About Us
A History

A Shady Hill Timeline - 1990 to The Present

New Beginners Building - 1990

Faculty Festival Honorees

Bruce Shaw

New Middle School Buildings

The Newly Renovated Library

Garden Area

Grade V Classroom Art


Arts Center

New Gym

Nature Area

Mark Stanek

Turf Field Dedication

Visiting Science Review Team with Science Department Faculty

Visiting Math Review Team with Math Department Faculty

Tie Tying Workshop at the Black Man Can Institute

New Lower School Play Structure - April 2015

Plaque at 16 Quincy Street

"I am proud to lead a school that puts children at the center of learning by constantly reflecting on pedagogy and practice at each developmental stage. This innovative and collaborative spirit is an important aspect of our fundamentally different approach to teaching and learning. As we look to the future, we will continue to nurture our students' natural love of learning and instill in them a confidence to approach an ever-evolving world with skill, imagination, and optimism."
- Mark Stanek, Head of School 2010 to the present
An After School program until 5:30 each day is started. The school begins a Students of Color lunch/affinity group. The school conducts a Multicultural Assessment Plan (M.A.P.).

The new Beginners Building & Lower School Commons is completed.

The concept of a Flex Week in April is approved by faculty as a permanent part of the curriculum.

The Alumni Board hosts a Faculty Festival in May. More than 500 people participate in the celebration honoring teachers who had taught at the school for 20 years or more: Ruth Abbott, Bill Bellows, Faith Chase, Di Droste, Mary Eliot, Madeline Gabron, Marjorie Gatchell, Jane Hakes, Jerry Hakes, Jane Hardy, Bob Lawler, Don Mapel, Ted Martin, Jack McKernan, Oddvar Nordal, Vera Nordal, Jean Seaver, Carol Segar, Joe Segar, David Smith, Adelaide Sproul, Agnes Swift, Susan Walsh, and Ed Yeomans. The event included a panel presentation about "The Challenges of the Times for Shady Hill School," class visits for former faculty and apprentices, alums, and parents, an Artsfest and Songfest, and a gala dinner.

The school becomes a two-division school, rather than a three-division school. Because of declining interest, the school no longer offers Latin as a language option.

The Board of Overseers and faculty participate in anti-racism training. The school creates the position of Diversity Coordinator.

Medieval Civilization becomes the Grade V central subject.

Jonathan Slater announces that he will leave at the end of the 1993-1994 school year. 

The Teacher Training Course is recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Education as the first site-based, alternate route toward certification.  

Bruce Shaw becomes the school's fifth Director.

The woodshop is raised to protect it from repeated flooding.

Shady Hill celebrates its 80th birthday with a three-day celebration, including a panel presentation on progressive education, events for students, and a gala dinner. The governor of the Commonwealth declares May 12, 1995 "Shady Hill School Day"; Kenneth Reeves, the mayor of Cambridge, issued a proclamation the same day commending the school for "80 years of leadership .  .  . in education."

The school installs a system of hydraulic pipes and finally solves the flooding problem on campus.

After much deliberation and fluctuating ninth grade enrollments for several years, the school decides to no longer offer Grade IX; in June there are two graduating classes, the ninth grade and the eighth grade.

The school renovates or constructs all new classrooms for Grades VI, VII, and VIII.

Grade VI expands to four classes.

Grade VII expands to four classes. Shady Hill's library is renovated for the first time since 1974. Enrollment is at 503 students.

Dennis Bisgaard is appointed to be the school's newest Assistant Director.

Grade VIII expands to four classes.

Shady Hill's renovated library is awarded one of seven American Institute of Architects/American Library Association Library Building awards.

Ancient China becomes the Grade V central subject in the fall of 2004. Led by Associate Director Dennis Bisgaard, Middle School Head Sharon Jones Phinney, and Director of Studies Jack McKernan, the Grade V gradeheads create the curriculum in conjunction with specialists in music, art, mathematics, library, technology and science. 

Shady Hill celebrates its 90th birthday with a special recognition for longtime faculty members, a gala dinner, and more.

Lower School head Amy Purcell Vorenberg is appointed Head of School at the Philadelphia School and leaves at the end of the school year. Amy Belastock is appointed to be the new Lower School head.
In April, Bruce Shaw announces that Assistant Director Dennis Bisgaard has been appointed head of school at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford. Allison Webster is made Interim Director of Studies.

