Why Woodberry?

Why an All Boys' Community?

We've spent more than 130 years working with boys to prepare them for their futures

Be known. Be challenged. Be loved.

Part of what makes Woodberry great is a commitment and dedication to every boy. Schools for boys focus every day on the unique joys of teaching young men. We've spent more than 130 years working with boys to prepare them for lives as leaders, learners, and citizens. We have made an intentional choice to focus on the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional lives of boys. It's science: Boys learn differently!
At Woodberry, we know boys learn and develop in different ways. It’s a simple fact that boys and girls grow at a different pace. Boys’ strengths are different from those of girls, especially before male and female brains are fully developed. Woodberry's curriculum and classroom experience is designed with boys in mind. Lessons are designed to be hands-on whenever possible. Our students often work collaboratively, as years of research have shown most boys relish the chance to work in a group on complex tasks. The all-boys, all-boarding nature of Woodberry allows our faculty to develop very strong relationships with their students. Because our faculty have a chance coach boys on the playing field, eat meals with them in the dining hall, and invite the boys into their homes to become part of the family, they develop stronger relationships than are possible at most day schools or co-ed schools.

Boys respond best to teachers who demonstrate a mastery of their subject.

From The Experts

"The learning relationship is best understood as an example of a working alliance, in which teachers serve as agents of change and students as those seeking to grow, with mastery of the subject or skills the objective of both. A distinct set of responsibilities falls to each role in the alliance. While students absorb themselves inefforts to assimilate new information, skills, and perspectives while confronting their limitations, teachers — the guiding professionals — must serve as relationship managers," Reichert wrote in a 2016 paper.
Michael C. Reichert, director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted extensive research on the type of relational teaching common at Woodberry. He has found that boys respond best to teachers who demonstrate a mastery of their subject, set high standards for themselves and their students, and share common interests with the boys they teach.

As Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens noted in the journal Educational Leadership, years of MRI and PET scans done on the brains of boys and girls have shown how those organs function differently for each gender during adolescence. According to Gurian and Stevens, "Girls have, in general, stronger neural connectors in their temporal lobes than boys have. These connectors lead to more sensually detailed memory storage, better listening skills, and better discrimination among the various tones of voice. This leads, among other things, to greater use of detail in writing assignments." Boys, meanwhile, "have more cortical areas dedicated to spatial-mechanical functioning, males use, on average, half the brain space that females use for verbal-emotive functioning. The cortical trend toward spatial-mechanical functioning makes many boys want to move objects through space, like balls, model airplanes, or just their arms and legs. Most boys, although not all of them, will experience words and feelings differently than girls do."

Learn More About the Ways Boys Learn

A great resource for boys education is the International Boys School Coalition, a global group of all boys schools. Woodberry was a founding member of the group, and our faculty remain active participants in the coalition's conferences, seminars, and research opportunities. Dr. Byron C. Hulsey, our headmaster, is a member of the IBSC's board.

Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.