School Life

Tenacre FAQs

Everything you have been wondering about Tenacre, but didn't know who to ask!

List of 27 frequently asked questions.

  • Is there an orientation day before the start of school?

    Yes. Children new to Grades 1-6 will be asked to come in for a 45 minute visit before school begins. Students will have their orientation in two groups. You should walk your child into the classroom, briefly help him or her get oriented and then leave to attend the TPA welcome coffee or go home. All of this is more easily accomplished when you leave younger siblings at home. You will be notified in the summer mailing as to when your child's orientation is.
  • What is the difference between the MidDay and After-School Programs?

    MidDay is an extended-day program for Pre-K (Monday through Thursday) and Kindergarten children (Monday and Wednesday) from 11:45 am to 3:25 pm. MidDay offers these young learners the opportunity to make social connections, engage in open-ended and creative projects, and to take advantage of independent and group work. Children bring their own lunch, and milk is provided.

    After-School is available to all grades, Pre-K through Grade 6, and runs from 3:25-6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 12:15-5:00 pm on Fridays. The program provides fun, creative arts and crafts, activities, sports and quiet games. A snack is provided, as is homework time for older students.
  • How long is the school day?

    Each school day begins daily at 8:00 am sharp. However, arriving 5 to 10 minutes early will always get the day off to a better start. Monitored, early morning dropoff for all ages is available starting at 7:15 am in the Dareshori Gymnasium on a daily basis.

    In Pre-K, school runs from 8:00-11:45 am, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00-12:15 pm on Friday. Starting Jan. 23, 2018, all Tuesdays and Thursdays will run from 8:00-3:25 pm.

    In Kindergarten, school runs from 8:00-11:45 am on Monday and Wednesday; 8:00-3:25 pm on Tuesday and Thursday; and 8:00-12:15 pm on Friday. All Wednesdays, starting January 17, 2018, will run from 8:00-3:25 pm.

    In Grades 1-6, school runs from 8:00-3:25 pm on Monday through Thursday, and 8:00-12:15 pm on Friday.
  • How do drop off and pick up work?

    Drop Off: Parents of Pre-K and Kindergarten students should park and walk their children to the classroom (unless they are using early morning drop off), arriving no earlier than 7:45 am. Teachers are busy preparing for the school day and cannot supervise children until the school day starts. Older children should be droppped off at the front entrance to be greeted by Mr. Elliot. To ensure safety, please use the crosswalks painted on the driveway.

    Pick Up: Pre-K (Monday-Thursday) and Kindergarten students (Monday and Wednesday) are picked up from a carpool line formed in front of the Dareshori Gymnasium at 11:45 am. Cars should enter from Benvenue Street and loop around through the parking lot.

    Older children are met from a pickup line in front of the Dareshori Gymnasium at 3:25 pm. At this time, all traffic is one-way through the new Tenacre driveway off Grove Street, exiting onto Benvenue Street. Friday dismissal is 12:15 pm for all grades. Parents wishing to pick up children on foot must park along the drive coming in from Grove Street. Before departing with your child, please be sure to check in with the teacher serving as "gatekeeper" (the one with the clipboard on dismissal duty). To ensure everyone's safety, PLEASE drive slowly and be alert for students on foot.
    If there is a change in your usual departure routine, an email or written note from home must go to the office via the homeroom teachers. Please understand that we will not let a child deviate from the normal arrangement without such notification.

    If you find you are going to be late for pickup, do not worry. Call the office with your approximate arrival time and plan to meet your child in the front office.

    You may not use your cell phone while driving on campus.

    * Note: Students from Wellesley are eligible to ride the Wellesley public school bus. Depending on your distance from school, there may be a cost. Please call the office for more information.
  • What towns do most Tenacre families come from?

    Tenacre families come from 23 cities and towns in the area, including four neighborhoods in Boston. In addition to Wellesley, these towns include Dedham, Dover, Medfield, Natick, Needham, Newton, Walpole, Weston, and others. About 47% of children enrolled at Tenacre come from Wellesley.
  • Will the school help me identify others with whom I could set up a car pool?

