January 31, 2017
We are writing to share important changes that will take place at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School next year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, St. Stephen’s will transition into a school for students 15 months through 8th grade. This change requires the closure of our high school, but allows us to grow our Lower and Middle School programs. We are refocusing our mission to maximize our impact.
This was not an overnight decision. The Board has been in continuous review and reflection of all factors leading to this decision for several years. Deep thought, prayer and due diligence have led us to discern a call to refocus our mission on educating students 15 months – 8th grade.
In spite of our best efforts to increase the number of students attending our high school, and even with the successful implementation of the International Baccalaureate Programme, we were unable to attract the number of students required to make the high school vital.
We are deeply indebted to our high school principal, Gloria Grande, and our high school faculty that have provided an excellent education to our students for almost 20 years. These teachers are some of the finest in the Houston area, and we have been so fortunate to have them on staff. This is not a reflection on the performance of our faculty. We will honor the teachers’ contracts through the school year and provide support through their transition.
We are meeting with high school families this week. We will provide individual support to each student affected by this decision and will assist incoming and current high school students with their transition to other high-quality high school programs next year.
Our lower and middle schools will continue to provide an excellent education. Our school is still growing, and we will be opening new classes in the lower levels to address the demand for our preschool, elementary and middle school programs. Our master plan continues to be relevant to this growth and our capital campaign will not be affected.
This was a very difficult decision. However in light of David’s upcoming retirement, he wishes to oversee this time of change and offer his support to each student impacted. We cherish all students and want to ensure their future success. We appreciate your trust in our leadership and partnering with us to make each student’s transition a positive one. This will be a time of grief and transition. We know we will get through this as a community that treats one another with respect, kindness, and compassion.
David B. Coe, Head of School