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Schools, Programs, & Visit Reports - Jun, 1990 Issue 

Hyde School
Bath, Maine
Lon Woodbury's Visit: May 7, 1990

Population: Coed, ages 13-18; any child whose family senses more structure is needed.
Model: Residential Boarding school with strong family involvement.
Founded: 1966
Program Length: School year with a summer program: Till graduation.
Current Size: 158 CAPACITY: 170 (next year)
Credentials: Accredited by NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools).
Faculty: 24
Academics: Traditional College prep.
Physical Activities: All students participate in a team sport. Summer program.
Family Participation: Emphasized. Four on-campus personal growth family seminars a year with monthly regional family meetings.
Enrollment: The school enrolls families, not just students. 1. Application. 2. In-depth family interview. 3. Personal goals statement with student commitment to personal growth. 4. Enrollment in summer program if feasible.
Graduation: June.

My student tour guide was proud of the changes she had made at Hyde, and was excited about going on to college. She hadn't always felt that way. When she came to Hyde, she didn't care much about school, was fighting with her parents, and did not feel good about herself. She was at a crossroads and knew something needed to change. She wasn't happy about going to Hyde, and the first year was very hard, but it was just what she needed.

Admissions Director Lauri Hurd sees the Hyde Solution as a college Preparatory High School with character education and parenting as integral parts of the curriculum. An underlying assumption is, "to be productive, a child has to be honest." The heart of the program is the focus on families. By the Eighties, the administration had found they could change student's behavior for the better, but if the child went back to an unchanged family environment, the gains were frequently lost.

Change is accomplished by a challenging curriculum with small classes focused on the personal and academic needs of each student. Also, each student is required to live with five basic principles: Destiny - Each of us is gifted with a unique potential: Humility - we believe in a power and a purpose beyond ourselves: Conscience - We achieve our best through character and conscience: Truth - Truth is our primary guide: and Brother's Keeper - We help others achieve their best.

All the students I talked to agreed the Brothers Keeper was the hardest. What it says is in order to be a friend, a person must do something when their friend is doing something harmful to themselves such as lying, taking drugs, stealing, etc. This cuts through the peer pressure to not "narc" on a buddy. When a student internalizes this lesson, his/her friendships feel better and he/she feels more self-respect. Graduation is held in June which has the previous year's graduates returning to tell the current graduates what it is like "out there." Graduation is a very emotional time with each graduate having a few minutes in front of peers, families, and teachers to say what he/she wants to tell everyone.

Follow-up studies have been informal. The school reports that 98% of their graduates of the past few years go on to college. The figure was 88% as of 1980. In 1986 Lauri Hurd contacted a random sample of the graduates, asking them what they remember receiving from Hyde. The three most common answers were: 1) a sense of self-discipline. 2) a reassurance that the faculty would not give up on them. 3) a confidence that they could succeed.

Copyright 1990, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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