The Summer Session 2020 application is open and online. Be assured enrolling is risk-free, as described in this letter from the Director (March 16, 2020). 
Be sure to apply early and reserve your seat for the Best Summer Ever!
Morning Programs

The Explore Program

Courses designed to spark curiosity, develop skills, and build confidence for future academic success

For students entering 6th, 7th or 8th grade
Created specifically for students entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, the Explore program provides classes, workshops, and field trips designed to spark curiosity, develop skills, and build confidence for future academic success. With individualized instruction and support, students in the Explore program will discover new and exciting frontiers in a variety of subject areas.
Faculty in this program have extensive middle school teaching experience and work closely with students to guide them through a dynamic and supportive learning process.
Through the application process, students in the Explore program choose one major morning class and one minor morning class from the lists below.
Major morning classes meet for two full hours each day and allow students to explore a subject in great breadth and depth. Major classes provide appropriate challenge, support, and rigor to help prepare for secondary school study.
Minor morning classes meet for one full hour each day and allow students to explore other subjects of interest. Minor classes will expand each student’s academic horizons and will build upon the skills and confidence acquired in their major course of study.
Woven through the curriculum of both major and minor classes is a focus on study, research, and technology skills.

Explore - Major Classes

List of 6 items.

  • Literature & Writing

    By reading a broad selection of classic and contemporary literature, you will deepen your understanding of people and the issues they face as they pursue their dreams. Since one of the important goals of the course is to expose you to the world’s different cultures, you and your classmates will explore answers to age-old questions:
    • How are we the same?
    • How are we different?
    • What can we learn from each other to make the world better?
    By reading a broad selection of classic and contemporary literature, you will deepen your understanding of people and the issues they face as they pursue their dreams. Since one of the important goals of the course is to expose you to the world’s different cultures, you and your classmates will explore answers to age-old questions:
    • How are we the same?
    • How are we different?
    • What can we learn from each other to make the world better?
    Throughout the five weeks, you will collaborate with your classmates and think deeply about the literature and life in order to arrive at answers to these questions and others.

    Though texts vary from year to year, the reading list typically includes works from the Americas, Europe, and Asia or Africa. While you discuss and analyze the literature, you will also:
    • refine your grammar,
    • build your vocabulary,
    • sharpen your eye for detail, and
    • hone your logic.
    Another goal of this course is to strengthen your writing skills. You will write every day, drafting and redrafting analytical essays, personal response essays, short stories, poems, and editorials. Through daily practice, you will become familiar with the different purposes for writing and will develop your own voice and sense of style. You will use the extensive in-house and electronic resources available in Cushing’s Fisher-Watkins Library to do research for your pieces, and at the end of Summer Session, you will leave Cushing with an extensive portfolio of your critical, creative, and personal writing.
  • United States History & Culture

    This survey of the history of the United States explores the political, social, ethnic, cultural, and economic aspects of the American experience. Topics of study in the early weeks of Summer Session include: the Colonial Period, the American Revolution, and the Constitution. As the weeks unfold, our exploration of American history continues with a study of the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the Industrial Revolution, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era. As we move through the 20th century, particular attention is given to the impact of both world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War period, and the cultural and social revolution of the 1960s. At the conclusion of Summer Session, students in this course will better understand the ideas, movements, and events that shaped—and continue to shape—American culture and society.
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

    The Explore STEM class combines science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to pursue student-driven, inquiry-based projects using real-world applications This interdisciplinary course employs a format that includes problem inquiry, research, proposal, testing, and conclusion, and strikes a balance between independent discovery and carefully guided instructor support. In addition, students will engage the scientific method, practice drawing and creating, and develop important teamwork and collaborative habits. In this process, students will gain meta-cognitive skills through iteration, self-reflection, and peer evaluation. By the end of the summer, STEM students gain a new perspective of the interconnectedness of the world around them, with new skills, knowledge, and habits to meet the challenges of more advanced course work in secondary school.
  • Mathematics

    If you want a head start with math before beginning high school, this course provides a sweeping review of mathematics typically covered in middle school and then moves into areas such as algebra and geometry. The class focuses on fractions, decimals, operations using negative numbers, word problems ,and basic equations. You become familiar with fundamental algebraic and geometric skills, including factoring, graphing, and formulas for solving the equations most often covered in these courses.

    If you choose this course, you are placed appropriately to ensure that you have the necessary comfort level with mathematical computation.
  • English Language Learners

    Our English for Language Learners summer program is recognized throughout the world for its excellence. Through a carefully planned curriculum that engages you in learning and helps you explore your interests, Cushing’s immersion experience in American English can dramatically increase English proficiency in just five weeks.
    Small class size and skilled, supportive teachers are the keys to the success of the program. Cushing has a large ESL faculty with extensive ESL experience. The average class size is 8 students; however, beginning classes usually consist of four to eight students. Consequently, you receive a great deal of individual attention from teachers, and you have the opportunity to practice newly acquired vocabulary and grammar in small groups.

