Hopkins School

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Hopkins School
Official Hopkins Logo
986 Forest Road


United States
TypePrivate, Day school
MottoQuod felix faustumque sit
("May it be prosperous and happy")
FounderJohn Davenport
School code070490
Head of schoolKai Bynum
GenderCoeducational (since 1972)
Average class size12
Student to teacher ratio5:1
Campus size108 acres (44 ha)
Campus typeSuburban
School color(s)          Maroon and Grey
SongThe Hopkins Fightsong
Athletics conferenceNEPSAC
MascotThe Hilltopper
PublicationDaystar (literary magazine)
NewspaperThe Razor; The Hilltopper
YearbookPer Annos
Endowment~$160,000,000+ (USD)[citation needed]
Tuition$44,750 (USD)[1]

Hopkins School is a private, college-preparatory, coeducational, day school located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Founded in 1660, Hopkins School is the third-oldest independent secondary school in the United States, following only the Collegiate School and Roxbury Latin School. Hopkins was established "for the breeding up of hopeful youths" with funds from Edward Hopkins' estate to fulfill John Davenport's wishes to bring a grammar school to New Haven. First situated on the town's green, it relocated to its current campus on a hill overlooking New Haven in 1926.[2] Hopkins has been coeducational since merging with Day Prospect Hill School in 1972.

Hopkins is divided into three separate schools; the Junior school consists of the 7th and 8th grades. The high school is divided into the Middle (9th and 10th grade) and Upper (11th and 12th grade) schools. Most new students enter Hopkins in either the 7th or 9th grade. Tuition is set at $44,750 for the 2019–20 school year. Hopkins allocates more than $4 million in need based financial assistance to 23% of students.[3]

In April 2010, Forbes Magazine named Hopkins the nineteenth best college preparatory school in the United States of America, and, as it was the only school from Connecticut on the list, the best college preparatory school in Connecticut.[4] On January 8, 2015, Head of School Barbara Masters Riley announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.



John Davenport, a founder of the New Haven Colony, was an early proponent of education in the colony.[5] Grammar schools of the time generally prepared young men for college, but the Puritan colony was too far from England for its citizens to attend the existing English schools.[5] Parents of the time were generally more concerned with spending their money on essentials such as food, and viewed formal education as an extravagance most could not afford.[5] Davenport enlisted the help of a friend, Edward Hopkins, governor of the Connecticut Colony, to found a traditional grammar school that would teach Latin, Greek, and Hebrew grammar; the school's first home was a building on the New Haven Green.[5]

The original Hopkins School coat of arms was designed by Edward Hopkins to be a personal symbol, though it was not an official piece of heraldry.

Hopkins died in 1657 and bequeathed money to found a school dedicated to "the breeding up of hopeful youths for the public service of the country in future times." Colonial officials wanted Hopkins's bequest to remain in Connecticut and appointed three men, Davenport and two others, as executors of Hopkins's will. They created the Hopkins Fund, from which Hopkins Grammar School was established in 1660.[6]

The exact date of Hopkins School's founding is a matter of definition; the historical record of the executors' report implies the trust was created on May 4, 1660, but since the Julian calendar was in use then, the date corresponds to May 14 on modern calendars. The papers which created the fund were presented and accepted on May 30, and many use this date as the official date of the school's founding. Finally, on June 4 (June 14 on modern calendars) Davenport transferred control of the bequest to the colony, on the condition that the colony accept responsibility for the support of the school.[5]

The Fallow Years[edit]

"The Fallow Years" is a term coined by Thomas B. Davis in his history, Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School, to describe the period from 1696 to 1853.[5] During this time the school had difficulty finding qualified schoolmasters, and the Hopkins Fund often fell short in paying them; this forced the school to take up collections to meet its payroll. Consequently, there was great turnover in schoolmasters, some staying for no more than a year; also contributing to the problem was the establishment of the Collegiate School in New Haven in 1701, which drew many local academics away from Hopkins, and which later became Yale University.[5]

Public opinion of Hopkins and academia in general weakened the school. During this time parents wanted children who could read and write English and understand basic arithmetic, but Hopkins continued to focus on subjects that parents deemed irrelevant, such as Latin. Parents were also displeased with schoolmasters who paid little attention to struggling students, instead focusing only on the scholars. On January 12, 1713, the committee which managed the Hopkins Fund began releasing £12–£15 annually to run elementary English schools in East Haven and West Haven. New Haven stopped donating money to the Fund in 1719, which made hiring schoolmasters nearly impossible. Though the trustees of the Hopkins Fund constituted an independent body, the town was known to control them with financial pressures.[5] Richard Mansfield served as schoolmaster from 1742 to 1747, and was the last headmaster until 1839 to serve for more than three years.[5]

