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2021 Guide to Independent Schools: A – F

The Academy at Penguin Hall | 978-468-6200

The Academy at Penguin Hall is an independent, all-girls college preparatory high school located in Wenham. Our mission is to educate, enlighten, and empower young women in preparation for college and for life. The curriculum at Penguin Hall is grounded in a rigorous, inquiry-based instructional approach that demands deep critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, and strong collaborative skills. Our students continue to matriculate into top-tier colleges and universities around the world. Our five-day boarding program allows students to discover the opportunity to develop independence and experience dorm life before college. Need-based financial aid and transportation are available. Visit to register for one of our Admissions Information sessions (October 17, November 9, December 5, and January 16) or call 978-468-6200 to schedule a personal tour.

Acera: The Massachusetts School of Science, Creativity, and Leadership | 781-729-3489

Be creative and inquire without fear: At Acera, a non-profit K—10 STEAM school in Winchester, we love questions. Our students learn by tapping into their intrinsic motivation, with myriad questions and projects about the world.  Every student has an individual learning plan, providing a runway that truly fits each child’s interests and potential. Through early and robust exposure to STEAM topics that link to real-world innovations, each Acera student engages in purpose-filled learning. Our innovative program includes ability-based math, hands-on units in our life sciences lab, mentor-supported passion projects, and creative electives in computing, philosophy, social sciences, and art.  Acera teachers excelled at hybrid and remote education during Covid, resulting in highly engaged and happy kids who are motivated to learn. This year, we remain committed to leveraging opportunities for outdoors education. Our outdoor classrooms support hands-on projects in woodshop, arts, engineering, and more. We are also deepening our emphasis on nature-based education amid Covid in ecology, environmental sciences, and mindfulness. In our most recent satisfaction survey, 96 percent of parents said their children are inspired by the learning at Acera. Find out why at our Open House on November 6, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Austin Preparatory School | 781-944-4900

An Austin Prep education is preparation for the journey of life. The school’s mission is “to inspire hearts to unite, minds to inquire, and hands to serve.” It’s not the formal curriculum, however, that prepares students to go the distance. It’s the unwritten curriculum of veritas, unitas, and caritas (truth, unity, love) that Austin Prep imprints on the hearts of graduates that guides them on their inner journey. The school’s academic program for young men and women covers seven years, from grade 6 through grade 12, and because of this extended time shared with students, the school has the ability to offer wide-ranging opportunities for academic, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth at critical stages of a student’s adolescent development. Austin Prep believes all teachers and administrators share responsibility for students’ formation through direct instruction, the example of their daily behavior, language, and demeanor, and support of students’ participation in the spiritual life of the school. Community has always been at the core of an Augustinian education. Understanding and appreciating this principle of community is one of the most important focuses of Austin Prep’s approach to education. “At Austin Prep, we are on a journey that is life-changing and important,” says Head of School James Hickey, Ph.D. “Our patron, St. Augustine, embarked on a journey for the truth. At our core is an institution on the same journey, committed to exemplary teaching and learning.” An Open House will be held October 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bancroft School | 508-854-9227

Parents looking for an innovative and challenging learning experience for their child can find it at Bancroft School, where curious minds are nourished and inspired to see the world in creative and impactful ways. Here, students develop the insight, skills, and character to help them thrive well into their future years. With classes for every age group from early learners to middle school through high school, Bancroft School’s educational approach keeps kids engrossed and engaged. Set on a 34-acre campus, the school’s immersive “Learning Laboratory” blends related subject matter into a robust and diverse curriculum that empowers students to learn and participate. And with a ratio of five students to every teacher, students get the personal attention they deserve to help them thrive. With experienced staff members to guide them, students build essential skills, such as teamwork and critical thinking, the foundation for future success. Still, learning is more than just classroom time. Bancroft also has an exceptional extra-curriculum program that has brought the school much recognition at the state and national levels. The school’s robotics, speech, and debate teams have won both state and national awards. Students can also participate in other athletic programs like volleyball, basketball, or field hockey or choose from a variety of clubs and organizations. For more information on what Bancroft School has to offer or to sign up your student, email [email protected].

