1. Education

A Profile of the Eagle Hill School

A School for Children with Language-Based Learning Differences

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A Profile of the Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School

Blythe Grossberg

Location: Greenwich, Connecticut; there are also related but independent branches of the school in Hardwick, Massachusetts, and Southport, Connecticut.

Type of School: School for children with language-based learning differences in grades 1-9.

Enrollment: 250 students aged 6-16; most are day students and up to 35 are five-day boarding students.

Average class size: 6

Faculty-student ratio: 1:4

Tuition: $59,125 for day students; $78,075 for the residential program. Financial aid is available.

What the School is Like

Eagle Hill is a school for children with language-based learning issues. The school’s program is intended to remediate students’ learning disabilities and make them more confident through an academic program, speech and language specialists, counseling, and a strong extracurricular program. Eagle Hill is approved as a special education facility by the Connecticut State Department of Education, and is accredited through the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

The school is located on a 20-acre campus located 35 miles from New York City in suburban Connecticut. The campus includes six classroom buildings, a dormitory, a gym, playing fields, and a library with 10,000 volumes.

Children are referred to the program through clinicians or their school. The students are of average or above-average intelligence, but they struggle to express themselves in language and therefore have not been successful in mainstream school settings. Such failures can make students lack confidence, though students with disabilities can learn if taught through different methods. Students require a psycho-educational evaluation and an interview for admission.

To remediate the students’ language issues, the school develops an individualized educational plan for each student that bolsters his or her confidence and that uses a variety of remediation techniques built around a language-arts program. Children are not graded and move through classes at the pace appropriate to them. Students have a daily tutorial in language arts. The low faculty-to-student ratio (from 1:1 to 12:1) allows children to learn at their own pace. The goal of the school is to return students to mainstream educational settings in which they will be equipped with the tools to thrive in a way that they haven’t before. To further their academic program, students use computers across the curriculum. In addition, students can participate in extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, music, a radio station, and community service programs. Sports are an especially important part of the program, and students can participate in baseball, basketball, cheering, field hockey, lacrosse, and in intramural activities such as flag football, football, aerobics, dance, floor hockey, Frisbee, ice skating, jogging, yoga, and other activities. Students in the residential program attend the school until 4 in the afternoon and then participate in after-school and dorm activities. They have a one-hour study hall in the dorm and are also required to carry out dorm chores.

Founded in 1975 by Dr. James J.A. Cavanaugh on land originally used by C.W. Post to build an estate called the Boulders, Eagle Hill serves children from Westchester, Fairfield County, and New York City in the day program and children from the Tri-State area in its five-day boarding program. The school grew quickly. In 1975, it opened with 17 children, and grew to 38 by the end of the year. It now serves 250 students.

After graduating from the school, students go on to attend other special needs schools, including Purnell School, The Forman School, the Harvey School, and others. Part of the Eagle Hill program includes not only intensive language help but also instruction to help students develop confidence and self-advocacy skills that will enable them to be successful in other educational settings.

Read more about how to choose a special education school.

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