THE RECTORY SCHOOL
Celebrating the Individual & Living in Community
Since The Rectory School’s founding in 1920, with a total
student population of two, we have maintained a steadfast
commitment to developing the individual. In fact, adolescence
and the middle school years are a period defined by
individuality as children move—or leap, as is the case for many
—towards adulthood. Each child demonstrates varied readiness,
aptitude, and enthusiasm for this transformation. Consequently,
our unique, tailored approach to education is so effective. We
recognize that growth best occurs when a child feels valued,
understood, and challenged. As a result, our school program,
designed around these beliefs, transforms students’ lives.
Whether one’s interests lie in academics, music, art, drama,
sports, or a combination of these disciplines, we have the
enthusiastic, qualified faculty to help hone skills and learn new
ones. Adolescence should be a period of discovery, so we inspire
all students to broaden their interests and to gain a better sense
of the world and of themselves. Through exposure to course
content, the development of academic skills, and the fostering
of personal reflection, we prepare our students for the extensive
opportunities and responsibilities that await in the years ahead.
As you read about Rectory and its programs, I hope you find
the prospect of joining this community as compelling as I did.
Set on a beautiful campus, surrounded by a caring, engaging
community, The Rectory School is a special place for learning
and growing. Obviously, we cannot show you all that we are in a
book, so we urge you to come visit us and see for yourself why
being part of Rectory is an advantage that you will enjoy for
your whole life.
I look forward to welcoming you in person.
Fred Williams, Headmaster
Our students love it here!
The Rectory School, located in beautiful northeastern Connecticut, is an
independent, coed, junior boarding and day school that embraces students as
individual learners and unique people.
We see you for who you are and for who you can become.
The Rectory School’s mission is to provide students, from early childhood through
middle school, with an enriched and supportive academic, social and ethical
community that addresses individual learning styles, aptitudes, and needs while
promoting personal self-worth and accountability. The school community lives
the Rectory School Creed: Responsibility, Respect, Honesty, and Compassion.
Our Tradition: Celebrating the Individual…
Our story began across the street in the rectory of Christ
(Episcopal) Church, where the Reverend and Mrs. Frank
Bigelow established a school to teach their son, John, and
George Chandler Holt, from New York City. The individualized
education prepared both boys for secondary school. Word
spread of the successful teaching, and by 1922, there were
six boys living at the rectory. With each decade, The Rectory
School has flourished and become an outstanding, international,
coed boarding and day school. Still, its purpose to teach to the
individual has remained steadfast.
With every Rectory student,
we continue our rich heritage of
inspiring talents, teaching the joy
of learning, and appreciating our
connectedness to one another.
and Building a Meaningful Community.
At Rectory we understand
the specific needs and
interests of our students
and meet them “where
they are” in their
academic journey. In doing
so, we encourage them to
discover new areas, to
expand their abilities, and
to become successful in
the classroom, in the
Tang Center, in the
athletic arenas, and beyond
Rectory’s academic program grew out
of our founders’ desire to educate their son
and another boy through a curriculum that
suited their needs exactly. Today Rectory
is still focused on meeting the unique
educational needs of students as individuals
in a warm, family-like environment.
Grades 5–9: Discovering Your Potential
Through small class sizes,
individualized instruction, and a
supportive faculty, Rectory brings
out the capable, successful learner
in each student.
We believe that regular feedback keeps students on track and
motivates them to improve. Indicator grades are issued three times
per term, giving students goals to shoot for every two weeks and
establishing a direct relationship between performance in class and
assessment. Parents also appreciate these progress gauges.
We encourage self-advocacy and inquiry. Students who have
questions or need more help can arrange to meet with their
classroom teachers or IIP instructor during I-Period, the last
period of our school day. Developing good study habits and
learning how to stay on top of academic expectations are
integral to becoming a highly successful, responsible student.
