Mission Hill School
The Mission Hill School is a small preK-8 public pilot school within the Boston Public Schools. Founded in 1997 by Deborah Meier and colleagues, the school has received attention in books, articles, websites, and a widely-viewed film series for its pedagogical approaches and the academic success of its students, and because Meier has used the school as an example in many of her books, articles, and speeches.
Unique aspects of the school include a diverse student body of approximately 220 students, democratic decision-making at the school and classroom levels, curricular focus on five democratic "Habits of Mind," school-wide thematic units, strong emphasis on the arts, and graduation from the school upon creating and defending robust portfolios of student work for a panel of evaluators. Graduates of the school have been found to achieve academic success in high school and college at high rates. Students are admitted to the school based on a lottery, within the choice system of the Boston Public Schools (with consideration given to whether families live within the "walk zone" and whether a sibling already attends the school, among other factors). The Mission Hill School is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools as well. Ayla Gavins is the current principal of the school.
In 2002 Meier wrote a book entitled In Schools We Trust, which included substantial attention to the Mission Hill School and also argued why the current climate of high stakes testing makes running a school like Mission Hill much more difficult. She also wrote about the school in her books Will Standards Save Public Education? (2000) Keeping School: Letters to Families from Principals of Two Small Schools (with Ted and Nancy Sizer, 2005), and Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground (with Beth Taylor and Brenda Engel, 2010). The school is the focus of a book by Matthew Knoester, entitled Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School (2012).
- "Bridging Differences". Education Week. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- In Schools We Trust. Beacon Press.
- Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School. Teachers College Press.
- "A Year at Mission Hill film series". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Heidi Lyne: Mission Hill School". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Mission Hill School website". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Central Park East and its Graduates: Learning by Heart. Teachers College Press.
- "BPS: What are my School Choices?". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "CES Fall Forum 2012". Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Coalition of Essential Schools: Mission Hill School". Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "The Forum for Education and Democracy: Ayla Gavins". Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Beating the Odds. A Book Review of Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- "Mission Hill School's fame is focus of a new book". Mission Hill Gazette. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Letter: Mission Hill School should regain citywide status". Jamaica Plain Gazette. Retrieved 2013-05-06.