About Us

Outstanding Education and Individual Attention Since 1876

Our Mission Statement:

At the Cascadilla School we know that individual students learn in individual ways. We believe that each student benefits from small classes, a nurturing community, and teachers who understand and respect that student as an individual. Through close relationships formed with their teachers and other adults, students acquire the critical learning skills and the confidence that will ensure success in college and beyond.

Cascadilla is a community that believes in listening to each other and valuing different points of view. We believe in helping students handle the responsibilities they are asked to assume. Here at Cascadilla, students find individual care and support in a community that stimulates their development as individuals and as members of society.

Facts About Cascadilla

  • Founded in 1876 by Lucien A. Wait and Bela P. MacKoon as a tutoring and college preparatory school for Cornell University
  • First incorporated December 13, 1893
  • Absolute Charter granted by the State of New York on April 21, 1944
  • Headmistress Patricia T. Kendall, M.S., appointed 2002
  • Cascadilla has enrolled students in its academic program every year since 1876.


  • Campus is on an acre of land immediately adjacent to Cornell University
  • 3 buildings; 9 classrooms
  • 2 dormitories housing 30 boarding students in 15 dorm rooms
  • 2 housing units for faculty or staff
  • Number of girls’ dormitories: 1
  • Number of boys’ dormitories: 1

Student Body (2003-16)

  • Averages 47 students a year:
  • Typically, 30% to 50% are boarding students.

Cascadilla Students (2002-16) were from 12 states and 20 countries:

Angola, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, India, Italy,

Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United States


  • The Gryphon

School Colors

  • Blue and White


  • 43 courses were offered in 2015-16.
  • Average class size: 5
  • Maximum class size: 16
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: 5 to 1
  • In 2003-16, a total of 57 Advanced Placement (AP) courses were offered. 41 % of the 138 students taking AP exams earned a score of 3 or higher: 57 students earned a 3, 32 students earned a 4, and 37 students earned a 5. See the AP courses offered by Cascadilla here.


  • 14 Faculty Members, typically with advanced degrees

Financial Facts

School Computers

  • 11 computers for student and faculty use
  • Wireless or broadband connections for students in dorms


  • 9,000 volumes.
  • Students are also instructed on the use of the extensive Cornell University Library system, which has over 8 million volumes and over one million ebooks.

Special Programs

  • Accelerated Program: In Cascadilla’s Accelerated Program, each semester gives a student the opportunity to earn credits equivalent to one full year of high school coursework.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: Over a dozen AP Courses are available to interested students.
  • The Cascadilla Seminar: The Cascadilla School’s advanced seminar in history & literature gives graduating seniors the necessary skills in careful and critical reading, logical reasoning, persuasive argumentative writing, and hands-on academic research that will ensure success in college and beyond. The Seminar also provides students with a required fifth unit of English credit.

Cascadilla Alumni

  • Approximately 3,770 students have attended the Cascadilla School since 1876.

About Ithaca, New York

  • 30,720  Population of the City of Ithaca
  • 104,926  Population of Tompkins County, New York

Faculty and Staff


Frequently Asked Questions

Cascadilla History and Photos