Academics: Ninth Grade at Bement

Beyond Bement

Ninth grade at Bement is a special year filled with much loved school traditions, student milestones, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Parents and students alike appreciate the many advantages of being the oldest students in the school. Upon returning to Bement, many alumni comment on the importance of their ninth grade year for helping them mature in a small setting, free from many of the pressures of larger secondary schools. Students appreciate the availability of teachers as mentors and friends in a smaller and more intimate class setting. There are several significant components that help shape the ninth grade experience at Bement:

Academic Life

By design, often the student:teacher ratio is lowest in our ninth grade. We want our students to strengthen their participation and refine their discussion skills in every setting. It's impossible not to be noticed and in turn, stretched and challenged within the comfort of a small class where each student plays an important role. In ninth grade, the curriculum often offers 2-3 math courses, ranging from pre-algebra, algebra, or geometry. A third year of a world language is completed, and history focuses on Western civilization.
We have a rigorous English curriculum that focuses on writing skills, development of voice and public speaking skills, as well as studying a wide range of literature, we read essays to short stories, The Odyssey to modern novels. The English curriculum both challenges and enhances the ninth grade experience. Faculty, students, and parents acknowledge the capacity for profound growth in this year.

Full Participation in the Arts

In the ninth grade, the collaborative efforts of the visual art, drama, and English faculty focus on projects, reflecting their dedication to creating an enriching and unique experience.

The ninth grade fine arts curriculum builds self-confidence by focusing on a student's individual strengths.  The visual arts program culminates with a symbolic self-portrait piece, created in a medium of their choice.  Students learn about contemporary art, write about each of their symbols, and develop a written artist statement as a reflection of their work.  This statement is also a component of the English composition assignment.  Each student formally presents their piece in a final class critique, and later to the upper school during a morning meeting.  This project aligns with a personally reflective monologue written in drama class, and performed for the upper school, as well as reflective essays written in English class, which can be pivotal in preparing secondary school applications.


Ninth grade students have a variety of opportunities to learn, practice, and refine their leadership skills. In a given year, ninth graders serve the Bement community in the following capacities:

     ▪ plan student activities and propose policies that impact student life
     ▪ mentor younger students
     ▪ serve as ambassadors and guides for new students
     ▪ design and give presentations on school rules and community standards during morning and all school meetings
     ▪ daily leadership in formal and informal athletic and academic settings
     ▪ provide presentations at trustee meeting
     ▪ engage in community outreach and service experiences

In past years, our ninth grade students have been engaged in a variety of community outreach and service experiences. Students have had opportunities to design and implement various projects that directly impact the Bement, local, and global community. From food drives that benefit local communities, to singing for the residents of neighborhood nursing homes, to raising funds for disaster relief, ninth grade students learn the importance of being a good citizen and social responsibility through an ethic of service to others.


Cultural Perspectives

Through a partnership with the Imago Dei School in Tucson, AZ, Bement ninth grade students will spend a week learning about the American Southwest and engaging with the children and families of Imago Dei around issues of immigration, culture, and the implications of the colonial period on the native population in and around Tucson. While in Arizona, students will also explore the Arizona-Sonora desert, Sabino Canyon, and Mission San Xavier del Bac—so very different from our New England campus. Our commitment to community service will include activities with the students of Imago Dei, and visits to immigrant services locations, senior centers, and shelters in Tucson. The perspectives and insights that Bement students gain from their immersion experience are enhanced by the leadership, mentoring, and guidance of their ninth grade faculty advisors.

Secondary School Consultation

Each year, we greet 40 - 50 secondary school admission representatives who come to meet our ninth grade students and hold information sessions, which turn into group interview sessions. We support the admission process for our students and families with both group and individual consultations by guiding them through each step of the school selection and application process.


There is, perhaps, no greater testimony to how much our ninth graders mean to us than the multiple ways in which we celebrate their graduation from the Bement community. Our time-honored traditions such as baccalaureate and commencement are special moments for families as the entire school community takes time to recognize the impact each of our ninth graders has made on Bement. These ceremonies are complemented by a much anticipated event that is truly unique to Bement, Farewell Evening. During this gathering, individual teachers celebrate each one of our graduates with song, skits, roasts, and toasts. Time and time again, graduates and their parents tell us, “no one should miss this.” To see and hear our ninth graders present their personal reflections at baccalaureate and commencement is a testament to their growth, confidence, and dedication to finding their voice during the transformational ninth grade year.