The Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, also known as CRLS or "Rindge," is a public high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It is a part of the Cambridge Public School District.
In 1977, two separate schools called the Rindge Technical School and Cambridge High and Latin School, merged to become what today is known as Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS).
The school is divided into groups called 'Learning Communities.' Currently, the Learning Communities are called C, R, L, and S.
Until June 2000, the subdivided schools were known as the Houses of Pilot, Fundamental, House A, Academy, Leadership, and the Rindge School of Technical Arts or RSTA. In 1990, RSTA became a "house" within the main CRLS school. The "Houses" then became "Small Schools" 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The High School Extension Program, at the site of the old Longfellow School, just down Broadway, offers a nontraditional approach to the high school learning process, handling only 60–100 students at a time. In 2009 and 2010, the building became a temporary freshman academy to accommodate renovations.
CRLS is also noted for its diversity.
Beginning in 2003, the City of Cambridge mobiized an ambitious plan to renovate the high school. The project was claimed to be "the first major renovation and refurbishing of the 35-year-old high school building." The project continued to be pushed back, due to state funding issues and other obstructions along the way. In 2006, the state announced a return in funding, and by the Spring 2007 the School Committee started looking at wider ranging renovations for the building. The renovations were completed according to schedule, under way from 2009 to 2011.
CRLS is actually several separate schools combined into a greater whole. In 1642, the year Harvard College's first class of nine young men graduated, and the General Court made it the duty of Cambridge to require that parents and masters properly educate their children or be fined if they neglected to do so. (Girls, however, did not usually attend public schools until 1789, when Boston voted that "children of both sexes" should be taught in the reading and writing schools of their newly reorganized system.) In 1648, Cambridge set up a public grammar school, Master Elijah Corlett's "lattin schoole," making Cambridge the fifth town (after Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, and Salem) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to do so. Corlett's schoolhouse came into the possession of Old Cambridge in 1660, and over the next century was succeeded by several new buildings. The public school that evolved from Cortlett's original was a "grammar school" in a double sense: an English grammar school for Old Cambridge and a Latin grammar school (teaching the rudiments of Latin and Greek) for all Cambridge. The school generally aimed to prepare students for admission to college:
“And by the side of the colledge a faire GRAMMAR Schoole, for the training up of young Schollars, and fitting of them for ACADEMICALL LEARNING, that still as they are judged ripe, they may be received into the colledge of this Schoole. Master CORLETT is the Mr., who hath very well approved himselfe for his abilities, dexterity and painfulness in teaching and education of the youth under him.”
By 1832, public schools in Cambridge were open to girls as well as boys. In 1838, Cambridgeport organized a public high school to serve all of Cambridge at the corner of Broadway and Windsor Streets. However, since the location was not easily accessible to either Old Cambridge or East Cambridge, most of the new high schools' students were drawn from Cambridgeport. In 1843, Old Cambridge set up the Female High School, and East Cambridge completed its Otis schoolhouse. Not until 1848 did plans to merge the high schools of the three competitive wards overcome sectional differences. This marked the origin of the Cambridge High School, which began in a new building erected at the corner of Amory and Summer streets and was immediately flooded with over 135 applicants.
The Cambridge High School was divided in 1886: its classical department became the Cambridge Latin School and its remaining departments the Cambridge English High School. The English High School was located at the corner of Broadway and Fayette Streets, while the Latin School was transferred to the Lee Street church, which had been renovated to receive it. At the time of the separation, the high school contained 515 pupils, and 16 teachers. Six teachers and 165 pupils went to the Latin school. In September 1888, the Cambridge Manual Training School for Boys (to become Rindge Tech), founded and maintained by Frederick Hastings Rindge, was opened to the boys of the English High School. In 1892, the English High School moved into a commodious new building on Broadway; Rindge had presented the land to Cambridge at a cost of $230,000. The EHS's old building at Broadway and Fayette was remodeled, and the Latin School moved in. By 1896, the Latin School had grown so quickly that plans were underway for another new building (cost approx. $250,000) that would stand on land adjacent to the English High School building and the Public Library.
In 1977, Cambridge High & Latin and the Rindge School of Technical Arts and were merged into Cambridge Rindge and Latin, or CRLS. The old Cambridge High & Latin building was demolished in 1980, but the old granite lintel and doorway frame have been put in place at the corner of Ellery Street and Broadway as a commemorative archway, leading into the grassy fields of Joan Lorentz Park.
In 2001 there was an attempt to restructure the Cambridge Rindge & Latin school under headmaster Paula Evans, which had found controversy. She resigned shortly afterwards. After her resignation she began efforts to create a charter school, which became the Community Charter School of Cambridge (CCSC). Colleen Walsh of the Boston Globe said that Evans's charter school efforts "touched off a firestorm" and that "many people" were upset at her because they perceived that she had abandoned Cambridge Rindge & Latin.
As of 2009, Cambridge Rindge and Latin remains one of the most diverse schools in the United States, with over 83 different countries represented within its halls.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the school was subject to multiple accusations of inherent racism in its infrastructure, which led to the disbanding of the original houses, as well as the changing of the original school mascot from a bust of a Native American to a yellowjacket, and eventually to the currently-used falcon.
The school's newspaper, Register Forum, has the distinction of being the oldest continually published public high school newspaper in the country. The newspaper was first founded in 1891 as the C.M.T.S Register, the name was further changed to the Rindge Register, and in 1977, when the two public high schools in the city merged, their papers merged as well. The Cambridge Latin Forum merged with the Rindge Register to become The Register Forum. Since then, the paper has won numerous awards in high school journalism. The Register Forum now publishes 10 editions per year at the end of each month, September to June. Those editions range from 8 to 24 pages, and focus on events around the school. The paper is printed at The Harvard Crimson press.
Athletics have always played a major part in the school's extracurricular activity structure, and most of the school's 30 teams have received some form of statewide recognition of excellence. The 11 fall and winter sports take place between September and Thanksgiving (the day of the football team's final game), and between the first Monday following Thanksgiving and February/March. The ten spring sports start on the third Monday in March, and finish in late May.
The teams are supported by the fundraising efforts of Friends of Cambridge Athletics (FOCA) who sell "Cambridge Athletics"-branded clothing to subsidize the teams.
CRLS is also known for its extensive and rigorous arts programs, with a particular emphasis on visual and performing arts. The school has programs in photography, graphic design, fine arts, pottery, a modern dance company, a jazz band and an orchestra. The school's drama department has won numerous awards and frequently competes in the yearly statewide drama festival, having reached the finals level four times in the past five years. The technical theater department is frequently singled out for excellence.