History and Description of Eagle Hill School

History

Eagle Hill School was established in 1975 on property acquired in 1903 by C. W. Post, the cereal magnate, who then built an estate known as the Boulders. The main house was said to have the longest front porch in the history of domestic architecture. In 1905, C. W. Post’s daughter, Marjorie Merriweather, married Edward Close and the young couple settled on the estate. Mr. and Mrs. Close, their two daughters, and a staff of thirteen occupied the Boulders until 1917 when the main house was severely damaged by fire. In 1921, the property was deeded to the Lanier family for use as Edgewood School. The National Reading Foundation of New York established Haithcox School on the property in 1956, and from 1962 to 1971, Daycroft School occupied the premises.

 

In 1975, Eagle Hill School was founded on this same site by Dr. James J. A. Cavanaugh as a residential and day school for children with learning disabilities. The school opened with 17 children, and grew to 38 by the end of just the first year of operation. The original faculty of 12 teachers and administrators came from Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, Massachusetts, where the first of now three schools was started.

 

Much of the growth and reputation of Eagle Hill-Greenwich can be attributed to the leadership of Dr. Mark Griffin, the founding headmaster, and Rayma Griffin, who held the position of director of admissions and placement, for more than 30 years. Their passion for children with learning disabilities, and their insistence on faculty and administrators who shared their commitment and dedication to excellence, resulted in a school that is now internationally renowned in the field of education.

 

During their 34-year tenure, until their retirement in June 2009, enrollment increased to 250 students, and the number of faculty and staff to more than 100. Under their guidance, the physical environment of the campus changed dramatically. In addition to the original main house and carriage house, which now comprise the Griffin Academic Center, on-campus faculty housing was added, as well as a new gymnasium and science center, library and media facility, and new classroom facilities. What is more, the school has become a beacon for parents who seek specialized education for young, bright children with learning disabilities.

 

Description

Eagle Hill School is unique in helping the child with learning disabilities to develop academic skills and self-confidence. Our mission is to provide the learning disabled child with intensive, short-term, remedial instruction and then return the child to the educational mainstream as soon as possible.

 

Eagle Hill School services children from Fairfield and Westchester counties as well as Manhattan in its day program, and children from the tri-state areas of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey in its five-day boarding program. The school is approved as a special education facility by the Connecticut State Department of Education, and is accredited through the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

 

Children are referred to Eagle Hill by their school, clinicians, physicians, and other parents. Our students enter Eagle Hill with average or above average intelligence, many with specific talents, but because of their difficulties comprehending or expressing language, they share the experience of academic failure.

 

By carefully evaluating each child's potential and determining the specific nature of his or her learning difficulty, an individual educational program is developed. No single remedial technique is followed exclusively at Eagle Hill School. Rather, each child's program draws from as many approaches as needs demand. Classes are ungraded; children learn and advance at their own pace. Each child has a daily language arts tutorial as the core of his/her instructional program. Eagle Hill's low student-teacher ratio allows for flexible programming to address individual needs in each area.

 

Students also participate in a broad range of activities in addition to their academic courses. The athletic program, designed to enhance fitness, promote skill development, and encourage a life-long interest in sports, is an integral part of life at Eagle Hill. Student council and community service programs provide opportunities for leadership and service, enriching our strong sense of community. Electives, including art, drama, photography, computers, and others round out the offering.

 

Every fall, teachers and advisors meet with administrators to assess each returning child's progress and to recommend candidates for post-Eagle Hill placement. Parents are consulted and a list of suggested schools is provided. During the child's last year, the supports, which have been created to counter the child's learning disability, are gradually removed in preparation for the return to the educational mainstream.

 

When children leave Eagle Hill, they will have developed academic tools, self-confidence, and self-advocacy skills to deal more effectively in a world increasingly more dependent on language. Beyond that, they will have learned to make their own decisions, solve their own problems and win their own battles. From that experience, perhaps most importantly they will have developed a firm sense of self worth to carry them through life.