    During the summer, you will receive a Tenacre directory/handbook that will list all members of your child's class, as well as all Tenacre families by town, so that you may call a family to discuss the possibility of carpooling.
  • How does home/school communication take place?

    During the summer, you will receive the 2011-2012 Tenacre Directory and Parent Handbook. This a very important and useful booklet that includes the school calendar, all family and staff contact information, a list of students by town, TPA chairs, and more. The Handbook covers and/or expands on many topics found on this page of the website, such as school policies and procedures, and programs. Additional copies are available in the front office for $2. Please familiarize yourself with the Handbook prior to the start of school.

    The Tenacre website is a vital source of information, containing late-breaking changes in schedule (such as school closings) and information about school activities and committees, classroom newsletters, and sports schedules. Tenacre's website address is To log in now, click on "Our Community Log In" at the top right of the page. Your user name is the first initial and last name (lowercase, no spaces) of your name. For example, Amy Smith's user name would be asmith. The first time you log in, your password is your home zip code. Once you have logged on, you may change that.

    The Greenleaf will be posted on the website every Thursday afternoon. To view the Greenleaf, you must log in. The Greenleaf is located on the Tenacre Today page, where you are automatically directed upon logging in. This newsletter is a major source of information for both school and TPA events, programs, and policies. You should make it a habit to check for the Greenleaf every week to stay up to date on all aspects of school life.
    Many families print it out and post it on the refrigerator.

    Mr. Elliot holds open office hours every Wednesday from 8:25-9:00 am. No appointment is necessary. If a longer conference is needed, please contact Linda Nitschelm in the Office to schedule an appointment.

    You may also send an email to any staff or faculty at Tenacre and expect a response within 24 hours. All email addresses observe the following format: first name_last, using the addressee's informal name.

    During the week, you may phone teachers at any time during the school day and leave a voice mail message by using the "auto-attendant" line: 781-431-8575. Press * and then the extension of the person you want to reach. A staff directory will be an option. Teachers attempt to return call the day the message is left.
  • What is the TPA?

    The TPA is the Tenacre Parents' Association. All parents are automatically members and are welcome at all TPA meetings. The TPA works to foster good home/school communication and to contribute to the school through service, social, and financial endeavors. Helen Hamel is the TPA president for 2011-2012.
  • How do I volunteer?

    Every parent is encouraged to volunteer for various TPA activities and events. The sign-ups occur each spring with the sign-up sheet posted in the Greenleaf and on the school website. On reviewing your fall schedule, if you find you have time to volunteer for something that you didn't sign up for last spring, please contact TPA President Helen Hamel.
  • I know there’s a dress code, but what clothing is permitted?

    The guiding principle is that students should dress neatly, cleanly, appropriately, and with respect for learning. The Head of School reserves the right to decide if apparel, even if meeting the dress code guidelines, is not acceptable for school. Don't forget to label ALL clothing and equipment. The Lost & Found is located at the bottom of the gym stairway.

    For Pre-K and Kindergarten, play clothes, jeans, and sneakers are acceptable.

    Permissable clothing for Grades 1-6:
    • solid color, striped or "dressy" t-shirts
    • plain or Tenacre sweatshirts
    • sneakers that are clean, tied, or fastened and worn with socks
    • on hot days, sandals with heel straps
    The following restrictions apply:
    • dresses, skirts/shorts must be of a reasonable length
    • shirts with tails must be tucked in
    • no bare midriffs allowed
    • makeup is not permitted

    Clothing that may NOT be worn includes:
    • hats worn indoors
    • athletic shorts or sweatpants
    • tank tops or spaghetti straps
    • blue denim jeans
    • clogs and open back shoes
  • Are there any dress up or dress down days at Tenacre?

    Yes. From time to time, there are special events during the school year, such as December Celebration or class events, that require students to dress more formally. The Tenacre Closet (see description below) offers clothing for your child to borrow for these events.

    Pre-K and Kindergarten students usually do not need to dress up. Parents will be notified through the Greenleaf or a note from the homeroom teacher about these events.

