Independent School League (New England)

The Independent School League (ISL) is composed of sixteen New England preparatory schools that compete athletically and academically. Founded in 1948, the ISL's sixteen members compete in eighteen sports in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC). Notable to the league, they do not allow for schools to have postgraduate students compete in athletic competition, and consequently, many of the member institutions do not offer postgraduate programs. ISL schools are also not allowed to give athletic or academic based scholarships, and are only allowed to give need-based ones. The teams that make up the ISL are some of the highest rated schools in New England both academically and athletically.

Independent School League
Sports fielded
  • 18
RegionNew England


Charter members of the Private School League were Middlesex School, Belmont Hill, Brooks, Buckingham Browne & Nichols (BB&N), The Governor's Academy, Milton Academy, Noble & Greenough, St. Mark's, and Thayer. Like the Ivy League, the ISL began as a loose affiliation to promote football among academically rigorous, Northeastern schools; however, administrators formalized the league during 1948.

In 1968 Middlesex joined, and in 1972 Groton replaced Tabor – both private boarding schools in the Boston area.

In 1973 St. Sebastian's was added and in 1974 Roxbury Latin was added. The league changed its name to the 'Independent School League' in 1974.

St. Paul's, Lawrence Academy, The Rivers School and St. George's joined during the mid-1970s.

For 2017-2018, with the departure of St. Paul's, a new addition to the Independent School League is Tabor Academy (Massachusetts), joining the league in 2017 after playing as a non-league competitor against several of the schools for many years, and being one of the original founding members.[1]


School Location Colors Team name Established Enrollment Joined ISL Rivals
Belmont Hill School Belmont, MA              N/A 1923 420 1948 St. Sebastians, BB&N, Roxbury Latin
Brooks School North Andover, MA              N/A 1926 370 1948 The Governor's Academy
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School


Cambridge, MA          Knights 1883 1,025 1948 Belmont Hill School, Noble and Greenough
The Governor's Academy Byfield, MA          Governors 1763 375 1948 Brooks School
Groton School Groton, MA          Zebras 1884 350 1972 St. Mark's School
Lawrence Academy at Groton Groton, MA          Spartans 1793 375 1973
Middlesex School Concord, MA          Zebras 1901 350 1968 St. George's School
Milton Academy Milton, MA          Mustangs 1798 1,000 1948 Noble and Greenough
Noble and Greenough School Dedham, MA          Bulldogs 1866 625 1948 Milton Academy

Roxbury Latin

The Rivers School Weston, MA              Red Wings 1915 491 1973 Noble and Greenough
Roxbury Latin School West Roxbury, MA              Foxes 1645 300 1974 Belmont Hill School

Noble and Greenough

St. George's School Middletown, RI              Dragons 1896 350 1981 Middlesex School
St. Mark's School Southborough, MA          Lions 1865 325 1948 Groton School
St. Sebastian's School Needham, MA          Arrows 1941 350 1973 Belmont Hill School
Tabor Academy (Massachusetts) Marion, MA          Seawolves 1876 515 2017
Thayer Academy Braintree, MA          Tigers 1877 675 1948


ISL schools are noted for high tuition, wealthy students, academic excellence, superior college placement, athletics, and in many cases, storied histories. For example, the ISL features one of the United States' ten wealthiest boarding schools, Groton.[2]

The ISL features two of the United States' ten oldest boarding schools,[3] Governor's and Lawrence, and the oldest school in continuous existence in North America, Roxbury Latin.

The ISL also boasts the only day school to make the 2006 Forbes Most Expensive Private High Schools list: The Buckingham Browne and Nichols School.[4]


Each school's athletic program is run by an experienced and well-respected administrator, many of whom rose to their positions after successful coaching careers either at their present school or prior to their arrival.

