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Why SEM?

Success in Distance Learning

During the pandemic, SEM successfully transmitted the curiosity and community of the SEM classroom into student homes leading in both distance learning and community connection.

Small, Safe Community

The average class size at SEM is 10 students. The school’s advisory program ensures dedicated faculty support for each girl throughout her high school career.


No One is Overlooked

SEM's Harkness tables foster seminar-style learning and discussion. They ensure that every student's voice is expressed and heard. Seated at a Harkness table or Zooming into class, every girl is engaged. SEM faculty work to expand each girl’s thinking, ability, and expectations.



Inquiry is encouraged. Discussion is expected.

As an independent high school, SEM is exempt from state testing and exceeds those requirements. Instead, students delve into honors and AP classes, and over 40 diverse electives are offered including astronomy, French, Latin American cuisine, history of the '60s, game design, and tech entrepreneurship.
Our innovative, four-year capstone curriculum is centered on community involvement with a focused interest culminating in a senior year presentation.

You Won’t Get This Experience Anywhere Else

SEM is the only all-girls school in the region with a 5- and 7-day residential program. Renovated historic houses, all located beside the school and connected by the Magavern-Sutton Courtyard, are homes to girls from across the region and all parts of the world.
“My hometown in the Southeast is very small and rural, so coming to Buffalo is a huge difference. I love going to the park, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, stores, and restaurants. Boarding at SEM was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” - Emma B. ‘17


City as our Campus

Our school, on a leafy historic parkway, is in the heart of a lively neighborhood. We're steps from stores, restaurants, coffee shops (including Starbucks), art galleries, and Delaware Park.


An Arts Faculty of Practicing Professionals

Our theatre teacher is active in the professional theatre community as a director and crew member. Our fine arts teacher is a cartoonist and artist who is regularly published in The New Yorker and exhibits in galleries. Our music teacher is a Grammy Award-nominated composer and musician who performs worldwide.

Addressing the Dearth of Women in Tech

Our Virtual Reality lab, our robots, our freshman STEAM classes, and our female computer science teachers help girls see themselves as future engineers, coders, gamers, entrepreneurs.

Health & Leadership for Girls

Our school life and curriculum are constructed toward the empowerment of young women. Our 4-year health and leadership curriculum addresses topics from cliques to sexual health, nutrition, media representation, women’s history, self-defense, simple car maintenance, and college readiness. We are proud and active members of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools.

Our Traditions are Legend

As one of the oldest schools for girls in the U.S., our traditions span centuries. The Hornet/Jacket tradition was established in 1916 to give SEM girls the experience of competition. Meet a SEM alum anywhere in the world and you can ask, “Hornet or Jacket?” It’s a guaranteed icebreaker!
From spirited field days to academic contests, students vie for the annual cup with dedication and constancy. Our Hanging of the Greens, Holiday Revel, Lunar New Year, and Black History Month celebration are among the events that honor our students’ diversity.