Sustainability plan for Stuart Hall gets OK

Staff Report

The parent organization to Stuart Hall in Staunton has endorsed a plan for long-term sustainability developed by the private school’s Board of Governors in the face of economic challenges faced by the school in the continuing economic downturn.

“We recognize that the critical keys to our sustainability are recruitment of new students, retention of current students and fundraising,” said Mark Eastham, Head of Stuart Hall School, outlining specifics of the sustainability plan.

As Eastham conceded, this is not “new informtation,” but it’s an important recognition given the economic climate, which has had students and parents at Stuart Hall concerned with rumors spreading in the Stuart Hall community raising question about the school’s long-term viability.

Eastham stressed that Stuart Hall, founded in 1844, is a cornerstone to the Staunton community, and will be “for many years to come.”

The Board of Governors plan focuses on student recruitment and retention with a focus on maintaining the school’s low student-teacher ratio, its well-regarded fine-arts program and its high academic standards and expectations.

A renewed and restrengthened focus on fundraising caught the attention of the Board of Trustees of Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia, Stuart Hall’s parent organization.

“The school has received more in annual fund gifts thus far this year than it did in all of the 2008-09 fiscal year. That’s an incredible showing of support for the school and its mission. Now, it will be up to the school community to maintain that level of support into the future to ensure the school’s long-term sustainability,” said David Charlton, the president of the Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia.

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