History of Merriam

A Little About Us

Merriam School is one of the six elementary schools serving the Acton and Boxborough communities. Located in the main campus at 11 Charter Road, we share the Parker Damon building with the McCarthy-Towne Elementary School. Merriam offers a project-based curriculum. At Merriam, teachers loop with and teach the same group of students for two years (that is, a teacher will teach first grade one year, second grade the next and then wrap back to first). Merriam's philosophical foundations make Merriam a special school.


The mission of the Merriam School Community is to create and sustain an environment that promotes academic excellence, encourages social development, fosters emotional well-being and instills a passion for life-long learning.

Tide Pools


Deeply rooted in Merriam’s philosophy is the idea that students, teachers and parents share an active role in decision making and feel empowered through their involvement with the school. Students have opportunities to make choices in their classrooms that really affect them, from creating classroom constitutions to deciding what to sell in the school store. Teachers are empowered to make significant decisions, including those regarding the school’s budget, curriculum and operation. By design, parents are also deeply involved in making a wide range of important decisions, such as setting the school’s goals, evaluating the school’s progress, hiring new teachers and designing the plans for school improvement.


In 1958, the town of Acton built a new 20-room elementary school on Charter Road. In 1962, that school was dedicated to Florence A. Merriam who retired after 35 years of teaching in Acton. Florence was born in South Acton in 1894. Her family manufactured piano stools. She was surprised to have a school named after her and remained involved with the school after retirement. That 20-room school is now the Administration Building which houses the preschool. The new Merriam School is in the Parker Damon Building which it shares with the McCarthy-Towne school. The Parker Damon Building was named for McCarthy-Towne's first principal, J.Parker Damon.


“The ‘thinking society’ of the twenty-first century can no longer be content with graduates trained to take in and recycle information handed out by teachers and other authority figures. Today's students must be taught to think for themselves and to generate new information. But you cannot say: ‘We will lecture you about how to be creative, and then we will measure your creativity with this multiple-choice test.’ We need a whole new approach to designing and running schools.”

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