The Right Private School for Your Kid
A2 + B2 = Smackdown: While the always strong basketball, football, and soccer teams get all the attention (not to mention the status-conferring varsity jackets), Worcester Academy’s math squad has quietly become a powerhouse in its own right. Kids who just can’t put down their graphing calculators have 19 mathematics courses to chose from—a depth of study that paid dividends last year when the school won its division of the state math league.
City year(s): Worcester Academy’s ivy-covered brick buildings and large grassy quad sit smack in the middle of its gritty namesake city. Rather than trying to downplay the location, though, headmaster Dexter Morse sees it as a selling point: “We offer kids a real-life education and an ability to interact with the city. Here, ‘diversity’ is a full word.” School stats: Coed; grade 6–postgrad; day / boarding tuition: $21,285 / $37,650; 81 Providence St., Worcester, 508-754-5302, www.worcesteracademy.org.
SECOND HONORS: Thayer Academy: Boasts an ambitious math curriculum that belies its jock reputation and placed not far behind Worcester Academy at this year’s state math meet. Newton Country Day School: High math board scores and small class sizes make for a winning equation.
The Cambridge School of Weston
Block party: The Cambridge School of Weston helped popularize the module learning system, in which the academic year is broken into eight terms, and each school day is divided into four 75- to 90-minute blocks. That progressive approach extends to its language courses, which are taught using an integrated-study technique: Instead of first learning about biology and then Spanish, students learn about science in Spanish, with a pair of instructors combining forces to lead each lecture. “The two different teachers bring their own expertise,” says foreign-languages chair Sara Honig. “And the kids really respond.”
Field trip Friday. Please remember to bring your passport: International travel is surprisingly de rigueur for Cambridge School students, who can pursue their interest in art history and French, for example, by jetting to Provence to view impressionist works firsthand. Catering to all types: With nearly 300 courses and a student body that is 25 percent vegetarian/vegan (the cafeteria menus have been tweaked accordingly), the school makes every effort to accommodate diverse interests. That mentality extends to its language instruction: “We try to adapt to the students. If they have a desire to learn Portuguese and we have someone on staff who can speak the language, we will gladly arrange it,” says Honig. “We just can’t guarantee there’s going to be a trip there.” School stats: Coed; grades 9–12; day / boarding tuition: $28,500 / $38,000; 45 Georgian Rd., Weston, 781-642-8600, www.csw.org.
SECOND HONORS: Boston University Academy: Offers the most languages in our survey (16). Brimmer and May School: Plans to add Chinese to its World Languages curriculum next year.