Doane Stuart School
|Doane Stuart School|
|Rensselaer, New York, United States|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Ecumenical / Episcopal|
|Established||1852 (as Kenwood Academy)|
|Headmistress||Lisa F. Brown|
|Average class size||14 students|
|Student to teacher ratio||7:1|
|Campus||24 acres (97,000 m2)|
|Color(s)||Navy Blue and Forest Green|
|Athletics||7 interscholastic sports teams|
The Doane Stuart School is an independent, coeducational school in Rensselaer, New York. School materials indicate a low student to teacher ratio and a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. The school also has emphases on community service and interfaith tolerance. The school is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools.
The Doane Stuart School was founded in 1975 as a merger between the Roman Catholic Kenwood Academy (founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1852) and the Episcopal St. Agnes School (founded 1870). This unique merger is the only known merger of a Roman Catholic school and an Episcopal school in the United States.
The name Doane Stuart was chosen to honor the First Episcopal Bishop of Albany, the Right Reverend William Croswell Doane, son of George Washington Doane founder of St. Mary's Hall-Doane Academy, now Doane Academy, and the Roman Catholic educator, Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ. Doane Stuart was established as a co-educational school.
The location chosen for the school was the campus of the old Kenwood Academy, located in south Albany. The Convent of the Sacred Heart leased space to the school, while retaining a retirement home for its sisters on the site. Initially, the school included boarding for girls as well an English as a Second Language program for foreign students. In the early 1990s, the boarding and ESL programs were ended so the school could focus on its core mission.
On March 2008, the Board of Trustees of Doane Stuart announced it had decided to end its affiliation with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. At about the same time, the Convent of the Sacred Heart notified the school it would not renew its lease on the Kenwood campus.
In April, 2008, the Board of Directors sent a letter to school supporters stating that an offer it made to purchase a school building in Rensselaer, NY had been accepted.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, Rensselaer voters approved 463 to 74 the sale of the Van Rensselaer Elementary school and property for $4 million to the Doane Stuart School.
After a year-long renovation and restoration effort, a new chapter in the story of the Doane Stuart School began on September 16, 2009, as students began classes at the School’s permanent new campus home. Overlooking the Hudson River with views of the City of Albany, the 24 acre campus in Rensselaer provides room for future expansion.
The school was founded on the principles of ecumenism, co-education, and community service. In recent years, the mission has been refined. The school accepts students of all faiths and includes a non-doctrinal religious curriculum in which students can explore their own faith and the faiths of others. Doane Stuart students are very active in the community, completing more than 5,000 hours annually of volunteer community service in the Albany area. The school also emphasizes academic excellence and integrity. The Upper School has a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and virtually all of its graduates have continued their education at some of the nation's most highly selective colleges and universities.
Doane Stuart’s Upper School has 125 students, while the Lower and Middle Schools combined have 165 students, split 50:50 between boys and girls. Approximately 10 percent of the School’s students are from minority communities, and another 2–5 percent each year are exchange students from international programs, including the School’s unique[clarification needed] exchange with Lagan College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 40% of students receive financial aid every year. Doane Stuart students are primarily from the eight counties surrounding Albany, from as far south as the Catskills, to as far north as Saratoga Springs. Campus safety and behavior policies are provided to students each year, via School handbooks for each division.
Academics, Athletics, and Programs
College Counseling Middle School students are visited each year by the College Counselor to ensure that they will approach the college process with enthusiasm.College Counseling continues, more formally, in grade nine. Along the way, the goal is always to help each student find the college that will be the best fit for his or her academic achievement and interests, extracurricular talents, and educational goals; then, to help each student gain acceptance to those schools. This is accomplished through a variety of unique programs.[clarification needed]
2010 College Acceptances:
Bard College (2); Bennington College; Carleton College; The College of Saint Rose (2); Connecticut College; Cornell University; Fashion Institute of Technology; George Washington University; Goucher College (2); Haverford College (2); Johns Hopkins University; Kenyon College (4); Manhattanville College; Marist College; Middlebury College; Oberlin College; Pitzer College; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2); Rice University; Russell Sage College; Siena College (2); Syracuse University; Union College; University at Albany (2); University of North Carolina; University of Vermont (2); Vassar College (3); Wesleyan University; Williams College; Yale University
Doane Stuart students are encouraged to participate and take leadership roles. Ninety-eight percent of Middle and Upper School students participate in extracurricular clubs and sports. Varsity sports teams are typically composed of students in Grades 9 through 12, although, if skill and physical fitness allow, students in Grades 7 and 8 may be considered.
Doane Stuart is a member of the Central Hudson Valley League, Class D. The Doane Stuart School campus includes a gym and one athletic field. Upper School intermural sports include fencing, tennis, cross-country, track, volleyball, soccer, basketball and softball. Required physical education classes take advantage of the School's Rensselaer campus location to include such activities as nature walks and sailing on the Hudson in addition to traditional gym activities.