Although Hopkins School was still somewhat unpopular with the locals, the school moved to a new larger brick building on the Green, due to the growth of New Haven. Hopkins School was somewhat rare among American schools in that it remained open during the American Revolutionary War. Former schoolmaster John Hotchkiss was killed by the British in July 1779 during their invasion of New Haven, and former schoolmaster Noah Williston was captured. Although the school remained open, records seem to indicate that it was frequently closed between September 1780 and October 1781, "for vacation". Shortly after the Revolution, Hopkins hired Jared Mansfield for two terms (1786 - 1790 and 1790 - 1795) to the unique position "Master of the Grammar School" to try to stabilize the school for the future. Between Mansfield's two terms, Abraham Bishop held a six-month term as headmaster during which he proposed radical reform, including making Hopkins coeducational, most of which never came to fruition. After the end of Mansfield's second term, the school returned to the pattern of short tenures for schoolmasters.[5]

Hopkins moved buildings again in 1803 to an even larger facility near the Green that took up nearly an entire block. Teachers were offered two-year contracts to teach at Hopkins, but rarely kept them. Hopkins boys grew "unruly and malicious", some roaming New Haven streets at night. In 1838 the school moved once again, as the trustees believed that moving the school away from the town center would allow its students to focus more on their studies. Throughout August and September that year, they rushed through the necessary transactions to buy the new plot of land, currently the site of the Yale Law School. Following this move the trustees released an announcement to New Haven's three newspapers summarizing their hope that this new location would provide sufficient space for the boys to learn and be separate enough that they could do so in peace.[5]

A plan from 1922 for Hopkins atop the hill by 1895 graduate Henry Murphy. Baldwin ended up being built roughly between "The School" and "Masters House" on this plan.

Hawley Olmstead became headmaster in 1839 and ended the line of short-termed schoolmasters as he held the position for ten years. Although Olmstead thought much like Hopkins' early masters, namely that the school existed to prepare boys for college, he also modernized the curriculum in several ways. Most notably, English was finally added to the curriculum, and he began keeping accurate school rolls which solidified his final legacy, increasing the size of Hopkins' student body. By the time Olmstead resigned due to poor health on July 28, 1849, school attendance had risen to 63 students.[5]

As soon as Olmstead left, the school began to deteriorate once again, with attendance dropping to 45 students in 1850 and to 20 by 1853; the recently founded debate society disbanded, with seven young members forming the secret society known as "The Club". Though this club grew no larger and tried to remain quiet, parents grew so annoyed with this supposedly "rough-housing" club that it was forced to disband in 1851. After the debate society and "The Club" were gone, many students sought out new ways to express their literary interests, including founding the school newspaper, The Critic. Olmstead was seen by the trustees as a major failure and a cause of the school's rapid decline, and was quickly replaced by James Whiton, who had just recently graduated from Yale, he further revised the curriculum by adding more English classes, and school attendance saw a rapid increase once again. Whiton taught for ten years and under his leadership, enrollment climbed to more than 100 students, thus marking the end of "the fallow years."[5]

Modern day[edit]

Headmaster George Lovell convinced the Board of Trustees to buy land on the western edge of New Haven for a new campus atop a hill in 1925.[7] Graduate Henry Murphy laid out plans for the new campus in 1922, and designed the original Baldwin Hall building in 1925;[8] the school opened at the new premises, the present campus, in 1926. Baldwin Hall was initially the only building, but the campus expanded greatly over the next century.

Hopkins had begun to refer to itself without "Grammar School" in the casual name by 1935,[5] but "Grammar School" was not officially dropped until several years after Hopkins' merger with Day Prospect Hill School in 1972. Day Prospect Hill School was itself the product of a merger between two local women's schools — the Day School (founded in 1907) and the Prospect Hill School (founded in 1930); the combined institution became the Day Prospect Hill School (DPH), a united women's education school.[2]

Trustee president Vince Calarco and headmaster Tim Rodd led Hopkins to buy a further 50 acres (20 ha) of land at its current location to establish playing fields in 1992.[7]

In recent years alumnus John C. Malone, a wealthy telecommunications entrepreneur, has donated more than $25 million for new construction, the financial aid program, and forming the endowment.[7][9]


Admissions to Hopkins School occurs in bulk in two years: seventh and ninth grade. Approximately half of the students are accepted in seventh, and the rest in ninth. However, there are a minority of students that have been accepted in the eighth, tenth, and eleventh grades. There are approximately 140 students in each high school class, and 70 in each intermediate school class.

