Oxcart schools were the first type of schools in Needham. They were called "oxcart schools" because they were a small building on a small cart pulled by oxen. The school was pulled to the places with the most kids lived. Kids only went to school for four weeks. Inside the school there was a stove in the center and chairs around it.
Needham's oldest remaining school building was someone's home. It is called "The Little Red Schoolhouse" and was built in 1842 for $600. It was moved from 278 Central Avenue to the Newman School. Students can visit the Little Red Schoolhouse and see what school was like in 1850. For more information about the Little Red Schoolhouse and its move visit Old Houses of Needham.
Photo of Needham Public Schools Screen
There are 5 elementary Schools in Needham (1999): Broadmeadow, Mitchell, Newman, Hillside and Eliot. There is one Middle School (Pollard) and one High School (Needham High School).
Newman used to be a Middle School and there used to be 5 more Elementary Schools: Carter, Highland, Stephen Palmer, Harris, and Avery. Emory Grover was the High School. Some of them got knocked down, but some of them are still up and are different things. Harris School got knocked down and it is now Perry Park. Highland got knocked down and is now condos. Stephen Palmer is now a Senior Center and Condos. Carter and Avery are now Condos, and Emory Grover is now the administration building for the Needham Public Schools.
What is the Harris School today?
Photo of Harris School and Park
Schools start in September and end in June. Children start elementary when they are 5 and graduate from high school when they are 18, so they have thirteen years of schools including kindergarten.
Jonathan Avery was long ago known as the “founder of Needham Heights.” His son-in-law, William Carter, was famous for his knitted underwear. Both men had schools named after them. John Eliot School got its name from Reverend John Eliot, known as “the Apostle to the Indians.” An apostle is a person who spreads a belief. This name was appropriate because Nehoiden, Needham’s “own Indian” received his schooling from John Eliot. Needham Heights remembers its famous people who did important things for the town.
Kathleen Martell, Instructional Technology Specialist
Needham Public Schools, Needham MA