Mission, History & Values

At Darrow School, we are dedicated to serving students with diverse backgrounds and abilities, building on each student’s individual talents and interests to inspire enduring confidence for success in college and life.

We accomplish this mission with a dynamic curriculum that is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, individually focused, and which combines innovative classroom instruction with hands-on learning, and environmental consciousness. 

Founded in 1932

Darrow School opened in the fall of 1932 as the Lebanon School for Boys. 

Unlike many private learning institutions that were founded by a single person, Darrow was originated by a group of educational and community leaders who shared a set of values about education and community responsibility.

It was renamed Darrow School in 1939 in honor of the local family who had first settled the land and had provided support and leadership in its early years as a Shaker community.

Our Shaker Past and How it's Still Alive

The Shakers came to Mt. Lebanon in 1781 and established a self-sufficient religious community that is remembered for its seed and medicinal enterprises, for respect and interdependence with the environment, for the quality and simplicity of its hand-crafted furniture, and for its unique approach to living and learning. 

Our campus is a nationally recognized historic site where one of America’s early Shaker settlements existed. Their architecture and design sense is reflected in the buildings in which we now live, work, play, and study.

The Shakers were known for several things, including individual productivity, creative problem solving, and interdependence with the natural environment. We believe these values are worth holding onto, and we practice them each day. They, too, are part of the spirit that drives our community. What is now the Darrow School campus was their home.

How Our Values Were Established

The Shaker principle of “hands to work” is still part of the Darrow ethos. 

In addition to the hard work (and joy) of meeting academic, intellectual, and creative challenges, our students and faculty perform duties that improve the quality of our lives together. 

The value of shared responsibility as part of service to a larger community is at work here every single day. The atmosphere of integrity, industry, and simplicity permeates life on campus. 

A National Historic Landmark

Darrow is the only school in the United States located on the site of an historic Shaker village. It’s a setting of unparalleled beauty and historical significance that has helped define the character of the School and touches the lives of everyone who lives and learns here. 

It also is a collection of landmark buildings built in the unique Shaker style: inspired craftsmanship, clean aesthetics, and simplicity in design.

Darrow Today

Darrow draws students from around the world, including countries such as Ghana, China, Japan, Turkey, and the Bahamas, as well as from North America.

The diversity doesn’t stop there. Darrow students come from all over America: large cities, small towns, and suburbs. We have star students, star athletes, bookworms, video gamers, musicians, and people with interests too diverse to list here.

The curriculum is balanced between traditional liberal arts areas of study (math, science, the arts, literature, and world languages) and an exciting menu of highly creative electives that enable students to explore their own passions and interests. Athletics (including team sports and individual pursuits) and the arts, both performing and visual, are cornerstones of our educational approach.

A Special Focus on Sustainability

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has recognized Darrow School as a Leading Edge Honoree for its curriculum innovation, specifically in the area of sustainability. 

The School’s Sustainability Program is a central element of the academic program and features the Living Machine®, an environmentally advanced wastewater treatment facility that processes wastewater from campus buildings via a bio-mimetic system using bacterial and mechanical filtration.

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