Students applying to Hopkins are required to take either the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) or the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE). Students who score in the 75th percentile or higher in each category of the tests are considered competitive for admissions, though most accepted students score above that mark. In addition, each student is required to conduct a personal interview with a member of the school's admissions committee.

Students who are in need of financial aid must, in essence, apply twice: once for admissions, and once for aid. After they are accepted, students will either be given financial aid or not. If the school is unable to provide the necessary amount of financial aid, they will put the student on the waiting list in case a spot opens up; this is very unlikely, especially for students in need of large amounts of assistance, usually amounting in one student in this situation being accepted every few years.[10]


A map of the campus as of 2006, with Forest Road horizontally along the bottom of the map

Baldwin Hall is the original building of the present campus, it has four floors, including the basement. It houses a computer lab, the language lab, and the Calarco Library; the library is a two floor, 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) space with group study rooms, an art gallery, and a faculty reading room.

Hopkins House houses the Admission Office, Business Office, College Counselling Office, and the Technology Department; this building was named for Edward Hopkins, one of Hopkins' founders. It was finished in 1927 with the original intention of having it become a dormitory for boarding students; the program was abandoned in the 1930s due to insufficient enrollment.

The Kneisel Squash Center was originally built as an all-purpose gym in 1935 and named the Reigeluth Gym in honor of a trustee, it was designed by the architect Douglas Orr. It now houses six squash courts.

Lovell Hall houses the main school auditorium (Townshend Auditorium), drama and video production classrooms, two multipurpose classrooms, the Razor 's office, and teachers' offices; this building is named after longtime headmaster George Lovell, who led the school in the first half of the 20th century. It was constructed in 1960 with funds raised during the school's tercentenary.

The Walter Camp Athletic Center is named after alumnus Walter Camp, who is credited with inventing American football and later was Yale's football coach; the Athletic Center was opened in 1986 and has two floors of gyms (three basketball courts on the first floor, and weight-lifting rooms on the second),[citation needed] a pool, a trainers' office, and coaches' office. The first floor is largely made up of three standard-sized basketball courts and the Bud Erich Pool; the second floor includes smaller weight rooms and training areas, including the wrestling room.

Malone Science Center is at the center of campus and houses the science classrooms and labs. Donated by John C. Malone, it is named for Malone's father, Daniel Malone. It was opened for students in 1999 and has three floors of classrooms and labs.

Heath Commons is a two-story building that houses the school dining hall and a student lounge. Heath Commons was designed by the S/L/A/M collaborative,[11] it was completed in 2003 and won a Connecticut Design Award in 2005.[12] Heath also houses the kitchens, a cafe, the Weissman meeting room, and advisers' offices.

Thompson Hall was opened on 30 November 2009 on the former site of one of the upper playing fields; the three-story building has two floors of classrooms, as well as large studio art studios, pottery, photography, wood shop, and choral and orchestral spaces.

New fields opened in 2007 on the land purchased under Rodd's tenure which replaced those that Thompson Hall now stands on. An artificial turf field was installed in 2015 and named "Parr Field" in honor of the long-serving football coach, Tom Parr, who retired that year.

In September 2019, under Kai Bynum, Hopkins opened a new softball field and track. Dr. Bynum said that the new playing areas are "valuable for community wellness", for Hopkins had lacked a track since its founding.


The 1911 school body. Headmaster Charles H. Weller is first on the left in the third row and George Lovell is 7th from the left in the top row (he would go on to be headmaster from 1916–1953).

Applicants to Hopkins undergo a series of standardized tests, and upon matriculation, testing is done to place students at the appropriate level of instruction in mathematics and languages. Hopkins' academics are broken into departments including English, mathematics, science, history, arts, modern language, classics, and computer science; each of the three class levels — Lower, Middle, and Upper — has a different level of choice in classes.[13]

The Arts Department is made up of student organizations and academic classes in studio and performance art. A number of student groups feature performing arts: a cappella groups such as the Harmonaires, Triple Trio, and Spirens; theater groups such as the Hopkins Drama Association; and a variety of choral and instrumental performance groups. A gallery room in Baldwin holds shows of student and teacher art.

