Thaden School announces details on admissions, curriculum and tuition

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,336 views 

The Walton Family Foundation backed Thaden School unveiled more details about Northwest Arkansas’ latest private school option slated to open in Bentonville in August 2017.

The Thaden School was first announced in August by founder Dr. Clayton Marsh and the Walton Family Foundation.

School officials said Thursday (Nov. 3) applications for admission are being accepted through January for grades 7 and 9 via the school’s website. The ideal enrollment is 60 students per grade. Two additional grades will be added each year to serve grades 6 to 12 by 2020.

“We are excited to open our application process and look forward to the fall when our campus will come to life with students from all parts of the region,” said Dr. Clayton Marsh, founding head of Thaden School. “We hope the great interest and anticipation surrounding this new educational option will grow even stronger as the community learns more about Thaden’s programs and campus plan.”

The cost for attending the private school will range from $500 to $24,800 annually depending on a family’s ability to pay. Marsh said instead of charging a fixed tuition the school will charge each family an indexed tuition rate relative to family resources. He said all families will be pay less than the full cost of a Thaden education because many of the school’s expenses, including those associated with the design and construction of its campus will be subsidized through philanthropic contributions.

“Thaden is committed to serving a broad spectrum of families throughout the region and bringing together many different perspectives, interests and talents,” Marsh said. “Our indexed tuition program not only benefits all families financially but also enhances the overall quality of a Thaden education by enabling us to build a diverse and well-balanced learning community.”

School officials will hold a series of open houses and information sessions beginning Nov. 10 in Bentonville families will have the opportunity to meet school leadership. The full list of meeting dates and times can be found on the school’s website.

Marsh said Thaden School has also been selected to participate in the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, which promotes design in the development of future public buildings and spaces in Benton and Washington counties. He said the school has chosen Eskew+Dumez+Ripple of New Orleans and Marlon Blackwell Architects in Fayetteville to lead the design for the campus buildings. The campus is at Main Street and 8th Streets near downtown Bentonville in the former Benton County Fairgrounds site.

Andropogon (Philadelphia/Raleigh, N.C.) will lead the design of the campus landscape. Marsh said the three companies will have a campus master plan ready in December. The construction is expected to take more than two years but the school will run its programs for the first year or more in a combination of temporary and permanent structures located on the 30-acre site. Marsh said the school will also look for opportunities to integrate the design and construction of the campus into the curriculum so students can understand and take part in the process of creating their school.

Marsh said the school’s curriculum will provide for hands-on learning with a strong foundation in the sciences and humanities. Thaden will offer three signature programs — wheels, reels, and meals — that integrate multiple fields of study while also enabling students to engage with the community and foster a sense of global citizenship.

Outside of their academic coursework, Thaden students will have opportunities to develop as leaders, volunteers, and contributors to the life and spirit of the greater community, he said.

Marsh said the Walton Family Foundation completed a feasibility study in recent years that looked at gaps in the regional education system. The Foundation believed the region could benefit from another private school choice. He became the founding head of the school in January and said over the past months has put together a leadership team who developed a vision and plan for the new school.