School Athletic Director
Belmont Hill School George Tahan
Brooks School Roberta Crump-Burbank
BB&N Chuck Richard
Governor's Academy Claudia Barcomb
Groton School Robert Low
Lawrence Academy Kevin Potter
Middlesex School Kenneth Risley
Milton Academy Lamar Reddicks
Noble & Greenough School Alex Gallagher '90
The Rivers School Bob Pipe
Roxbury Latin School Tony Teixeira
St. George's School Rachel Horn
St. Mark's School John Levandowski
St. Sebastian's School David Hinman
Tabor Academy Conan Leary '97
Thayer Academy Rick Foredsteiré


Member schools compete in the following sports:


The ISL is currently divided into two divisions - the ISL 7 and ISL 9. Below are the 2017 divisions.[5]

BB&N Brooks School
Belmont Hill Groton School
Governor's Academy Middlesex School
Lawrence Academy Noble & Greenough School
Milton Academy The Rivers School
St. Sebastian's Roxbury Latin
Tabor Academy St. George's School
St. Mark's School
Thayer Academy
  • In 2017, Lawrence Academy (ISL 7) and Brooks School (ISL 9) claimed the league championships and both teams went on to win their respective NEPSAC Bowl Games.
  • 2016 Brooks won the ISL going 7-1 (4-0 in ISL 10) by defeating Lawrence Academy 20-0 in week 8 to clinch the title and a Bowl Game
  • 2012-2013 St. Sebastian's and The Governor's Academy won the Independent School League both going undefeated (9-0),and both won their respective bowl games.
  • 2011-2012 Governors Academy won the Independent School League Championships.
  • 2010-2011 Lawrence Academy and Rivers won a share of the ISL championship.
  • 2009-2010 Lawrence Academy won the Independent School League Championships.
  • 2008-2009 BBN won the Independent School League Championships.

Boys' Ice Hockey

The ISL is divided into two divisions for boys' ice hockey - the Keller Division[6] and Eberhart Division[7]

Keller Division Eberhart Division
Belmont Hill School Brooks School
Governor's Academy BB&N
Lawrence Academy Groton School
Milton Academy Middlesex School
Noble & Greenough School The Rivers School
St. Sebastian's Roxbury Latin
Thayer Academy St. George's School
Tabor Academy St. Mark's School

2018-19 Champions: Lawrence Academy (Keller) and The Rivers School (Eberhart)

In 2017, The Rivers School won the ISL Eberhart Division for the third time in four years (2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17)[8] and qualified for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Stuart/Corkery Open Tournament,[9] becoming the first ISL Eberhart Division team to do so. Rivers defeated Belmont Hill School and Phillips Exeter Academy to reach the final, where they lost to Kimball Union Academy.In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 season St. Marks School won the New England Prep Small School Championship, and in the 2014-2015 season Brooks School won the New England Prep Large School Championship. Both teams were from the Eberhart division on the ISL.

In 2011-2012 Lawrence Academy won the Independent School League Championship, as well as the NEPSAC championship defeating Nobles in the final round (3-2). In 2010-2011 Milton Academy went to win the Independent School League championship for ice hockey and then continued the success to win it all in the NEPSAC championship. In the 2009-2010 hockey season Nobles won the ISL championship. In the 2008-2009 hockey season Lawrence Academy won the ISL championships.

In 1988—then Governor Dummer Academy—won the Eberhart Division and the NEPSAC Div. II Championship defeating The Gunnery School. That win propelled GDA into the prestigious Keller Division where it has competed since 1988-89.

Of all the schools in the ISL, it is the newest, St. Sebastian's, that has had the most first round NHL draft picks (5). Their 5 picks are more than any high school in the US. Their most recent was in the 2015 NHL draft, when Noah Hannifin was drafted 5th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boys' Soccer

In 1948 eight local private schools banded together to form one of the first high school soccer leagues in the area. A number of the schools had been competing informally and a structured league was desirable. Full round robin play was not achieved until 1952 but has been a constant feature since that year. The original eight schools included Belmont Hill, Brooks, Browne & Nichols, Governor Dummer, Milton, Nobles, St. Mark's, and Tabor.

In 1948 a championship cup was procured and was named in honor of Richard Gummere, a longtime teacher and coach at both Browne & Nichols and Haverford College; the Gummere Cup is undoubtedly one of the oldest secondary school soccer trophies in the country. In 1968 Middlesex joined the group and in 1971 Roxbury Latin competed before joining permanently in 1974. 1972 saw Tabor leave the league and Groton join. That brought the league to ten schools where it remained until 1984.

