Northfield Mount Hermon applauded for summer enrichment

  • Northfield Mount Hermon School. Recorder Staff/SHELBY ASHLINE

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/22/2016 10:16:30 PM

GILL — The Northfield Mount Hermon School campus was recently applauded for its summer enrichment program in a study conducted by the Pioneer Institute, an independent research organization out of Boston.

In highlighting best practices in the field, authors William Donovan and Lauren Corvese cite Northfield Mount Hermon’s student diversity, financial aid, rigorous class schedule that prevents summer learning loss, and opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and off-campus trips.

“Learning loss during the summer is a serious issue, especially for low-income students,” said Pioneer Institute’s Executive Director Jim Stergios in a press release. “Summer enrichment programs can reverse that trend, and this paper highlights some of the best.”

The study, called “Expanding Educational Opportunities: Best Practices in U.S. Summer Enrichment Programs,” highlights a range of both free programs and those that offer financial aid at independent schools and non-profit organizations.

Northfield Mount Hermon’s program

According to the study, Northfield Mount Hermon’s summer program, which began in 1900, includes a College Prep Program for students entering grades 10, 11 and 12, and a Middle School Program for students in grades seven to nine.

Classes meet six days per week and students receive two to three hours of homework per night.

Students in the College Prep Program take one major course for three hours each day, and some take an additional 90-minute afternoon class four days a week.

Students in the Middle School Program take two half-morning major courses, which meet for 75 minutes each, or one full-morning major course that meets for three hours. They also take a minor course.

Hard work pays off

According to Greg Leeds, director of Northfield Mount Hermon’s summer session, providing a challenging class schedule has a transformative effect on students.

“When students come to us from backgrounds where they’re not challenged in school or they’re not provided a structure that is conducive to learning or they’re coming from schools where they only get 10 minutes of homework per night, they thrive,” Leeds is quoted as saying in the study. “They write us letters and tell us how transformative it has been and good preparation for college.”

However, students also have a chance to unwind through dances, talent shows, sports and off-campus trips to Boston, New York City and Six Flags amusement park, creating a balance of work and play.

Exposed to new ways of life

Donovan and Corvese also point out that a diverse community is one of the most impactful benefits of summer enrichment programs and cite Northfield Mount Hermon as an example. According to the study, 60 percent of the school’s summer students are international.

Leeds says in the study that cultural enrichment is one of the reasons so many students apply to the summer program. The program exposes students to other ways of life.


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