SBS to focus on K-8 program

(published 11/9/2014 in the Laconia Citizen)

SANBORNTON —The Board of Trustees of Sant Bani School announced that the 41-year-old school will focus its energy strictly on its highly regarded kindergarten through grade 8 educational program. A year-long strategic planning review, along with changes in the educational and financial environment, led the Board to vote to end its high school offerings in 2015.

“The process has involved a great deal of research and reflection about the role Sant Bani fills for those we serve and seek to serve,” said Kent Bicknell, Head of School. “We do this in order to focus our resources on being the best-in-class K through 8 school program — a service in high demand from families throughout the region.”

The grade 9 through 12 program, currently serving a total 39 students, will be phased out at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. A strong commitment has been made to support the students in grades 7 through 11 as they consider options for high school. These supports include: individual coaching and counseling on academic transition, high school and college admission; covering application fees to other independent schools; free SSAT prep courses for current students and time off for touring public or private schools.

The 2015-2016 school year will see Sant Bani School working to further enhance the student and parent experience in the K through 8 program by redesigning facilities to support collaboration and connection to outdoor spaces, increasing their commitment to service learning, expanding Spanish instruction in all grades and continuing to strengthen the curriculum. SBS will also offer an extended day program to support working parents.

The Sant Bani School Steering Committee, made up of faculty, staff, parents and Board members, oversaw the strategic planning process. They focused on the best ways for Sant Bani to thrive in an environment where there are now numerous private educational options in the region. “We will be working closely with students, parents and faculty to make the transition a smooth one,” Bicknell said.

Sant Bani School was founded in 1973 as an elementary school with six students, and rapidly grew. Initially an outgrowth of Sant Bani Ashram, a spiritual retreat center, the school became an independent organization in 1983. The school provides a high-level, comprehensive educational experience while also emphasizing a commitment to service and celebrating the unique gifts each member of the school community brings.