By Elijah Wiseman
Disclaimer: This is an abridged version of a more in-depth article regarding the Carmel Academy integration, which will be printed in the upcoming issue of the paper.
In an email sent to the Leffell community on Monday, February 3, Head of School Dr. Michael Kay announced that Carmel Academy, a K-8 Jewish day school located in Greenwich, CT, would be “winding down its activities at the end of the current school year.” According to a message from the Carmel Academy Board, the school is making this move given “the current realities of Carmel’s finances and enrollment.” The message announced a plan for The Leffell School to enroll current Carmel students.
This is significant news for both the Carmel community and the Leffell community, since many of the students leaving Carmel continue onto high school at The Leffell School. As such, there are a number of Leffell School students who are also Carmel alumni.
Kay wrote that closing a school is “always an exceptionally difficult decision for any institution to make.” He added that Leffell would be “pleased to have the opportunity to provide a home for Carmel families, along with elements of the Carmel program and culture that have benefited hundreds of students over the course of two decades, within our own school.” It is not clear exactly how many of the approximately 150 current Carmel students will be transferring to Leffell. Other potential options for Carmel students include SAR Academy and Bicultural Hebrew Academy – private Orthodox Jewish day schools in Riverdale and Stamford – or local public schools. In addition to these students, Kay said that Carmel faculty and staff will be considered for employment at The Leffell School wherever there are new or open positions. Carmel’s highly regarded PALS program, which serves students with learning differences including language-based learning challenges and social communication disorders, will also be integrated into the programming at Leffell.
To address the many expected questions about this big change, Dr. Kay hosted a Q&A forum for parents on Thursday, February 6, in addition to a number of other events including school tours and meetings. He has also invited Leffell community members to reach out to him directly to discuss the integration.