Frequently Asked Questions
- What do boarding students do on weekends?
- What are the dorms like?
- What are the rooms like?
- How are the dorms supervised?
- Who will be my roommate?
- What do I need to bring for my room?
- Can I have a pet?
- What is the technology policy in the dorm?
- What is the best time to contact my son and/or daughter?
- How do boarding students travel to and from school?
- What happens if a boarding student is sick?
On weekends, we take full advantage of all that our beautiful campus, the Pioneer Valley, and New England have to offer. Weekends are full of a variety of activities that appeal to students with diverse interests and encourage all students to enjoy new experiences. Some activities are trips to other places, like visits to local fairs and festivals, stores, theaters, and museums like Mass MoCA and the Norman Rockwell Museum. We also enjoy excursions to regional hotspots like Northampton and Shelburne Falls, and special, longer trips to Boston and New York City. Other activities are closer to home, like swimming at our head of school’s house, competitive rounds of bingo in our dining hall, bike rides on Old Main Street, hikes up the nearby Pocumtuck Ridge, sports games on Bement playing fields, and craft workshops on campus. Each weekend, we strive to strike a balance between time to relax and study, time spent in small groups, and time as a full boarding community.
Bement's five dorms are situated at the north end of beautiful Old Main Street in Historic Deerfield. The dorms are thoughtfully designed to promote a warm, family atmosphere and offer common areas with a living room and kitchenette. Wi-Fi is also provided. The dorms share a common courtyard that provides a wonderful space for congregating and recreation.
With no more than ten students per dorm, the two dorm parents who supervise/lead each dorm get to know each boarder well and foster safe, caring living spaces. Boarding students build strong relationships with all dorm parents that nurture personal growth and support academic achievement. Our boarding community eats three meals a day together, extends learning in study hall and other opportunities, relaxes in the dorm, socializes in common spaces, and participates in exciting weekend activities. Many of our dorm parents also work as teachers and coaches at Bement, allowing students to interact with their dorm parents in the classrooms and on the playing fields in addition to the dorms. Boarding students also have an opportunity to connect with other classroom teachers in a different context when these teachers proctor evening boarder study halls and help with weekend activities.
All boys in the dorms live in double, triple, or quad rooms. All girls live in double or quad rooms. Students are usually roomed with someone in the same grade or close in age. Learning to live with another person is an important life skill that encourages organization, responsibility, and respect. The chemistry between roommates is important, as is developing trust and respect for each other. Dorm parents work with roommates to resolve any issues and encourage open and honest dialogue to help students make the most of their year together. Whenever possible, international students are placed in rooms with students who are not from their home country to encourage the development of English speaking skills.
Students may bring laptop computers or tablets, but their use on school days is restricted to academic purposes. Each dorm has computers that can be used to allow video chatting or emailing. Access to some social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat is restricted to ninth graders, however, and dependent on responsible use. Additionally, the use of video and computer games is allowed, however, the rating on the must be PG-13 or below (parental permission required for students under 13 to watch the PG-13 as well) and the rating on the game must be E for Everyone.
While we encourage our boarders to be in regular contact with home, we are also trying to promote independence, responsibility and presence to others in the boarding community. Therefore, we strive to maintain reasonable limits regarding the use of technology for communication and entertainment purposes. For this reason, access to devices such as cell phones or iPhones, or any device that allows access to the internet, will be restricted to specific times and public spaces. All technologies are locked up each night before lights out in the technology cabinet in each dorm. If a student enjoys listening to music at bedtime, he or she will need to have a simple music player such as an iPod Shuffle or other basic music device. Nothing with a screen will be allowed in the room after lights out. We appreciate your understanding and support as we try to help our boarders learn to responsibly use technology.
Monday through Friday, students can be reached by either personal cell phone or dorm phone from 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Weekend times to connect vary depending on the schedule, but early mornings and evenings are typically good times to call. Boarding students will not have access to their personal cell phones during the school day. If parents need to contact their children during school hours, they may call may call Bement’s main phone line (413-774-7061).
Parents are responsible for securing air travel arrangements for students. Most students, when traveling to and from Bement, use Bradley International Airport (Hartford), Logan International Airport (Boston), and JFK International Airport (New York). Travel itineraries are communicated to the the director of residential life who then arranges to pick up or deliver students from or to the airport, bus station, or train station. Families will be billed for this service. The majority of international flights are arranged through JFK Airport, and with so many students traveling together to and from the airport, the cost per student is typically less than for the other airports. We encourage parents to accompany their children at the start of the school year and to pick them up at the end of the school year.
Boarders who are sick report first to their dorm parents and the Bement Health Office. If necessary, they will be referred to the Deerfield Academy Health Center to be seen by a physician. If a student is develops a fever of greater than 100 degrees, that student will be required to stay in the Deerfield Academy Health Center until the fever has subsided. Students who are not sick enough to need to stay overnight at the health center will be cared for by dorm parents as if they were their own children. Dorm parents are often making tea, providing ice packs or hot water bottles, and making sure students have the care and comfort they need!