The English department is the only department in which Hopkins requires a student have at least one class in every semester. Upper-class students have two required semester classes: a college-prep writing course and a Shakespeare-centered course; the history department core is the Atlantic Communities series that focus on Europe, the Americas, and West Africa between 1450 and modern times. In addition, elective courses go into detail on subjects such as political science, regional studies, philosophy and ethics. Advanced Placement courses are offered in United States History, European History, and Human Geography; the language department is divided into two subdepartments: the Classics, which teaches Ancient Greek and Latin; and Modern Languages, which teaches all other languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian are currently offered).[13]

The mathematics department offers study from pre-algebra to Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations and Chaos Theory; the science department has three main tracks — Biology, Chemistry, and Physics — along which students can take entry-level courses and then more advanced AP and Honors courses. There are numerous one-off courses in subjects such as Introduction to Psychology, Human Reproduction, or Environmental Studies; the computer science department offers basic computing courses in HTML and Java.[13]

School ends every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on other days. This extra time on Wednesdays are generally used to schedule "away" sports meets, to allow for travel time. Hopkins adopted a modified block scheduling system in 2005, giving each class 55 minutes rather than 40 minutes; each student has two weekly class schedules ("maroon week" and "grey week", named for the school's colors) which alternate throughout the school year.

Graduation requirements[edit]

Hopkins' one-room Latin grammar school history is still reflected in its graduation requirements; every student is required to take an English course every semester, and Junior Schoolers are required to take Latin along with whichever other language they may take, if any. In addition to classical education, Hopkins requires three years of math courses and three years of a language, the completion of Atlantic Communities I, Atlantic Communities II, and either Atlantic Communities III (for a total of two and a half years of credit), AP US History, or AP European History (for a total of three years of credit) and two years of science coursework. However, this only makes up a fraction of a student's total graduation credit requirement, while the rest is fulfilled by elective and advanced courses in any of the various departments.

Standardized testing and matriculation[edit]

The average SAT scores for a Hopkins Student is 1470[14], and the average ACT score is 32[15]; this can be compared to the National averages, which are 1050 and 20.[16] Hopkins is also known for having the highest number of National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists out of all private and public Connecticut high schools for multiple years.[17][18]

In addition, many students from Hopkins attend Ivy League and other highly competitive schools. Almost 10% of each graduating class attends the nearby Ivy League School, Yale University; the school's Ivy/MIT/Stanford matriculation is approximately 25%.[19]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Hopkins Dining Hall, 1928

Junior school students select from their own separate lists of activities during advisor meetings, and their activities' sessions are separate from the general school; the main school activities program begins with the Activities Fair, usually held in early September, where every activity puts on a display and signs up members for that school year. These various clubs and organizations then meet each Wednesday during the last period of the day, which is set aside as an activities period as opposed to an academic one.

In addition to traditional school organizations such as the student newspaper and yearbook, Hopkins focuses strongly on community service especially within the New Haven community itself; the student government runs school-wide events such as a fundraiser for the Connecticut Food Bank, but the bulk of Hopkins' community service happens through clubs. Hopkins' umbrella community service organization is called Maroon Key; the diversity clubs (including a racial equality club, a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a gender equality group) as well as specific service clubs such as Habitat for Humanity organize a variety of fundraisers and events throughout the year. While not a graduation requirement, community service is an essential aspect of Hopkins life.

Hopkins hosts Pathfinder, a program that includes both academic enrichment for middle school students and teacher training for high school and college students. Pathfinder operates an after-school program during the school year and an intensive six-week academic summer program. Hopkins School opens all parts of the campus not being used by regular summer school programs to Pathfinder.[20] Breakthrough students are seventh and eighth graders from New Haven public and parochial schools.

Student Council[edit]

2004–05 Student Council president (right) handing over his office to the 2005–06 president (left)

The Student Council is the student government of Hopkins, it is modeled after the United States government. Each middle and upper school class elects four representatives and a class president at the end of the previous year. 8th-graders elect two of their 9th-grade representatives and their president at the end of 8th grade, then the final two representatives once the generally large group of students has joined Hopkins in the 9th grade. In the 2004-05 school year, the Junior class added their own section to the student council; each class also elects representatives from individual advisor groups to comprise the Class Council, which deals with class activities and fundraisers. The highest position in the Student Council is Student Council President, a student elected at the end of their junior year to run the Council during their senior year; the president organizes school-wide fundraisers, delivers a speech at most assemblies, and holds some ceremonial graduation duties.

