St. Mark’s is a four-year, college preparatory, boarding and day school located 20 miles west of Boston. Originally founded in 1865 as an Episcopal boys’ school, St. Mark’s merged with the Southborough School for Girls in 1977. Our classes are traditionally referred to as forms: 9th grade is III Form; 10th grade is IV Form; 11th grade is V Form; 12th grade is VI Form.
The academic program at St. Mark’s is a blend of a classical liberal curriculum infused with innovative elements of contemporary pedagogy. Across the curriculum, students are exposed to interdisciplinary work and the opportunity to develop strong scientific inquiry, historical research, collaborative problem-solving, critical thinking, and written communication skills. We have, over the past four years, completely reimagined our curriculum as well as our use of class time in service of better teaching and learning. We are proud of our distinctive academic program and offer greater detail on a few highlights below.
Advanced Curriculum: Beginning in the 2014–2015 school year, St. Mark’s began offering teacher-generated, school-specific “Advanced” classes in all core academic disciplines save English, where departmental philosophy drives continued heterogeneous grouping. Courses such as our STEM and History Research Fellowships, along with Advanced Topics classes in Math and Computer Science as well as our Independent Study Program (ISP) form the core of our most vigorous options.
History Fellowship: The History Fellowship trains talented, aspiring historians in the skills of academic research and historiography. Each Fellow, having selected a topic of personal interest during the spring of their V Form year, then pursues rigorous, in-depth research in venues ranging from libraries to archives, to the halls of Congress, and distant museums. The course culminates in the production of a substantial research paper, which students then defend before a panel of faculty members.
STEM Fellowship: The STEM Fellowship offers students the chance for deep exploration of their own particular area of interest, while fostering real-world skills needed for high-level scientific research. Fellows work with faculty and mentors from area labs and hospitals to design and conduct their own experiments and apply their research to real-world challenges. Fellows present posters at local and national science fairs.
Global Citizenship: St. Mark's School recognizes that a global education is a critical component of a 21st-century education. Therefore, the goal of the Global Citizenship Initiative, through both curricular and extracurricular offerings, is to help our students to see and appreciate the distinctive features in the variety of cultures of the world, to appreciate the human universals that make all people more similar than different, and to inspire our students to become global citizens.
Lion Term (began May 2017): A three-week, form-based, experiential program, Lion Term encourage students to think beyond themselves and provides structure for them to apply their learning to the wider world through internships and independent research. Additionally, one course includes a travel and immersion component. Classes have visited and explored Bhutan, Iceland, and Spain (May 2019).
St. Mark’s Saturdays: St. Mark's Saturdays offer students and faculty an innovative opportunity to engage in relevant and developmentally appropriate academic, service, and character and wellness coursework. At the core of each St. Mark's Saturdays offering is a belief in the power of experience to transform student understanding. The unique structure of the classes allows for collaborative interdisciplinary teaching teams.
Gray Colloquium: The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium is designed to engage St. Mark’s students in an exploration of one complex issue annually. This year’s theme is “Building the Future through Citizenship.” A vital aspect of the Gray Colloquium program is that presenters also engage with the school community in classes and small group discussions.
Click here for additional information about the academic program.
Life at St. Mark’s
Academic and extracurricular opportunities abound at St Mark’s; life for our students is busy. We share the following to highlight some of the most popular and time-consuming options, but also to illustrate the juggling act our students perform daily.
Arts: Performance-based art courses (theater, choir, jazz ensemble, orchestra) all meet during the school day and occupy one class period in a student’s schedule for a full year. These courses, like our studio art courses, are considered academic in nature. St. Mark’s theater performs a play every fall and winter; participation satisfies the athletic commitment. Student directed one-act plays and the student-run musical (both in the spring) are extracurricular activities.
Athletics: St. Mark’s belongs to the highly competitive Interscholastic School League (ISL) along with 15 other Boston-area independent schools. In addition to our interscholastic team sports, we also offer fitness and yoga programs. Students are required to participate in some form of athletics in every term.