In support of that effort, Rectory holds make-up study hall,
or MUSH, as we enjoy calling it, during I-Period. MUSH is
an opportunity for students to complete assignments they
did not ﬁnish or to make progress on long-term projects.
Students assigned to MUSH by their classroom teachers or
by their IIP instructor receive individual assistance from one
of two teachers in the “MUSH-Room” each day.
Rectory Inspires a Passion for Learning
Our curriculum gives students foundational knowledge in reading, writing, and
mathematics while challenging them to experience other languages, think critically about
history and society, explore science, and engage in performing and visual arts. Dedicated
teachers respond to diverse learning styles and abilities with a variety of instructional
methods and materials to nurture the development of the whole child. At Rectory, where
support and ongoing guidance go hand-in-hand with high expectations, learning becomes
an inherently rewarding enterprise.
Leadership at Rectory
At Rectory we seek to develop conﬁdent, informed students who can
make responsible decisions in this community and in other communities
they will be a part of later in their lives. Our curriculum includes a series
of developmentally appropriate leadership activities that give our students
the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills. To carry out the
leadership qualities taught in classes and morning assemblies, students
can become proctors, student government members and ofﬁcers, dining
hall stewards, team captains, Chapel ushers, acolytes, and readers,
newspaper editors, class officers, and Ambassadors.
At the end of each marking period, faculty members submit names of
students who show acts of kindness and compassion. Students appreciate
being recognized not only for their accomplishments, but also for their
efforts, dedication, and commitment. We help them understand early in
life how much their actions affect others, by formally acknowledging
positive behaviors. In doing so, we help students build character and
reinforce the importance of being good citizens.
The Hettinger Library:
A Resource for Learning
With space well suited to large meetings,
small-group work, and one-to-one sessions, the
Hettinger Library is used continually throughout
the day. A center for learning, the Library
contains 8,100 volumes, 36 periodical titles,
and a number of desktop and laptop computers.
Our librarian is the bridge connecting students
with these material resources. As an educator, the
librarian gives group workshops on how to use
reference materials, assists students individually
with research projects, and runs the school-wide
extracurricular reading program, READ (Reading
for Enjoyment And Discovery). Through this
program, all students read a minimum of one
book of their choosing per term—in addition
to books assigned in classes—and write a book
review on it. With encouragement from the
librarian, most students read many more than the
minimum, greatly increasing their proﬁciency as
readers and enhancing their enjoyment of reading.
At Rectory, we seek to cultivate readers for life.
Students enrolled in IIP meet with an instructor five days a
week. The sessions are scheduled within the regular rotation
of classes during the academic day; therefore, students are
not pulled from other activities to participate in IIP.
Assessment is essential to the process as students are taught
to use their strengths to cultivate their learning and improve
areas of need. A daily diagnostic approach to lesson
planning ensures that instructional goals meet individual
needs, such as reinforcing essential skills, developing learning
strategies, increasing proficiency in English, and exploring
areas of interest through independent study. Within the
nurturing environment of IIP, students develop self-
advocacy, confidence, and discipline—a firm foundation
upon which to build further success.
IIP addresses students’ learning in areas, such as written and
oral language, reading comprehension, numeracy, specific
subject support, English as a second language, and study habits,
including organization and management of paper and time.
Specifically, IIP helps students develop the skills and strategies
needed to achieve independent learning and self-advocacy.
IIP offers opportunities for our diverse learners. Students may
pursue advanced or enriched curricula through customized
courses, like pre-calculus or French language. The program
also provides support to students performing below-grade
level in mathematics or reading.
IIP is a vital component of Rectory’s overall mission: to
nurture the whole child within a caring, individualized
Students can and must feel success with learning.
The keystone of Rectory is our Individualized
Instruction Program (IIP), designed to address
each student’s unique learning goals. Through our
understanding of the student’s learning profile—
including strengths, interests, affinities, and
learning difficulties—we determine goals and
customize each student’s program.