During each commencement ceremony, the President of the Senior Class is selected to give the salutatorian speech, while the Valedictorian is a student who has received cum laude distinction and is voted by the class from among the other cum laude recipients.


The 1891 football team

Hopkins' athletics function under a trimester system, with students taking an athletic for each of the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Students may choose to participate in a team sport if they make the team, an intramural sport, or an independent sport where the student participates in a school-approved athletic activity such as martial arts lessons. Seniors may also take one season off and not take any athletic for that season. Sports offered at Hopkins vary depending on the season and include cross country, soccer, water polo, crew, football, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, fencing, track (both outdoor and indoor), swimming/diving, wrestling, squash, golf, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, and softball. Hopkins is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council[21] and the Fairchester Athletic Association. Hopkins competes with many other private and boarding schools throughout New England and the northeast.


Members of the Hopkins Drama Association posing for a photo during the Hopkins production of Harvey.

Hopkins has one building dedicated to theatre and connected studies called Lovell Hall. In Lovell, there is the Townshend auditorium where all Hopkins Drama Productions take place; each year, a minimum of five productions occur, with there often being upwards of seven or eight in total.

The theatre staff consists of only two directors. Everything else is run by students. Besides the regular theatre productions, students also have the option to audition for the Improv Group, Peaches.[22]

Computer Science[edit]

Hopkins has established a computer science department to provide students with the technical resources to keep up with the advancing world.[23] At the same time, students have become interested in this sector outside the classroom. Hop Codes, the Hopkins student run programming organization convenes weekly "to create an environment in which students can experience computer science and coding even if they aren't taking a computer science course or can't fit it in their schedules."[24]

Notable alumni[edit]

Due to the age of the school, it is unclear as to what year some of its alumni graduated; those whose class is unknown, or assumed, are noted as such.

Notable alumni include:


  1. ^ http://www.hopkins.edu/admissions/tuition
  2. ^ a b History Archived 2006-02-22 at the Wayback Machine on Hopkins School's website by Thom Peters. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  3. ^ Tuition & Financial Aid Archived 2015-10-23 at the Wayback Machine Hopkins School website, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  4. ^ https://archive.is/20130124053419/http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/29/best-prep-schools-2010-opinions-hopkins-school.html
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School: 1660–1935. Thomas B Davis. Quinnipiack Press, New Haven, CT. 1938
  6. ^ Hopkins Academy in Hadley, Massachusetts was founded in 1664 using these same funds. "The Charity Of Edward Hopkins: The Hadards Of Charitable Trusts In Colonial America (PDF)." John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Retrieved: October 26, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Barbara Riley Presents the 2004 Hopkins Medal to John C. Malone '59 Archived 2006-09-07 at the Wayback Machine on Hopkins School website on November 21, 2004 by Barbara Riley. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  8. ^ "From Hopkins' Baldwin Hall to China's Memorial Hall" for Views on the Hill Spring/Summer '06 by Thom Peters.
  9. ^ John C. Malone '59 Archived 2006-09-07 at the Wayback Machine for the Hopkins School website on November 22, 2004. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  10. ^ "Admission FAQ's | Hopkins School". www.hopkins.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  11. ^ S/L/A/M Homepage authored by the S/L/A/M Collaborative. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  12. ^ 2005 Connecticut Design Award candidates Archived 2006-05-09 at the Wayback Machine for AIACT, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  13. ^ a b c Hopkins Course Guide, published annually by Hopkins School.
  14. ^ "Hopkins School Profile" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Hopkins School Profile" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Hopkins School in New Haven, CT - Niche". K-12 School Rankings and Reviews at Niche.com. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  17. ^ "19 Hopkins students in New Haven named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists". New Haven Register. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  18. ^ "Twelve Hopkins Students named 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists". Hopkins School. 2016-09-22. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  19. ^ Booked. "No. 19: Hopkins School - pg.20". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
  20. ^ Hopkins Breakthrough information Archived 2010-09-16 at the Wayback Machine on the Hopkins website, written by Michael Van Leesten in September 2010. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  21. ^ Homepage of NEPSAC. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  22. ^ "Drama | Hopkins School". www.hopkins.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  23. ^ "Curriculum Detail | Hopkins School". www.hopkins.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  24. ^ "Clubs & Activities | Hopkins School". www.hopkins.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-23.

External links[edit]