Falmouth Academy was founded in 1977 as a small and rigorously academic day school for boys and girls in grades 7–12. Because we believe that education—especially high school education—should be personal, Falmouth Academy is determined to remain small, with about 36 students per grade and an average class size of 12, so our teachers and students can know each other. Because we are committed to making FA accessible to area families, we have a substantial financial aid program. Currently about 40 percent of our students receive financial aid.
Falmouth Academy opened in the basement of a retirement home with 43 students in grades 7-11, and 16 part-time faculty—talented, dynamic teachers who valued their work, their colleagues, and rich conversations. Two years later, FA moved to another rental property on the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne.
In 1982, the trustees appointed Bruce E. Buxton, as FA’s fifth headmaster. Drawn to the school because of the remarkable quality of its teachers, Mr. Buxton stabilized the young school’s finances and governance, oversaw its growth, and maintained its focus. Under his leadership, FA moved to its permanent campus in Falmouth, launched three successful capital campaigns, achieved full enrollment, built competitive sports teams, and became a national model for a small American high school. FA also became one of the Cape’s largest and greenest employers and a leader in town recycling efforts.
In 1985 Mr. Josiah K. Lilly III gave Falmouth Academy 34 acres next to prime conservation land, near to the town center and between Falmouth centers for medicine and the arts. With the help of FA families, staff, trustees and friends, the school moved into the new 16-classroom building in time for the opening of the 1989-1990 school year.
The new school since has undergone two significant renovations. The first, in 1997, added a gymnasium to accommodate our inclusive and league-winning sports teams. The second was a three-story, 15,000-square-foot addition in 2006 that gave more space for our students’ and teachers’ imaginations: state-of-the-art science labs, two art rooms, offices, a computer lab and the Bruce and Patrice Buxton Library.
Mr. Buxton retired in 2005. After a thorough national search, the trustees hired David C. Faus to be FA’s sixth headmaster. He has overseen the completion of the new wing, made the handsome library a center for research, study and quiet conversation, expanded our summer programs, instituted Falmouth Academy for Adults classes taught by FA teachers, and installed the first wind turbine in Falmouth.
Because our core curriculum requires every student to study history, English, math, science, and a foreign language every year, all FA students develop not only a common core of knowledge but also the community bond of conversation among students and teachers. In addition to academic work, our teachers and students participate in more than 40 arts electives. We encourage all students to join one of our sports teams.
FA students come from a broad area of southeastern Massachusetts that is roughly bordered by Martha’s Vineyard, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Duxbury and Brewster. We have hosted more than 60 international students from about 24 countries.
Falmouth Academy is also an important and respected community center for meetings, music, art and environmental activism. Both in school and out of school, our students and teachers are active in the wider community.
Falmouth Academy is one of the Cape’s largest and greenest employers and a leader in town recycling efforts, earning regional and state awards. In addition to building the first wind turbine in Falmouth, we annually recycle almost 70 percent of our waste paper, cardboard, metals, Styrofoam and other packing and food and beverage container materials, and we collect more than 2,000 pounds of vegetable matter for compost, which we use on our gardens and fields.
The school is the home of The Simon Sinfonietta, Soundfest at Falmouth Academy (an international string quartet festival and institute run by the Colorado Quartet) and the Cape Cod Theatre Project, which brings New York actors, directors, and writers to the Cape to introduce new American plays.