Upper School Sports: Soccer (F) (Boys & Girls); Basketball (W) (Boys & Girls); Softball (S) (Girls); Baseball (S) (Boys); Tennis (S) (Boys & Girls); Track and Field (S) (Boys & Girls); Crew (S) (Boys & Girls); Intramural Frisbee (S/F) (Boys & Girls); Intramural Fencing (W) (Boys & Girls); Yoga (F) and Tai Chi (S)
The Irish/American Exchange Program
The School hosts an Irish American Exchange program, begun in 2003, which brings together Protestant and Catholic students from Lagan College in Belfast, Northern Ireland to spend a year at Doane Stuart and live with local families. These students attend classes and become an integral part of the community. Every year, a group of Doane Stuart students visit Lagan College, where they attend seminar courses in Irish History, Northern Ireland Politics, and Irish Language. These students get a glimpse of Belfast life while staying with host families from Lagan College. They have met with members of the US Embassy, Stormont (the Northern Ireland Parliament), City Officials, and key players in the peace process. Additionally, student teachers from the Protestant Stranmillis University College and the Catholic Saint Mary’s University College visit Doane Stuart as part of their teacher training.
The Doane Stuart campus is home to a local Buddhist congregation, the Albany Karma Thegsum Chöling.
Students are encouraged to perform acts of community service, and are taught early on that this is a worthwhile activity. Starting in Lower School, the school organizes community service events for the students. Fifth and Sixth graders help out around campus, and Seventh and Eighth graders are brought to local organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House. In the Upper School, each student is required to complete 25 hours of community service each school year.
The entire Middle School community spends one Friday a month, totaling about 40 hours per student, per year, participating in community service. This Middle School tradition includes service both on and off the campus. Students are divided into groups and each group will, throughout the course of the school year, have the chance to experience a variety of activities. Some examples of Middle School Community Service placements include:
- Doane Stuart Lower School Discovery Center
- Teresian House Nursing Home
- Center for Disability Service – Langan School
- Trinity Day Care Center
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Campus Grounds Maintenance
- Reading Buddies
Noted alumni include:
- Barbara Bowe, RSCJ KA ’63 – Author and Professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union
- Mary Donohue KA ’64 – Judge of the New York Court of Claims and former Lieutenant Governor of New York
- Martha Gagne DS ’85 - Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Demand Reduction, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
- Amy Hatkoff SA’68 – Child and family advocate, parenting educator, author and filmmaker. Author of, The Inner World of Farm Animals (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Spring, 2009)
- Ellen Jakovic, DS ’78 - Partner in Kirkland's Antitrust Practice Group, Past President of the Women's Bar Association Foundation and Past President, Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
- Alice Morgan Wright SA’1900 – Famed Albany Sculptor.
- Barbara Riggs SA ’71 – Former Deputy Director of the United States Secret Service
- Greg Robinson DS '98 - ethnomusicology professor at George Mason University and winner of the Fulbright Scholarship
- David Yezzi, DS ’84 – American poet, actor and Executive Editor of The New Criterion. Yezzi is a former associate editor of Parnassus: Poetry in Review and a former poetry editor at The New Criterion.
In The News
- Times Union, Thursday, September 17, 2009: Doane Stuart moves across Hudson River
- The Record, Thursday, September 17, 2009: Somethings old, new for Doane Stuart
- "It’s not often that Art Deco designs are highlighted in the hallways with school lockers or that a school official’s office has a Tiffany grandfather clock from the turn of the 20th century. But, then again, The Doane Stuart School is not a typical educational institution."
- Green Bush Life,Friday, September 25, 2009: Green where possible...Doane Stuart School's new campus
- "The building at 199 Washington Ave. in Rensselaer won’t be sitting vacant anymore, which would most likely have been its fate, had Doane Stuart School not declared it its new home."
- Private schools look for edge, The Business Review: http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/blog/2010/10/private_schools_look_for_edge.html
- Doane Stuart parent donates pipe organTimes Union, Saturday, July 31, 2010: Ruffatti organ, spotted on eBay, installed at Doane Stuart By TOM KEYSER Staff Writer: http://doanestuart.org/news.cfm/article/86532
- Renowned organist John Rose to 'baptize' Doane Stuart organ, The Times Union,By TOM KEYSER Staff Writer, Sunday, October 17, 2010: http://doanestuart.org/news.cfm/article/86770
- The real value of independent schools, The Business Review, October 15, 2010: http://doanestuart.org/news.cfm/article/86766
- Heart magazine, December 2008, p. 14, found at [www.rscj.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,285/Itemid,9/ - RSCJ website] (pdf document). Retrieved January 6, 2009.
- "School ends religious affiliation," The Albany Times Union Sunday, March 16, 2008. (This article reports that The Doane Stuart School's Board of Trustees voted to end the school's affiliation with The Society of the Sacred Heart and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.)