Established in 1896 when four Baltimore families hired German school teacher Fraulein Martha Auguste Schurmann to conduct traditional kindergarten classes for their children, Calvert School continues to build upon the foundation laid by Fraulein Schurmann. The first children were taught above Croft and Conlyn’s drug store. In 1899, Calvert School hired its first Head Master, Virgil M. Hillyer, a Harvard graduate.
Calvert School’s current Lower School on Tuscany Road was designed by Hillyer along with Laurence Hall Fowler. They worked together to create the ‘ideal school’. Hillyer believed that the school should be designed with the student in mind. Hillyer insisted on larger windows so that rooms would be pleasant to children and let in light and air. He also made sure that the smallest details were not overlooked, such as the ends of benches in the assembly hall were carved with animals. Hillyer based the animals on figures used on buildings in the Middle Ages to ward off evil spirits. Even the lockers were decorated with a pear or jug or a cup and saucer, each to illustrate one of Hillyer’s favorite lessons. Many of the details that Hillyer influenced are still apparent in the school in present day.
1896 – Issac Dixon and his wife start a German kindergarten for four children in the Dixon home on Park Avenue
1897 – Boys’ and Girls’ Primary School is inaugurated with fifteen children
1899 – School name formally changed to “Calvert Primary School of Baltimore City”
1901 – Students move to 10 West Chase Street building with a rooftop garden
1903 – The first graduating class of Calvert School
1907 – The original Calvert silhouetted head logo created
1924 – Calvert School moves to Tuscany Road location
1979 – Calvert expands space to include Library, Science, Art, and Planetarium<
1987 – Luetkemeyer Wing opens
1997 – Calvert celebrates its Centennial
2000 - Calvert School’s Board of Trustees approved the addition of a Middle School
2002 – Middle School established
2003 – The first graduating class of the Middle School
• Virgil M. Hillyer (1899 – 1931)
• Donald W. Goodrich (1931 – 1940)
• Edward W. Brown (1940 – 1967)
• William Kirk (1967 – 1983)
• Merrill S. Hall III (1983 – 2004)
• Andrew D. Martire ’83 (2004 – 2013)
• Andrew Holmgren (2013 – Present)
As of 2016, Calvert School serves over 600 boys and girls beginning in Fifth Age through Eighth Grade. At Calvert School, the youngest students begin their education with a focus on the fundamentals. Children are taught the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics to develop a mastery of these subjects through their course of study in the Lower School.
In Lower School, students are grouped by age, not grade. The students are grouped according to the age that they turn during the school year.
As early as Fifth Age, children are learning reading and math skills, as well as being introduced to a foreign language. Beginning in the Seventh Age, students learn the formal Calvert Script and how to develop and write compositions. Also, at this time students begin to keep folder papers, a collection of polished work from over the course of the school year, so that students master skills that will prepare them for future academic excellence. Students share folder papers with faculty members and administrators before sending them home. Parents review the final work of their student on a monthly basis.
By Tenth Age, students have mastered these fundamentals and are ready to enter the Calvert Middle School with a sense of purpose and pride in their work. At Calvert’s Middle School, children are exposed to a wide variety of subjects, while continuing to master the skills learned in the Lower School. Teachers prepare students for future academic excellence by further developing foundational skills and critical thinking. Calvert prepares Middle School students for upper school through the work of an Upper School Placement Team, which begins in Seventh Grade. In Eighth Grade students prepare for school visits and routinely meet with a Placement Coordinator throughout the fall and winter.
In Middle School, students are exposed to a variety of programs to support them as they prepare for high school and beyond. Students partake in a student leadership program to help each student recognize their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses. At Calvert, Middle School students are tasked with important roles as they are the oldest in the school. Beginning in Seventh Grade, students apply for positions as school leaders. Once selected, these leaders serve as Calvert Captains, Diversity Club coordinators, and members of the Black & Gold Committee.
Middle School students also have a Middle School Advisory where each student is a member of a single-sex homeroom. During homeroom, the advisor/homeroom teacher monitors each student’s academic and social progress during three, twenty-five minute sessions per week.
To further enhance student leadership, Calvert also believes that community service is an integral part of the education experience. In order to provide meaningful experiences for students, students participate in a variety of projects ranging from stream cleans to writing letters to troops, and beyond. Projects are completed in a variety of settings and are tailored to the age group participating. By the time a student graduates they have a basic understanding of the community in which they live, they advance their problem solving and critical thinking skills, and they gain an appreciation for their ability to impact the world around them in positive ways.
Calvert School believes physical activity and athletic competitions play a big role in the lives of students as they build character, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
Lower School students meet for Physical Education classes multiple times a week. Once the children reach Ninth Age they join special teams called the Crows, Canaries, Hoppers, or Crickets. These are single-gender groups that compete with each other throughout the year in sporting matches. It is a wonderful way to foster a sense of belonging and school spirit as the students prepare to compete on interscholastic teams when they enter Sixth Grade.
Middle School has an extensive athletic program, including over twenty sports teams spread over three seasons. More than 90% of our students participate in team sports, which include football, flag football, field hockey, soccer, basketball, squash, lacrosse, baseball, and cross country. Our intramural program provides opportunities for our Fifth Graders, who can meet after school, to play a variety of sports and games with the goal of instilling a strong interest in healthy living.
The Calvert Home Instruction Division was originally developed by the School’s first Head Master, Virgil Hillyer, in 1905. Calvert’s homeschooling program is widely considered the first of its kind. The homeschooling program grew from a handful of students in the early years to over 10,000 per year by the 1990s and enrolled students in all 50 states and hundreds of countries throughout the world. In 2001, the homeschooling program became Calvert Education Services and in 2013 was sold to a private owner. Calvert Education Services is no longer affiliated with the day school.Julie Bowen, award-winning actress.
John Rawls, philosopher.
Frances Scott Fitzgerald, writer and daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
John Waters, film director, screenwriter, author, comedian, journalist, and visual artist.
Eric Puchner, novelist and short story writer.
Frank Deford, sportswriter and novelist.
Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; faculty member at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland; research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); author of numerous books, papers and edited volume chapters in public policy.
Peyton List, actress and model.