In 1923 a group of business leaders, educators, and parents set out to establish a premier college-preparatory school in a rural setting. They wanted to provide area students with the advantages of a boarding school campus but afford them the additional benefits of a day school.
he Sweetland Farm in East Providence offered the perfect location to bring their vision to fruition, and though the physical layout of the school has evolved over the ensuing years, the “farm” remains the center of the PCD campus today. Initially a small all-boys middle and high school, PCD was able to successfully navigate its commitment to becoming a coeducational institution thanks to a strict adherence to its founding principles. In 1991 the school admitted its first female students, and in 1998 the Board of Trustees hired Susan Haberlandt as Head of School to lead and secure the school through those critical transformational years and beyond. Today PCD’s program and gender balance are decidedly more reflective of real life, and the vibrant school community is a living testament to the vision of the school’s founders.
In 1997 PCD completed an extensive campus consolidation and building project, in which two historical buildings, Metcalf and Chace Halls (1927) were moved to the east side of campus and renovated. At the same time Murray House opened as the new administration building, and the Moran Annex was added to the West Field House, providing greatly expanded and improved athletic facilities.
Throughout its history, PCD’s program development has been dynamic and innovative. Twenty years ago, the school paved the way for the now national trend of positioning the study of physics first in the sequence of science disciplines. Today every subject at every grade level is infused with a thoughtful balance of traditional pedagogy and experiential learning. Students are empowered to share responsibility for their own learning, resulting in a level of leadership that distinguishes PCD students from their peers. PCD’s mission and core values of commitment and participation, diversity, hard work, honesty, intellectual curiosity, respect, and teamwork inform all that goes on at the school—both inside and outside of the classroom.