Completing the Educational Journey
The ninth-grade year at Rectory skillfully transitions
middle schoolers to competent secondary school
students through special academic opportunities,
increased responsibilities, and greater privileges. It’s also
a year for students to gain maturity and solidify their
strengths within Rectory’s close, supportive setting as
they prepare to enroll in other, often larger, schools.
The Ofﬁce of Secondary
Placement seeks to help each
ninth grader ﬁnd the
secondary school that is the
best match. Rectory uses a
comprehensive and systematic
approach to guide both
students and parents through
the complicated process of
exploring and selecting
applications, and making
decisions about course
placement for the coming
year. Ninety-ﬁve percent of
our students are admitted to
schools of their choice.
A Typical School Day at Rectory
Rectory students make the most of every school
day. Supported by the structure of the day and
the supervision of the faculty, Rectory students
derive satisfaction from knowing what is expected
of them and staying engaged and productive.
Time to get dressed! Our traditional dress code
is one way students show respect for and
a sense of commitment toward our school.
7:45 am –2:30 pm
Major Academic Activities
In a rotating 9-period schedule, students attend Morning
Assembly, classes, Individualized Instruction Program, and
In the middle of the day, lunch is served. Every four weeks
students are assigned to the table of a different faculty
member, to meet new people, practice manners and
etiquette, and contribute to the order and cleanliness
of the tables.
As part of the academic day, there is a period designated
for participation in art, music, computer lab, and extra help.
As day students head home to their families,
boarders and dorm parents head to their
dormitories for relaxation before the evening
meal and study hours.
At Rectory, sports are for everybody. After a
long day of academic work, students go out to
the ﬁelds or down to the gym and get moving!
Students in grades 5 through 8 are assigned to a supervised
study hall within the academic building. Ninth graders enjoy
the privilege of quiet study in their dorm rooms.
Those who are assigned to make-up
study hall go here before sports.
The food service at Rectory is exceptional,
with lots of healthy choices that cater to
Bedtime for Grades 5–8
Bedtime for Ninth Graders
Rectory students in grades 5–8 have
one term of music and art every year.
Ninth graders enjoy electives, such
as guitar, instrumental ensemble, art,
multimedia, and photography.
Revealing the Creativity Within
Celebrating the individual through the arts
curriculum fosters creativity, self-expression,
and artistic and personal growth. Our
courses in the performing and visual arts
are foundational and fun, historical and
hands-on, instructive and rewarding.
The Arts Have a Place at Rectory
Rectory students beneﬁt from our modern,
beautiful, and functional arts facilities:
TheTang Performing Arts Center and
the Collins Art Barn.TheTang Center, an
outstanding venue for concerts, assemblies,
and special programs, is an amphitheater with luxury seating for 236, with a fully equipped
sound and lighting booth for multimedia and live performances.The Art Barn features two
light-ﬁlled studios that accommodate a variety of media, and a state-of-the-art darkroom.
Central to campus life, both facilities make possible a wide variety of academic and
extracurricular activities in the arts.
at the Tang Center
The endowed Ames Music Education Series brings professional
performing groups to campus two or three times per year.
Eclectic groups such as Rhythm Kitchen African Drumming,
The Kokosingers from Kenyon College, The Turntablists
(using turntables as instruments), Cool Cat Jazz, the
world-renowned Boston Brass, and Dragon King Production’s
Chinese Opera, enrich and entertain everyone.
Music and Drama
Students explore classical and contemporary music, learn
to play a band instrument in an ensemble, study keyboard
playing, and create compositions of their own using
keyboards and computers.
Every spring the Music Department produces a full-scale
musical. The students who participate in this noteworthy
performance are introduced to fundamentals of the stage:
acting, set design, lighting, and sound.
In addition to the required ensemble playing, students may choose to participate in
our performing groups: orchestra, band, jazz ensemble, chorus, school musical, guitar
ensemble, African drumming, and pit orchestra. Seventy percent of the students at
Rectory perform in these groups. Many also participate in our extensive program of
private instrumental music lessons. Our strongest musicians audition for and perform
at many state and regional music festivals each year.
