Our Ninth Grade

You’ll find that while entering a rigorous new high school may be fun, it can be complicated: dealing with new classes, new teachers, and a whole new culture involves all sorts of adjustments. At Commonwealth, we have designed a first year aimed at helping you settle in, make friends, and learn how to do your best work as soon as possible.

Advisor and Student Buddy

Even before you set foot inside the school as a new student, you are assigned an advisor and a student buddy. Both will get in touch with you during the summer, and once school starts, you will meet regularly with your advisor one on one. He or she will answer your questions, offer support, or simply take time to chat. In October, when you have gotten to know all your teachers, and after the fall school trip to Maine, you have the opportunity to indicate your preferences for a permanent advisor.

Study Hall

During your first semester here, you will spend your free periods in study hall. This arrangement provides structure and encourages you to focus and use your time productively. It also gives you easy access to teachers if you become snarled in a homework assignment.

Pass-Fail Grading

We want you—and your families—to understand that if you learn to welcome academic challenge, feel free to join in lively class discussions, seek out your teachers when you feel the need, and carefully read their comments on your written work—in short, if you engage fully with your studies—your grades will take care of themselves. To this end, though teachers give grades (and write you lengthy comments) to help you assess your progress, at the end of freshman year, your final letter grades convert to a P (pass) or an E (fail) on your transcript.

Special Courses for Ninth Graders

All freshmen take a special set of three ten-week (trimester-long) courses: City of Boston, Health and Community, and Language and Ethics; the last is taught by the Headmaster. (New sophomores also take Language and Ethics.)