The Merger of Chesterfield Day School and The Fulton School at St. Albans
Why is Chesterfield Day School (CDS) merging with The Fulton School at St. Albans (TFSSA)?
We believe that we will secure and fortify the long-term well-being of both schools by bringing them back together. This is a strategic rather than a reactive measure, one that represents a thoughtful, well-timed, proactive move of two strategic boards and school leadership teams. Through reunifying with TFSSA, we will combine assets and resources and leverage our considerable individual and shared strengths. For more detailed information about the decision click here.
What will the new name be?
The merged schools will be called The Fulton School, in honor of Dr. Barb Fulton who, over three decades, grew CDS into a vibrant school community. Dr. Fulton also was the founding head of Chesterfield Day School in St. Albans which was started in the 1990’s. The two schools separated in 2008 and the school in St. Albans changed its name to The Fulton School at St. Albans. It seems only fitting that as these two outstanding schools reunite, we honor the woman who over 30 years provided hundreds of students and families with an opportunity to learn and grow in a challenging, nurturing environment.
Who will lead the new entity?
Kara Douglass, present head of TFSSA will be the Head of School, leading a combined team of TFSSA and CDS administrators. Peggy Fiala, present Head of CDS will take over as Assistant Head responsible for the Lower School (Toddlers-Sixth grade) and Director of the Learning Center.
What happens to the two Boards of Trustees?
A transition committee made up of members from both boards is finalizing the make-up and bylaws of the new TFS Board of Trustees.
How will CDS students benefit from this merger?
Most importantly, our student body will be bigger. Students who wish to experience the CDS environment longer will have the opportunity to stay through upper school (grades 7-12). TFSSA also brings some unique programming with them, like an apiary, farm, and makerspace.
What is the expected combined population for the 2022-23 school year?
We are forecasting somewhere between 165 and 175 students.
How will tuition assistance work?
Our tuition assistance policy will remain the same, and families can depend on us to meet their needs with the policies and processes that we have been using.
How will middle and upper school students be incorporated into CDS's space?
TFSSA brings years of experience in successfully managing a toddler-grade 12 environment. They have joined us in making a careful assessment of our buildings and grounds, and the consensus is that we are already well set up for separate divisional levels. We have the right number and configuration of rooms on the upper level of our building, along with a separate entrance and ample parking space to accommodate students in grades 7-12. Even with our strong emphasis on community, connection, and collaboration, we know it will be important for us to be very purposeful and developmentally appropriate in the use of our physical spaces, including The Little House, which will be brought happily back to life for TFS students and teachers to enjoy.
Will secondary school admissions be compromised now that CDS will have a secondary program?
There are many amazing independent schools in the St. Louis area, and we will do everything we can to help you find the right fit for your child. We realize that the continuation of our grades will not be the right choice for everyone.
Will the 6th graders get to enjoy their special traditions?
Yes, the sixth graders will run the school store, have a special theatre performance in the spring, take a trip, and celebrate with a graduation ceremony. The 6th graders at TFSSA enjoy similar traditions as they prepare for their move to upper school, so this will be a seamless transition.
What will happen to my teachers?
We are working to retain as many of our present teachers as possible, but as always staffing is dependent on re-enrollment.
Will our mascot change?
No, Chester the Owl will remain the mascot for the lower school. The upper school will maintain Blaze the Eagle, as their mascot.
Will there be before and after hours?
Yes, we will offer both.
Will lunch be included in the tuition?
Lunch will not be included in the tuition for the 2022-23 school year; however, we will offer a pay-as-you-go lunch option for all students and faculty.
How will drop off and pick up work?
Thoughtful, detailed instructions about drop off and pick up will be shared prior to the start of school. The upper school students’ (grades 7-12) school day will end at a later time thus allowing parents of lower school (Toddler-6th grades) to navigate the pickup process with less traffic movement.