Indian Mountain School

Indian Mountain School

Infobox Private School
background = #f0f6fa
border = #ccd2d9
name = Indian Mountain School
motto = Life Through Service
established = 1922
type = Coeducational,Junior Boarding
religion = No religious affiliation
head_name = Headmaster
head = Mark A. Devey
city = Lakeville
state = CT
country = USA
campus = 600+ acres
enrollment =252
colors = Maroon and gray
mascot = Falcons
homepage =

The Indian Mountain School is an independent coeducational boarding school for children grades pre-K through 9, located on two campuses in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA.

The Indian Mountain School Lower Campus is a primary school, grades pre-kindergarten through 4, while the Upper Campus is home to students grades 5 through 9. Indian Mountain accepts boarding students in grades 6 through 9.

Indian Mountain School is often abbreviated as IMS.

"Indian Mountain School boarding program combines the elements that are essential to the critically important middle school years: a broad and rigorous curriculum with a strong study skills program at its center; a participatory and competitive athletic program; a comprehensive program in music, fine arts and performing arts; and a strong sense of family within a supportive community. Building self-esteem is the goal of the Adventure Education Program that includes camping trips to the White Mountains and use of the on-campus low and high ropes course."


In 1916, Francis Behn Riggs purchased land and buildings on the site of the present Upper Campus. Educated at Groton and Harvard, Mr. Riggs was deeply affected by the First World War and believed that the prevention of another such conflict lay in the eradication of urban poverty and ignorance. To this end, he opened the Riggs School, a proprietary corporation committed to the operation of an agricultural high school. This school combined a college entrance curriculum with coursework designed to instruct students in all aspects of farm management. Tuition was kept low and summer vacations were shortened so that a portion of each season was spent on the farm. Each boy was “required to earn a total of $60 per year through productive work and earned the nominal rate of from 2 cents to 10 cents per hour.”

By 1922, it was clear that Mr. Riggs’s social experiment was not a sound financial adventure. On the advice of his former headmaster at Groton, Reverend Peabody, Riggs changed the name of his school and its direction. Taking the name of the hill behind the property, Riggs opened a younger boys boarding school designed to prepare students for the entrance examinations of secondary boarding schools, most of which were individualized. Classes and dormitory space were located in a large building adjacent to and south of the present tennis courts; Hadden House served as a gymnasium and faculty housing. The boys ranged in age from eight to fourteen and received semi-tutorial instruction and the benefits of country living. Indian Mountain School enrolled eight boys that first year.

The motto, “Life Through Service” was adopted from the Riggs School and applied to the new Indian Mountain School. The farm continued to operate for the benefit of the school kitchen, and boys engaged in an active outdoor life. By 1928, the enrollment had reached 30 boys. Near disaster was weathered when that November the main school building burned completely. Riggs was able to raise the substantial funds to construct the present fireproof brick and cement structure in time for the opening of school in September 1929, just months ahead of the Stock Market Crash. At the same time, the school was incorporated not for profit and chartered under the laws of Connecticut to “maintain forever a school for the training and education of boys and young men.” The new building, designed for forty students and their instructors, was full that fall.

Riggs retired in June 1939, after 23 years at the school. The trustees appointed William M. Doolittle to be the School’s second headmaster. By remarkable coincidence Mr. Doolittle had, while a young master at Salisbury School ten years earlier, followed fire trucks up Indian Mountain Road and had helped empty the contents of the burning school building.

Mr. Doolittle began the year with only 18 boys enrolled, but the situation improved steadily. For the first time, boy day students were accepted, and in 1941 girls were taken as day scholars. In 1942, Mr. Doolittle was given a leave of absence to serve in World War II. In his place, Louis H. Schutte, former headmaster of the Rumsey Hall School, served as Acting Headmaster for four years.

In 1946, Mr. Doolittle began a fourteen year program of building and expansion. During his tenure, the younger grade levels were gradually phased out, field space was increased, the mountain was crisscrossed with ski trails and lifts, and the curriculum was expanded. At the School’s fortieth anniversary in 1962, the enrollment stood at 130 students. In 1968, a ninth grade was added, thereby arriving at the configuration of the grade levels which remained until the addition of the Town Hill Campus in 2003.

Throughout this period, the purposes of the School were stated as follows:

“The purpose of Indian Mountain School is to prepare its students for leading secondary schools. Real preparation aims at both admission to secondary school and success thereafter. Thus we maintain not only high scholastic standards, but also concern ourselves with all other aspects of each student’s development. For a student must gain a respect for serious effort, good habits of day to day work, and an understanding of how to live and play happily in a group, if he is to continue successfully throughout his educational program.”

In July 1970, Mr. Doolittle and his wife, Constance retired. They had spent more than 30 years at the helm. The school of 18 boys and a handful of buildings had grown to a coeducational community numbering 150 students on a sprawling country campus.

In the subsequent 34 years, Indian Mountain School experienced more than its fair share of poverty and prosperity. The enrollment rose and fell and rose again. Facilities were added, interior spaces reworked or renovated, field space increased, and the mountain became an outdoor education center. Three of the four headmasters in that period were removed from their posts amid uproar and public scrutiny. Yet the school and its mission endured.

