Grades 5-9

Boarding FAQs

We’ve outlined some popular parent questions below, but please don’t hesitate to contact us directly for more information or additional questions.

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • What are weekends like at Fessy?

    Weekends at Fessenden are incredible! We offer 20-25 trips and activities every weekend, which equates to more than 800 per year. Just 15 minutes from one of the most culturally rich and vibrant cities in the country, our boys take advantage of everything Boston has to offer—from professional and collegiate sporting events, to world-renowned museums and first-class theaters, to historical sites. Our activities and location are two of the best things about being a boarding student at Fessenden.
  • How much supervision do boarding students have?

    Supervision is our primary focus. Boarding students are guided and mentored by the 42 faculty and staff members that live on campus. This type of environment allows boys to develop independence while still feeling supported, providing a seamless transition to secondary boarding school after Fessenden.
  • Where do the boys live?

    Boarding students live in one of seven dormitories on campus: Hart House, Memorial, Sanderson, Hyde I, Hyde II, Hyde II, and Moore Hall. Each floor has a minimum of two dorm parents who are available 24 hours a day. In addition to dorm parents, two ninth-grade proctors live on every dorm floor.
  • Do international and domestic boarding students live together?

    Yes. We believe in the importance of providing students with greater exposure to our global community. Boarding students have the unique opportunity to cross geographic and cultural borders and experience for themselves how diverse viewpoints enrich education and enhance life.
  • What are mealtimes like?

    Lunch and dinner are served family-style, while breakfast is buffet style. Choices typically include hot entrees, sandwiches, an extensive salad bar, and a sampling of fresh fruits. All students are encouraged to make healthy choices. Weekend meals are cafeteria-style, which affords a more relaxing dining experience.
  • When can my son become a boarding student?

    The Fessenden boarding program is for boys in Grades 5-9.
  • What can my son do during school vacations?

    Fessenden’s dorms are only closed four times during the course of the academic year. All students return home for the winter holidays and spring break (in late March). During the shorter breaks of Thanksgiving and Presidents’ Day weekend, our residential program organizes trips. Past offerings have included: skiing in the mountains of New England, Disney World, the Florida Keys, and home stays with Fessenden families or faculty members. The school also has offered some exciting spring break trips in recent years, including hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, visiting Spain, and exploring Costa Rica.
  • Where do Fessenden students come from?

    Fessenden students come from across the country and around the world. In the past five years, we have enrolled students from 28 states, 23 countries, and 84 towns in the Greater Boston area. We actively seek to enroll students from around the world, which brings a unique global perspective to our community.
  • What’s a typical weekday and weekend schedule like?

    You can see a typical day and weekend day schedule here.
  • How much spending money would my son need every weekend?

    Since nearly 100 percent of the weekend activities are included in our tuition, the boys need very little spending money on the weekends. However, to cover any out-of-pocket expenses, each boy has an individual account set up by his parents. When he needs money, he fills out a request and the money is given to him on Friday afternoon before his weekend plans begin.
  • Are there any community service opportunities during the weekends?

    Yes. Giving back to the local community is an important experience for the students, and we provide them with many opportunities to partake in community service activities throughout the year. Each weekend--and during the week!--we provide students with an opportunity to give back to the internal Fessenden community or the wider community.

    Current and past opportunities include:
    • Visiting local residents through the “Newton at Home” program and assisting with cleaning and yard work, including raking leaves and planting flowers
    • Organizing donations at “Cradles to Crayons,” which provides essential items that children living in homeless or low-income situations need to thrive
    • Bowling with children from the Friendship Home, a local nonprofit serving individuals with developmental disabilities
    • Singing and playing board games with residents of the Swedish Home retirement community
    • Skating with special needs students on winter weeknights at the Fessenden ice rink
    • Raising money for a Boston Children’s Hospital program that allows doctors to create 3D-printed organs and use them as educational tools for patients and their families
    • Fundraising and buying holiday toys to donate to the Salvation Army
  • What happens if my son is not feeling well?

    Fessenden’s Health Center is committed to keeping students healthy. A healthy body and mind help make the school day a positive experience for our boys. The office is staffed by a registered nurse five days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The nurse is also on call for injuries and illnesses on nights and weekends for our boarding students. The Center's nursing staff provides first aid and emergency treatment care in the office. We have a nurse practitioner who can diagnose and prescribe on campus. If needed, we are fortunate to be only 10 minutes away from world-class medical facilities. We work with Newton-Wellesley and Children's Hospital in Boston for orthopedic and dental injuries. Nurses in the Health Center will also refer boys to other specialists, if necessary.
  • What types of counseling services are offered?

    The Fessenden Health Center works with Fessenden school psychologist, Dr. Jonathan Goldberg. He is available to consult with parents about issues including educational testing and therapeutic counseling. The Health Center also works with two other psychologists who are available to meet with our boys by appointment, on an as-needed basis. Parents may arrange for these services through Dr. Goldberg or the Health Center nurses.
  • What is five-day boarding?

    Since 1954, when Fessenden added a five-day boarding program, local boys have had the option of returning home on Friday after their athletic commitment to spend the weekends with family and friends. These boys then return to campus on Sunday evening or Monday morning. This option allows families a transition period prior to sending their son to seven-day boarding secondary school. Learn more about Fessenden’s boarding options.
© 2015 The Fessenden School. All Rights Reserved.
The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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