Major performances include the much-anticipated spring musical. In the past, Rectory
students have staged original musicals, as well as such classics as Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Music Man and Williy Wonka, Jr. Our famous Prism Concert in the
fall features continuous sound. Groups in different parts of the concert hall perform
one after the other, creating a full spectrum of sound that delights and amazes audiences.
Rectory students combine state-of-the-art technology with their own creativity in the
hands-on course with projects in multimedia. Coursework in this ninth-grade elective
focuses on learning skills in iMovie, completing assignments that implement those
skills, then developing independent projects that follow students’ own interests,
such as short ﬁlms that cast students in the roles of writers, actors, directors, and
videographers. Some students serve the school and hone their skills by videotaping
school events or operating the soundboard and lighting equipment for concerts
and plays at the Tang Center.
Throughout the sequence of art
courses, students create projects in a
variety of media. As they conceive and
work on producing their own art,
students also learn about art history,
art criticism, and aesthetics. The best
example of the rich art curriculum
may be our unique tradition of mask
making. Students learn about mask
making around the world as an
expression of culture as well as
individuality. Then, with the idea of
creating something uniquely personal,
ﬁfth-grade classes make seed masks,
sixth graders make paper masks,
seventh graders make foil masks,
and—in one of the most highly
anticipated activities of the Rectory
experience—eighth graders make clay
masks. What does a mask reveal
about its maker? It’s one of the very
best questions to explore in Rectory’s
Giving Your All
Every Rectory student is involved in sports.
Soccer, lacrosse, basketball, ice hockey,
softball, fencing, football, golf…Rectory
offers both traditional, competitive team
sports and individually oriented and
recreational activities. Having sports as
a mandatory part of every school day
promotes healthy minds and bodies.
Our students develop positive
attitudes toward physical ﬁtness
as they negotiate new challenges,
improve their individual skills,
and learn about teamwork
Coaches Who Teach
Rectory’s coaches have the credentials and the skills to
coach at higher levels. They’re here because they truly enjoy
nurturing the development of young players. Our coaches are
also teachers whose goal, in and out of the classroom, is to
provide the instruction and encouragement that helps each
individual student achieve his or her potential.
Rectory Is Competitive
Our interscholastic sports program emphasizes healthy competition on all levels,
providing challenges for the skilled athlete to the novice. We place students on teams
based on ability, ensuring that participants get the most out of every sport. On junior
varsity teams, students typically enjoy equal playing time and the opportunity to
build skills and prove themselves as they approach the varsity level.
Gymnasium with Wrestling Room
State-of-the-art Weight Room
6 Tennis Courts
3 Soccer/Lacrosse Fields
Use of Local Golf Courses
Use of Local Ice Hockey Rink
Certiﬁed Low Ropes Challenge Course
138-Acre Campus with Hiking Trails
Our students ﬂourish on a campus
that is a center for learning for
all ages.They also beneﬁt from
personal growth opportunities
available in the greater community.
Student Life, Experiential Learning, and Outreach
Our students love it here—and not just
because their academic experiences are so
fulﬁlling. Rectory is a welcoming community
and a great place to make friends, have fun,
try something new, and discover how each
person’s talents and energies can contribute
to community life.
Rectory Students Have Spirit
Rectory students show their school spirit by
participating in student clubs and activities,
doing service projects for the community,
and being all-around good citizens. We even
have a whole day that is all about enjoying
the community we’re in: Black and Orange Day! It includes such crazy competitions as
kickball in the snow, a dance-off in the gym, “Alaskan” baseball, tug of war, chess
matches, and dodgeball. Being at Rectory is fun!
A Time for Reﬂection
The Rectory School believes in educating the
whole child. Therefore, we nurture and
challenge the spiritual part of each student.
The School offers nondenominational services
that respect all faiths. Here, the students and
faculty are free to pray, to become centered,
or to sit quietly and reﬂect. On the weekends,
there are services for all students in their
respective places of worship.
