The Academy At Charlemont
|School Membership(s)||New England Association of Schools and Colleges
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
|Grades Offered||Grades 7 - 12|
|Offers Post-Graduate Year||Yes|
|Total Students||98 students|
|Student Body Type||Co-ed|
|% Students of Color||9% (MA School Avg.: 24%)|
|Students by Grade|
|Academics and Faculty|
|Total Classroom Teachers||15 teachers|
|Student : Teacher Ratio||7:1 (National school avg.: 13:1)|
|Average Class Size||16 students|
|List of Courses Offered||Link to List of Courses|
|Matriculation Data||Link to Matriculation Data|
|Finances and Admission|
|Admission Deadline||Feb. 15 / rolling|
|Admissions Director||Martha Tirk|
|Admissions Associate||Nora Bates Zale|
|Total Sports Offered||11 sports|
|Total Extracurriculars||2 extracurriculars|
|A Capella, Garage Rock Band, R & B Band, Jazz Band, Computer Programming, Mosaics, Recording, Klezmer Band, Ceramics, Film Studies, Metal Working, Rug Braiding, Basket Weaving, Dance, Blues Band, American Roots Band, Celtic Band, Jewelry Making, Creative||Chess Club, Knitting Club|
Everyone learns. Everyone plays. Everyone matters.
Here along the river, in the shadow of the northern Berkshires, exists the most unique and joyous school I have ever seen. I am thrilled to be joining this community myself after more than two decades in secondary and college classrooms. With an academic rigor that rivals any other school, there is also no more nurturing place for a young scholar to cultivate habits of critical thinking, learn to appreciate excellence, and develop the will to pursue it. As an Academy parent explained to me, “This is an ‘everybody’s got your back’ school."
What is a classical education?
The Academy program is focused on balance. The classical tradition was based on just such a model, where balance applies to areas of inquiry, artistic and athletic pursuits, and a sense of responsibility for the community. Our explorations of the humanities demand that students learn not to merely study history, but become historians. They understand ancient and contemporary cultures from across the globe through their literature, artistic expression, and an appreciation for their societal values.
The study of Latin, as a discipline for the mind and as a basis for expanded linguistic knowledge, is central to our language offerings and brings modern languages into balance with ancient languages and cultures. These are the very cultures that are reﬂected in our own democracy, the relevance of which is experienced daily by Academy students. After mastering Euclid’s theorems that defined geometry, our scholars move on to explore the calculus of Leibniz and Newton. Using the tools of the mathematician, their scientiﬁc curiosity leads them to engage with the beauty of biology, the clarity of chemistry, and the formulas of physics, often using our unique location as a classroom.
Our area is rich with professional artists. My predecessor saw in this an extraordinary opportunity. Drawing on area artists and Academy faculty, our unique Studio Block program places Academy students shoulder to shoulder with a wide range of remarkable and talented people. Twice a week, a host of musicians, artisans, sculptors, writers, and actors visit our campus to instruct and inspire our students, in atelier-styled mentoring classes. In turn, the students inspire each other to push their artistic boundaries, or find new ways to express themselves. The Academy’s commitment to the balance of a classical education means that everyone learns, in an environment that nurtures curiosity across the disciplines.
Athletics are integral to the balance.
The mind is stretched at The Academy each day, in balance with physical pursuits. A variety of competitive and non-competitive athletic options push students to develop healthy lifestyles. Athletics provide an opportunity for students to balance their intellectual efforts with physical challenges. At The Academy, character, sportsmanship and your best effort matter most. One artistically-inclined Academy graduate surprised me by saying, “Whatever you do, don’t ever eliminate athletic requirements. I’m so glad I was a part of those teams.” There are no cuts at The Academy. Everyone plays.
I recently read that American students can expect to change careers an average of seven times between the ages of 22 and 45. Only a balanced education will prepare today’s students for that challenge. Our graduates have gone on to a remarkable array of successful and productive lives. This balance is also admired by collegeswho value The Academy’s well rounded graduates.
The Unique Community
When I ﬁrst began to explore The Academy a member of the search committee said, “As an educational consultant, I have been on more school campuses than I can count. None are as joyous as The Academy”. I later asked an experienced teacher, who earlier in her career had left The Academy to teach at a larger and more well-known independent school, “What made you come back?” Her reply: “Here at The Academy, we walk the talk.” She was referring to many of the cultural intangibles evident in this unique community, among them the Honor Code.The Honor Code is central to Academy life. As a reﬂection of the democratic underpinnings of the school community, it was written by students in the earliest years and has worked ever since. In a stunning ceremony each September, every student and every adult signs this contract to uphold values of integrity, honesty, civility, and respect in all aspects of school life. This signed copy of the Honor Code hangs on the wall which greets us each day. The chair of our accrediting body, during a visit to the school in 2011 complimented this practice. He said, “I have seen many Honor Codes in schools, but this is the only one that really works.”
Respect and Community Service
The original founders believed not only in the importance of mutual respect between adults and students in a school environment, but they created a program that relies on the sense of responsibility it engenders. It links our seniors in their leadership roles through the whole student body, all the way to our seventh graders. Multi age teams, responsible for chores and community service, are carefully organized at the start of the year. Whether the task is serving a meal for members of the community in need, or tidying the school at the end of each day, team members across the grades support each other in doing the work, together with faculty and staff.
Small by Design
My decision to come here was easy once I saw what differentiates this school from all others. The school is small enough so that each adult here knows not only every student’s name, but also understands specifically what it is that makes each one a cherished part of our community. Everyone matters.
Twice a year, the entire faculty dedicates a full day to a discussion that covers each student’s academic and social progress. Weekly, faculty members meet by grade level to do the same, sharing observations and planning for support and challenges as needed. Frequent and close contact between parents and teachers characterizes the partnership between families and The Academy. Parents meet for 15-minute conferences with each teacher, two times a year, for intimate and in depth discussions. I've never seen a school like The Academy, and I'd suggest your experience will be similar. Please visit and see for yourself. I'll be here to welcome you and learn your name. If you join us, we'll work together to help you "Find your voice, and speak your mind."
--Mark Efinger, Head of School
Profile last updated: 01/29/2013
Related School Videos:
The Academy at Charlemont - The Green Office
2 years ago
The Academy at Charlemont: Spring Concert 2009
2 years ago
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Gr. 7-12 | 0 mi. away
Gr. 5-8 | 10.3 mi. away
Gr. 9-12 | 10.8 mi. away
Gr. 6-9 | 11.2 mi. away
Gr. K-9 | 11.2 mi. away
Gr. PK-8 | 11.4 mi. away