Belmont Day School | 617-484-3078

At Belmont Day School, we foster intellectual curiosity, honor differences, and empower meaningful contribution with excellence, respect, honesty, responsibility, caring, and joy for a Pre-K to grade 8 co-ed community of thoughtful, caring, creative learners and leaders. Our students’ love of learning is nurtured every day through hands-on, collaborative, interdisciplinary work that grounds the academic experience in the real world. Our faculty embrace learning as a process and recognize the importance of students understanding and sharing that process. They are experts at offering each individual student the right level of challenge and support. As educators, our job is to encourage children to bring all of their skills, experiences, and optimism to meet challenges either in the classroom, on the athletics fields, or in the art studios. Our intentional curriculum in health and wellness, social-emotional learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion helps students build a strong sense of themselves and embody the school’s core values. Our eighth grade graduates go on to the high schools of their choosing, where they are embraced as confident self-advocates and leaders in their new school communities. At every grade level, students embrace the learning and wellness opportunities of being outdoors throughout the environment of our beautiful 11-acre campus. Virtual Open House for Lower School is on Sunday, October 17, 10 to 11:30 a.m. and for Middle School on Saturday, November 20, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Belmont Hill School | 617-993-5220

Since 1923, the heart of the Belmont Hill mission has been to develop boys into young men of great character. Through years of practice and research, we know how boys learn best: how they interact, develop, and ultimately thrive as their best selves. At Belmont Hill, boys are known and nurtured, and are free to pursue their academic interests and their passions in athletics, service, and the arts. Working together with faculty mentors, boys maneuver through challenges, strive for excellence, celebrate difference, and develop friendships that last a lifetime. The faculty, administration, and students are dedicated to creating a community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. Visit or call 617-993-5220 to learn more and to schedule a virtual visit. Belmont Hill. Always character. Always together.

Boston College High School | 617-474-5010

Founded in 1863, Boston College High School is a world-class, independent Jesuit, Catholic preparatory school for young men in grades 7–12. BC High offers students dynamic, urban learning experiences unique to Boston and connections to a global network of more than 1,000 Jesuit schools. Our approach is rigorous, going beyond the academic to address the whole person: head, heart, and hands—cultivating qualities that establish character and provide students with a holistic framework to wrestle the many complexities of life. Here, future leaders begin to develop their potential, find their own unique voice, and work together toward a more ethical and inclusive future. Students learn to stand up boldly for what they believe in, including themselves, and become men who lead with integrity. Our 500-year-old tradition of Jesuit education has weathered plagues, recessions, and wars. Rooted in this tradition, BC High led the way last year in caring for students in an uncertain world. In the face of challenge, our students do not stand still, but continue to learn supported by a diverse community wholly committed to their growth. To learn more about the BC High experience and to register for our virtual Open House on November 7, go to or call 617-474-5010.

Brewster Academy | 603-569-7200

At Brewster Academy, a college preparatory boarding and day school for students grades 9-12 and postgraduates, we prepare diverse thinkers for lives of purpose—transforming students with diverse academic profiles and backgrounds into self-aware, capable adults who are committed to lives that are larger than the self. Located in idyllic Wolfeboro, N.H., Brewster’s campus features a half-mile of waterfront on Lake Winnipesaukee. Here, in this stunning setting, we take a remarkably personal approach to education. Students, our teachers cherish your individuality. Your questions guide our discussions. Your unique talents and perspectives infuse our classrooms. Our rigorous academic program is designed to build skills incrementally while meeting individual needs. Consider joining our dynamic mix of learners and thinkers: Athletes. Artists. Musicians. Mathematicians. Lovers of science, poetry, and nature. Our 365 students come from around the world, from all parts of the socioeconomic spectrum, and from a range of civic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. All that diversity enriches an academic community that values individual differences and encourages students to support and challenge each other. Brewster is elite without the elitism, where students can be their best without besting each other. To learn more about Brewster Academy, please visit, call us at 603-569-7200, or email us at [email protected].

Brimmer and May School | 617-566-7462

Brimmer and May is a Pre-K–12, independent day school that fosters active learners, compassionate leaders, and ethical global citizens. The ideal size of our school allows for personalized instruction in a student-centered, project-based learning environment. We’re big in terms of our ambitions for each student’s growth, academic achievements, and leadership skills. We’re broad in terms of our diversity, strengthened by a commitment to equity and anti-bias education. We are huge in terms of the breadth, depth, and variety of curricular options and extracurricular opportunities. Yet we’re small enough to have a true feeling of connection with one another. Small enough for each member of the class, group endeavor, athletic team, and community to not only participate but also to shine. What size and kind of school is best for you and your student? Stop by our campus in historic Chestnut Hill and see why Brimmer just might be the perfect fit. Visit to learn about our week of Open House events October 18–23, including virtual panel discussions and on-campus tours.

