GCDS Announces High School

November 20, 2017

Dear Members of the Country Day Family,

We write to you with exciting and historic news. The Greenwich Country Day School and The Stanwich School announce today that we have entered into an agreement in which GCDS will consolidate and assume all operations of The Stanwich School to open The Greenwich Country Day High School (grades 9-12).

With a unanimous vote to approve this agreement, your Board, with the support of our administration, faculty, and staff, will work to create the premiere, coeducational, independent high school in the country. After major renovations and enhancements on the current Stanwich campus over the next twenty months, the first students of the GCDS High School will enjoy a state-of-the-art facility and curriculum beginning in September 2019. This agreement will usher in the next significant chapter in the 91-year history of The Greenwich Country Day School.

We believe that creating an independent, coeducational, local high school option will significantly benefit our families—both now and in the decades to come. We also recognize that this exciting announcement raises many questions about how this development will influence and improve the GCDS educational experience.

While we will continue to share further details as the high school program is designed, we would like to begin by sharing with you the factors that shaped this important decision and the key aspects regarding timeline and implementation.

Why now?

There have been many inflection points in our school’s long history that were met by forward-thinking parents and educators. From the time when three Greenwich mothers, dissatisfied with the local options for their boys, decided to start a school combining the warmth of family life in a day school setting with the academic rigor and character-building programs of the best boarding schools, to the move of our campus from North Maple to Old Church Road, to the merger with Rosemary Hall and the subsequent move from single sex to coeducation, each of these decisions further strengthened and enhanced what has become a leading school in America.

Once again, the stars have aligned to make this current opportunity one that we must pursue. The current demographic trends, the changing competitive landscape, and the longstanding desire within our parent body for a Country Day High School make this the perfect time to act. We believe significant demand exists for a coeducational, independent, college preparatory, secondary school in Greenwich, serving our community and the wider Fairfield and Westchester area. The concept of creating a high school program has been discussed in the boardroom throughout the years, and this current Stanwich opportunity is unique due to the proximity to Old Church Road (less than two miles), the physical assets and land, and the compatibility of the two schools.

The GCDS High School will complement and strengthen our current elementary and middle school programs. The decision to extend our current program to high school students was undertaken after extensive analysis and due diligence both at the Board level as well as with school leadership and outside experts. Ultimately, this decision comes down to one central question: What is in the best interest of our children? The addition of a high school will allow generations of children to continue their Country Day experience—one that is rich in academic excellence and character development.

Extending our unique, values-based learning experience from nursery through twelfth grade—emphasizing our positive school culture, unique educational philosophy, and outstanding academic preparation—will advance the school’s mission "to discover and develop what is finest" in our students.

The vision for the GCDS High School

Many leading educators agree that the most innovative high schools of the future will likely be “built anew,” unencumbered by existing schedules and structural barriers. We have the unique opportunity to build a high school program that combines the best attributes of innovative, 21st century learning with the character-based skills that have been a tradition of our community for 91 years.

Our commitment to academic rigor and achievement will incorporate both our school’s values and current research for what is best for healthy adolescent development. With this foundation, we will design learning experiences that are both challenging and relevant. The vision for our High School is one that extends, deepens, and strengthens our mission, educational philosophy, and student experience in preparation for college and leadership in the 21st century.

Leadership of the GCDS High School

We are currently in the process of identifying a Head of the High School and a Director of College Counseling, who will be hired in the coming weeks. These top-tier professionals, along with our current team, will be joined by educational consultants to spend a full year planning and preparing for the opening of the new school. They will travel across the country speaking with colleges and leading secondary schools in the process of developing the strongest program for our first high school students.

Enduring commitment to an exceptional nursery through grade 8 program

The Board of Trustees and school leadership are committed to ensuring that the magic that is created every day on Old Church Road is honored and properly cared for. The excellence that is part of the Country Day experience will be brought forward—both in maintaining and strengthening the elementary and middle school programs and in creating our new GCDS High School.

In the fall of 2019, we will welcome current Stanwich students in grades 1-8 onto the Old Church Road campus with a warm Country Day hug. Throughout this transition, we are dedicated to preserving the close community feeling where every child at GCDS is known and loved; and with thoughtful planning and preparation, we anticipate being able to include the students from Stanwich (which has an average of 16 or fewer students in each grade) while achieving even lower student-teacher ratios by adding additional sections in appropriate grades.

Timeline for the new GCDS High School

December 2017 – August 2019

  • Hiring of Head of High School and Director of College Counseling
  • A year of dedicated planning and preparation for opening the High School
  • Major renovations and enhancements on the Stanwich campus
  • For the 2018-2019 school year, current Stanwich students continue to attend school at Stanwich

2019-2020 School Year

  • GCDS High School opens in September 2019, grades 9-12
  • GCDS welcomes current Stanwich students in grades 1-8 onto the Old Church Road campus

Further Discussion

A hallmark of Country Day has always been open and transparent lines of communication between the school and our broader community. We hope that you will join us in celebrating this pivotal moment in our history. We will hold several town hall meetings to discuss the new high school and to answer more of your questions.

The responsibility entrusted to GCDS to educate, prepare, and care for the well-being of your children is one that guides us in everyday moments of learning, as well as in moments such as this when we envision what is possible in the years to come. We are so excited to think about what we will all create together

Adam C. Rohdie
Headmaster
Daniel W. Offit
President, Board of Trustees
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