Adapting to long-term trends in independent school education, The Hockaday School Board of Trustees has decided to phase out the School’s Boarding Program over the next four years, even as Hockaday redoubles its engagement with and expands access to the Dallas-Fort Worth community. In its vote, the Board reaffirmed the School’s commitment to fully supporting current Boarding students through to graduation and to honoring the special legacy of Boarding at Hockaday.
Trustees voted on the strategic realignment on April 14, 2021, after more than 20 years of discussion about the strengths and challenges of the Boarding Program and how best to fulfill the School’s mission, including an exhaustive six-month examination completed in April by the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Boarding Program.
In close consultation with stakeholders across the School community, the Ad Hoc Committee examined Boarding’s role in the School’s mission; Hockaday’s ability, now and in the future, to deliver a high-quality Boarding experience that meets the School’s expectations for an exemplary student experience; the competitive landscape in residential education; what would be required to achieve long-term financial sustainability in Boarding; and the opportunity costs for the School in supporting Boarding.
“Boarding has been an important and valuable part of Hockaday’s offerings for more than a century. We make this decision with a heartfelt appreciation for that legacy, as well as a deep sense of our responsibility to current and future students and families,” said Board Chair Kathryn Walker Francis ’94. “This shift ensures that Hockaday’s programming will continue to fulfill the School’s mission, live up to Hockaday’s high standards for the student educational experience, and achieve long-term financial sustainability.”
Dr. Karen Warren Coleman, Eugene McDermott Head of School, said the decision represents a significant milestone for Hockaday and another in a history of bold decisions by the School.
“For many in our community, including Boarding alumnae and all those who benefited from their relationships with and connections to our Boarding students, this will come as sad news,” Dr. Coleman said. “This decision also holds great hope for a new era in which the School engages more deeply and meaningfully with the Dallas region, extending Hockaday’s leadership and living out our core values of access, inclusion and equity more fully.”
Noting that Boarding students, families and alumnae have contributed significantly to the life of the School throughout its history, Dr. Coleman said, “We will be working over the coming weeks and months on creative ways to celebrate the legacy of Boarding, preserve its beloved traditions, and embrace our Boarding alumnae as a vital part of the Hockaday community.” Alumnae and students will be invited to participate in a planning effort that could lead to events, exhibits, storytelling, online remembrances, and other commemorations.