Mission Hill School

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Mission Hill School
20 Child Street
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts 02130
United States
School type Public pilot school
Founded 1997; 21 years ago (1997)
Founder Deborah Meier
School board MHS Governance Board
Authority Boston Public Schools
Principal Ayla Gavins
Grades PreK8
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 220
Education system Progressive education
Democratic education
Medium of language English
Publication MHS News
Affiliations Coalition of Essential Schools

The Mission Hill School is a small preK–8 public pilot school in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1997 by Deborah Meier, Elizabeth Knox Taylor, and colleagues, the school is administered by the Boston Public Schools. Meier has publicized the school in many of her works.[1][2][3][4]

The Mission Hill School is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.[5][6] The school has a diverse student body of approximately 220 students, with democratic decision-making at the school and classroom levels, a curricular focus on five democratic "Habits of Mind", school-wide thematic units, a strong emphasis on the arts, and graduation from the school upon creating and defending portfolios of student work for a panel of evaluators.[7][8] 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).[9] Graduates have been found to achieve academic success in high school and college at high rates.[3][10]

In 2002, Meier's book In Schools We Trust included substantial attention to the Mission Hill School. It argued that 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), Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground (with Beth Taylor and Brenda Engel, 2010), and Teaching in Themes: An Approach to Schoolwide Learning, Creating Community, and Differentiating Instruction (co-edited with Matthew Knoester, Katherine Clunis D'Andrea). The school is also the focus of the book by Matthew Knoester Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School (2012).[11]

The school was controversially moved to a different location within Boston in 2012, despite resistance from the school community.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Bridging Differences". Education Week. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  2. ^ In Schools We Trust. Beacon Press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School. Teachers College Press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "A Year at Mission Hill film series". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  5. ^ "CES Fall Forum 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  6. ^ "Coalition of Essential Schools: Mission Hill School". Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  7. ^ "Heidi Lyne: Mission Hill School". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  8. ^ "Mission Hill School website". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  9. ^ "BPS: What are my School Choices?". Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
  10. ^ Central Park East and its Graduates: Learning by Heart. Teachers College Press. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  11. ^ "Beating the Odds. A Book Review of Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  12. ^ "Mission Hill School's fame is focus of a new book". Mission Hill Gazette. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  13. ^ "Letter: Mission Hill School should regain citywide status". Jamaica Plain Gazette. Retrieved 2013-05-06.

Coordinates: 42°18′26.1″N 71°6′50.2″W / 42.307250°N 71.113944°W / 42.307250; -71.113944