brentwood boiling spring schoolhouse 3-5-19–02

The Boiling Spring Academy school house at Primm Historical Park Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in Brentwood, TN

Photographer: Steve Harman @harmanvisuals


The Boiling Spring Academy program, which has taken place for more than a decade in Brentwood, will have to make some adjustments for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Changes to the Williamson County Schools (WCS) social studies curriculum for second and third grade students have necessitated a shift for the academy. 

City Commissioner and Historic Board member Anne Dunn said Tuesday that the Boiling Spring Academy program has taken place for roughly 14 years. 

The academy gives classes from Brentwood city schools a chance to visit the academy which sits on a Smithsonian-excavated and well-recognized prehistoric site which was once home to Mississippian mound builders. The property, also known as the Fewkes Site, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The students experience “a day in 1845” and are guided by retired teachers who transform into schoolmarms for the day. The students experience everything from a spelling bee to a lesson on ciphering and are even exposed to a dunce stool with a cone hat.

More: Students experience a ‘day in 1845’ at Boiling Spring Academy

For the last 10 years, the students who attended the program have always been second graders. Due to the recent WCS curriculum change, however, the students whose social studies classes meet the objective taught by the Boiling Spring Academy will now be third graders.

“The ones who will be in third grade this year got [to attend Boiling Spring Academy] last year at second grade,” Dunn said at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. “So, this year we cannot offer it to Brentwood third graders.”

Dunn said a meeting recently took place between herself, City Manager Kirk Bednar, Historic Commissioner and Boiling Spring Academy chair Carole Crigger, WCS Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Schools Denise Goodwin, and WCS Superintendent Jason Golden to discuss how the changes would affect the academy. 

“They helped us work through what we need to do and it was a wonderful meeting,” Dunn said. 

During the lapse year, Dunn said the team at WCS offered to help arrange for schools outside of Brentwood to attend the academy. 

Dunn said there were several reasons the city would not want to skip a year of offering the program, such as retaining the “roster” of teachers and aides on whom the city relies for the program. 

“We don’t want to lose any of them during the down year,” Dunn said. 

The Historic Commission has been working on contacting new teachers and principals to prepare the program for upcoming changes, Dunn said. The commission must also make changes to its booklet to align with the new curriculum for third graders. 

For more information on the Boiling Spring Academy, visit the city of Brentwood’s website here