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Coordinates: 42°19′06″N 71°09′52″W / 42.31838°N 71.16444°W / 42.31838; -71.16444

Beaver Country Day School
Beaver logo Square.png
United States
MottoMente et Manu
(With Mind and Hand)
Head of SchoolPeter Hutton
Average class size15
Campus17 acres (69,000 m2)
Color(s)Blue and gray
Athletics14 sports
Athletics conferenceEastern Independent League (EIL)
PublicationThe Heliconian (literary journal)
NewspaperThe Beaver Reader
YearbookThe Beaver Log
Tuition$49,690 (2018–2019)

Beaver Country Day School is an independent, college preparatory day school for students in grades 6 through 12 founded in 1920. The school is located on a 17-acre (69,000 m2) campus in the village of Chestnut Hill, in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States, near Boston. Beaver is a member of the Cum Laude Society, the Independent Curriculum Group, and the National Association of Independent Schools. Beaver is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


Beaver's Main Building

Beaver was incorporated as an elementary school and an all-girls' high school in 1920 by a group of parents who were interested in progressive education and the Country Day School movement.

The school took its name in Boston, where some of the founders had been involved with a school for younger children later referred to as "Little Beaver." In an amusing historical chain, it seems that Beaver Place was possibly named for the Beaver, one of the ships of the Boston Tea Party; the ship—a Nantucket trading vessel owned by Joseph Rotch—was in turn named for the North American beaver, the rodent whose pelt was valued in Europe as a source of felt for high-quality hats. Thus, the "how did the school get its name?" question has a convoluted answer.

Beaver's first head of school was Eugene Randolph Smith, a progressive educator and a follower of the educational reformer John Dewey; Smith had previously been head of the Park School of Baltimore. The school opened in a facility in Brookline, and moved to the present Chestnut Hill campus in the mid-1920s. Crosby Hodgman succeeded Smith as headmaster in 1943 and led the school until 1967, when Donald Nickerson became head. Nickerson resigned in 1973 and was succeeded by Philip E. McCurdy. McCurdy's successor, Jerome B. Martin. led the school from 1985 until 1992, when the current head of school, Peter R. Hutton, took over.

From the 1930s into the early 1940s Beaver was part of the Eight-Year Study, an educational experiment to test the efficacy of progressive education. The school adopted coeducation in 1971.

Painter Beatrice Van Ness founded the art department at the school in 1921 and remained on the faculty until 1949.[1]


Students and teachers at the fall Harvest Fest

Beaver offers grades 6 through 12. Enrollment (2011–2012) is 452 students, of whom 329 are in the upper school (grades 9–12) and about 123 are in the middle school (grades 6–8). Classes average about 15 students; one hundred percent of Beaver graduates go on to four-year colleges and universities. The school community is diverse, with students coming from over 70 towns in the metropolitan Boston area and speaking 20 languages besides English at home. About 25% of students and 25% of faculty are of color. Twenty-five percent of students receive financial aid. Tuition for the 2015–2016 academic year for all grades was $43,630.[2]

Programs and facilitiesEdit

Visual and Performing Arts Center Lobby
Gym in the Athletic Center
All Beaver students utilize technology on a daily basis with the school's 1:1 laptop program.

The college preparatory curriculum includes advanced courses in mathematics and the sciences as well as the opportunity to do honors-level work in all disciplines; in recent years an increasing number of students have elected to do independent study in pursuit of intellectual interests that fall outside the curriculum. Beaver also requires two full years of study in the visual and/or performing arts for graduation, and students must pursue an interscholastic sport or fitness activity each year as part of the afternoon program.

In 2010–2011 Beaver introduced NuVu ("new view"), an educational program based on the design studio model. Students are taught within the framework of studio projects rather than traditional subjects. The program focuses on hands-on problem solving, encourages an inventive culture, promotes peer teaching and learning, and cultivates curiosity to explore. NuVu Studio was developed in partnership with PhD students and faculty from MIT, and the program takes place in Cambridge. Beaver students in grades 10–12 may choose to spend a full 11-week trimester in the NuVu program at MIT, in lieu of taking their regular classes at school that term. Each NuVu studio term focuses on a different theme.

Beaver is a leader in the use of emerging technology in the classroom. All students are required to bring laptop computers to school. Teachers have been trained to incorporate applications, such as blogs, social media, and wikis, into the curriculum to expand students' opportunities to create and share content. The school is also a national model for how to integrate social justice and multicultural/global perspectives into its curriculum through its Hiatt Center for Civic Engagement, created in 2006 in memory of Anne Hiatt '47.

The main classroom building, dating from the 1920s, has been continuously upgraded to meet curricular demands, and the science wing renovations to be completed in the late summer of 2011[needs update] will provide more space. The arts program is largely housed in the three-story Visual and Performing Arts Center, opened in 2004.

A new Athletic Center, completed in 2007, consolidates athletics in one space with the addition of a second 24,700 sq. ft. gymnasium, a fitness and weight training room and additional locker rooms.

Beaver is a part of the Eastern Independent League and fields interscholastic teams in soccer, field hockey, golf, cross country, basketball, fencing, volleyball, wrestling, squash, baseball, softball, tennis, ultimate, and lacrosse. In winter of 2011–2012, Beaver started competing in girls' ice hockey. In 2015–2016, the school added boys' ice hockey as a part of their athletic program.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Archives of American Art. "Summary of the Beatrice Whitney Van Ness papers, 1883–1985 – Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Beaver Country Day School Admissions". Missing or empty |url= (help)

External linksEdit