    From time to time, the Student Council may sponsor what's called a "grub day" or special clothing day in support of various causes. On those days, the dress code is suspended and it is suggested that children bring in $1 to donate to the cause, but it is not mandatory.
  • What is the Tenacre Closet?

    This is a collection of gently used clothing donated by Tenacre families to be borrowed for any of the school's dramatic productions and/or other special occasions where more formal clothing is required (such as a blazer for a boy or dress shoes). Clothing or shoes are then cleaned and returned to The Closet.
  • Is there a gym uniform my child needs to wear?

    For Grade 3-6 students, there is a P.E. uniform of Tenacre shorts, t-shirt, sweatshirt, and sweatpants. Uniforms are worn by students in these grades during most P.E. classes. All students in Grade 3 and new students in Grades 4-6 are provided with a complete uniform free of charge at the start of the year. Students change in the locker room and have a locker in which to hang their clothes. Replacements or extra gym clothes may be purchased from the Office during the summer or once school starts, during regular school hours. There is also a special game uniform for 5th and 6th graders. These are handed out during P.E. class.
  • Do children play outdoors on cold winter days?

    Parents should exercise common sense and send their children dressed for play outdoors according to the weather in any season. On cold, snowy days, snow pants, hats, and gloves/mittens are a must for younger children. Students may be restricted to the hardtop areas of the playground unless they have appropriate footwear! Recess is held outdoors twice a day, every day, weather permitting.
  • What happens if my child becomes ill at school?

    Tenacre has a school nurse, Mary Torrence, on site from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Her contact information is: 781-431-8575 x211 or

    If your child feels ill at school, he/she will be evaluated by Mrs. Torrence, and you will be contacted, if necessary. You may also phone the nurse with any general health questions. If your child is ill outside of the nurse's hours, the front office is trained to take care of his or her needs.

    Please be sure we have up-to-date emergency contact numbers for your family or anyone else who you designate to pick up your child.
  • Do Pre-K and Kindergarten students rest at school during the day?

    No. The morning schedule does not include a rest time. Children who stay for MidDay rest after lunch.
  • Does my child have a cubby or locker in which to keep things?

    Yes. Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grades 1, 2, 5, and 6 have cubbies in or near their classrooms. Children in Grades 3-6 keep their gym clothing in their lockers in the Boys and Girls locker rooms across the hall from the gym. Grades 3 and 4 also use these for their outdoor clothing.
  • Where does my child eat lunch Monday through Thursday?

    Pre-K and Kindergarten students staying for MidDay bring and eat lunch in their classrooms. On long days, Kindergarten students bring lunch from home and eat in the lunchroom prior to the all-school lunch time. Grades 1-6 eat in the lunchroom. Children are assigned to a lunch table on a biweekly basis, along with several classmates, children from other grades, and a member of the staff or a parent. Please call the Office if you would like to volunteer to host a lunch table. Your child may join you at your table that day.
  • What if my child doesn’t like the hot lunch that is served on a particular day?

    A salad bar is available every day, as well as soup, cereal, and cold cuts on alternate days. Bagels, cream cheese, jelly, bread (wheat and white), yogurt, and fruit are always available, as are a variety of types of milk and juice. Monthly menus are attached to the Greenleaf, so you can talk about healthy choices with your child ahead of time. Children in Grades 1-6 may not bring lunch from home.
  • How are food allergies handled at Tenacre?

    Please report any food allergies to Mrs. Torrence, our school nurse, as well as to your child's teacher and the Front Office. Tenacre works hard to be a nut-free school! This includes birthday or VIP treats, as well as all parent events that take place on campus. Please remember this as you prepare or purchase any food to bring to school. If your child has special dietary needs, please contact Mrs. Torrence and your child's teacher.
  • Will my child’s birthday be celebrated at school?

    Yes. If you choose, you may make arrangements with the teachers to send in a special, nut-free snack for your child to share with his or her classmates. In addition, we sing Happy Birthday to students during morning assembly or lunch. Summer or vacation birthdays are acknowledged as a group at the start and end of the school year.
  • How does the school handle religious holidays?

