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Parts and Crafts
155 Powder House Blvd, Somerville, MA 02144
The Parts and Crafts Collective is a Somerville-based educational program offering classes, workshops, weekend eventsMore and open shop Mondays at the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church on Powder House Road. Conceived as a "free schooling" experiment, the collective provides the resources, supervision and safe environment for self-directed and interactive arts, science and engineering learning. Visit the Parts and Crafts website for scheduling and rate information.
West Somerville Neighborhood School
177 Powder House Blvd, Somerville, MA 02144

This newly renovated, state-of-the-art K-8 school is home to over 320 students, including a whip-smart ScienceMore Olympiad Team that makes a habit of winning state prizes. The school's location near Tuft's University creates opportunities for joint programs. A very active PTA hosts events and fundraisers as well as Family Nights to draw the school community together. Meanwhile, the school itself "places a strong emphasis on differentiated instruction and inclusion in the classroom for all students."

Outside, the modern building is flanked by a school garden out front, a playground on the side, and a black-top area behind the school for outdoor exercise. The school is an international demonstration site for the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, a nonprofit program that aims to help students set goals and achieve them. The social-emotional curriculum, Second Step, is also taught to students in grades K-6. Numerous after-school activities are also offered.

Principal Thelma Davis leads the school. Test scores are available on the school's website and here.

Tufts University
Powder House Sq & College Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

When Charles Tufts donated the land around Walnut Hill in 1852, he envisioned a "Light on the Hill." A century and aMore half later, his vision seems to have come to fruition, as those few windswept acres now hold one of the nation's premier universities. With 10 schools ranging from the undergraduate college to the prestigious Fletcher School of International Relations, Tufts has certainly flourished from its humble roots. 

Though famous for its elite international-relations program, Tufts is more than esoteric foreign languages and future diplomats. Tufts holds several championship titles across its division, NESCAC. Its on-campus dining facility is ranked among the top three in the nation (usually losing out only to culinary schools), and its study-abroad program is consistently ranked No. 1 in the nation. 

Community resources: The university also offers many perks for area residents. Their Tufts Neighbors web page includes a calendar of arts, culture, and sports events, as well as lectures, that are all open to the public. They've made room on their campus for a public community garden, a playground, and the Tufts Playing Field park. Students volunteer in the community, and each year school staff donate to the Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund, which supports programs in their host towns of Somerville, Medford, Grafton and Boston's Chinatown. Residents may use the school's library resources on site (but books may not be checked out). And watch for Community Day each fall. At this on-campus festival, residents are treated to live music and dance as well as school tours and good eats.  

Fun fact: After a generous donation from P.T. Barnum early in the school's life, Jumbo the elephant (allegedly Dumbo's friend) became Tufts' mascot, and his visage can be found all over the hilly campus.

Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church
155 Powder House Blvd, Somerville, MA 02144

At the core of Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church is a profound belief in openness and inclusion. "We are a realMore progressive, open and affirmative congregation," says Rev.  Karl Gustafson. "We are all about art, peace, justice, inclusiveness and wide open thinking. We have lots of space for all kinds of people."

Sunday services are followed by coffee hours and thoughtful discussions about the day's sermon. Music for services comes about in a casual manner. Gustafson says their "fabulous" pianist often writes original pieces to go along with other musical selections that are practiced directly before the service "by whomever shows up."

"I like to say we are a half a bubble off plumb here…meaning we're not quite ordinary," he says.

A limited Sunday school program is offered, and a Peace, Justice and Mission Committee organizes events to address local and global issues. The Church also provides space to The Nave Gallery, and in collaboration with ARTSomerville they sponsor exhibitions and concerts there and in the church sanctuary.

Founded in the 1920s, today the congregation is small—about 40—but its multicultural membership hails from across the globe.