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Nashoba Brooks History

Building Excellence . . . from the Foundations of Our Past

"Since the first I day arrived at Nashoba Brooks, I have been fascinated by its history. Although, as head of school, my focus is on the present and the future, I realize how much the school we are today and the school we envision for tomorrow depend upon the foundations of the past. Our particular past is characterized by a robust mix of innovation and tradition, which were the hallmarks of our two predecessor schools. The Brooks School of Concord began in 1928 as a nursery school and expanded to a primary school in the 1930s to answer the need for early childhood education. Nashoba Country Day School for girls was formed in 1960 when Concord Academy dropped its lower grades, to continue offering a program especially for girls. Nashoba Brooks was created from those two "parent" schools in 1980, and the student structure—co-educational, Age 3-Grade 3; and all girls in Grades 4 -8—was kept intact. I am often asked about this unique combination. It is not serendipity, but instead, the result of a foresightful plan.

"While Brooks School and Nashoba Country Day had different student profiles (one co-educational, preschool through grade three; the other girls-only, grades four through eight), their philosophies were similar, including an emphasis on diversity of all sorts, on balancing habits of mind with habits of character, and on a student-centered experiential program based on a strong core of skills. The merger was more than intelligent—it was also wise, a prescient solution to future educational concerns. By resisting the temptation to go co-ed in the upper grades and reaffirming its commitment to providing the best atmosphere for adolescent girls, the school would be rewarded by the findings of Harvard's Carol Gilligan and other developmental experts. As for the lower grades, the retention of a co-ed profile would anticipate research indicating that co-education is beneficial both to boys and girls in those early years, a time when stereotyping messages push children to discard vital aspects of themselves. Our school today is the fortunate heir of such foresight. Our uncommon structure is uncommonly effective. It supports the excellence of our program, and it serves all ages well."

—Kay Cowan

E. Kay Cowan, Head of School at Nashoba Brooks since 1992, is on the boards of The National Coalition of Girls' Schools, the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls, and The Alliance for Teen Safety, based in Concord, Massachusetts. She is also a Corporator of Dana Hall School, Wellesley Massachusetts.