Oldfields School, a 156-year-old all-girls day and boarding school in Baltimore County, announced today it will close its doors at the end of the academic year and sell its property in Sparks Glencoe.
In an announcement posted on its website, the school said recent trends and the pandemic had created “unique challenges to sustaining financial stability for many independent schools in the region.”
A message the school posted on its Facebook page said that it was a regrettable decision but that the financial challenges of operating a small all-girls school had made it difficult to continue. “We know the closing of our beloved school is heartbreaking to so many,” the Facebook post said.
With the announcement came the possibility that students and a small number of faculty will be able to transfer to Garrison Forest School, another all-girls institution near Owings Mills. “The schools are continuing their good-faith discussions and will share information as details are finalized in the coming weeks,” the announcement said.
“There are many similarities between the schools, including incredible reputations and legacies educating thousands of young women, robust day and boarding programs, strong international reach, renowned equestrian programs, a powerful sense of community, and much more,” said Nancy Palmer, interim head of Oldfields School, in a statement.
Oldfields officials did not respond to requests for comment.
If the plan is finalized, Garrison would accept Oldfields students and honor the current tuition their families are paying — about $65,000 a year for students who board or about $37,000 for day students. The rates are similar at Garrison Forest.
“We are excited to continue to explore a collaboration that further strengthens the educational experience for more girls, and we are grateful to be able to provide an opportunity for current Oldfields School students to thrive as part of our community,” said Chris Hughes, the head of school at Garrison Forest, in a statement posted on the Oldfields website. Garrison Forest officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Oldfields offers an education in grades 8 through 12 for 100 students, about three-quarters of whom board at the school. Founded in 1867, the school has small class sizes of about eight students each and offers horseback riding. It has a diverse student body; about a third are students of color, and about 1 in 5 are international students.
Garrison Forest takes girls in grades kindergarten through grade 12, and has a small percentage of its 550 students who board. Some 40% of students receive financial aid.