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, and 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. Over the past four years, we have completely reimagined our curriculum as well as our use of class time in service of better teaching and learning. Weare proud of our distinctive academic program and offer greater detail on a few highlights below.
Advanced Curriculum: With the start of the 2014–2015 school year, St. Mark’s began offering teacher-generated, school-specific “Advanced” classes in all core academic disciplines except English, where departmental philosophy drives continued heterogeneous grouping. Courses such as our STEM and History Research Fellowships, along with Advanced Topics classes in Math, Language and Religion and our Independent Study Program (ISP), form the core of our most rigorous options.
Lion Term: A three-week, form-based experiential program, Lion Term encourages students to think beyond themselves and provides structure for them to apply their learning to the wider world through internships and independent research. IV, V, and VI Form students may also participate in Lions Roam, an elective course that integrates a travel and immersion experience during Lion Term. The Lions Roam program has visited and explored Bhutan, Iceland, and Spain; in 2019-2020, the Lions Roam embedded immersion course is “Race, Racism, and Reconciliation since 1945: Lions Roam in the American South and South Africa.”
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. Our Saturday program allows students to direct their own educational pathways by pursuing current interests and exploring new ones in hands-on, collaborative, and interdisciplinary courses.
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 the 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 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.
Select this link 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: 2017–2019
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 2017-2019.
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California,
University of California,
Carnegie Mellon University
College of Charleston
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Connecticut
University College Dublin
ESADE Escuela Superior de Empresas (Spain)
Florida State University
Franklin & Marshall College
George Washington University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvey Mudd College
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
College of the Holy Cross
University of Illinois
Johns Hopkins University
The Juilliard School
University of Maine
Manhattan School of Music
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
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
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
North Carolina State University
Oxford College of Emory University
University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institue
Rhode Island School of Design
University of Richmond
University of Rochester
Rochester Institute of Technology
Saint Anselm College
Saint Michael’s College
University of South Carolina
University of Southern California
Southern Methodist University
University of St. Andrews
St. Lawrence University
Texas Christian University
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
Wake Forest University
Washington and Lee University
Washington University in
College of William & Mary
University of Wisconsin, Madison