Pre-K through 6

Letter and FAQ

    • Front Entrance

Letter from the Principal

 
Dear Overbrook Family,
 
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, who own and operate Overbook School (OS) and St. Cecilia Academy (SCA), are excited to announce that after a thorough process incorporating both our recent strategic planning work with the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD) and a feasibility study with Catholic School Management that was conducted last spring, we will launch a new chapter for the schools of the Dominican Campus beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.
 
Overbrook School will become a preschool-6th grade co-ed school while the junior high program will move to St. Cecilia Academy, with SCA becoming a 7th-12th grade all-girls school.
 
This move brings clarity to a known challenge, strengthens both schools and allows us to continue to build upon our reputation of excellence in academics and strong Catholic identity in a way that highlights the Dominican Difference even more intentionally.
 
This decision was made, first and foremost, so that both schools can flourish more fully in their mission to our students and families. We cannot overstate the amount of study, data, thought and prayer that has gone into this decision.
 
We reviewed 25 years of enrollment and current demographic data and conducted an extensive junior high study that surveyed hundreds of parents, faculty and staff, alums, parents of alums as well as members of the diocese and both parochial and independent schools around the city. The data collected was straightforward, leading us to decide this will be the best possible path for students and families in our community as we look to the future of OS and SCA.
 
Seeking input from our community will not end here. While the essential decision about the future direction has been made, we will be asking our talented faculty and staff to offer their best wisdom to assure a seamless transition and effective collaboration between both schools. In the following weeks and months, we will communicate regularly with our community about our progress.
 
Please review the FAQ below.
 
We are confident that this significant step will build on the already excellent work of both OS and SCA, uniquely positioning each school to address more deeply the spiritual, academic, moral and social-emotional formation of our students. 
 
Now, two unique offerings will be available on the Dominican Campus for the Nashville community: the only Catholic preschool-6th co-ed elementary school and the only Catholic junior high and high school for young women, both rooted in the Dominican Difference.  
 
We thank God for bringing us to this moment and we celebrate the exciting task that is before us. Please join us in prayer that this decision will bear good fruit in the souls of many children and young people for generations to come.


Sincerely in Christ,

Sister Marie Blanchette, O.P

FAQ

As Overbrook School (OS) and St. Cecilia Academy (SCA) prepare to move the 7th and 8th grades to SCA effective the 2022-2023 school year, below are answers to important questions.

JH Q&A OS/SCA

List of 10 items.

  • Who made the decision and why?

    This decision was made by the Dominican Sisters of the St. Cecilia Congregation after their prayerful study of the available data, the recommendation of our executive committee, and consultation with Catholic School Management. Our decision was informed by 25 years of enrollment and current demographic data and an extensive junior high study that surveyed hundreds of parents, faculty, and staff, alums, parents of alums from both schools, as well as members of the diocese and parochial and independent schools around the city.
     
    The goal has always been to strengthen both schools, building upon our reputation of excellence in academics and faith that highlights the Dominican Difference.
  • What is the timeline for all of this?

    Beginning in the fall of 2022, OS will transition to a preschool-6th elementary school, while SCA will add 7th and 8th grade girls, becoming a 7th-12th  school. OS and SCA will work together to ensure a smooth and thoughtful transition, with faculty and staff from both schools involved in the conversations and planning.
  • Is this the right time to implement this change?

    It could not be a more providential time. This decision was not made in haste. Rather, it reflects a question that has been considered at various times and in various ways over the last 25 years. Coming out of the pandemic stronger than ever, both schools are poised to begin a new chapter.
     
    Both schools have exciting strategic growth plans in place that have already been set in motion. Placing this decision in the context of the larger question of Catholic schools nationally, the acceleration of challenges in our secular culture, the vibrancy of a growing Nashville and the changing landscape of schools in this city, we see that now is a most opportune time to position OS and SCA for a vibrant future.
  • Will OS girls have priority and a seamless transition to SCA, as in the past?

    Yes. Any girl from OS who wishes to attend SCA will have the opportunity for a seamless transition with even more expanded opportunities to participate in the various academic programs and co-curricular activities offered at SCA in the arts, athletics, clubs and more.
  • Where will the 7th and 8th grade be located?

    The 7th and 8th grades will be at SCA in a transitional space for the first year or two.  At the same time, we will be working on a permanent home for the 7th and 8th grades at SCA as part of the schools’ master planning process.
  • Will 7th and 8th graders mix with high schoolers?

    We recognize the distinct nature of 7th and 8th graders and the value of allowing them their own space and a program tailored just for them. At the same time, we want them to have the opportunity to be integrated into the larger SCA community when appropriate and to benefit from the school's resources, not to mention the positive example of its student leaders and faculty members.
     
