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Results tagged “Trinity-Pawling School” from Boarding School Blog - onBoarding Schools

From hearsay to media reporting, the subject has found the light. The economic slowdown has, and will, affect private schools and their families. In an earlier post, we noted Trinity Pawling School Headmaster, Arch Smith's open, honest letter on the matter; his was the first public discussion from a school administrator that we'd seen on the topic. In the tight world of New York City private schools, the financial climate has prompted several schoools to publish similar letters addressing admission, financial aid, and school fiscal health.

Winnie Hu and Alison Leigh Cowan wrote "Private Schools Say They're Thriving in Downturn" in November 28th's New York Times. Alongside the article, the Times provides copies of letters from seven schools addressing the current financial situation. You can download each as a pdf file.

The article title proves more optimistic than the content. While some schools may indeed live through these times unscathed, the latter 2/3 of the article features the ways in which schools are working lower costs and live in leaner times.

I find the honesty and candor reassuring and comforting. We can work with the problem when it's out in the open. Let us know what you think about this challenge by leaving a comment. We'd love to add your thoughts & ideas to the conversation.
Let's be blunt; the crazy year in the financial markets is crushing and causing a wholesale resetting of budgets in priorities for everyone in tuition based education. Collegiate losses of endowment value and income are affecting college budget priorities and decisions. Wealthy, heavily endowed colleges and universities are paring back- beginning with (most obviously) building programs.

All parts of college and school budgets are under pressure. Three recent articles provide good insight into the shortfalls and compromises that everyone in tuition driven education faces.

Colleges Struggle to Preserve Financial Aid (New York Times)

Citing tough economy, Northeastern shelves dorm plan (Boston Globe)

MIT looks to slice $50m from budget (Boston Globe)

From an admission and financial aid standpoint, budget constraints bring the student's ability to pay back into the admission equation.

From the above New York Times article:

"Morton Schapiro, president of Williams College in Massachusetts, which has long had a commitment to accepting students without considering their financial situation, said he doubted that all colleges with such full need-blind policies would be able to hold to them.

"The major dial you turn for most financial crises is that you admit more students who can pay, as a way of increasing revenues," Mr. Schapiro said. "With the tremendous decline in wealth, I think fewer people will hold on to needs blind."

Less money means similar cuts on the boarding school world


Tight budgets, declining endowment values and family's ability to pay now sit squarely in the middle of every boarding school head's, business manager's and admission director's office. Suddenly, with a smaller endowment, less endowment income and fewer families willing and able to pay full price, the strain on boarding school budgets is enormous. Schools have less income while facing current budgeting and increased demand on financial aid.

Frustrating we don't see or hear a vigorous public conversation about the problem- along with thoughts on how to address it. Deep into this fall, word on street from schools was that all was fine- that the numbers look good. We kept squinting, shaking our heads and wondering how?

Beneath the veneer, we heard some quiet rumblings.

On November 11 a headmaster, put the truth on the table and in the light for all to see. Arch Smith, Trinity-Pawling School head, authored and sent a letter to the greater T-P community. He acknowledged the reality of the situation and publicly spoke of the ways that T-P will adjust and pursue its mission while insuring its future. The school will tighten its belt and behave prudently.

We commend and appreciate Mr. Smith's willingness to confront and talk about this issues. With concerns in the open, everyone- schools, families, faculty, boards, and donors- can see, understand, think about and adjust to current realities and constraints. Only after illuminating and and elucidating everything can we all make the best decisions about the best ways to sacrifice, persevere and arrive at a resolution wiser and more prudent.

Mr. Smith's letter is the best piece of open, forthright management that I've seen from a school in recent memory. You can read his full letter at the T-P web site.

A Special Player Finds a Different Route to Stanford and NCAA BCS Football

Don't miss the Sports Illustrated story about Trinity Pawling School student Shayne Skov and the international route he's taking to Stanford football.

Suffice to say, the story begins in California, moves to Mexico, back to California, to New York, and back to California. Include international living, personal growth, academic ability, athleticism and the serendipitous connections between boarding school faculty members and you have quite a story.

Read about Shayne Skove journey in Sports Illustrated.
We came across a great story about Trinity-Pawling School's dining hall renovation that will leave the school without a permanent dining room for the 2008-2009 academic year. The story of how the school will work through the renovation is a testament to planning and it's just fun.

How do you feed the community while the dining hall is a construction site? If you're lucky, you have another building or two that can serve as temporary dining rooms.

T-P tore down their old dining hall, but left the left the kitchen standing and fully functional. The hockey rink will serve as the dining room until the ice goes down in late fall. When the ice goes down in late fall, a new maintenance barn will be partially complete and this building will serve as the second temporary dining facility until the new dining room, Scully Hall, is finished.

Food Service moves every meal from the kitchen to the hockey rink and the school has added new vehicles to support their mobile role. As T-P Food Service Director Mark Barone told the Pawling News Chronicle, "It's like doing a wedding three times a day, seven days a week."

Underlying this year's fluid dining situation is Trinity Pawling's dedication to sit-down meals and their importance to the daily interaction among students and faculty.

Scully Hall will also be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) compliant.

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