The Pentucket Story
Serving the Communities of Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury
The Pentucket Regional School District, located in northern Essex County, comprises the three towns of Merrimac, Groveland, and West Newbury. With an aggregate population of 16,235, the district is 36 miles from Boston, 13 miles from the ocean, and borders New Hampshire in its northern reaches. The area is accessed via major routes 95 and 495, state roads 110 and 113 and since bisected by the Merrimack River, bridged in two small cities to both the east and west of the district.
The District’s towns are quite similar, being semi-rural/small business/residential in nature. All have experienced considerable development in recent years. Many citizens commute outside the communities for work, yet many community, spiritual and youth organizations are active. There is active parent participation at all levels in the district.
A regional school committee oversees the schools of the District. The committee is elected within the towns. Nine people serve the District in this capacity. There are three representatives from the District’s three towns and student representatives. The committee meets once a month for regular business meetings and once a month for subcommittee meetings. These are public meetings and are publicly posted on the district's website.
The District’s schools include 4 elementary schools (pre-K through 6), a middle school (7 and 8), and a senior high school (9 through 12). The Middle School and High School are located on the same campus, centrally located within the District. While some secondary age students attend the nearby vocational school, the high school accommodates the majority of the District’s secondary age youth.
Most students attend elementary school in their hometown :
Groveland - Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall School (preK-6)
West Newbury - Dr. John C. Page School (preK-6)
Merrimac - Dr. Frederick N. Sweetsir School (preK-2) and Helen R. Donaghue School (3-6)
The population has been growing so regularly and rapidly in the past decade that major additions added to several of the schools have already been overwhelmed and space requirements represent the District’s greatest present challenges. Nonetheless, the Pentucket District has maintained positive funding for its students.
The Pentucket Regional Middle School is designed to meet the unique needs of older children. No longer elementary, but not yet high school, the middle school blends its practices and structure to better prepare all students for continued success. Pentucket bridges the educational experience by using a team approach. This type of organization enables students to maintain their individual identity in a larger school. It also enables the middle school to maintain the “child centered” philosophy as found in elementary school. Each team includes four teachers from core academic subjects. The theory behind this type of approach is to promote communication, coordination, and cooperation. Students participate in peer leadership, math team, academic bowl, school newspaper, destination imagination, student council, sports activities, science club and drama productions.
The Program of Studies at Pentucket Regional High School reflects the needs of its students. Since nearly three-fourths of its graduates pursue post-secondary education, courses are offered in good depth across all academic disciplines. Additionally, a very large segment of the student population participates in a fine and applied arts program. Advanced Placement courses are currently offered in English, American History, Calculus, and Biology. Finally, all graduates are required to demonstrate computer proficiency and master a critical writing assessment.
The Pentucket District’s co-curricular offerings are extensive. Pentucket High School students participate in the Cape Ann League for interscholastic athletic competition. Additionally, non-school sponsored activities, like lacrosse and many community leagues accommodate students of all ages. Historically, Pentucket teams have enjoyed notable successes. Beyond the playing field, Pentucket students participate in science and math leagues, fine and applied arts competitions (in which key awards have been earned), an array of campus activities, such as student government, yearbook, National Honor Society, peer mediation, orchestra and jazz band, dramatic and musical offerings, an all-schools Arts Festival and numerous clubs and organizations.