    The integration of 7th and 8th graders into the SCA community will reflect this balance with particular sensitivity to the developmental needs of younger students. The SCA faculty and staff will work diligently to ensure that each and every student is equipped with the resources they need to excel academically, spiritually and socially.
  • What advantages will SCA 7th and 8th graders have?

    As a college preparatory school owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, SCA has a 160-year legacy of excellence in the academic and moral formation of strong young women. 7th and 8th grade students will benefit on every level from the early integration into SCA, as they will gain access to various resources typically only available at the high school level. 

    Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the successful junior high program already well in place at OS by providing students with opportunities for increased acceleration and access to high school courses, fine arts and co-curricular activities.
  • Was this decision prompted by enrollment concerns?

    Our decision was informed by many factors: 25 years of enrollment and current demographic data and an extensive junior high study that surveyed hundreds of parents, faculty and staff, alums, parents of alums as well as members of the diocese and both parochial and independent schools around the city. The data collected was straightforward, leading us to decide this will be the best possible path for students and families in our community, both now and for the future.
  • Will you share the junior high study results?

    Prior to making this decision, we surveyed hundreds of faculty and staff, parents, alums, parents of alums, as well as friends and colleagues from the diocese and parochial and independent schools around the city. In the interest of preserving the confidentiality and candor with which our participants shared their ideas, we can provide a summary of the main findings.
  • When will we hear more about further details?

    Beginning fall 2022, OS will transition to a preschool-6th program, while SCA will add 7th-8th grade girls. OS and SCA will work together to ensure a smooth and thoughtful transition, with faculty and staff from both schools being an integral part of the conversation and planning. We have several tentative benchmarks throughout the year at which we anticipate being able to share the information below.

    • September – a plan for special events for current 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
    • Fall Open House – General outline of 6th-grade curriculum and experience beginning 2022-23 and general process in place to assist families in future school choices.
    • January 2022 – a plan for repurposing OS space and future 6th grade capstone experience.
    • Spring 2022 – revised mission statement and articulation of graduate profile.
    • August 2022 – OS starts school year as a preschool-6th coed school.

Overbook Program Q & A

List of 6 items.

  • What does this mean for boys in the 4th through 6th grades?

    We are thrilled to be able to invest even more intentionally in all of our 4th through 6th grade students by creating opportunities for their age-appropriate growth and development. Specifically, we plan to create a capstone experience for 6th grade students. As both boys and girls move on from OS after 6th grade, we will work with students and their families to connect them with the best school options for their particular situation.
  • How will this year look at OS for 6th, 7th and 8th graders?

    The 2021-2022 school year will include special events and celebrations for these students throughout the year and at the end of the year to mark the completion of their time at OS. We love our 6th, 7th and 8th graders and want this year to be positive and their best ever.
     
    In terms of next steps for school options, we are committed to working closely with students and their families, as well as collaborating with area schools, to find a best-fit school where each student will thrive.
  • I am an OS 8th grader. Will this decision impact my 8th grade year?

    No. 8th grade students attending OS for the 2021-2022 school year will not experience any significant disruptions to their academic, athletic and co-curricular programs. As a matter of fact, our goal is to make this year the best ever for you with special events and celebrations.
  • What alternative Catholic school options exist for OS boys?

    OS is fully committed to working with each family – boys and girls – to ensure the best junior high experience for their child. Boys in Overbrook’s preschool-6th grades will continue to have a total formative experience second to none. We encourage our junior high boys to continue their Catholic education with a number of options to choose from in our diocese. Our admissions office will work with each family to find the right placement for each student, within the diocese or an independent school.
  • Why is Overbrook the right choice for my son?

    OS exists to provide an environment of academic excellence where all students are invited into a lifelong friendship with Jesus Christ. A private Catholic school owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia since 1936, Overbrook has given both boys and girls a joyful, wholesome childhood on the Dominican Campus, preparing them for their continued education and for life. The expansive campus, the hands-on STEM and More science curriculum, the dedicated teachers who challenge and nurture each student, the warm community where friendships are made that often last a lifetime – this is the ideal environment for children to gain a sure foundation in intellect and character for their whole lives.
  • What does this mean for the Overbrook program

    Overbrook will become an even more vibrant community rooted in the spirit of St. Dominic with strong Catholic identity and robust academics. OS will focus on its preschool-6th program and will no longer offer a junior high program beginning in the fall of 2022.
4210 Harding Pike Nashville, Tennessee 37205
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