    It is not possible for the school to close in observance of all religious holidays. Please be in touch with the school if your child celebrates a holiday not mentioned. It is the school's policy not to give tests or quizzes or have major assignments due on those days. Teachers are encouraged to give minimal homework. Often there will be an assembly led by either a teacher or parent that highlights the meaning and traditions associated with a holiday. If you would like to share a family tradition at an assembly of this of this type, please email Sam Reece at
  • What is Tenacre’s homework policy?

    Tenacre believes in relevant homework, but not busy work. Parental involvement in homework completion should be minimal and restricted to providing review or support. No new school assignments will be given on Wednesdays that are due on Thursday. Please see the Directory/Handbook for more specific time guidelines and information for each grade level. Grade 5 and 6 students receive their weekly assignments on Monday so they can plan their week. Assignments are also posted on their class websites.
  • What if our family needs to be away during the school year?

    Missing school puts undue pressure on your student, who then must try to make up topics taught and work missed. Of course this is more of a problem in Grades 1-6. Except for very unusual circumstances, students should not be taken out of school, including the days directly preceding vacation. On these occasions, permission must be requested from the Head of School for absences other than illness.
  • What is Tenacre’s “tardy” policy?

    Students are expected to be in their homeroom every day by 8:00 am. In Grades 1-6, if your child arrives after 8:00 am, he/she will be marked "tardy." Tardies are noted on students' reports.
  • What supplies should my child bring to school each day?

    He/She need not bring pens, pencils or other supplies, as they will be provided. It is, however, helpful to bring a backpack or other bag to carry home books, homework, art projects, dirty gym clothes, etc.

    At orientation for Pre-K, Mr. Elliot gives each child a Tenacre bag that serves this purpose very well.
  • What team sports do 5th and 6th Graders participate in?

    Students in these grades play soccer/field hockey (girls) and soccer/flag football (boys) in the fall; basketball in the winter; and baseball/softball in the spring. Opponents include Chestnut Hill School, Fessenden, Dedham Country Day, Charles River School, Meadowbrook, Rashi, and others. You will receive game schedules from the P.E. department prior to each season. In years past, Grade 5 games have been held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and Grade 6 games have been held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. In addition, schedules are posted on the website, where you will also find phone numbers and directions to opponents' schools.

    Please note: Your child is expected to play in all games, unless ill or injured. P.E. is an integral part of our curriculum. Every effort is made to complete games before the end of the school day.

Health & Well Being

Nut Policy
Tenacre attempts to balance the needs of each individual and provide a safe and inclusive environment for all of our students. With the increasing rate of peanut/nut allergies among children, it was decided to adopt the following policy:
Tenacre does not allow items on campus that contain peanuts or tree nuts. This includes food prepared in our kitchen, purchased from vendors, or brought to school by members of our community. In addition, every effort is to be made to avoid any cross contamination, hidden allergens, or indirect exposure in foods at school, on field trips, and in arts and crafts projects.

Lunch and Snack
Tenacre offers a healthy lunch to students in grades 1-6, four days a week (every Friday is a 12:15 p.m. dismissal). Students have the option of choosing the hot meal or a variety of foods from tables in the center of the lunchroom. There are four center tables that offer: 1) fresh fruit; 2) fresh vegetables and a salad bar; 3) whole grains and granola; 4) eggs, cold cuts, yogurt, and SunButter (a sunflower seed spread that looks and tastes like peanut butter, but is peanut-free). Drinks include skim and 1% milk, fat-free chocolate milk, and water. A sample hot meal is hamburger sliders on whole-wheat buns, baked chips, raw carrots with low-fat ranch dressing, and all-natural applesauce.
In addition to lunch, Tenacre provides a morning snack for all students. Snack includes fresh fruit and low-fat cheese daily, as well as graham crackers, animal crackers, pretzels, and goldfish on different days. Children may choose water or juice to drink.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
In accordance with Massachusetts law, Tenacre instituted a bullying prevention and intervention plan in January 2011. Please click on the button at the bottom of this page to read Tenacre's plan.
Tenacre nurtures and challenges each child, every day.