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Linden Hill School may reopen in Wendell

Process needs Mahar board OK

Recorder file photo
Mark Kemsley of Kemsley Academy, an english language immersion program for Chinese students in Wendell, is hoping to reopen the Linden Hill School at the Wendell site.

Recorder file photo Mark Kemsley of Kemsley Academy, an english language immersion program for Chinese students in Wendell, is hoping to reopen the Linden Hill School at the Wendell site.

WENDELL — The Linden Hill School — a 51-year-old private Northfield institution that taught 9- to 16-year-old boys with learning and attention disorders until financial stresses forced its closure last June — may find new life in Wendell this fall.

Until mid-afternoon on Monday, the school’s website, lindenhs.org, advertised the school’s intended revival at 8 Farley Road in Wendell — the former home of the Lake Grove School and the site of a Chinese immersion program since 2011.

The website described a boarding and day school that would intertwine English and Chinese linguistic and cultural studies, and would also be equipped to serve developmentally challenged students.

But nothing has been finalized, said property owner Mark Kemsley when reached by phone Monday. Before the school can move forward, it must first receive approval from the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School Committee — which serves students from a number of towns, including Wendell.

Kemsley — who answered a phone number listed on the Linden Hill School’s website and identified himself as a member of the school’s new board of trustees — said the board was in the process of preparing a presentation to the Mahar School Committee and that school board officials were not yet aware of any proposal to move the Linden Hill School to the Wendell site.

“We’re doing it one step at a time. ... I’ve said all I want to say,” said Kemsley, who then hung up the phone. The school’s website was placed behind a password-protected wall minutes later.

The website had described the school’s program as an opportunity for English-speaking students to learn Mandarin Chinese and “engage in an authentic Chinese-cultural experience while receiving a highly stimulating and challenging English-based education.”

And it had said that students from China would attend the school as well and would assist English-speaking students learn Mandarin — a process that would help “them to more deeply understand Chinese customs and thought.”

But it also discussed how in the wake of Linden Hill’s closing last June, benefactors “saw how the (Linden Hill School) had transformed the lives of so many young people over the past 50 years and felt that the world just wasn’t the same without it.

“Therefore, they have joined the board of trustees and are working to reopen the school in September 2013,” the website had said.

The website had said that the school would build up to 60 students over the course of three to four years.

Tuition for the 2013-14 school year was listed as $55,600 for board students, $36,000 for day students and $59,000 for international students and those learning English as a second language.

Before hanging up, Kemsley said Monday that the board would consist of former Linden Hill board trustees as well as new people.

The Wendell property — which formerly housed the Lake House Grove School, a residential program for sexually abusive boys — has served as the home of an immersion program for Chinese students since 2011.

Kemsley, a business and educational consultant, bought the property for $1.5 million with the intention of eventually establishing a boarding prep school for Chinese and American students, according to a Recorder article in July 2011.

Kemsley, who lived in China for 20 years, started the Kemsley Academy at the 8 Farley Road property. That school offers short programs aimed at giving Chinese students an opportunity to travel and work in the U.S., according toThe Recorder article and KemsleyAcademy.com.

JC Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that the “new, proposed private school would need to get local school committee approval to operate within the city/town.”

The department would have no involvement, he said.

Mahar superintendent Michael Baldassarre could not be reached for comment.

When it closed last June, the Linden Hill School served 26 students from across the globe and had 28 full-time and six part-time employees.

Last fall, the Redemption Christian Academy — a Christian boarding school from Troy, N.Y. — purchased the 100-acre Linden Hill campus in Northfield.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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