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Edward Devotion School

Updated: 2017-08-17T16:10Z
Edward Devotion School

The Edward Devotion Elementary School, affectionately known as "Devo," is a public elementary school located at 345 Harvard Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, United States. The school was founded in 1894 on land bequeathed to the town by Edward Devotion (1667–1744) and is probably named for his eponymous grandfather (1621–1685),[1] the constable for what was then Muddy River around 1650. Devotion's 17th-century house[2] is preserved by the Brookline Historical Society[3] and stands amidst part of its original gardens in the school's forecourt.

The school was attended by John F. Kennedy from kindergarten in 1922 to third grade.

Name Origin

The Edward Devotion school is named for Edward Devotion, who settled in Brookline around 1650 and built the Edward Devotion House, which remains one of the oldest colonial structures in Brookline and the site of the Brookline Historical Society, and for his son, Edward Devotion, Jr.[4] In addition to ensuring sufficient funds for his wife, Edward Devotion Jr. chose to leave a substantial bequest to the town for the purpose of building a public school. His will stated, in relevant part, "In case my estate prove to be sufficient to pay my just debts and legacies . . . . then my will is and I hereby authorize to the Town of Brooklyn toward building or maintaining a school as near the center of the said town".[5]


The school is attended by over 800 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, drawn primarily from the Coolidge Corner neighborhood, and is the largest of eight public elementary schools in Brookline. The school emphasizes diversity, with English being a second language to over one third of the student body, among which about 40% are English Language Learners. Roughly 37% of students are non-white or multiracial. [6]


The school is currently undergoing reconstruction, expected to complete in August, 2018. [7] For the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years, the student body is split between two temporary buildings, termed Lower Devotion School (grades K-4) and Upper Devotion School (grades 5-8).[8] The principals of Lower Devotion are David O'Hara and Jennifer Buller, [9] and the principal of Upper Devotion is Monica Crowley. [10]

Student life

The school has a Parent Teacher Organization supporting activities including field trips, "Arts Council," a science fair, Math night, and an International Night.[11]

Until 2005, the school librarian was award-winning author Norman H. Finkelstein who wrote the book The Other 1492[12] (not to be confused with the similarly named professor Norman Finkelstein). Another former librarian, Christine McDonnell, is an author of many popular children's books including Dog Wants to Play and Ballet Bug. She retired in 2014.

In popular culture

The school is the inspiration for Abigail Adams Junior High School, the fictional school featured in the Beacon Street Girls children's books series.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Biographical entry
  2. ^ House website
  3. ^ Brookline Historical Society website
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
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  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Photo-article showing Finkelstein with Devotion students

External links

Coordinates: 42°20′40.35″N 71°07′26.19″W / 42.3445417°N 71.1239417°W / 42.3445417; -71.1239417

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