A bouquet of cream colored flowers rest in front of the school's name, Oldfields, which is spelled out in white lettering on a green background.
Photo courtesy of Oldfields School/Instagram.

Oldfields School in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland announced Wednesday it will close at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

The school also announced a potential collaboration with Garrison Forest School, located near Owings Mills, to allow current Oldfields students to transition to Garrison Forest.

According to Oldfields School’s press release, both schools are “known for delivering an excellent educational experience and impact for young women have signed a letter of intent to partner, ensuring an enduring commitment to their shared educational philosophy. Oldfields School and Garrison Forest School, all-girls, day and boarding schools with rich histories and traditions of excellence, intend to provide a long-lasting, powerful, and impactful educational experience for girls.”

Oldfields School was established in 1867 by Anna Austen McCulloch, who set the tone for the school’s “sense of family, mission, philosophy, and a culture of kindness,” according to the school’s website.

The school grew over the years into a middle and high school for girls that was also a boarding school attended by students from across the United States and around the world.

Oldfields’ announcement cites “recent trends and obstacles” like the COVID-19 pandemic for creating “unique challenges” to the school’s financial stability, which they say mirrors trouble facing schools nationwide.

Garrison Forest School was established in 1910 by Mary Moncrieffe Livingston, a teacher from New York who moved to Maryland with the goal of founding a primary through twelfth grade school for the local community.

According to the school’s website, “[t]he motto Miss Livingston chose for her burgeoning school, Esse Quam Videri—To Be Rather Than To Seem, perfectly captured her vision for a school steeped in academic rigor while infused with exceptional character building.” The school remains an all-girls school for grades K through 12, with boarding students in grades 8 through 12 from across the nation and the world. (Garrison Forest also has a preschool, which is co-ed.)

The Oldfields campus will close and the property will be sold.

The collaboration of the two schools is intended to strengthen the boarding program at Garrison Forest School, which is also rebounding from “pandemic-related challenges,” according to the press release.

“The schools are continuing their good-faith discussions and will share information as details are finalized in the coming weeks,” school officials said.

Garrison Forest has agreed to honor current tuition pricing for any student moving into their program.

“There are many similarities between the schools, including incredible reputations and legacies educating thousands of young women, robust day and boarding programs, strong international reach, renowned equestrian programs, a powerful sense of community, and much more,” said Nancy Palmer, Interim Head of Oldfields School, in a statement. “By partnering with Garrison Forest School, the Board of Trustees and I feel, as does Garrison Forest School, that this is a great alignment of values, programs, and shared commitment to educating young women of impact and substance. We are working with Garrison Forest School to find ways to preserve the Oldfields School legacy that is cherished by so many generations of Oldfields School alumni, as well as provide continuity for future generations.”

Chris Hughes, Head of School at Garrison Forest, looks forward to welcoming Oldfields’ students.

“Garrison Forest welcomes the voices, perspectives, and contributions that Oldfields students will bring to the campus. Together, both schools can continue educating women of impact who are prepared to make their mark on the world,” Hughes said in a statement. “We are excited to continue to explore a collaboration that further strengthens the educational experience for more girls, and we are grateful to be able to provide an opportunity for current Oldfields School students to thrive as part of our community.”

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