I attended the Academy for the final three years of high school, and it's really an amazing place. The amount of individual attention and support were incredible. I was challenged by great teachers and fellow students alike. The strong community and civic-mindedness really set this school apart. People really care about you here and it shows everyday. I graduated well-prepared for college, both academically and socially.
We have had all three of our children attend The Academy at Charlemont. The school is their home away from home. They sign an Honor Code every year which upholds respect of others as well as personal integrity. Arts, Drama and Music are alive. The Foreign language curriculum is rich. English and Math are excellent. Sports is required of everyone, with many choices, even special student requests are considered. Our environment is valued. Students are encouraged by the staff to think independently and speak up. All opinions matter. Most important, the kids are filled with joy, and want to be there. When my sister from Danbury, CT area first came on a family visit, she could not get over the comradery of the kids. "They all smile and actually look at you and say hello!" If you have proudly raised a wonderful, special kid and you want to continue with this trend, this may be the school for you.
My child has been at the Academy for 3 years and has never had a class with more than 15 students in it. Nowhere on the planet gives more individualized attention (and the best sort of individualized attention) to each student as at this school. The growth intellectually and emotionally seen in almost every student is truly astounding. Listening to last Years seniors at graduation was inspiring. I've never been around a kinder or more generally happy and 'comfortable in their own skin' student body. And I have had the opportunity to teach at a few private schools, public schools and colleges over the past few decades. The arts are tremendous. Yet, it's not a performing arts school. By that I mean, the curriculum is surprisingly demanding. Part of the 'individual focus' is having teachers that expect a lot, and get it out of these students. I'd call it compassionately rigorous. As for the learning disabled issues: no private school excels in that arena. That is where Public Schools put a disproportional amount of their resources, look there if you require these educational services. If academic rigor, a lovely setting, a culture of kindness and creativity matter, go here.
After reading the reviews below I feel the need to offer a different opinion. My advise would be to tread carefully. The school is excellent for the right type of student (and it's arts program is wonderful), but if your child has any type of learning difficulty, our experience was that they were not prepared to help. The administration promised us all kinds of help and support, none of which ever came to fruition, and our experience was similar to that of several other families that we knew. Also, there is only one class per grade in each subject. This makes it nearly impossible for the teachers to address the needs of each student as some were ready for more complex material while others needed to take it slower. The classes had also gotten large (mid 20's in algebra class, for example) making addressing individual needs even more difficult. In addition, they supported independent thinking as long as it ran parallel to their own. We always felt that to be successful there we needed to "drink the Kool-Aid" There is now a new Head of School and some changes in administration. Hopefully this will help, but if your child needs any kind of academic support, be careful.
Being a student at the Academy is amazing. The school's community is 100% unique and caring. The teachers and students are very supportive of the students at all times. The older students of the school really take on a large leadership role and always have been enthusiastic, encouraging, and social with and towards the younger students. The Academics are outstanding and you are surrounded with other students who want to learn and challenge themselves Academically. It is a great learning environment to be in. One of the great things about the Academy is that the visual and preforming arts aren't considered as extra curricular but part of the curriculum of the student. The arts are a very important part of the school and the programs for the arts are outstanding. I can strongly say that anyone that is looking for a private school with a good academic program, art program, and a healthy school environment should really consider the academy. I know that I really enjoy it and look forward to going back for another year.
The Academy is a small independent school in rural Franklin County that both my children have attended. The most outstanding feature of the school is that kids there smile! They are engaged in learning, they create interesting, high quality art, music and class projects and they are part of a community that values them as individuals. The Academy has an honor code that sets the tone for the school and is critical in creating a community where everyone is responsible for their own actions and for nurturing the relationships that make the school succeed. This is more than lip service and the kids take the honor code to heart. The Academy has excellent college outcomes with graduates attending the top schools in the country including Williams, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Middlebury and many others. The academics are rigorous and independent thinking and analysis is strongly encouraged. Overall, a great place for adolescents to thrive!