Renbrook at a Glance
Renbrook School provides students in preschool through grade nine with a robust, purposeful, and developmentally appropriate educational experience of the highest caliber.
Small classes in an intimate community of supportive and caring teachers allow for an individualized approach to learning—enabling each child to learn to take appropriate risks and identify and cultivate his or her own strengths.
Founded in 1935, Renbrook is an independent day school for students comprising two divisions:
Lower School: Preschool through Grade five.
Upper School: Grades six through nine.
Average Enrollment: Approximately 360
Lower School Class Size Range: 12-17
Upper School Class Size Range: 10-16
Accreditation: Renbrook School is accredited by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and approved as a non-public school by the Connecticut State Department of Education, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.
Campus: 75 acres of woodlands, wetlands, hiking trails and gardens, four athletic fields including tennis courts, a high-and low-ropes course, three pools, three playgrounds and a natural pond for science study.
Indoor Classrooms: Science labs and STEAM classrooms for both the Lower and Upper School, two theaters, music and arts studios, a Junior Makerspace and Upper School Makerspace, Upp and Lower School Math Centers, computer labs, three Harkness Table classrooms in the Upper School and a 16,600 square foot Library and Technology Center.
Arts and Athletics: 15 sports offerings for grades six through nine with every student participating in physical education. 10 different performing groups in a variety of Arts opportunities.
Child Care: Before and After School Care and Vacation Care are offered.
Renbrook School Summer Adventure Camp: The Renbrook School Summer Adventure day camp is in residence June through August and is in it's 43rd year.
Diversity: Enriched by the racial, cultural, national, religious, ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our school, Renbrook prepares students for success in the global future which awaits them: 32% of the student population includes students from biracial, Asian, African-American, Caribbean-American, Latino/a, and Middle Eastern backgrounds. Renbrook is a founding member of SPHERE, a multicultural consortium of independent schools.
Financial Aid: 26% of the student body receives financial aid in grants of all sizes.
Mathematics Center: This suite of classrooms, office, computer labs & tutoring space is dedicated exclusively to the science and art of mathematics for students in grades six through nine.
Technology: Renbrook is a fully connected campus, maintaining high-speed Ethernet network and Internet connections, as well as a wireless network which is accessible to students. Mac laptops are used across campus. AppleTVs, wireless mobile labs and SMART Board installations enrich the teaching and learning experience. Students regularly use Geometer’s Sketchpad, graphing calculators, and other advanced educational software.
Renbrook: A School Founded by Parents
Renbrook School began with a conversation in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. John Lee of Farmington, Connecticut.
There, the Lees and seven like-minded families decided to establish a progressive, learn-by-doing school on the model established by educator John Dewey.
Founded in 1935, the Tunxis School—named in recognition of the Native American tribe that was local to the Connecticut River Valley—was housed in an aged Victorian home at 2431 Albany Avenue in West Hartford.
With three teachers and 17 students aged three to nine, the school grew under the guidance of Florence Greene, who would serve as the headmistress for 32 years.
Within months, an increase in enrollment forced the small school to change location, moving to a rambling old house at the corner of Farmington and Outlook Avenues. The new institution enrolled 39 students and was renamed Junior School.
Two years later, enrollment had reached 69 and Junior School purchased a building lot at 950 Trout Brook Road. There they built the first home of their own, comprising six classrooms.
The move was made during spring vacation in 1938, after teachers had painted all their mismatched furniture the same shade of blue you can see on campus today.
1940's & '50s
Despite the hardships of World War II and the post-war years, the school grew steadily stronger. By 1956, Junior School was bursting at the seams—240 students were enrolled, and a waiting list counted more than 100 children.
In response, Headmistress Greene and her trustees decided they needed to expand both the campus and the curriculum.
When the estate of Frederick B. Rentschler, founder of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, announced it would lease its family home to a worthy not-for- profit institution, Junior School applied for theopportunity. The result? Success, thanks to Faye Belden Rentschler, Mr. Rentschler’s wife and an ardent supporter of children’s early education.
Selected first among 18 applicants, the school was awarded the rental of the Albany Avenue home at $1.00 annually. In appreciation, the Junior School renamed itself ‘Renbrook,’ the original name of the Rentschler estate.
1960's and beyond
In January of 1958, the school moved to its new location at 2865 Albany Avenue. Within 10 years, the enrollment grew to 470 and the program expanded to carry students through ninth grade.
In 1996, when the Faye Belden Rentschler Foundation merged with Renbrook School, Inc., it inaugurated a new era for the school.
Renbrook today enrolls almost 400 students from more than 35 cities and towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and celebrated its 80th anniversary in the academic year 2015-16.