Rectory students share a variety of interests and enjoy many opportunities
for socializing and self-discovery.
Student Council: Democracy, leadership, communication and cooperation
are the hallmarks of the Student Council and its work. Each class section
selects a Student Council representative, and the student body elects ofﬁcers
each year. The Student Council raises funds for charity, plans school dances
and other student social functions, sponsors the school talent show, and
interacts with administration on student issues.
Student Newspaper: In publishing the DiRectory each term, students in grades
6 through 9 learn about interviewing, news writing, photography, layout,
editorial cartooning, and desktop publishing. They take pride seeing their
names in print and watching peers and faculty eagerly reading each issue.
Annual Yearbook: Ninth-grade students undertake this major project with
assistance from faculty advisers and the publishing company’s representative.
Computer Club: Computer enthusiasts enjoy the use of computer labs for
recreation and the improvement of technical skills.
Volunteer Club: Rectory students are ready to help where there is a need,
whether raking leaves on campus or helping out a local elderly person
with yard cleaning or putting up storm windows.
Environmental Club: Those students who want to help keep the area green
promote awareness for conservation and campus beautification.
Boarding: At Home at Rectory
Residential life at Rectory provides the comfort
and safety that both parents and students seek in
a boarding school. Dormitory faculty are always
present when students are in the residence halls,
and they maintain a warm, family-like
atmosphere, with predictable routines, clear
rules, and a sense of order and familiarity.
Dormitory faculty consider their students to
be extended members of their own families.
Students feel at home hanging out, chatting,
playing board games, and having snacks with
their dorm parents.
There is always something to do at Rectory
on the weekends, with sports contests and
Saturday morning clubs and activities, such as
photography, cooking, computers, and model
building. Boarders enjoy on-campus activities,
as well as school sponsored excursions for skiing
and snowboarding, visits to museums and
amusement parks, and trips to plays, concerts,
and sporting events.
Learning and personal growth are not
limited to what happens in the academic
classrooms at Rectory. Our students’
educational experiences are enriched by
a variety of regularly scheduled, meaningful
clubs and community service activities. In addition, our original March Experiential
Learning Program (MELP) is a highly anticipated week in the year.
Compassion Towards Others
Can one person make the world a better place? Rectory students
think they can. They make a positive impact through several
annual fund-raising and service projects each year.
Hoops for Hunger is both a community outreach program
that touches the lives of children and a way to collect food
for needy families. On Saturday mornings in November and
December, we invite local children to a free basketball clinic
with Rectory’s ninth-grade basketball players. Families bring
food items to be donated to a local food pantry. In this
win-win-win situation, cans are collected for needy families;
local kids improve their basketball skills and have a chance to
interact with Rectory students from all over the world; and
Rectory students combine leadership and service as instructors,
friends, and role models to younger kids.
Our Annual Holiday Drive and Heart-y Party are all-school
efforts in community service. Everyone at Rectory is involved in
donating, collecting, and making gifts. Our Holiday Helpers,
under the leadership of “Elwin the Elf,” stuff many bags full of
goodies to be distributed at hospitals, homeless shelters, and
agencies dedicated to helping families in our area.
Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is an
all-school, all day event in May at a fairground where we walk or
jog to raise money for the local chapter, remember the victims of
cancer, and celebrate the survivors.
Our Signature Adventure Program:
Adventure, discovery, and wonder are the hallmarks of
Rectory’s March Experiential Learning Program, known as
MELP. Students choose from nearly two dozen, ﬁve-day
MELP courses, which involve such activities as touring the
nation’s capital, horseback riding, African drumming, whale
watching, dog training, and woodworking. One course brings
Rectory students to Jamestown to learn about America’s
first permanent English colony. In another course, Maritime
Meanderings, students visit places along the Connecticut and
Rhode Island shores to study their history. Guided by local
artisans, Glass with Class members learn the art of glass cutting
as they complete a ﬁnely crafted mosaic to hang in the
school’s collection. A unique and integral part of the Rectory
experience, MELP provides new occasions to explore, learn,
and interact outside of the classroom.
