At Wooster School, you’ll find student success in the classroom and on the field.
Class sizes at the pre-K through grade 12 private school in Danbury average just seven students per teacher, ensuring no student gets lost in the academic shuffle.
Another advantage has emerged more recently: Wooster’s attractiveness as a destination for student-athletes, many of whom play multiple sports.
“There’s an opportunity here for those who want to compete but also have fun — sometimes playing multiple sports,” said Matt Byrnes, now in his fourth year as Wooster’s head of school. “In some public schools in Fairfield County, if you’re not one of the best at something you are not going to have an opportunity to play that much. Being able to participate [in sports] is a big part of what we do.”
“When we can get kids who are motivated athletes, they really thrive at Wooster,” added Brian Hastings, the director of student activities. “The keys are that there is less pressure and stress involved here, so everyone tends to have more fun, and you get to play a second sport that might not be your best.”
Byrnes said that Wooster’s burgeoning athletic success — upper-school (grades 9-12) teams have won 22 league championships in 10 sports over the past five years — is linked to its focus on hiring quality coaches.
“We’ve made an effort to bring in coaches who are experts and love the sports they are coaching,” said Byrnes. “These are dedicated, skilled coaches who have been a big part of our teams’ success.”
As part of its emphasis on providing a well-rounded education, Wooster requires all students to play at least one sport during the school year.
“It creates an atmosphere that feels like more of a community activity,” said Byrnes. “For many alums, that’s the first thing they want to talk about … their experience playing sports at Wooster.”
Despite a recent move into the more competitive Housatonic Valley Athletic League, several of Wooster’s teams have earned significant titles. Wooster’s girls basketball team was repeat New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) champions in 2014 and 2015, and the boys lacrosse team won a Western New England Division III championship last year.
After winning the league title and then losing a heartbreaker to eventual champion Storm King in the NEPSAC semifinals last season, Wooster’s boys basketball team is off to an undefeated start this winter. Leading the Generals is a core group of Ridgefielders who played in the town’s St. Mary’s Catholic Youth Organization travel program before going to Wooster.
“When you’ve got a town like Ridgefield, where so many kids are playing sports when they are young, it’s a problem when the system is set up to funnel such a small percentage of them into meaningful athletic experiences in high school,” said Byrnes. “We know that if you get to play, and make a difference, you build confidence, establish relationships, and learn to connect hard work and adversity with success. It’s a part of the educational program here, not an “extra.”
To learn more about the Wooster School community, visit WoosterSchool.org.