Dear Members of the Hyde Community,
We write to explain a significant development in our ongoing efforts to provide quality, transformative education while honoring our responsibility to secure Hyde’s future.
Yesterday the Board of Governors voted to accept an offer from Woodstock Academy (CT), the local public/private secondary school, to purchase our Woodstock campus. Pending completion of the transaction, beginning in September 2017, we will consolidate our two campuses into a single campus at Bath. The current school year will continue uninterrupted at Bath and Woodstock until graduation. At the conclusion of the current school year, all Hyde-Woodstock students are both invited and encouraged to continue their Hyde enrollment in Bath. We will, at both Fall Family Weekends, host meetings to address the questions and concerns of current parents and students. As we prepare our consolidation plan, know that our decisions will be guided by a clear mission: To provide the best version of Hyde ever offered to all of our students and families, regardless of which campus they currently attend.
A transition plan for our faculty, coaches, administrators, and staff is equally important and underway. We expect some of the Connecticut team will transfer to Maine, and they will be welcomed with open arms. A key factor in our decision was Woodstock Academy’s stated intention to make every effort to offer employment to those not transferring to Maine. While Hyde and Woodstock Academy may hold differing educational philosophies, we both share a deep commitment to helping young people become successful and fulfilled adult citizens. This commitment will live on as the campus changes hands.
Last year we completed a strategic plan that outlined our educational path forward. This plan assumed the continuance of a two-campus model. However, when Woodstock Academy unexpectedly approached us with a serious offer, we were compelled to consider the alternate path on which we have embarked. Working in concert with our senior leadership team, the Board conducted a thorough analysis of the opportunity in order to make the best decision for Hyde’s future.
As hard as this decision was for us, the consolidation resulting from the sale of the campus creates the platform for long-term financial sustainability by creating opportunity for a better focused, more streamlined enterprise, one that will enable us to:
- Deliver program excellence through rigorous improvement and increased choice;
- Attract, develop, reward, and retain the best possible faculty and administrative team;
- Build a steady enrollment pipeline in an increasingly competitive market;
- Create new ways to expand the reach of Hyde’s educational programs.
We recognize the uncertainty and anxiety a significant change like this can have on everybody. Know that we are devoted to doing everything possible to ensure a seamless and productive transition for our students, parents, employees, alumni, and friends. Also know that our steadfast intent is to offer “The Best Possible Hyde” to each and every one of the above.
The Woodstock campus will forever hold many fond memories for all of us. At risk of understatement, scores of committed and effective educators have made countless inspiring and wondrous things happen there for kids and families during the past 20 years. Since Woodstock’s founding, we have been “one school, two campuses.” We have also long maintained that Hyde is “an idea first and a place second.” Our senior leadership team and Board of Governors share a strong belief that this transition will serve to strengthen that idea while enriching our educational excellence and securing our financial well-being as we prepare to meet the future.
We understand that this news will come as a surprise to many and are committed to providing regular updates and a thoughtful transition process. As we move forward, Malcolm Gauld will personally be leading the transition plan and team, working closely with teachers, administrators, and staff members from Bath and Woodstock. We welcome your thoughts and comments and look forward to working with you in the days and years ahead.
Nancy Brennan Lund
Chair, Board of Governors
Hyde Consolidation – Q & As
What will happen to students at the Woodstock campus?
First, their 2016-17 experience will continue uninterrupted through the school year. Then all students in good standing will be invited and encouraged to transfer their enrollment to Bath for the 2017-18 school year.
What will happen to the faculty and staff at each campus?
Our commitment is constant: To offer a superlative team of faculty and staff to deliver the Hyde education. We expect that several Woodstock faculty and staff members will transfer to the Bath campus. Some will move on to other non-Hyde opportunities as is consistent with most years. One of the particularly attractive aspects of this arrangement is the fact that Woodstock Academy has stated its intention to make every effort to offer employment to those faculty and staff who do not move to Bath.
How did the opportunity arise?
We were first approached in the spring of 2016 by representatives from Woodstock Academy who were exploring potential opportunities for expansion of their facilities in the local area. Prior to that inquiry, we had initiated no activity in regard to selling the Woodstock campus.
How was this decision made?
As it became clear that Woodstock Academy was likely to make a serious offer, the leadership team and Board of Governors of Hyde began a careful deliberation of the decision. In time, we recognized that this was a unique opportunity that could greatly benefit Hyde for the long-term.
Have you fully vetted this opportunity?
While campus sales are somewhat rare, our analysis of other similar transactions indicate that this sale is a positive business decision for both parties. We believe we are receiving a satisfactory price. Furthermore, the fact that we are selling the campus to another secondary school should keep disruption to a minimum. Both Hyde’s senior management team and Board of Governors are unanimous in their support of this decision.
Is the sale complete?
We have reached a formal agreement under broad terms with Woodstock Academy. The Academy has expended a substantial deposit which will carry us through the due diligence process over the next several months. Once the due diligence process is completed, we will finalize the agreement which, at that point, will include mutual penalties for defaulting. So as not to interfere with the current academic year, closing will occur after graduation.
How much are you selling the campus for?
Although we have reached a broad agreement with Woodstock Academy, we are under a structured agreement to finish the due diligence process and cannot yet discuss the specifics of the sale. Once the sale has been finalized, we will inform all our stakeholders of the final agreement.
What will be the financial impact on the school?
Needless to say, the sale represents a substantial amount of resources that can dramatically enhance our ability to advance Hyde’s mission, offer our students enhanced educational opportunities, maintain our facilities, and ensure competitive compensation and quality professional development for our faculty. Overall, we believe that this transition will serve two critical purposes: 1) allow us to deliver a better experience for our students; 2) help us take a major step forward in securing the long-term financial viability of the school.
Will the Bath campus be able to handle the integration?
Yes. During two separate eras in its history, the Bath campus has enrolled over 230 students. We expect to enroll far fewer than this number in 2017-18, the inaugural year of the consolidation. One of the advantages of making this decision so early in the current academic year is that it provides us with an optimal timeline to make the changes necessary to accommodate the change.
What is the integration plan?
Our goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible and to do our best to meet everyone’s needs. By December, the transition team, led by Hyde President Malcolm Gauld, will present a formal plan to the Board of Governors for its consideration. Once considered and approved, the final plan will be presented to the Hyde community.
How will this affect financial aid?
One of the compelling motivations for this change is the fact that it will substantively increase Hyde’s financial aid program thanks to endowed dollars devoted to that specific purpose.
If my child currently attends Woodstock can she/he transfer to Bath now?
We always recommend that any and all Hyde students delay any decisions to transfer campuses at least until the completion of a full semester. That said, Hyde has always maintained a relatively liberal policy regarding transfers. It is common for students to spend time on both campuses.
How will the sale enhance the student experience?
Simply put, our consolidation to a single campus will enable us to focus on excellence in academics, athletics, student activities, family education, etc.
How does this fit with the strategic plan?
Our strategic plan articulates five areas of emphasis: Enrollment, Development & Alumni Relations, Family Education, People & Succession, and Program. Although the proposed consolidation was not part of the original plan, we believe it presents an unexpected opportunity that will better enable us to achieve all five of these goals.
Not only are we unanimous in our belief that this opportunity offers the best step forward for our school, we are grateful that it presented itself. As Hyde begins its second half-century, our primary objective is to visualize and pursue that course of action offering the best path to securing a vibrant educational and financial future. After thoughtful consideration, we are convinced that this consolidation offers such a path in terms of educational excellence and financial sustainability.