Buckingham Browne & Nichols | 617-547-6100

At Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N), students get more than just an education. They get the well-rounded knowledge they need to understand the world and their place in it. The Cambridge-based school develops students’ curiosity, kindness, and critical thinking skills in a manner that extends throughout their lives. As one of the only pre-kindergarten to 12th grade schools in Greater Boston, BB&N gives children the chance to grow into adulthood surrounded by friends and teachers who value academics, volunteerism, and community involvement. With its project-based learning style, BB&N offers age-appropriate academic, extracurricular, and sports programs on three separate campuses that encompass lower school, from pre-kindergarten to 6th grade, middle school for grades 7 and 8, and upper school for 9th through 12th grade. A comprehensive curriculum remains centered on creativity, curiosity, resilience, and teamwork to prepare students for success in the years ahead. BB&N students at all ages learn that excellence means being well, doing well, and living well. BB&N welcomes all students and families; our community members bring out the best in one another by sharing multiple perspectives from a variety of lived experiences. For more information on BB&N’s admissions process, contact [email protected] or visit to learn about our admissions events.

​​Cape Cod Academy | 508-428-5400

Cape Cod Academy is the leading independent, co-educational, college preparatory school serving students from kindergarten to grade 12 on Cape Cod. Founded in 1976, the school is located on an expansive 46-acre campus that features outdoor classrooms, multiple athletic fields, two gymnasiums, outdoor pool, state-of-the art science labs, and a black box theatre.  Across our three school divisions, we encourage curiosity, leadership, and academic rigor. Our curriculum is not driven by standardized testing, and our classes enable students to develop leadership skills that are imperative for future success, including critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication, and collaboration. Our classrooms are led by accomplished faculty who develop new teaching approaches based on the best research and their own experience. Our mission is to instill a love of learning in students as they pursue academic excellence and develop life skills in a safe, values-centered community. The school is now enrolling. For more information contact 508-428-5400, or see

The Chestnut Hill School | 617-566-4394

The future depends on elementary education. A Chestnut Hill education—an intentional combination of academic excellence, diversity, and community—gives the world the students it most needs. Drawing on more than 150 years of experience, this is today’s Chestnut Hill School: Where there’s magic—and meaning—in a school in which childhood is treasured and the pursuit of excellence becomes a habit. That’s the philosophy behind The Chestnut Hill School, where children ages three through sixth grade learn to express their creativity, joy, and passion in ways that allow them to be themselves. Within its academic program of small class sizes and a 5—1 student-teacher ratio, learners find that the school’s nurturing environment helps them thrive—not only academically but socially as well. As a leader in early childhood and elementary education, The Chestnut Hill School offers a robust curriculum that includes everything from art and music to technology and Spanish, along with a range of traditional course offerings. An extended day program provides the chance for students to enjoy some extracurricular activities like dance, karate, chess, or sports, all in the same nurturing environment. The Chestnut Hill School’s deeply rooted commitment to academic excellence, diversity, and community helps build individuals who are ready to face the world’s challenges with intellectual curiosity, cultural competency, and self-empowerment. To learn more about The Chestnut Hill School and all that it offers, go to

The Commonwealth School | 617-266-7525

Commonwealth School is an independent high school dedicated to intellectual and artistic exploration—where creativity and individuality flourish. Commonwealth’s thought-provoking curriculum is rooted in rigorous analysis, focused attention, discussion, and inquiry. Eighty-eight percent of the faculty have advanced degrees, and they work closely with students to explore their interests, develop problem-solving skills, and boost their confidence. College-level electives include axiomatic set theory, wave physics, modern Islamic societies, and more. Our location in Boston’s Back Bay immerses students in the city and its opportunities, from conducting research at the Boston Public Library to interning at the State House to enjoying a cupcake on Newbury Street. Small classes and dedicated faculty advisors ensure personal attention for each student, and daily all-school meetings, weekly assemblies, and unique traditions create a close-knit community in which students feel both challenged and supported. Commonwealth students discover their passions, follow where their curiosity leads, and grow into thoughtful and inquisitive young adults who excel in college, career, and life. Students and their families can experience this dynamic environment at one of our Virtual Open Houses, happening October 5 and November 14. (After applying, students and families are cordially invited to visit us in person.) Learn more at

