First Schools in America

First Schools in America

In this article, we will see the First Schools in America.


A school is an important asset of child education. It provides the environment, disciplines the students, and makes them confident by filling them with knowledge and moral values. But this concept wasn’t seeming to be easy to implement in history. In earlier times, the traditional educational institutes existed in some parts of the world as Academy in Ancient Greece, Gurukul in India and China, etc. The concept of “School” came from Europe. Hence, the establishment of schools around the globe mostly happened during the Colonisation. There were 13 colonies in America where the first schools began to operate, since the 17th century. Initially, such schools used to teach students about the community, their religious values, family, and disciplines.

In the United States of America, it is really interesting to understand the implementation of the modern concept of education which is still running today as the most reputed and oldest school in the country. Hence, here are a brief description of the first 12 public schools: –

Boston Latin School

America’s first public school was established on 23rd April 1635. The school earlier was established to educate the students about the social classes, Greek, Latin and other elementary subjects. The Boston Latin School was earlier for male students and teachers. The Girl’s Latin School was later established in 1877 allowing only female students to gain the education. In 1972, co-education began in Boston Latin School. On December 29, 1670, Ezekiel Cheever became the first headmaster of the school. 

In 1637, John Hull became the first student to graduate from the first school in the country. Currently, the school is located in Boston, Massachusetts, US. There are three active publications of Boston Latin Schools- The Register (1881): School’s Literary Magazine, The Argo (1970): School Newspaper and The Catapulta (2006-2007): School’s Science magazine.

Hartford Public School

Approximately after two years of the establishment of America’s first school, Hartford Public School was founded in 1638. Famous alumni like Michael Adams, George Athanson, Kang Tonbi, Reuben Ewing, Elyse Knox, Lindy Remigino, John Trumbull Robinson, Allan K.Smith and so on, speak themselves about the reputation of this secondary public school. Hartford Public School aims to make the students literate and responsible citizens which can serve society through their achievements and growth. The school promises to pour positive character traits within the students during graduation.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

The school was established in 1648, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. Earlier it was split into two schools: Rindge Technical School and Cambridge High and Latin School but in 1977, it got merged into a single high school in the Cambridge district. At that time, it had 2,000 students studying in all four grades. In 2004, the school introduced C, R, L, and S as “Learning Communities” hence it is now known as CRLS too. The school also appeared in controversy for inherited racism within the walls which led to the disbandment of the houses of the school in the late 1980s. Now the CRLS is a school that supports and is known for its diversity.

Hopkins Academy

The school was established in 1664 consisting of 7th-8th classes as middle school and 9th to 12th grade as high school. It was constructed under the governance of an English colonist and the Governor of the Connecticut Colony, Edward Hopkins, hence the school was named after him. Edward Hopkins is also known for its major contribution in establishing and operating other prominent educational institutes like Harvard University. 

The Hopkins Academy has the amazing academic results in the past decade. According to US News and World Report, in January 2010, the school earned the Bronze Medal securing its position in the list of Top High Schools in America.

Germantown Academy

The establishment of Union school occurred in 1759 with the collaboration of people living in Germantown. Later, the school was renamed Germantown Academy, the United States which is also known as the Non-Sectarian School of the country. The school teaches from pre-kindergarten level to 12th standard. Earlier the school was opened for both English and German people. The first headmaster for the English department was David James Dove and the first headmaster for the German department was Hilarius Becker. 

Originally the colors of school were red, white, and blue but in the remorse of the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, the white color was changed to black. Now the students of the school follow the red, black and blue pattern.

Academy of Richmond County

The school was established in 1783, in Augusta, Georgia, US. It was opened as private boys’ school but at the beginning of the 20th century, the school was transitioned to a traditional public co-ed school. The Richmond Academy Buildings had been registered as the National Register of Historic Place in 1857 and 1926-present. The students of this school did wonders in academics. 

In 2005, the Mathematics Team from the Academy of Richmond Country public school won Try-Math-A-Thon, organized by the National Society of Black Engineers in Boston. Dudley Hollingsworth Bowen Jr, Lloyd D. Brown, Hervey M. Cleckley, Aquilla J. Dyess are some honorable alumni of the school.

Glynn Academy

The school was established in 1788 at Brunswick, Georgia, US. It had the strength of 1900 students at the time of enrolment from 9th to 12th standard. This American public school provides academic, technical, and Advanced programs to the students and has been securing its position in the list of top schools of the country, as mentioned in the records of Newsweek. Between the year from 1819 to 1840, the earlier name of the school was Glynn County Academy. 

Glynn Academy has prestigious infrastructure including Gym, Science room, Sidney Lanier Building, Old Library Bell, and a Café! The Old building of the school now serves as the museum, situated at Hillsborough Square. Kwame Brown, Chance Calloway, Jeff Chapman, Lamar Davis, are some of the honorable alumni of the school. Glynn Academy is also known as the second oldest high school in Georgia.

