List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • What is thematic learning?

    Imagine a world where deep, expansive learning is fun, exciting and leaves a lasting impact on students past the time they spend at CRS. Sound awesome? It truly is. Read and hear more about it here.
  • What is your average class size? What is your teacher : pupil ratio?

    Class size is small with a co-teaching model in each grade from PreK through 6, creating instructional groups of 6-12 students. Specialist teachers for music, art, science, library, physical education, and technology also teach in half-groups. While class size may vary slightly from year to year, typically we have:

    Grade# of students
    PreK/K 18-20 students
    One/Two18-20 students
    Grades 3-420-24 students
    Grades 5-822-24 students
  • How do you challenge children?

    Our small classes and co-teaching model ensure that children receive individualized attention. The thematic curriculum encourages children to think without boundaries, to ask deep questions, to take academic risks, and to take projects in unique directions. A flexible curriculum and a preponderance of teacher-generated materials enable teachers to challenge students who can go further and, conversely, to re-teach and reinforce when needed.

    Our graduates enter many of the region’s finest high schools and continue to excel in college and beyond.
  • Why do families choose an independent school when the area public schools are so highly regarded?

    There are many reasons that families choose CRS over local public schools, regardless of the reputation of the school system. Small class sizes and individual attention are factors often cited, as is the emphasis on the whole child—not just a student’s intellectual progress but their social and emotional growth, engagement with the community, and personal well-being. Inclusiveness is another important consideration. CRS welcomes and respects each family and has a commitment to maintaining a diverse and vibrant student body. Our families also value being part of a community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Our teachers have the flexibility and autonomy to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs and interests of the children in their classroom. Students often develop strong bonds with the adults in the school community, ensuring that each child is known, appreciated, challenged, and supported.
  • How much homework do students have?

    Homework relates directly to what is happening in the classroom and is not assigned as busy work. It is engaging, challenging and developmentally appropriate to a child’s age. It is also a means to help children develop their organizational and time management skills and encourage them to take responsibility for their learning.

    Typical Nightly Homework Assignments

    Grades 2 & 320-30 minutes/weeknight
    Grade 445 minutes/weeknight
    Grades 5 & 61 hour/weeknight
    Grades 7 & 830 minutes/subject/weeknight

  • How are faculty hired and retained at CRS?

    We hire experienced teachers, most of whom have a master’s degree. The school is committed to a strong professional development program for teachers. Faculty members regularly take courses, attend workshops and participate in in-house professional development. In addition there is a summer grant program for study, travel, or other work-related projects and grants for curriculum development. Faculty retention is high: on average, over 90% of classroom teachers and specialists return each year.
  • How are parents involved in the school?

    Parents at CRS are directly involved in the daily life of the school on many levels. All parents are members of the Parent Association and are encouraged to take an active role. The Parent Association assists the Head of School in non-academic issues such as community service, volunteer coordination, admissions tours, and special events. Many parents serve on the Board of Trustees, which sets school policies and hires the Head of School. Parents are encouraged to volunteer in classrooms, work in the library, attend assemblies and classroom events and to be fully invested in the school community.
  • How do you assess students' progress?

    We give lengthy and detailed written reports on a student’s progress twice a year, in December and June. We assess children using a narrative and checklist format in the place of letter grades. We also make use of anecdotal records, portfolios, and tests and quizzes in older grades.
    Parents are informed of how their child is doing in each curriculum area as well as socially and personally. There are two scheduled Parent Conferences a year, one in October and another in March, and it is not unusual for parents to be communicating with teachers every week in a more informal manner. Teachers are always available for special conferences to discuss students’ progress.

    Our small classes and teacher:student ratio allow teachers to constantly assess progress and monitor students who may need reinforcement or enrichment. Older children have tests and quizzes on which they may receive a numerical grade.

    Beginning in Grade 5, students take the ERB (Educational Records Bureau) achievement tests every year. Our students experience a different level of testing and grading at the seventh and eighth grade level as they prepare for secondary school.
  • Where do CRS graduates go?

    CRS is not a feeder school for any particular secondary school. In fact, every year we send our graduates to a wide variety of schools, and they distinguish themselves in secondary school and in college. They are comfortable with leadership roles and know how to connect to the larger community. They know who they are as learners. They have learned how to budget their time and take responsibility for scheduling and learning.

    For almost 100 years we have been sending children on to secondary schools and we are confident that our students have been prepared for whatever school is right for them. We receive feedback from secondary schools that our students are leaders, well qualified academically and are active members of their new school community.

  • What kind of after-school sports programs do you offer?

    The athletics program is designed to offer each student, regardless of ability, the opportunity to experience meaningful growth, accomplishment and success at his or her own skill level. Students in grades 4-6 are encouraged to participate in the athletics program and students in grades 7 & 8 are reuired to play two seasons a year.

    Sports take place Monday - Thursday immediately after school until 4:30. CRS teams compete against other area independent schools. Sports offerings include:

    Co-ed cross country (Grades 4-8)
    Co-ed field hockey (Grades 4-8)
    Boys soccer (Grades 5-8)
    Girls soccer (Grades 5-8)
    Co-ed flag football (Grades 5-8)

    Boys basketball (Grades 6-8)
    Girls basketball (Grades 6-8)
    Co-ed fitness club (Grades 4-8)

    Boys lacrosse (Grades 4-8)
    Girls lacrosse (Grades 4-8)
    Co-ed tennis (Grades 7-8)
    Co-ed track and field (Grades 4-8)

  • Are there options for before- and after-school care?

    Yes. The Early Birds program is available for families who need to get their children to school before 8:00, and can be utilized on a daily or drop-in basis. There is no charge for Early Birds; families must preregister.

    The Extended Day Program (EDP) is an important extension of the school day and is open until 6:00 pm for an additional fee. EDP offers both teacher-directed activities and opportunities for children to make their own choices, as well as supervised quiet homework time for older students. EDP serves children in all grades and families can sign up on a daily or drop-in basis.

    Special classes and workshops are also offered throughout the year.
Charles River School is a PreKindergarten through Grade 8 independent school that honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. We nurture each child by igniting curiosity, encouraging creativity, and cultivating intellectual engagement. Our graduates know themselves, understand others, and shape the future of our diverse world with confidence and compassion.

Charles River School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.