The Boston Latin School, established in 1635, was the first school in what is now the United States. Although it has changed locations, the public school is still operating today.

Illustration by Ebenezer Thayer, courtesy Wikimedia
  • On April 23, 1635, the first public school in what would become the United States was established in Boston, Massachusetts. Known as the Boston Latin School, this boys-only public secondary school was led by schoolmaster Philemon Pormont, a Puritan settler. The Boston Latin School was strictly for college preparation. It was modeled after the Free Grammar School of Boston, England. The English school taught Latin and Greek and was centered on the humanities. Some of the Boston Latin School’s most well-known alumni include John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Benjamin Franklin was a dropout!
    The Boston Latin School is still a fully functioning public school, with students enrolled in grades 7-12. However, it has changed with time, becoming coeducational in 1972 and moving locations several times. It is now in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. Admission to Boston Latin is very competitive, and is limited to residents of the city.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    city Noun

    large settlement with a high population density.

    establish Verb

    to form or officially organize.

    humanities Plural Noun

    the study of history, literature, arts, and philosophy.

    Latin Noun

    language of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire.

    public Adjective

    available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.

    Puritan Noun

    member of a strict Protestant religious and political group that originated in England in the 1500s.