Canandaigua Academy

The American high school was established in 1794, Canandaigua, New York, US. In 2019, the strength of students of this school was 1,105 and the total staff members were 129. According to the Newsweek reports, the school appeared as one of the top high schools in America, in 2009 and 2010 as well. It was initially operated as a private school for boys only but in 1900, it transitioned to a public co-educational high school. 

Stephen A. Douglas, a famous rivalry of late Abraham Lincoln, graduated from Canandaigua Academy.  The colors of the school are Cherry and Gray. The motto of the school is “One Community, Transforming Lives” which means to educate the students belonging to any caste, religion or another background, under a common terrace.

Westford Academy

The school was established in 1792 in Westford, Massachusetts, US. According to Boston Magazine, Westford Academy has been ranked 13th among the “Best Public High Schools in Boston”, in 2021. In the same year, the school secured 30th rank in Massachusetts High Schools and 754th rank on the National level, as mentioned in the report of U.S News and World Report. The school provides Science, Arts, English, Mathematics, Computer Science, Foreign Language and Catholic education as well. It also offers advanced programs and placements. In the session of 2019-2020, 475 students give an AP exam where 98.6% of them passed, clearing the passing mark 3 or above. The school was honored by the title “Blue Ribbon School” on 9th October 2009.

New London Academy

The school was established in 1795 in Lynchburg, Virginia, US. Earlier, it was only for boys’ education. In the 1870s, it became a co-educational public school. The only school in Virginia which is operated being under the charter from General Assembly. From 1910 to 1964, the New London Academy served as an agricultural high school but from 1964 it was converted to an elementary school. 

The Kitchen, Thomas Hall, and Evans Hall are some of the attractive structures of the school which are included in its infrastructure as well. Edward C. Burks, Wood Boulden, Gordon Henry White, are some of the honorable alumni of the school.

Newburgh Free Academy

The school was established in Newburgh, New York, US, in 1796. It educates the students from 9th grade to 12th grade. Samuel Nicholson was appointed as the first teacher of the school in 1799 and taught the students for the first eight years. Earlier Greek, Latin and French were taught as foreign languages in the school. Richard A. Thomson became the first principal of the school in 1807. 

From 1817, a three-year program was introduced to the public school such that the students had to give written examinations after the completion of the program. Currently, the colors of the Newburgh Free Academy are Blue and Gold. Mickey Scott, Saul Williams, Pardison Fontaine, Ricky Pacione, are some of the famous alumni of the school.

 Woodstock Academy

The school was established in Woodstock, Connecticut, US, in 1801. The Woodstock Academy was declared as the secondary public school of the town by the Woodstock School Committee in 1969. During the arrival of 1990, the school stopped the schooling of Latin language due to the least interest within the students and emerging demands of modern languages. From 2012, the academy started recruiting students from other regions of America and students belonging to other countries.

It is described as Independent School because it doesn’t come under any school district or municipality to control it. Augustus Sabin Chase, James W. Patterson, Ebenezer Stoddard, Theodore Stowell, are some of the honorable alumni of Woodstock Academy.

Facts of the History of Education in America

  • During the 16th century, female students were only taught how to read not how to write, unlike male students. 
  • Before the arrival of public schools, the people used to educate their children through private tuition. Hence such privilege could only be availed by rich families. 
  • From the 18th century, the common or co-educational public school began to emerge. From the early 19th century, school attendance became a compulsion in public schools for 8 to 14 years old students.
  • In the late 18th century, John Dewey led a movement with the idea of progressive education enabling the students to use their potential to participate in the democratic society. The movement became widespread by the 1930s.
  • During the 1960s, there used to be a segregated system in schools but by the late 1970s, this system was dropped in the United States.
  • In 2001, the “Every Student Succeeds” Act was replaced with the “No Child Left Behind” Act aiming that all the children of the United States should grant education without leaving anyone behind.
  • The first Girl’s school was Ursuline Academy, founded in 1727, by Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula. The school was earlier a Catholic School and it was established in New Orleans.
  • The first female pharmacist was graduated from the Ursuline Academy. This was also the first school that taught without discriminating the colors of women, welcomed Native American and African-American female students as well.


In this article, we discussed the historic schools of the United States of America. The Boston Latin School is the first and the oldest in the country. The schools were initially opened for boys which used to teach them about the regional languages and elementary subjects. Some of the schools are continued to operate and some of them have been registered as the National Historic Places of America. Almost all the oldest public schools have the noblest and honorable alumni who served society and the nation in their lifetime. This is one of the reasons for the schools to stand proud and continue educating the young minds. 


Q. What is the name of the first Catholic public school in America?

A. The first Catholic Secondary School in America is the Roman Catholic High School. It was established in 1890. 

Q. Why the school color of Germantown Academy was changed from white to black in 1865?

A. In that year, Sir, Abraham Lincoln died hence the school gave him a tribute by changing the color from white to black.

First Schools in America

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