Our Story

Brooks School Summer Program’s History

Established in 1926 in the town of North Andover, Brooks School provides a co-educational, college preparatory program for 380 students on a 270-acre campus overlooking Lake Cochichewick.

During the academic year, Brooks is defined by small classes that allow students to work closely with teachers, fostering a relationship that is at the core of the warm, close-knit community. Recognizing the need for a local, high-quality summer camp, Brooks founded the Office of Summer Programs in 1971.

At its inception, the Brooks School Day Camp was built on the principles that have made the school a success. The day camp mirrors Brooks School’s focus on relationships and the belief that a well-crafted program with a purpose will have a lasting impact on the children of the community. The day camp has long taken advantage of the pastoral campus. Using the Brooks School facilities, athletic fields, and lake frontage, the camp’s activities are varied and complement many interests. Over the years, the camp schedule has grown to include a multitude of arts, sports, and enrichment-based activities.

Three girls sitting and smiling together
Pallet board painted with a scene of the balloons from the movie Up and the quote "adventure is our there"

A natural progression of events led to the creation of the Counselors-In-Training Program, which provided the training for future camp counselors. This program helped ensure counselors had the skills to be successful. In 2014 the CIT program was renamed Leaders-In-Training. The name change better reflects how this program has evolved. No longer solely designed to train camp counselors, the LIT program instills qualities and skills that extend beyond camp into the participant’s social, professional, and academic lives.

Given Brooks School’s reputation as an academic leader and challenging curriculum that includes 20 advanced placement courses, Brooks also began to offer summer school classes. With a focus on enrichment and engagement, summer school classes are designed for those students who are motivated and passionate about learning. Course offerings have always progressed to reflect best practices in teaching and learning.

Recognizing that our rich history is a strength, we pride ourselves on upholding the traditions and values that have brought such success over the years. Though the world changes, Brooks School Summer Programs has always maintained its focus on providing programming that is timeless and relevant for the children of today. For this reason, Brooks School has maintained its reputation as New England’s leader in summer programs.

Group doing a performance for an audience on the grass
Group of boys in a row boat on the lake

The School’s History

Brooks School was founded by the Rev. Endicott Peabody, headmaster of Groton School. Associated with him were Richard Russell, who gave the land and original buildings and who served for many years as secretary-treasurer of the board of trustees; the Reverend Sherrard Billings, senior master at Groton; James Jackson, a Groton graduate and trustee; Roger B. Merriman, also a Groton trustee and parent; and the Right Reverend Charles L. Slattery, a former Groton teacher and trustee. Mr. Peabody believed that there was a need for another small boarding school built on the Groton model. The school was to be named after Phillips Brooks, the rector of Boston’s Trinity Church, and the teaching was to be that of the Episcopal faith.

Frank D. Ashburn, a graduate of Groton and Yale, was appointed the school’s first headmaster. Brooks School opened September 29, 1927, with 14 boys in the first and second forms and two masters, a headmaster and a headmistress. Thereafter, one form was added each year until the school included all six forms. The first class graduated in 1932.

After 46 years as headmaster, Frank D. Ashburn retired in 1973. H. Peter Aitken, who served as headmaster from 1973 to 1986, succeeded Mr. Ashburn. Lawrence W. Becker was the school’s third headmaster from 1986 until his retirement in 2008. John R. Packard was appointed head of school in 2008, making him the fourth leader in the school’s history.

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