About Bement: History & Mission

 

Bement's Mission

The Bement School provides an education based on time-honored school traditions and values for children in kindergarten through ninth grade, day and boarding. From the classrooms to the dorms, we live and learn as a family, while encouraging responsibility for our own work and actions. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. Students and adults at Bement work together to create a climate of acceptance, kindness and challenge which nurtures each child intellectually, creatively, physically, and emotionally.

 

Diversity Mission Statement

Guided by the Bement School mission, the school is committed to creating a diverse coeducational community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees representing a breadth of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family structure, socio-economic status, and religious affiliation. The school seeks to provide an inclusive environment in which to foster mutual respect and understanding within our school and the world around us.

 

Bement's History
The Bement School began in 1925 when Grace "Menty" Bement agreed to a request of Headmaster Frank Boyden of Deerfield Academy that she tutor one of his students. The school grew as word spread. Menty's emphasis was on the individual child-a revolutionary approach in those days. But the rights of the individual included a strong emphasis on the responsibility for the rights of others. The campus began to expand outward from Bement House. "The Barn" was renovated first to be a place for social gatherings and later to house drama and the arts. A stable was converted into Keith Schoolhouse. In 1930 the school acquired Barton House to establish a boarding department. Snively House, the site of today's Alumni and Development Office, was moved from the town of Dana when it was flooded to form the Quabbin Reservoir. Menty retired from the school at age 67. In 1947 Katharine "Kay" Bartlett and Mary "Gug" Drexler bought the school from Menty and incorporated it a few years later. During the next two decades Kay and Gug continued to build upon Menty's philosophies. They bought Wright House at the north end of town and acquired Stebbins House, which, along with Wright House, would become dormitories for older boarders. In 1967 they initiated a fund drive that led to the construction of the Polk Building. Kay and Gug retired in 1971 and were followed by Charles Hamilton, John Butler in 1974, and Peter Drake, in 1985. A capital campaign funded the construction in 1991 of the new Drake Building for grades 2-5. A fine arts wing, completed in the fall of 1992, expanded the Barn for theatre and physical education, along with adding art and music rooms. Our current Head, Shelley Jackson, came to Bement in 1999. A capital campaign, launched the same year, provided a new upper school facility, the Kittredge Building, complete with eleven classrooms, two science labs, school meeting space, and locker rooms. In the same campaign, the Polk Building was renovated to provide the school with its first all-school library, named in honor of the Clagett/McLennan families. The Polk Building now features the Haas and Flynt Computer Rooms, a multi-purpose dance studio, and a reading room dedicated to Grace Bement's love of literature. In 2010 and 2012, the school completed its first two residential dorms. These facilities have become a model to other schools because of its use of solar power in a structure which remains true to the architectural features of colonial Deerfield. Bement's curriculum has remained responsive and fluid, and faculty continue to demonstrate unflagging devotion to their students. Bement currently maintains an enrollment of approximately 220 students, including 40 boarders, who come from many different states and countries.

It is unlikely that Menty envisioned the Bement School that exists today. However, she would undoubtedly be pleased with the nurturing philosophy that has been retained, along with the continuing commitment to assisting students in reaching their personal and academic potential.

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