Start-of-year enrollment at CCS this year is ninety-six, up from last year’s seventy-six. The rise in enrollment, partially aided by tuition-in students – a promising result that emerged from this past year’s community conversation about the “Future of Educating Cornwall Children” – is offering some relief from the serious cost-per-student pressure the town bears due to declining student population. Nine out-of-town students are paying to attend CCS, an increase from the two we had last year. Tuition for these students was decreased from $6,000 to $2,000.

Despite this year’s increase, we need a continued focus and research-based discussion in order to be better prepared to plan for the ups and downs of local jobs, housing, and stork availability for our young adults and to help our school thrive and survive.

Students of Adam Lang from the Hotchkiss School are working this semester with the Civic Life Project, under the direction of Cornwall’s own Catherine Tatge, Dominique Lasseur, and other community members, to better understand the reasons for declining school enrollment in Cornwall and the region.

Students will present their preliminary work to the community on Thursday, December 6 at 7 P.M. in the Gathering Room at CCS.

They will then engage attendees in exercises and dialogues that address questions such as: how might parents’ feelings about mixed-grade classes evolve? How might CCS offer education programs as attractive to students and parents as local private elementary schools while maintaining public school’s invaluable mission to “ensure access to equal educational opportunity for every individual” (U.S. Dept. of Ed.)? How might we (community and school) deliberate, debate, and design together in order to maintain our school’s excellence and its very existence?

So, our conversation is not over. We don’t have to be subject to ups and downs, when we can think together and move forward on a productively imaginative path to understand and enrich one of our town’s finest and most vital assets.

—Catharine Clohessy

(Photo by Don Heiny)