Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Academy academic program?

The junior year entails challenging, interactive, frequently team-based classes in mathematics, science, computer science, research, humanities, foreign languages, science writing, physical education, and extracurricular programs. We emphasize learning to think independently and analytically. The senior year matches the freshman year at WPI with possible transfer of academic credit. Please see the School Profile [link] for more information.

Is the Academy a private school?

No. The Academy is a public high school for 11th and 12th graders located at 85 Prescott Street near the WPI campus in Worcester and is a collaborative effort of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, its public schools, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Academy is FREE to all 11th grade Massachusetts residents.

What districts do students come from?

Students have been admitted to the Academy from more than 70 public school districts and from several private schools throughout the Commonwealth.  

What is the difference between a charter school and the Academy?

A charter school is a public school that operates independently from a school committee under a five-year charter granted by the Board of Education and must attract and admit a cross-section of the district’s population. The Academy, however, is classified by the state as a "school of excellence" and can best be thought of as a state-wide math and science magnet school that is linked to a research university. Academy students are selected competitively based on grades, teacher recommendations, standardized test scores, and a diagnostic test.

What is the relationship between WPI and the Academy?

The Academy is an administrative unit within WPI. Academy students have use of WPI’s state-of-the art facilities during their junior and senior year.

How is the Academy funded?

The Academy is not funded by the sending school districts. All funding comes directly from the state and is supplemented by privately raised funds. A substantial amount of in-kind contributions come from WPI. Students purchase books, math software, lab safety equipment, and supply transportation.

What is the typical school year schedule at the Academy?

School begins in mid-August and ends in May. Juniors attend school from 7:45 am - 2:45 pm daily, with extracurricular programs running from 3:00 - 4:30 pm Monday through Thursday. Vacations occur in October, December-January, and March to parallel the WPI schedule. Seniors maintain a WPI college schedule.

What extra-curricular activities are available to Academy students?

The Academy offers a full spectrum of activities and events including, but not limited to, student government, FIRST Robotics, Mock Trial, Math Team, CS Team, photography, Lab Technology, CAD, fitness, dances, movie nights, a semi-formal and prom.

Are Academy students able to participate in sports from their sending school?

Due to the academic demands during the junior year, it is difficult (but not impossible) to participate in sports. Seniors, however, can arrange their schedules to participate in sending school sports. The Academy maintains full cooperation with the sending school districts and the MIAA has ruled that our students are eligible to practice and compete on high school teams under Rule 52 of the MIAA Handbook.

Do Academy students take MCAS?

Students take the MCAS at the Academy if they have not taken the exam in a previous school.

Is transportation provided to the Academy?

No. Students must get the Academy on their own. However, parents frequently arrange car pools, and there is a secure parking lot for students who drive. There is also shuttle service between the Academy and WPI that runs before 7:30 am and 5:00 pm daily.

Where do Academy students matriculate?

Graduates attend many of the major prestigious colleges and universities in and outside of the United States. See our News and Events webpage for more information.


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