Dive In Commonwealth

Dive In is a tuition-free rigorous academic summer program for high-achieving middle school students from historically marginalized, under-resourced backgrounds in and around Boston. Starting the summer after 7th grade, admitted students begin a fourteen-month journey that prepares them for independent high schools and the path to college. If this is your dream, Dive In can help you achieve it.
The application deadline for Dive In's 2023 summer program has passed. Please check this page this fall for information about the 2024 summer program and feel free to reach out to us if you have questions in the meantime.

What Is Dive In Commonwealth?

Completely free to students and their families, and founded to serve students from historically marginalized and under-resourced backgrounds, Dive In Commonwealth offers academic and extracurricular opportunities for curious, driven middle-school students in a warm, caring environment. It is primarily a summer program, with six weeks of classes in July and August, plus select Saturdays throughout the school year to ensure continuity and connection. Our mission is to prepare students for rigorous high school programs and make sure they are well supported when considering their options. 

In our close-knit community, teachers offer personal attention and know each student’s unique abilities, skills, and passions, while students build friendships with others who also want to grow inside the classroom and out. 


Students who enjoy Dive In are:

  • Excited about school work and summer classes, interested in challenging themselves, and motivated to do well
  • Eager to learn about lots of different things
  • Interested in going to college

Many Dive In students:

  • Identify with historically underrepresented groups
  • Qualify for free or reduced lunch at school
  • Speak languages other than English at home
  • Would be first person in their families to go to college

The Dive In curriculum includes:

  • Exciting, engaging math and English classes that strengthen core skills
  • Introductions to academic subjects like computer science, biology, theater, and more
  • A consistent but manageable amount of homework each week

Dive In takes place:

  • During 6 weeks of classes in the summer (July and August), plus select Saturdays during the school year
  • In Boston's Back Bay at Commonwealth School, in our cozy, beautiful brownstone building (Take a virtual tour!)
  • Within easy walking distance of both the Copley and Back Bay MBTA stations



Sofía, Dive In Graduate 2022, Commonwealth School Class of 2026

“At first I was like, 'I have to go to summer school?!' But then I started to build connections with the people, and I loved it. Actually, it was so fun. I miss it now—not just the students but also the teachers. They taught me way more than I expected, and they prepared me for what was going to come in my academics.”

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Sienna, Dive in Graduate 2021

“Being able to form bonds with teachers really helped me. Talking to teachers and the advisor program helped me open up to teachers and understand that I can talk to them and ask for help. I never really had that bond with teachers before, and it allowed me to change something in the way I relate to them. Now when I don’t understand something, I just ask.”

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Preview the Private School Experience

Students learn about independent/private school options during Dive In, and they “graduate” prepared for Boston’s best high schools and far beyond. Families interested in independent schools also receive ample admissions guidance, including step-by-step instructions for applying for financial aid, whether they apply to Commonwealth or any other school. Dive In students grow familiar with standardized test taking because of our consistent prep for the SSAT, often required by private schools.



Dive In Commonwealth lasts fourteen months total, starting with a six-week summer program after seventh grade. Students then return to Dive In Commonwealth for select Saturdays throughout eighth grade, followed by another six weeks of summer classes. Students are expected to attend all sessions, just like they would regular school days. Each summer program day is roughly as long as a typical school day, running from 9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Students and families typically apply in the spring of seventh grade. 


Before my daughter joined Dive In, she was very shy and didn't like to try new things…. When she joined Dive In, she became this young, curious woman about the world and things around her. Dive In gives [students] the opportunity to be in a different environment with students from different backgrounds, from different schools, with different experiences and interests. It was an amazing experience for my daughter and helped shape her future going into a new school and possibly college and career. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this amazing work.

Fahria Ali
Dive In Parent, Class of 2022



Spread the Word with Our Media Kit

Dive In students hear about our little program through a wide variety of channels—their sixth-grade math teacher, a flier in their local library, their Girl Scouts troop leader, and many others for which we are grateful. If you'd like to share Dive In with the students and families in your community, you can download fliers in multiple languages, request a poster, schedule a meeting, and more on our media kit page.

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Meet the Team

Alan Letarte

Degrees: B.A., Dartmouth College
M.A., University of Wisconsin–Madison
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison

Lisa Palmero

Degrees: B.A., Ithaca College
M.A., Western New England University
M.A., Columbia University

Michael Samblas

Degrees: B.A., Hampshire College
M.A., Boston University

Mónica Schilder

Degrees: B.A., Universidad Católica del Perú
M.A., Boston University

Rui Shu

Degrees: B.A., Beijing Foreign Studies University
M.A., Harvard Graduate School of Education