Why So Small?
The Deck House School is a small school and this fact gets a lot of attention when people first learn about us. It’s hard to imagine a residential high school operating on the scale of a large family and as with any other dimension of a school, being small is neither all good nor all bad. For us, it is simply a way to accomplish our mission and it does this very effectively. Our mission statement is as follows:
Operating a school on the scale of The Deck House School has its challenges. We all wear a lot of hats in order to make things work! When you call The Deck House School, you won’t speak to a receptionist or office manager, you will reach Dr. Melinda Browne, Head of School, directly. Parents notice the difference as well; scheduled weekly phone conversations with the Head of School give them a level of access not possible in larger institutions. At The Deck House School, we hire no cooking or cleaning staff. All of this work is done by the staff members and students working together as a team. In a school of hundreds, it is possible to hide without having a significant impact on the functioning of the community. In our school, one person not doing their job is felt by the entire community. This is a powerful lesson for many of our boys.
One of the biggest concerns of a student joining The Deck House School is related to its size. With only a dozen classmates, our boys are worried: Will anyone like me? Will I be able to find a friend? In a large school, finding a friend is often a matter of finding a similar group. Sports guys find the sports guys, theater guys find the arts crowd. Unfortunately, those without a strong group affiliation often feel lost. In a school of our size there really is only one group: the school. Our boys learn that they can be themselves and not only fit in, but thrive.
Is The Deck House School for everyone? Certainly not, but for the young man who has become lost in a larger, less supportive, setting we offer an alternative in which they can find their way. We sit together at one table for dinner each night and this more than anything conveys the message of the school: We are one community and everyone matters.
© Copyright 2011 The Deck House School
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