Commonwealth is a coeducational independent secondary school, occupying two adjoining brownstones in Boston’s Back Bay. Founded in 1957 by Charles Merrill, Jr., “to restore good secondary schooling to the city, in a stimulating and realistic setting for education,” the school today serves about 155 students from the metropolitan area.
In keeping with its mission — “to educate young people from diverse backgrounds to become knowledgeable, thoughtful, and creative adults, capable of careful analysis, fruitful cooperation, and deep commitment” — Commonwealth’s talented and accomplished teachers set the highest standards and work hard to help their students meet them. In the liveliness and warmth of a small yet richly varied community, classmates’ talents, curiosity, and humor often generate excitement and energy.
Commonwealth’s program aims to give every graduate:
- the ability to write with clarity and power, and wide experience in literature and the art of reading;
- a thorough grounding in mathematics and the natural sciences;
- a historical perspective on human affairs;
- mastery of at least one foreign language;
- extensive involvement in the making of art; and
- meaningful engagement, through courses, independent projects, and community service, with the city around them.
Head of School and alumna Jennifer Borman ’81 invites you to explore our community:
“You don’t have to spend too many minutes in our school before sensing the buzz of deeply engaged learning. Walking by classrooms, you hear teachers pose the kind of complex questions you would expect in a college classroom. You see students testing computer code, finessing their pronunciation of Mandarin, titrating a solution in our chemistry lab, and parsing metaphors in their English class. Later in the day, the building hums with students heading off to soccer or fencing, tuning their instruments, packing up supplies for a community service outing, or convening meetings of Feminism Club, Robotics, or our literary magazine, Helicon.
Many schools offer strong academics and enriching extracurriculars. What sets Commonwealth apart? Certainly, you will be hard pressed to find courses of such rigor taught with such compassion and commitment. Or a curriculum that celebrates the full breadth of the arts. Or a physical space, our elegant brownstones, that serves as a launching pad to Boston’s bounty of culture and history.
But it’s the vibrant sense of community within our walls that makes Commonwealth truly special. Each faculty member serves as a mentor and guide. Each student is known, valued for who they are—and then asked to grow. And all students treat each other well: cliques are rare, and inclusion is more than just a word. Community, connection, and kindness are woven deeply into the fabric of a Commonwealth education.”