The original Private School League had expanded during this time and had grown into the 16 school Independent School League. In order to include the six ISL schools not in Gummere Cup play at the time (Lawrence, Rivers, St. George's, St. Paul's, St. Sebastian's, and Thayer) the Athletic Directors created a separate ISL soccer league in 1980.

Because full round robin play was not possible at that time, North and South Divisions, each with eight schools, were established. A Championship Final was held on the Wednesday following the regular season.

Both the Gummere Cup and ISL competitions operated simultaneously from 1980 through 1983. Due to the ban on post season league-sponsored play no finals were held in 1982 and 1983. In 1984, a full round robin schedule was adopted and all sixteen schools began competing for the Gummere Cup.

The ISL has a tradition of providing a high level of play in soccer, fielding many competitive teams each year and sending numerous athletes to various college programs across the country each year.

School Number of Championships (Since 1980)[10] Most Recent Championship
Brooks School 9 2017
Noble & Greenough School 8 2011
Thayer Academy 5 2006
Milton Academy 3 2015
Lawrence Academy 3 2014
BB&N 3 2009
St. Paul's 3 2000
The Rivers School 2 2012
Belmont Hill 2 2008
St. Mark's School 2 1992
Middlesex School 2 2018
Groton School 1 1991

Girls' Soccer

Noble & Greenough have been the preeminent team in the ISL since 1981[11] and claimed the 2016 ISL Championship.[12]

School Number of Championships[11] Most Recent Championship
Noble & Greenough School 19 2018
Brooks School 9 2013
The Rivers School 4 2015
BB&N 4 2010
St. Paul's School 3 1992
Governor's 2 2012
Buckingham, Browne & Nichols 1 2017
Tabor Academy 1 2018[13]

Boys' Lacrosse

ISL lacrosse has sent many players to top division one (D1) lacrosse universities, and has had numerous All-Americans.

School Number of Championships[14] Most Recent Championship
Belmont Hill School 13 2017
Middlesex School 11 2012
Governor's Academy 9 2018
Milton Academy 2 2004
Noble & Greenough School 3 2018
Thayer Academy 1 2014
St. Sebastian's School 2 2017
The Rivers School 1 2009
Roxbury Latin School 1 2000
St. George's School 1 1990
St. Mark's School 1 1991


Boys ISL Champions: Groton School (15-0)

Girls ISL Champions: Milton Academy (15-0)

Girls' Ice Hockey

Many ISL schools participate in girls' ice hockey. The ISL has sent many women to D1 schools and to the Olympics. The 2018 champions were the Tabor Academy Seawolves (12-1).[15]

Boys' Basketball

The Independent School League has produced some of the finest players in New England High School Basketball history in addition to being an incredibly deep and competitive league. Since 2000, ISL players have earned the Gatorade Massachusetts State Player of the Year award six times:[16] Mike Jones (Thayer Academy, 2003), Richard Roby (Lawrence Academy, 2004), Stevie Mejia (Lawrence Academy, 2008), Nate Lubick (St. Mark's School, 2009 & 2010), and Azar Swain (The Rivers School, 2017).

Brooks School won its fifth consecutive ISL Championship in 2019[17] posting a perfect 15-0 record in league play for the fifth consecutive season. At the end of the 2018-19 season, Brooks' ISL winning streak sat at 84-straight victories while its overall winning streak was snapped by Hamden Hall in the first game of the season, ending a run of 66-straight victories.[18]

The Rivers School won the ISL Championship in 2013-14, posting a perfect 15-0 record in league play.[19]

Girls' Basketball

The 2018 and 2019 ISL champion was the undefeated (13-0 and 10-0) Tabor Academy basketball team.[20] Prior to Tabor joining the league and earning their 2018 and 2019 championships, Noble & Greenough had won the previous 14 Independent School League Championships. (2004-2017)[21]


St. Sebastian's won the 2017 ISL Championship by posting a 13-3 record. They previously had won the league title in 2007 and 1996.[22]

The Governor's Academy claimed the 2016 ISL Championship with a 12-4 record.

