The purpose of this case study is to evaluate the challenges in the administration of Dana Hall, a private all-girls school in New England. The case includes and examines how many non-profit oriented organizations are struggling to look for funding and fight the difficulties of staying true to their missions.
Dana Hall faced several challenges some of which included shortages of teachers as a result of being dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the school. Within a duration of four years, three headmistresses had left the school creating serious rifts among the school faculty, the administration, and the school’s board of trustees. Another challenge was that the school’s enrollment started to fall as a result of shifting away of social norms from single- sex education to bilingual education. Moreover, the modern vision for education of girls needed a lot of investment in sports and science. However, the resources of Dana Hall were not enough at all (McFarlan, Leonard & Tritter, 2006).
Dana Hall School
The Dana Hall School started in 1889 by Julia and Sarah who were sisters. In 1951, the school was left under the care of Helen Temple Cooke. This was after the founders decided to retire from the school. Helen worked hard to enable the school to enhance its reputation. After her death in 1955, Cook owned four schools. They included tenacre, a day school for grades K to 6; Pine Manor Junior college, a two year post–secondary school for women; Dana Hall boarding school, a boarding school for girls only from grades 10 to 12 and Dana Junior for borders in grades 8 and 9 (McFarlan, Leonard & Tritter, 2006). Dana Hall restructured itself in the early 1970s. This was after the acquisition of the adjacent campus in Wellesley. In this case, the boarders and the day students in grades 9 to 12 were served by the upper school, as well as those in grades 6 to 8 were in the middle school (Jovin & Wellesley Historical Society (Wellesley, Mass.), 2008).
Dana Hall all-girls’ school was land rich but cash poor. The school did not seek contributions from the alumnae while under owner-operated structure. Thus, it suffered financial shock due to lack of endowment. In the mid 1980s, the administration tried to put the school back to stability by organizing tuition, annual and one time gifts, rent receipts from the school owned property. Somehow, it managed to balance its operating budget. The student population started going down. For instance, between 1980 and 1985, students had decreased from 450 to 374 students respectively (McFarlan, Leonard & Tritter, 2006).
The challenges that Dana Hall all-girls school was facing
The Dana Hall School faced serious challenges that led to its termination as an all–girls’ school. In this case, students started switching to mixed or bilingual schools due to changes in social norms. Teachers were also dissatisfied with the state of affairs of the school especially when 3 new headmistresses had left the school destabilized. This affected the administration, the board of trustees and the rest of the faculty. The school too was facing stiff competition from private schools in maintaining the enrollment figures. With these plus the aforementioned challenges that Dana Hall School was facing, what were the appropriate measures that the school should have done to get rid of or overcome the challenges (Voigt, 1986).
Elaine Betts was at the helm of the school during the year 1984. She provided the administration with effective measures that were effective. This saw the school regain its stability and contemplate effective strategies in a time of changes. She was committed to discussions in trying to develop a true mission for Dana Hall. The school battled hard despite the stiff competition and the social norms that favored bilingual education. This was meant to maintain academic standards that were higher than those of other all girls’ schools.
In creating extra room for enrolling students who had dropped from 450 to 374, Dana Hall expanded room for middle school by starting a 6th grade program. This helped a lot by attracting girls whose grammar schools had ended in grade 5. The school also delayed large one-time expenditures such as new buildings to allow a flexible budget. The school could also look for a new direction by considering a merger with the boys’ school (Foundation Center, 1982).
Dana Hall School faced serious problems, which almost led to its closure. The challenges invaded the school at a time when it was not able to handle them due to lack of finance. Luckily, a new leader came and resolved the challenges by applying effective strategies that brought change to the academic institutions. Dana Hall expanded room for middle school by starting a 6th grade program. This was critical as it attracted many girls who were previously unable to complete the grammar schools.. With this in place, the school became unique and was able to overcome the stiff competition from other private schools.
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