The Fessenden School

Grades: Pre-K - 9
Type: Day-Boarding
Gender: Boys


Fessenden is more than an independent day and boarding school for boys in pre-K–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 taught in a nurturing community that emphasizes academic excellence and character development.

Parents recognize faculty for understanding how boys learn best. 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. Join The Fessenden School on the third Thursday of every month to observe live classes and tour the campus. You can RSVP at fessenden.org/OH19.

Fessy Facts

  • Academically challenging curriculum structured to bring out the best in boys
  • 41-Acre Campus - 20 minutes from Boston
  • Bus options for Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Lexington, Newton, Wellesley, & Winchester

Teaching Philosophy

At Fessenden a boy isn’t just “good at math” or “artsy.” We see him from all angles: as he brings an idea to life in the Ciongoli Center for Innovation, displays his musical talent at the Winter Concert, celebrates a relay-race win with his classmates, and proudly shares his latest literary achievement at a Publishing Party.

Our approach to education and development involves nurturing and supporting a boy to find his passion, become a life-long learner and make his contribution to the world. Faculty encourage students to question, explore, and gain understanding through hands-on inquiry. Learning is dynamic and never bound by a lesson plan and textbook. Younger boys head to the playground for an “archeological dig”, sparked by a recent science lesson. Older boys pitch ideas and prototypes to a panel of parents and real-world experts in Fessenden’s own “Shark Tank”.

As a result of this approach, we witness incredible outcomes: boys who seek out intellectual risk and new experiences; stretch socially and emotionally; are honest, compassionate, and respectful; and who thrive at top secondary schools and successfully navigate the world beyond.

Mission Statement

Honesty, compassion, and respect: throughout our history, these values have united and guided our entire community. First introduced in our Pre-K classrooms, these values follow curious young learners as they move through the Lower School and into the Middle and Upper Schools.

At Fessenden, we strive to develop well-rounded boys who flourish--academically, socially, and emotionally--in all that they do. We work continually to set good examples for our students, because we know they’re constantly observing and emulating those around them. Our curriculum and community are strengthened every day by a student body that comes from all over the globe, encompassing a broad range of racial, religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as family compositions. Through admissions and hiring processes, we actively seek students, faculty, and staff who represent this inclusive community.

We’re also proud of the integral part Fessenden parents play in our community. Informed and involved, they are a vibrant, driving force supporting their sons’ educational and personal growth. Regular communication between parents and Fessenden faculty is a critical factor in student success. We welcome parents into our community, and we’re thankful for all they contribute.

We continue our commitment to the education of boys at a time when many schools have become co-educational. Our facilities, curriculum, and programs are designed with the necessities of boys in mind. Faculty programs include ongoing professional development relating to the education of boys in our changing society. Contemporary knowledge about boys, combined with our historical perspectives and experience, allows Fessenden to continue its mission of educating and preparing boys for successful futures.

When Fessenden rang its first opening bell in 1903, there were eight boarders and three day students. Now, with more than 500 students, we strive to honor the words of our founder, Frederick Fessenden’s: “We hold dear what has worked best over time: Unapologetically high standards and a healthy respect for individual differences.”
We are guided by and committed to the following community principles:

  • Treat others with honesty and respect.
  • Practice compassion; make an effort to understand and care for others.
  • Honor diversity; promote a healthy respect for individual differences and affirm commonalities.
  • Celebrate individual potential; nurture the many ways boys learn.
  • Reject prejudice, bullying, and elitism; renounce behavior that excludes others.
  • Engage in open, trusting dialogue; seek to learn from those who have differing opinions.
  • Serve to strengthen our inclusive community.