The school kicks off the Blueprints for Learning capital campaign.

On November 5, Shady Hill holds a "Green Day" including interactive activities centered upon respecting and helping the earth: planting bulbs in the Kindergarten and at the Riverbend Park playground in Cambridge; raking leaves; breaking ground for a new Lower School playground garden plot; writing songs and sketches about recycling and preventing global warming and more. That evening parents attend a meeting to hear about the school’s plans for environmental sustainability.

A new pedestrian bridge to the campus opens in time for the start of school.

Together with parent volunteer coordinators, the school organizes the Greenways bus service that brings students from five communities to and from school each day.

The school begins construction of a new field house and parking garage; and arts, music, and woodshop facilities. The buildings are supported by the Blueprints for Learning capital campaign.

Bruce Shaw announces that he will retire at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

The new art studio, music, and woodshop buildings open.

The school creates a new green-space nature area adjacent to the lower school playground.

The new gym opens and Grade VIII students get a surprise tour of the facility in January. 

Bruce Shaw is awarded the District 1 Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He is the only independent school head to have ever received the award, which is traditionally given to college and university presidents. 

Mark Stanek becomes Head of School on July 1.

Former director Joe Segar dies on September 1.

Shady Hill undertakes a program to increase its energy efficiency. The school installs an 89.7 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the gym, that system generates 18% of the school's electricity. As a result, the City of Cambridge acknowledges Shady Hill with a "Go Green" award.

The school installs turf fields, sharing the project cost and use of the fields with BB&N.

During the 2011-2012 school year, Shady Hill undertakes a socioeconomic diversity study. The study includes speakers, surveys, meetings, and more to engage parents, faculty, trustees, and alumni. The results of the study help inform school policy going forward.

The Class of 2011 Gift, which totaled more than $170,000, provides funds for science needs, including the purchase of a set of laptop computers; replacement of aging compound and dissecting microscopes; and the purchase of robotics materials, a weather station with a computer interface, a greenhouse, and a chicken coop.

The first Bruce Shaw Fellowship is awarded to Jeanne McDermott of our Science Department. The Fellowship was made possible by the Blueprints for Learning capital campaign and supported Jeanne's work in the STEM/STEAM areas. The Fellowship allows teachers to explore new ideas and to share what they learn with the community.

The school introduces a 6-day schedule that incorporates a change in dismissal times, a single sports period for Grades VII and VIII, longer teaching blocks, and more.

The school conducts a year-long review of its science program, including visits to other schools to learn about their methods of teaching science and a review by a visiting team of educators. The exercise helps to information changes in the school's science curricula.

Jane Hardy retires from the position of Director of Athletics and Physical Education. Stephen Marks is appointed the new athletics director.

Shady Hill announces the creation of its newest strategic plan. The plan outlines initiatives in the areas of faculty/staff support, program and facilities, the school's diverse community, financial sustainability, and clarifying our unique identity. The plan is the result of months of work by the board, faculty and parents.

Following the model of the science department review in the previous year, the school conducts a year-long review of its mathematics program, including visits to other schools and a review by a visiting team of mathematics educators. The exercise helps to inform changes in the school's mathematics curricula.

As part of its strategic plan, the school examines STEM/STEAM education at the school and begins planning for expanded opportunities in this area.

Shady Hosts its second Black Man Can Institute in May. The event brings African American males from the area's independent and public schools to the Shady Hill campus to focus on "Empowering African-American Males: Community, Finances, and Future."

The school conducts a year-long self-study looking into how well it supports the GLBT members of the community.

The second Bruce Shaw Fellowship is awarded to Grade I/II Loop teacher Shannon Kilduff TTC '04. 

In 2014-2015, the school conducts a year-long study under the supervision of Diversity Directions.

On May 2, students, faculty, parents, alumni, and guests gather at 16 Quincy Street in Cambridge to dedicate a plaque commemorating the founding of the school. Although the original Hocking house is no longer there, the celebration, which included a reading from an autobiography of May Sarton '26, was a joyous way to begin the school's 100th birthday.

Shady Hill Sings - 1995 Led By Lower School Music teacher Di Forbes Droste MacPhail

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