Chapel: The Chapel Program at St. Mark’s School is rich in content and diverse in expression. Responsible and responsive to the community’s diverse faith traditions, the program is designed to address the widely varying spiritual needs of the school community. All-school Chapel services are required twice a week. VI Formers are invited to offer Chapel Talks.
Community Service: St. Mark’s has community service partnerships with four organizations. Students who participate in community service commit to 20 hours per athletic season. Students cannot participate in community service if they are playing on a varsity-level team.
Robotics: The FIRST Robotics team satisfies an athletic commitment during the winter season. FIRST Robotics competes in New England regional tournaments as well as national and international competitions.
Student Leadership: St. Mark’s students enjoy an array of leadership opportunities. Three positions, Monitor, Prefect, and Peer Discussion Leader, involve significant time commitment and responsibility. Students are appointed to these roles after a competitive selection process. Additionally, the eight student Monitors meet weekly with the Dean of Students and the Head of School and must use one block of their schedules for a leadership curriculum.Student Voice: Student-led, on-line outlets LEO, The Parkman Post, and The Tavern supplement more traditional offerings like our student newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine.
Advanced (Adv.) Courses by Department:
Adv. Studio Art, Adv. Art History, Adv. Ceramics, Adv. Music Theory, Adv. Topics in Music, Adv. Theater Workshop
Adv. Topics in Computer Science
Adv. U.S. History, Adv. U.S. Government and Politics, History Research Fellowship, Adv. Studies in Global Citizenship
Adv. Statistics, Adv. AB Calculus, Adv. BC Calculus, Adv. Topics in Mathematics, Mathematical Research
Adv. Chinese, Adv. French: Contemporary Themes, Adv. Topics in Spanish Literature, Adv. Topics in Latin Literature
Adv. Religion: Modern Philosophy and the Challenges of Unbelief
Adv. Biology, Adv. Chemistry, Adv. Environmental Science, Adv. Physics, STEM Research Fellowship
Class of 2019 Standardized Testing
Scores through June of V Form Year (June 2018)
Average = 677
Median = 680
Middle 50% = 630-740
Average = 693
Median = 700
Middle 50% = 600-780
Average = 1370
Median = 1380
Middle 50% = 1270-1510
Average = 29
Median = 30
Middle 50% = 25.5-33.5
St. Mark’s does not calculate a class rank or a GPA. In such a small school, the distinction between GPAs is insignificant and the impact of ranking students is unproductive.
The St. Mark’s grading system uses + and - grades. Students who receive an average of 59 or below would receive an “E” grade for the course.
Policy on Reporting of Discipline
Consistent with the NACAC Statement of Good Principles of Practice and our strong belief in the integrity of the application process, St. Mark’s students are required to report all disciplinary infractions that result in suspension.
Turning the Tide
St. Mark’s School was one of two initial high school endorsers of the 2016 Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions report. We have since signed the Making Caring Common “High School Commitments” document.
College Matriculation: 2016–2018
Over the past three years, St. Mark’s students have chosen to attend the schools below. On average, students choose sixty different schools a year. Virtually all St. Mark’s graduates enroll in a four-year institution immediately upon graduation. Schools listed in bold have enrolled three or more St. Markers between 2016-2018.
University of Amsterdam
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
Carnegie Mellon University
College of Charleston
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Connecticut
ESADE Escuela Superior de Empresas (Spain)
Florida State University
Franklin & Marshall College
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvey Mudd College
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
College of the Holy Cross
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Johns Hopkins University
The Juilliard School
Kennesaw State University
Lewis & Clark College
University of Maine
Manhattan School of Music
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Miami University, Oxford
University of Michigan
Mississippi State University
University of New Hampshire, Durham
New York University
Oxford College of Emory University
University of Pennsylvania
Rhode Island School of Design
University of Richmond
University of Rochester
Sacred Heart University
Saint Anselm College
Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Michael’s College
University of Southern California
Southern Methodist University
University of St. Andrews
St. Lawrence University
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
Wake Forest University
Washington University in St. Louis
Wentworth Institute of Technology
College of William and Mary
University of Wisconsin, Madison