Episcopal Collegiate grows -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Episcopal Collegiate grows -- UPDATE

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Episcopal Collegiate School released today its expected plans to build a lower school (pre-K-5) adjacent to the existing upper school . It will open in August 2009. Announced, too, was the headmaster, Steve Hickman, who's been at Heathwood Hall in South Carolina.

If I read the map correctly, the school will be built where the baseball field now sits. The good news for bikers is that it will be down the hill from Cantrell Road. This should leave room between the school and the highway to work out right of way issues for the riverfront bike trail, which currently traverses a somewhat problematic path past the school.

The new school adds to competition for kids at that grade level. The Cathedral School, with similar Episcopal Church-related roots, continues to remain independent and draw from that age group. The eStem Charter School planned for Third and Louisiana also plans a school for lower grades. The charter school, with an announced ambitious curriculum including Mandarin and Latin, will be free, however.

UPDATE: I should have said that bruised feelings remain among Trinity Episcopal Cathedral parishioners over the collegiate school. The church's blessing was necessary for its creation. Some feared its impact on public schools. Some feared its eventual impact on the Cathedral School. The latter fear has certainly been realized. Check the jump for a recent letter that has gone to parishioners. If it does not directly address the Collegiate competition, it is of course related.

LETTER FROM THE TRINITY CATHEDRAL VESTRY

To: Trinity Cathedral Parishioners

From: (The Rev.) Andy Jackson

The following statement was presented by your Vestry to the Cathedral School
Board at a meeting held on Tuesday, 12 February 2008.  The Board adopted
this statement, and will distribute it to parents of all Cathedral School
students with a cover letter from the Board.

The Vestry and I want to keep all parishioners informed concerning this
outreach ministry of Trinity Cathedral.

The Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral met for a retreat on February 8-9,
2008

We reaffirm our long-term commitment to the preservation and development of
The Cathedral School in its present form (Pre-K-5).  It is a valuable and
integral part and outreach of Trinity Cathedral Parish.  While we understand
that there are community and financial pressures on our school, it is our
determined and dedicated intent to see it flourish.  Change is inevitable,
but we pledge a vigorous and continued support to this mission.

The vestry is pledged to assist now and in the future in the following ways:

1.  We ask the school board to bring tuition back to $7900 for the 2008/2009
school year.  The vestry will assume = of this $350 per student shortfall.

2.  We announce the formation of the Dean's Society of Trinity Cathedral
Parish for the annual and ongoing raising of funds to be used solely for the
provision of scholarships and financial aid.  Our goal for the 2008/2009
school year will be $100,000.

3.  As Trinity assumes greater financial support, we recommend consideration
by the school board for reduced tuition for children of Trinity Cathedral
parishioners beginning 2009/2010 school year.

4.  The vestry is pledged to improve communication between parish, school,
and parents.

5.  The Search Committee for a new Dean and Rector will survey parishioners
regarding the school and its mission.

We are dedicated to the continuation and health of this 51 year old
institution which enriches the lives of all of its students.

Respectfully submitted,

Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
February 9, 2008

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