    Great care is given to placing you in classes appropriate to your demonstrated language skills. Students are tested upon arrival and evaluated periodically to make sure they remain in the appropriate level of instruction.

    The program is structured around three areas of skills classes: reading, writing, and listening and speaking. A variety of lessons and activities are used to strengthen language skills including regular use of Cushing’s computers and related technology.

    Special activities, excursions and class trips to educational and cultural sites give you the opportunity to explore places of cultural and historical significance and to practice and strengthen your English proficiency in different environments.

    In addition to providing an intensive English language learning experience in the classroom, Cushing’s summer ESL program provides a secure setting that enables you to gain knowledge and understanding of life in the United States.

    You and your classmates have the opportunity to practice your English throughout the day with American and other international students in afternoon classes and sports activities and through participation in the arts and dorm life.

    The Cushing experience helps you achieve language proficiency as well as social comfort and self-assurance that last long after the Summer Session has ended.
  • Robotics

    Do you enjoy learning about how things work?  Do you love solving puzzles or finding solutions to problems?  Do you prefer learning by doing?  Do you envision a career in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science?  If so, you will LOVE this dynamic class in Cushing’s Explore Program. 
    For two full hours each morning, you will work in teams designing and building robots with LEGO Mindstorms.  In the process, you will learn the basic components of robotics and the fundamentals of programming your robots to perform simple actions.  As your designs take shape, you will also reinforce your understanding of STEM.   More importantly, you and your teammates will have fun engaging with each other in the daily challenges and the weekly competitions, some of which you will devise. 
    After learning the basics, you will build three-wheel robots that feature touch and light sensors, bumpers, motorized claws, and gears (including spur, bevel, worm, and rack and pinion).  Not only will you calibrate the sensors, but you will also program your robots to carry out specific tasks.  For example, you might “teach” your robot to follow a black line, or to collect and deposit objects.  As you become more skilled, you will execute more complex tasks, including those involving “gearing up” and “gearing down.” Your teacher will video the daily challenges and weekly competitions so that you have a record of how much you have learned over the five weeks.

Explore - Minor Classes

List of 6 items.

  • Headline News

    In this current events class, students will explore global issues unfolding in real time. Topics include economics, politics, human rights, and the environment, among others. Using a multi-media approach, students will engage in class discussions and group projects, all designed to gain a better understanding of the complexities and interconnectedness of the global community.
  • Legends in Literature

    This course explores the stories, inspiration, and cultural impact of the heroes and legends of literary history. In a participatory and story-based format, students will come to know these characters by digging deeply into their complex and compelling lives. In this process, the class will discover that these legends of literature, with stories past and present, share the common characteristics of courage, perseverance, and grit. At the same time, students learn that not all heroes are strong, confident, and invincible, but that they can also be frail, insecure, and vulnerable. This important perspective helps us to expand and redefine the common notion of heroes in culture and society. In this engaging and animated course, the stories of these legends of literature will help students gain a better understanding of their own lives and will illuminate the wonders and complexities of the human condition.
  • Solve it – with Science

    In this engaging and interactive course, students will use the scientific method to attempt to answer real-world mysteries and unexplained events. With the guidance and support of their instructor, students will discover mysterious and unexplained phenomena in the world of life science, physical science, and earth and space science. In this process, students play the role of “science detective” as they set out to develop guiding questions, conduct research, formulate hypotheses, carry out experiments, and communicate results. During the final week of Summer Session, students will present their findings to peers and faculty. This course will help students develop critical inquiry and research skills as they set out to solve the mysteries and wonders of the world through science.
  • Solve it – with Logic

    Using a diverse series of logic puzzles and other related game formats, students will build their deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. With guidance from the instructor, students employ various problem-solving strategies to arrive at final solutions. In this process, students gain the confidence to apply these skills to other areas of academics, including challenging math proofs and complex word problems. At the conclusion of this course, students will develop more structured and organized thinking processes and will improve their writing and speaking communication skills.
  • Debate Team

    In preparing for team debates, students will dig deeply into several topics to fully understand these issues from many perspectives. In this process, they will gain important research skills, including how to sort through the onslaught of information online to discover legitimate sources. Additionally, students will work closely with their teammates in a cooperative environment and will improve public speaking and critical thinking skills. This class introduces students to the basic elements of argument and guides them through the steps required to engage in a successful team debate.
  • Young Entrepreneurs

    This course guides students through the steps necessary to launch a successful business based on an original idea. Students learn how to recognize opportunities, create business plans, develop marketing strategies, and build realistic budgets to support their ideas. In this process, students learn how to identify and resolve problems in a creative and practical manner, including “thinking outside the box”. Additionally, our young entrepreneurs learn that successful businesses aren’t always about maximizing profits. Students in this class also learn that bringing their product ideas to market can provide a much-needed public service and may significantly improve the lives of others in the local or global community.
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Cushing Academy Summer Session

39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430-8000

Tel: 978.827.7700
Fax: 978.827.7087

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.