Richard W. Rouse was first to follow Mr. Doolittle and moved into the newly constructed headmaster’s residence. During his six years as head, Doolittle Dormitory was built and dedicated, and the enrollment remained fairly constant. His successor, Peter Carleton, oversaw the addition of a new gymnasium and Stockton dormitory, while pushing the school’s enrollment to its highest point. Moreover, during Mr. Carleton’s administration the size of the endowment increased significantly. During the subsequent administration of Mark Fish, the school reinstituted a girls' boarding program, constructed an Adventure Education facility on Indian Mountain, and dealt with a precipitous drop in both enrollment and endowment.

C. Dary Dunham was appointed in 1992. He assembled a faculty dedicated to the future of the school and the fulfillment of its mission. The enrollment increased steadily, the curriculum was reviewed and reworked, and the reputation of the school grew stronger. In 2000, the school completed the building of a new library and science wing, which significantly increased the physical size of the school. Two years later, in 2002, the school also added a new music wing and expanded the auditorium to add much needed stage and seating space. Outdoor athletic space was also increased, adding a new baseball field located beyond the new library and science wing and a new girls playing field. On July 1, 2003, Indian Mountain School experienced a major transition. The school merged with the neighboring pre-k through fourth grade school, formerly known as Town Hill School.

In 1946, Indian Mountain School and Town Hill agreed that Indian Mountain would begin offering grades five through nine, while Town Hill would concentrate on grades kindergarten through four. Town Hill attracted an increasing number of families as its reputation grew. Enrollment steadily increased. A pre-kindergarten was established for the 1987-1988 school year at Town Hill School.

In September 1997, ground was broken on the twelve-acre site. Town Hill school moved to its new campus in August 1998.

In 2002, the trustees of the Town Hill School introduced the subject of a merger to the trustees of Indian Mountain School. The merger was approved and became official on July 1, 2003. We now exist as the Indian Mountain School with two campuses and serve students in grades pre-k through nine.

Since the merger in 2003, the Town Hill Campus, which is now called the Lower Campus, was led by Trish Hochstetter. Trish was formerly the Learning Skills Specialist. She continues to serve in that capacity, while working as the Lower School Head.

In July 2006, Mark Devey became Indian Mountain’s eighth Head of School. He immediately oversaw the expansion of the girls’ dormitory, pushed for the addition of new technology to the math and science departments, and introduced a new film project titled, “IndiMountain Films.” The school maintains its commitment to serving children in a supportive and nurturing environment.


Also known as IMS, Indian Mountain School is building its arts program into a greater possibility for students. They have created an "Electives" program, offering everything from Film Production to Ancient Greek to Monty Python. IMS puts on one play (in the fall/early winter) and one musical (in the winter. Recently, they have put on "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "The Wizard of Oz" (both 2005, "Fools" and "Damn Yankees" (both 2006), and most recently, and excellent rendition of "Harvey" by Mary Chase (2007), a difficult feat for even a high school, but they pulled it off wonderfully. The music program is thriving at IMS, with over 70% of students are taking guitar and at least 90% taking some sort of music class [Mountainettes (a girls' singing group for 8th & 9th graders), guitar, string quartet, ensamble, drums, etc. And, for those who are particularly interested in an instrument, there is Music Appreciation] .

=Athletics=Indian Mountain School has six playing fields and three all-weather tennis courts to accommodate IMS athletes during the fall and spring seasons. During the winter, athletes make use of the gymnasium, the basketball and squash courts, and the ice hockey rinks at The Hotchkiss School. Additionally, ski teams train and compete at Catamount Ski Area.

Offerings by Seasons
**Varsity Football
**JV Football
**Cross Country
**Boys Varsity Soccer
**Girls Varsity Soccer
**Boys JV Soccer
**Girls JV Soccer
**Bobcats Soccer (6th Grade)
**Bears Soccer (5th Grade)
**Girls Volleyball
**Independent Sport
**Boys Varsity Basketball
**Girls Varsity Basketball
**Boys JV Basketball
**Girls JV Basketball
**Varsity Hockey
**JV Hockey
**Varsity Ski Race
**JV Ski Race
**Recreational Skiing
**Independent Sport
**Boys Varsity Lacrosse
**Girls Varsity Lacrosse
**Boys JV Lacrosse
**Girls JV Lacrosse
**Varsity Tennis
**JV Tennis
**Reacreation Tennis
**Varsity Baseball
**JV Baseball
**Outdoors Club
**Independent Sport

=Secondary School Matriculations=Members of the Classes 2007 and 2008 moved onto an impressive list of secondary schools at the end of academic year, 2006-2007.

**Avon Old Farms
**Ethel Walker School
**The Gunnery
**Hotchkiss School
**Kent School
**Loomis Chaffee School
**Marvelwood School
**Pomfret School
**Salisbury School
**Suffield Academy
**Taft School
**Westminster School
**Westover School
**Berkshire School
**Dana Hall School
**Groton School
**St. Mark's School
**Tabor Academy
**Williston Northampton School
**St. James's School
**Hebron Acadmy
*New Hampshire
**Phillips Exeter Academy
**Proctor Academy
*New Jersey
**Lawrenceville School
*New York
**Millbrook School
**The Hill School
*Rhode Island
**St. George's School
**Putney School

=Notable Alumni=
John G. Avildsen - Director of Karate Kid & Rocky & Rocky V [James Becket] -independent film producer and director [Jerome Doolittle] author, journalist and speech writer [Henry Schrady] noted sculptor

James Wagstaff - TV Show Contestant Jeopardy India & Hell Date

External links

* [ Indian Mountain School website]
* [ Indian Mountain School profile] provided by

ee also

*preparatory school

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