Congratulations to our 2014 MHS Graduates!


This gallery contains 147 photos.

On Thursday morning, the MHS community celebrated the Eighth Grade Class of 2014. High Schools our students will attend include: Boston Arts Academy, Boston Community Leadership Academy, Excel High School, Fenway High School, John D. O’Bryant School of Math and … Continue reading

Mission Hill School Out in the World

There has been a great deal of buzz about MHS lately. Books have been written about us, our teacher leadership model has been highlighted on several occasions, and a four-year long film project will culminate in a nationally-aired documentary in the fall.

Please read more…

New England Cable News Network (NECN) met up with our two grade 3/4 classrooms last week, on their annual visit to The Farm School. The segment focused on the deep relationship MHS shares with The Farm School and aired on television Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

Learning Matters, an organization who airs news stories on PBS News Hour, spent the day filming and speaking with Ayla and MHS teachers about teacher leadership for a new campaign Teacher Powered Schools. The piece will be aired nationally during the last week of May (date and time TBA).

Jenerra Williams, Kathy D'Andrea, and Nakia Keizer are interviewed by John Tulenko of Learning Matters for PBS News Hour.

Jenerra Williams, Kathy D’Andrea, and Nakia Keizer are interviewed by John Tulenko of Learning Matters for PBS News Hour.







Good Morning Mission Hill (GMMH) was recently accepted as a submission to the National Education Television Association. The hour-long documentary about MHS was created by filmmakers Tom and Amy Valens.  Based on the year that Tom and Amy spent filming the school, GMMH picks up where the ten-part video series, A Year at Mission Hill, left off. GMMH will air on a variety of PBS stations, nationwide in the fall of 2014.

Democracy & Education, an education journal, recently published a favorable review of former MHS teacher Matthew Knoester’s book, Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School.


Learning with Legos

On Tuesday afternoons the Mission Hill staff participates in professional development meetings. This week, the focus was on learning with Legos. Many thanks to parent, Steve Banzaert, who helped facilitate.


MHS parent Steve Banzaert works with K1/K2 teacher Liz Borson and art teacher Jeanne Rachko.

Teachers investigated Duplo kits with simple machines and structures, by following designs. These are a great way for young children to get their hands on materials and start to think about coding.


Principal Ayla Gavins and Grade 1/2 teacher Jenerra Williams study a design map while building with Duplo Tubes.

Duplo tubes were also used.  Here pre-made designs were followed and then teachers created their own. One challenge was to make a structure that would allow a ball to travel a distance and hit a wall.


Grade 7/8 teacher Khury Petersen, tests out a Duplo Tube structure with KO paraprofessional Donna Winder and K1/K2 teacher Jada Brown.


7/8 grade teacher Ann Ruggiero and K0 teacher Geralyn McLaughlin build an EV3 robot.

WeDo is another kit that was examined.  Staff built robots and programmed them, while also teaching themselves new programming techniques.


Real Life Learning at MHS

Mission Hill School eighth graders are participating in their second Apprentice Learning ‘apprenticeship’ this school year, where each student travels to a local business one afternoon a week for six weeks and works alongside of an adult mentor.

Apprentices gain career knowledge while applying good habits of work to the world beyond the classroom. At the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Apprentice Engineers participate in the design process and test their mini robots,  “Bristol Bots” under the tutelage of Crystal Knodel, Staff Electrical Engineer.

Siobhan and Kaya test their mini robots at the Wyss Institute during Apprentice Learning.

Siobhan and Kaya test their mini robots at the Wyss Institute during Apprentice Learning.

Descriptive Inquiry Conference at MHS

On Saturday, a group of 25 educators from over seven states gathered together to exercise the power of collective work to see children more fully and examine school environments. The Prospect Descriptive Review Processes, which provide a unique perspective for thinking about children and their work, were used to deepen that knowledge.

A fall conference for Descriptive Inquiry was traditionally held at the Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, which closed in 2010. The Mission Hill School hopes that this conference will continue in the spirit of Prospect’s Fall Conferences.


A New Schoolyard and a Visit from Mayor Menino

On Friday, the entire MHS community celebrated our two new outdoor play spaces. We also had a special visitor: Mayor Menino! Wearing new green MHS t-shirts, students, staff, families, and visitors sang songs and enjoyed the beautiful warm weather. Special guests from BPS and the Boston Schoolyard Initiative joined the Mayor as he cut the red ribbon (held by two MHS students) with a pair of gold scissors!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Many thanks go to the Boston Schoolyard Initiative and the teams that designed these spaces. James Sessum and Nancy Leask from the City, Kathy D’Andrea, Jenerra Williams and Ayla Gavins as school staff members, and parents Jessica Parsons, Diane Abrams, and Deborah Gregson.

Families are fundraising to complete the project with an Outlast Block set for children to explore and play with. Donate to the project by visiting Thank you!

The Boston Neighborhood Network News reported about the event:

A Conference at Mission Hill School!

Descriptive Review: The Power of Collective Work

Join us as we examine and exercise the power of collective work to see children more fully and examine school environments. The basic content of this conference is the Prospect Descriptive Processes* and the unique perspective they provide for thinking about children and their work.

Saturday, November 23, 2013
8:30 am – 4:30 pm

This one day conference will be held at the Mission Hill K-8 School and lead by MHS staff.

Free for Boston Public School teachers
$25.00 for non-BPS teachers.


Conference Resources


*With the closing of the Prospect Archive and Center for Education and Research, the institutes formerly known as the Prospect Summer Institutes will be carried forward by a new organization, The Institute on Descriptive Inquiry Inc. There will continue to be two institutes, the Institute on Descriptive Process and the Institute on Descriptive Inquiry, and,as in the recent past, they will be collaboratively planned and facilitated by participants of the Institute on Descriptive Inquiry.

Email with questions or concerns.


MHS Debate Team takes First Place at Harvard Competition!

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12 debate team students from Mission Hill School traveled to Harvard University to participate in the day long 2013 Debate Mate Boston competition against other Boston middle and K-8 schools.

DebateMate_SignThree teams of four students each participated in three rounds of debates addressing possession of nuclear weapons, equal access for men and women sports teams to TV coverage, and fines for sagging pants. Our teams won seven of their nine debates. Judges evaluated each debater and awarded points for content and style. We placed second out of 22 teams on points, and qualified for the final championship round against debaters from the Edison School.


Faces were serious during the final debate.

Our debaters argued in support of making gun possession illegal. The judges awarded the win to the Mission Hill team on the basis of number and depth of arguments and rebuttal.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The Mission Hill Debate team, comprised of students in grades five through eight, has been meeting after school since February with debate coach, Brandeis student Sarah Pizzano, and MHS mentor and middle school teacher, Ann Ruggiero. The team is eager for next year’s debate season to begin, and promises to work hard to defend their title.

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The Cup!