History of Tobin Montessori

The first graduation at the Tobin School was in June of 1972. The Tobin, named after educator and school superintendent John Tobin, replaced the Russell School which was located on Grozier Road. The Tobin was built adjacent to the fields of Father Callahan Park and still uses those fields as its playground. At about that same time, the high-rise apartments, Rindge Towers, were built and the children from there and later from the Walden Square Apartments were districted into the Tobin. Thus, a small neighborhood school became a much larger one. At its largest, the Tobin School had 4 classes of each grade and held over 700 students.

ArtAfter school busing was ordered in Boston to address de facto segregation, Cambridge took the initiative to put into place a voluntary desegregation program which allowed for school choice. This was first accomplished by drawing large school districts and later was changed to a city-wide school choice program. Once there was open enrollment, there was a push to draw students to certain schools by creating various magnet programs. At The Tobin, the Follow -Through Program was instituted. This was meant to be a continuation of the “enriched” Head Start Program for pre-school and kindergarten. The program was meant to target low income children and give them a “head start”. Tobin School would then have these “Head Start” families mix with more affluent families in a separate program within the Tobin School. Later, another magnet program was created in which there was an integration of computer technology into the classrooms. This program was known as “The School of the Future”. These magnet programs, as well as the classrooms of the original Tobin School existed together for many, many years.

As educational practices changed and technology was being used in all classrooms in the city, it became clear that the best course of action would be to merge all of the programs at the Tobin School and create one unified school. This merge was accomplished through the cooperative efforts of the administration, staff and parents of the three programs.
The next big change came in 2007 when Dr. Fowler-Finn, the superintendent of schools at the time, created a Montessori School which was housed at the Tobin. As each new class of Montessori children came through, the standard classroom was eliminated. Since the 2012-13 school year, we have housed all all Children’s House to grade five Montessori classrooms. The building also houses the Vassal Lane Upper School campus, which draws students from Tobin Montessori, the Graham and Parks School as well as the Haggerty School.

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