Hampshire Country School
Coordinates: Hampshire Country School (HCS) is a private boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire, United States, started by Henry Curtis Patey and Adelaide Walker Patey in 1948. Formerly a co-educational school, it is designed now as a boarding school for boys between 8 and 17 years with high ability, naturally cheerful and good natured yet who have difficulty in other settings. The majority of the students are enrolled in grades 6 and 9.
Hampshire Country School is not a treatment facility and does not provide treatment for any condition.
While in the first 30 years of the school, Hampshire Country School provided residential treatment for children managing various emotional and environmental stresses, the school has never served one type of child, or specialized in any one particular diagnosis. Many of the children accepted in the early years of HCS Dr. Patey described as “the very bright, emotionally sensitive or fragile type of child”. More recent challenges managed by some of the HCS children in the 1980s and 1990s could be associated with Asperger syndrome, nonverbal learning disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Today, Hampshire Country School is a place for boys with high intellectual ability that has not been realized and with idiosyncrasies that may have become major problems for them adjusting to more traditional settings. The school provides an unusual environment in which those problems are no longer as significant—not because they have been “fixed,” but because the school's focus is on the bright, active, engaged, and engaging side of each child rather than on his quirks or limitations.
For over 60 years, Hampshire Country School has been educating children of high intellectual ability who need a friendly environment and an unusual amount of adult attention. It is a family-style boarding school for 25 boys, mostly of middle school age, from all parts of the country. Classes are traditional but small (3 to 6 students). The 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) campus includes modest buildings, three lakes, and a small mountain. Daily life is very structured, with after-school and weekend activities plus time for organized outdoor and indoor play. It is here that many students find their first real friends and playmates.
In August 2009, Bernd Foecking became the school's fifth headmaster, following founders Henry and Adelaide Patey (1948-1981), Peter Ray (1981-1996), and William Dickerman (1996-2009). With the appointment of Mr. Foecking, the school continues its tradition of selecting headmasters with years of experience at the school and a full understanding of the school's mission and students. Mr. Dickerman continues at the school as admissions director and a faculty member.
The school has a five week summer program for boys between 8 and 14 years of age.
The school operates a small farm as part of the academic and residential program.
The school has entered into an agreement with the Northeast Wilderness Trust to protect the grounds in perpetuity. These grounds were originally a farm. The Wapack Trail runs through the Stony Top mountain ridge on one portion of the grounds.
Patey advocated the concept of Milieu therapy, and in the 1970s the school published an in-house journal called the Journal of Residential Therapy.
In the 1970s the school had a co-ed student population. Students lived at the school year-round and stayed in tents in a summer camp called Camp Timbertop for most of the summer. Many of these students were supported by Massachusetts special education grants. Massachusetts funding for special education under Chapter 750 became more restricted in 1972 under Chapter 766, and as a result the school elected to discontinue accepting children funded by special education funds and began limiting the student population. In 1996 the school population decreased to the current desired size of about 25 boys specifically selected for their intelligence, playfulness and good nature creating a healthy, tighter community for the students.
For a number of years in the 1970s, noted musician Theodore C. Pierce taught music appreciation and classical piano performance.
Animal scientist and author Temple Grandin (dedicates a chapter to the school in her most recent book and refers to the school as “The Hampshire School for Wayward Wizards”, a sort of Hogwarts for today) as well as comedian Noel Murphy are famous alumni.