In 2012, Belmont Hill won the ISL championship by beating BB&N 11-1.

In 2011, Lawrence Academy capped of an undefeated ISL season(16-0,18-2 Overall) by defeating Rivers 13-2 and winning the league title.

BB&N is the 2010 ISL champion after completing the first undefeated season (20-0) in school history.

Belmont HIll, Lawrence Academy, St. Sebastian's, Milton Academy, and Governor's Academy are also consistently at the top of the league.


BB&N won the ISL in 2018 by posting a perfect 10-0 record.[23]

The Governor's Academy has dominated the ISL in recent years, claiming six championships in seven years between 2011 and 2017.[24]

Brooks was the preeminent team in the ISL from 1999 through 2007, claiming seven championships in nine seasons.


Only a few ISL schools participate in crew, but among those include: Belmont Hill, BB&N, Brooks, Groton, Middlesex, Nobles, Thayer, and St. Mark's races eight-man boats, and does not compete with the other ISL schools in head-to-head regattas. The regular season ends with the NEIRA regatta, with the top two boats automatically entered into the National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. Almost every year, a New England boat wins the national title. Some perennially strong crews include BB&N, Groton, Middlesex, Nobles, and Brooks, but Belmont Hill has been the most dominant program of late, they have won eight consecutive New England Championships (2003–2010) and four National Championships (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010) with its first boat.

School Home water Location
Buckingham Brown & Nichols Charles River Cambridge, Massachusetts
Belmont Hill Charles River Belmont, Massachusetts
Brooks School Lake Cochichewick North Andover, Massachusetts
Groton School Nashua River Groton, Massachusetts
Middlesex School Concord River Concord, Massachusetts
Nobles and Greenough School Charles River Dedham, Massachusetts
St. Mark's School Lake Quinsigamond Worcester, Massachusetts
Tabor Academy (Massachusetts) None, but practice in Sippican Harbor Marion, Massachusetts
Thayer Academy Bay Pointe Marina Quincy, Massachusetts


Most ISL schools participate in golf, though St. Mark's and Governors’ are the only ones with their own golf courses. Schools which participate: St. Sebastian's, Belmont Hill, Brooks, BB&N, Governor's Academy, Lawrence Academy, Middlesex, Milton, Noble & Greenough, St. George's, St. Mark's, Thayer Academy, Rivers School. In 2018, Tabor Academy will also join the league.

The schools play match play and their season takes place in the spring as opposed to the fall (Most publics and Catholics play in the fall.) There is a league championship each year awarded by a point system, and there also is a stroke play championship (The Kingman Cup) each year.


  1. "Tabor and the ISL | Tabor Academy". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  2. "Boarding Schools with the Largest Endowments (2017-2018)". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  3. "Boarding Schools with the Oldest Founding Date (2017-2018)". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  4. Riper, Tom Van (2006-12-11). "America's Most Expensive Prep Schools". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  5. "2017 ISL Standings". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  6. "2017 Keller Division Standings". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  7. "2017 ISL Eberhart Standings". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  8. "Four Rivers Teams Earn NEPSAC Tournament Invitations". The Rivers School. 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  9. "NEPSAC Boys' Hockey Tournaments 2017" (PDF). NEPSAC.
  10. "ISL Champions - ISL Champions - Independent School League". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  11. "ISL Champions - ISL Champions - Independent School League". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  12. "2016 CURRENT STANDINGS - Girls' Soccer - Independent School League". Archived from the original on 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  14. "CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY - Boys' Lacrosse - Independent School League". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  15. "Girls' Ice Hockey - Independent School League". Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  16. "Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year Awards - RealGM". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  17. "Winning Weeks". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  18. "For Brooks boys' basketball, it's 66 straight wins in ISL - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  19. "Boys' Basketball, Hockey Claim ISL Titles". The Rivers School. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  20. "Girls' Basketball - Independent School League". Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  21. "". Retrieved 2018-05-17. External link in |title= (help)
  22. "For St. Sebastian's, the (extra) hard work has paid off - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  23. "Calendar Report". Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  24. "The Governor's Academy: Teams & Schedules". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
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