Every day is special at Rectory, but Monday afternoons in
fall and spring bring additional excitement. Monday Clubs
is a program where students choose an activity in which to
participate each term. The choices span every taste. Students
can elect to play traditional sports, such as soccer, basketball,
golf, and tennis, or alternate sports, such as horseback riding,
Frisbee disc golf, hiking, yoga, fitness training, wiffleball,
and “The Game,” a vigorous combination of several sports.
Monday Clubs also offers creative exploration and community
service. Through these choices, Rectory students may discover
new interests in musical theater, orchestra, photography,
multimedia, fantasy sports, traditional board games, robotics,
knitting, or the Stock Market Game, a nationally sponsored
competition of investment skills. Those who wish to
participate in the Community Service club work with the
local Audubon Society and spruce up nearby hiking trails.
Heartstrings and Woodwinds is an outreach club that brings
joy through music to residents of area nursing homes and
Whether students pick an activity to exercise their minds or
their bodies, to be contemplative or competitive, Rectory’s
Monday Clubs enables our students to explore and develop
interests they can enjoy throughout their lives.
Summer@Rectory is ideal for prospective students to learn
about Rectory, for new students to prepare for their enrollment
for the fall term, for returning students to reinforce their
skills, and for any student to experience a rewarding and
Summer@Rectory balances academics, athletics, fine and
performing arts, and recreational activities. In the morning
program, students refresh their academic knowledge and
skills, learn study strategies, increase their English language
proficiency, and explore new ideas through a variety of
courses, including Individualized Instruction on a topic of
their choice. The afternoon schedule features sports clinics, a
workshop in musical theatre, and our recreational program,
Afternoons of Fun. Weekend plans involve exciting field trips
and off-campus adventures.
Summer@Rectory offers all the qualities that characterize the
Rectory experience: a caring faculty, a welcoming community, a
lovely campus, and an individualized approach to personal and
Summer @ Rectory
Learning is a year-round activity at Rectory. We host a summer coeducational day and
boarding program for students entering grades 5 – 9.
Music for All
The Rectory School values its engagement
with the greater community and is well
known for being a community resource,
especially with regard to music. Rectory is
a center for musical training for students
of all ages.
Complementing the music lessons available to Rectory students,
Music at Rectory School (MARS) fulﬁlls the vision of
Rectory’s Performing Arts Department to reach other musicians
in the community. Through this popular afternoon program,
highly qualiﬁed professional musicians and performers teach
lessons in band and orchestral instruments, as well as voice, to
people from surrounding towns in northeastern Connecticut.
MARS makes its home in our wonderful music facility, the Tang
Performing Arts Center, where the program also holds beneﬁt
concerts to raise money for MARS scholarships.
An Ideal Setting
Our 138-acre rural campus offers scenic beauty and
security, as well as access to academic and cultural learning
opportunities in nearby Boston, Providence, and Hartford.
The Individual Focus
Rectory has the capacity to meet the educational needs and
aspirations of a wide range of students—from strong traditional
learners to those who have inquisitive minds but need more
A Small School
Average class size: 10, Teacher:Student ratio: 1:4
Number of middle school students: Approximately 200
A Diverse Community
Students of Color: 15%, International Students: 20%
Boarders: 65%, Unique Human Beings: 100%!
Come and experience the
Rectory at a Glance
“To work well, to play well;
to think clearly, to speak
truth; to win without pride,
to lose without rancor; to
have courage, and to be
kind; this is a goal for the
greatest; it is a goal that the
least may reach. To teach
this is the whole purpose of
schools. To know this is the
whole meaning of life.”
John Brittain Bigelow (1910-2000)
was the first student and second headmaster
(1937-1974) of The Rectory School.