Cushing Academy | 978-827-7000

Cushing Academy develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded as a co-educational institution in 1865, the school is located 60 miles from Boston and draws students (grades 9–12 and postgraduate) from more than 30 states and 30 countries to its 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, MA. Combining outstanding academics with a robust program of athletics, arts, and cultural offerings, the academy’s dynamic faculty leads a holistic, student-centered approach to learning. At Cushing, students build confidence and intellectual curiosity; they are pushed by instructors and peers to explore and elevate their unique range of talents, abilities, and interests. Community plays an essential role in the Cushing experience; more than 90 percent of students live on campus and the school’s academic, social, and athletic support is singularly designed to promote opportunities for leadership and personal growth. At its core, Cushing Academy empowers students in all aspects of their lives and builds a foundation for a lifetime of independence, learning, and the pursuit of excellence.

Dexter Southfield | 617-751-3600

Dexter Southfield is an independent, college-preparatory day school for boys and girls in Pre-K–Class 12, located just five miles from downtown Boston. The school consists of three divisions: lower (Pre-KClass 5), middle (Classes 68), and upper (Classes 912)—all learning together on our 36-acre campus. Since the fall of 2021, Dexter Southfield has opened the Gui Building, a new lower school complex; The Garage, an 8,000-square-foot Innovation Center for middle school students; and the Dexter Southfield Squash Center, featuring six ASB courts. At Dexter Southfield, our students learn the fundamentals, develop independence and self-advocacy, and prepare for the emerging challenges of a changing world. Students are provided a foundation for excellence and gain the character, confidence, and compassion to become leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Our students are driven to achieve at levels that exceed their expectations at Dexter Southfield, in college, and beyond. We invite prospective lower school families to join us for a fun morning of campus exploration at our “Pumpkins in the Playscape” admissions Open House on Saturday, October 23. More information on this event, and our full offering of middle school and upper school virtual information sessions, can be found at To learn more, contact the Admissions Office at [email protected] or 617-751-3600.

Falmouth Academy | 508-457-9696

Harnessing the power of inspired learning in a world-renowned scientific and vibrant artistic community, Falmouth Academy emboldens each student to take creative and intellectual risks to confidently engage the challenges of our times. Founded in 1977 as an independent day school for students in grades 7–12 and situated on 34 acres in downtown Falmouth, Falmouth Academy strives to be the standard for educational excellence in southern New England. We offer a curriculum that is intentionally structured and fully responsive to this changing world. For example, in 9th grade, students participate in the Changing Earth Program, which takes a holistic approach to the study of global and climate change and its social, cultural, political, and economic effects on a local, national, and global level. We connect our students to other ideas, places, and cultures by creating relevant learning opportunities in and out of the classroom to cultivate the capacity necessary to participate in a diverse society within an increasingly interconnected world. Find out why students travel from more than 22 towns across Cape Cod, the South Shore, the South Coast, and Martha’s Vineyard each day to attend Falmouth Academy. Join us for an in-person Fall Open House on Saturday, October 23. Find information and registration details at


The Fessenden School | 617-630-2300

The Fessenden School, West Newton, is more than an independent day and boarding school for boys in Pre-K to grade 9. It’s the perfect intersection of tradition and innovation, a place where tried-and-true educational techniques are woven seamlessly into a STEAM-inspired, passion-based curriculum. Our diverse, inclusive, and nurturing community emphasizes academic excellence and character development. Parents appreciate Fessenden’s commitment to delivering a curriculum based on how boys learn best and are delighted with the individual support and encouragement their sons receive. Educational leaders turn to Fessenden for guidance on developing curricula that encourage students to be creative problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and global citizens. Fessenden also has the distinction of being one of only 12 schools in the world invited to partner with NuVu (an innovation school founded by MIT graduates) to deliver an academic program that prepares students for the world they will inherit. To learn more about what Fessenden has to offer your son, join us for an on-campus or virtual tour, offered weekly through January 2022. Schedule your tour today, at

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