Co-ed independent day school in Boston's Back Bay for academically adventurous students in grades 9–12

Dive In Commonwealth

Dive In Commonwealth is a free summer and school-year program for high-achieving middle-school students who love to learn, want to stretch themselves, and are eager to pursue their academic dreams. Dive In is specifically for students from low-income families living in and around Boston. Starting the summer after sixth or seventh grade and lasting until they head off to high school, admitted students begin a journey that prepares them for rigorous private schools like Commonwealth and the path to college. If this is your dream, Dive In can help you achieve it.
Please note that the application deadline for summer 2024 has passed. If you would like to learn more about Dive In, please email or join our mailing list below.


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What brings you to Dive In?


What Is Dive In Commonwealth?

A free program for low-income families, Dive In Commonwealth offers advanced academic and extracurricular opportunities for curious, driven middle-school students in a warm, caring community. Our mission is to prepare students for rigorous high school programs and make sure they are well supported when considering their options. 

Core classes in English and math strengthen fundamental skills, while exciting “electives” in subjects such as theater, biology, and computer science broaden their academic horizons. Athletics, field trips, and social outings mean students can connect, unwind, and have fun. 

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 love learning as much as they do.

Read Our FAQs

Attending the Dive In program gave my daughter a head start on some eighth-grade math concepts. On the second day of school, her math teacher asked if anyone was familiar with a topic that had been introduced at Dive In this summer and she was so excited that she knew it!  Barbara Blake, Dive In Parent, Class of 2024


Students who enjoy Dive In are:

  • Excited about school 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 core math and English classes
  • Introductions to 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  beautiful brownstone building (Take a virtual tour!)
  • Within easy walking distance of both the Copley and Back Bay MBTA stations



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.–3:30 p.m. Saturday sessions are held two or three times each month throughout the school year.

Students and families apply in the spring of sixth or seventh grade.



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

“I would say, definitely go [to Dive In]. I know it's kind of weird to be in summer school, and I didn't need to be in summer school, but you just expand your knowledge in a really good way, and you make really strong bonds with friends and teachers.”

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Preview the Private School Experience

Students learn about independent/private schools during Dive In, and they “graduate” prepared for Boston’s best high schools and far beyond. Families interested in private 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.





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.

Languages available include—but are not limited to:

  • Arabic
  • English
  • Haitian Creole
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

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Meet the Team

Paul Brunick

Degrees: B.A., Wesleyan University
M.A., New York University

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