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Carlisle School to merge Chatham, Danville campuses

Friday, August 2, 2013

Carlisle School plans to close its Chatham campus at the end of the coming school year and consolidate its Danville and Chatham campuses at a new Danville site in the fall of 2014, according to its new head of school.

Tommy Hudgins said the change is due to a decline in enrollment at the Chatham campus. He could not be reached for additional comments Thursday night.

Former interim head of school Barry Dorsey said the move had been in the works for some time, and it was announced to the Chatham and Danville students and their parents last spring.

“It’s no surprise to any of them,” he said, adding that the change will be “to the benefit of parents and students in both localities.”

Carlisle took over the former Woodlawn Academy in Chatham in the summer of 2010. At that time, Woodlawn had 120 to 130 students in its classes that ranged from pre-kindergarten for 3-year-olds through the eighth grade, officials said at the time.

It was hoped that Woodlawn would become a feeder school for Carlisle’s Martinsville campus, then-head of school Simon Owen-Williams said at the time.

But Dorsey said Woodlawn “never produced the kind of enrollment we thought it could.” Its enrollment had fallen from about 170 the year before Carlisle took it over, and then it stabilized in the 90s, he said. It is expected to be around 70 in the coming year, he added.

The Chatham campus housed grades 1 through 8 in 2010, Dorsey said, and for the past year or two it had grades 1-6. In the coming school year, it will house preschool 4-year-olds through grade 7 because it had a large sixth-grade class that wanted to remain together at the school, he said.

Carlisle’s Danville campus houses prekindergarten through second grade, Dorsey said. It is a landlocked campus that cannot grow, he said.

As a result, “it’s a perfect time to consolidate the two” into a new campus, he said.

He deferred to Hudgins on questions about where that campus will be and what grades it will house.

Carlisle is an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School serving about 485 students from preschool through 12th grade, with about 360 of them on its campus near Martinsville, Hudgins said this week.

Dorsey became interim head of school when Owen-Williams left, and he served until Hudgins came on board this summer.


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