students are strongly encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. There are three student publications: The Gunnery News, The Red and Gray (the school yearbook), and Stray Shot (the literary magazine). Two major dramatic productions, one of which is a musical, are held annually, and there are opportunities in both vocal and instrumental music. Student organizations include Amnesty International and the One World, computer, international, photography, Ultimate Frisbee, and UN clubs. Members of the Community Council and student tutors help their peers with personal and academic problems. More than 50 students volunteer to serve as campus tour guides for admissions and other visitors.
  • Daily Life - Classes are held six days a week; Wednesday and Saturday classes are held in the mornings only, followed by sports competitions in the afternoons. Monday through Saturday, breakfast is served from 7:15 to 8:15, followed by participation in the campus job program (a commitment of approximately 20 minutes each week), dormitory jobs, and room cleanup. Seven 45-minute class periods begin at 8:30 and end at 3. Each class meets four times per week; two meetings each week are double periods. Lunch is served daily at 12:30; Tuesday and Friday lunches are formal, family-style meals at tables headed by students' advisers.
  • The Gunnery community comes together for an all-school meeting every Monday and Thursday morning for special programs or general announcements. Sports practices take place daily between 3 and 5:30, and dinner begins at 5:30. Study hall is from 8:00 to 10:00, and students must be in their dormitories at 10.
  • Weekend Life - Because the school values community spirit, students are required to remain on campus during a number of weekends each term. On the remaining weekends, they are allowed to go home or visit a friend after Saturday classes and sports. Sunday on campus is a leisure day until dinner, which is followed by study hall. A late-morning brunch is served, and students are free to worship at area churches if they wish.
  • A four-day weekend falls near the middle of each term. The school closes during these long weekends, and all students must leave the campus. The Gunnery is also closed during Thanksgiving recess, winter vacation, and spring break.
  • The Student Activities Committee plans many activities, including movies, dances, concerts on campus and at other schools, and open houses in faculty members' homes. Also offered are trips off campus to New York City, local shopping centers, sports events, and ski areas. The Metropolitan Opera in New York is a perennial favorite.
  • The Gunnery is committed to enrolling a diverse student body. Approximately $2.4 million in financial aid has been awarded to 44 percent of the student body for
  • Admissions Information - When considering applicants for The Gunnery, the Admissions Committee considers academic aptitude and achievement, character, and extracurricular abilities and interests. The school selects applicants who can be served well by its programs and who will, in turn, enhance the community. The Gunnery seeks active and involved students with a strong desire to excel academically and to participate in sports and other activities.
  • Most new students enter in grade 9 or 10. A few eleventh graders are admitted, and, on occasion, a highly qualified twelfth grader is accepted. Approximately 10 postgraduates also enroll each year.
  • An admissions decision is based on a student's academic record, a guidance counselor or adviser recommendation, two teacher references, a written application, a student writing sample, and SSAT, PSAT, or SAT scores. Applicants for grades 9 through 11 should take the SSAT, and twelfth grade and postgraduate candidates are asked to submit SAT scores. A personal interview with a member of the admissions staff is required. The Gunnery also has an active network of parent and trustee volunteers who answer questions for prospective families.
  • Application Timetable - An inquiry is welcome at any time. Campus tours and interviews can be arranged by contacting the Admissions Office in advance. Appointments are scheduled from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday. Applicants whose files are successfully completed by January 31 are notified of their acceptance on March 10, and students are expected to reply by April 10. After March 10, applications are considered until all places are filled.
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The average acceptance rate in Washington, CT is 58% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).