The Greenwich Country Day School acquires The Stanwich School

The+Greenwich+Country+Day+School+acquires+The+Stanwich+School

The Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) announced Monday, November 20, 2017, that it acquired The Stanwich School (Stanwich). GCDS and Stanwich, both located in Greenwich, CT, are private, co-educational schools, but, while GCDS serves Pre-K through ninth grade students, Stanwich serves Pre-K through 12th-grade students. With the merger of these two schools, a new private high school will open in September 2019. 
The new, co-ed high school will be named Greenwich Country Day High School and will be located at the Stanwich campus. Additionally, students in Pre-K through eighth grade will commute to the existing GCDS campus. This consolidation will make GCDS the largest independent school in Connecticut, according to greenwichtime.com.
The GCDS Board of Trustees voted unanimously on the decision to take possession of Stanwich and managed to obtain the school by assuming all of the school’s current operations, debts, and endowments. As a result, no formal sale took place between the two schools, according to greenwichtime.com. 
The goal of this unification is to create a new, leading, co-ed private school that is different from existing private high schools in Greenwich. GCDS and Stanwich believe that their future school will successfully enroll residents of Greenwich and other surrounding towns.
GCDS Headmaster Mr. Adam C. Rohdie and GCDS’ President of the Board of Trustees Mr. Daniel W. Offit discussed the motivation behind the new school in a letter posted on the school’s website. 
“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 letter said. 

https://www.stanwichschool.org/stanwich-fast-facts
An aerial view that displays The Stanwich School’s campus on Stanwich Road in Greenwich, CT. Courtesy of stanwichschool.org.

Apart from the need for a new school, Stanwich’s financial struggles reveal a potentially different motivation behind the merger. The school would probably not have been able to continue sustaining their current program without financial aid, as their average high school class size is 12 students, with a student to faculty ratio of six to one, according to stanwichschool.org.
Stanwich Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Ms. Naomi Azrak and Mr. Andy Richard and Stanwich’s Headmaster Mr. Charles Sachs discussed the school’s recent challenges in a letter to the Stanwich Community. 
“In recent years, demographic and economic factors have changed the competitive landscape for independent schools in the Fairchester area. The impact on our enrollment and resources has begun to challenge our long-term ability to sustain our program,” the letter said, according to stanwichschool.org.
GCDS intends to offer top-notch facilities by upgrading Stanwich’s existing campus on Stanwich Road and wants to give a competitive education to its students.
“This combination will create one of the leading college preparatory schools in the country, including a state-of-the-art high school facility on our current campus. Importantly, it ensures the steady continuation of the many tenets of our mission that are shared by GCDS,” an announcement posted on Stanwich’s Facebook said. 
http://www.dm-la.com/greenwich-country-day-school/
Students sitting outside the campus of The Greenwich Country Day School, located in Greenwich, CT. Courtesy of dm-la.com.

Sacred Heart Greenwich sophomore Grayson Bennett attended Stanwich in middle school, and her siblings are currently in the sixth and eighth grades there. Grayson noted that through this merger, Stanwich will lose part of its identity.
“None of Stanwich’s traditions will be kept in place. The Stanwich name will not be associated with GCDS, and Stanwich will no longer be acknowledged as a school,” Grayson said. “GCDS also does not incorporate any of the religious aspects nor any of the core Stanwich values that have shaped my family, and others, into the people we are today.” 
Sacred Heart Head of School Mrs. Pamela Juan Hayes ’64 commented on what the consolidation means for the Greenwich community as a whole.
“It’s probably really nice for the families of students at the Greenwich Country Day School, because [their children] now have the option to stay through high school, so it would be a natural fit for them,” Mrs. Hayes said. “Students at The Stanwich School now have the ability to go through high school there with a bigger pool of candidates. I think it’ll be a nice addition to the town.”
Mrs. Hayes also discussed the implications of Stanwich’s financial difficulties and whether this is a sign of difficult times for independent schools in the Fairfield and Westchester counties. 
“I think all over the country, schools sometimes struggle with their enrollment just because of cost. We have to find ways to keep costs down so that it’s more affordable for parents,” Mrs. Hayes said. “But private education, especially the kind of education we offer gives a girl a unique opportunity in this world, making it worth every single penny.”
– Katherine Santoro, Staff Writer
Featured Image Graphic by Katherine Santoro ’19