1. Four Day Week
The Oaks School meets Monday-Thursday from 8 am to 3 pm, with Fridays being a day for students to pursue their own interests. With the rise of travel sports and competitive dance, cheerleading, or theater, students spend many hours with extracurricular activities. We believe there are great values to be learned from these opportunities. Creating an extra day gives breathing room for busy families and allows students more time to develop their gifts. Older students use the day for ACT prep, visiting colleges, or part-time jobs. In the fall of 2018, we offered a theater class, music class, and gymnastic class on Fridays for students to pursue these interests.
2. Limited homework
Students at The Oaks School work hard during the day, while knowing that evenings are free to enjoy time with family and engage in sports, music, dance, and other extracurricular activities. While students occasionally need to study for a test or read books at home, teachers do not burden students (or parents) with homework at night. We accomplish this by making the most of time during the school day. Students have 90 minute class blocks for math and language arts daily. This gives time for students to learn a new concept, complete the work for that day, and then review the concept using a variety of games and activities. Science and history are taught in 90 minute blocks on two days per week. We constantly remind students of the importance of working hard during their 90 minute class time. Teachers monitor work during class time to make sure all students are engaged and completing assignments. Students learn the skill of focusing for an extended time and are pleased with the results that come from consistent hard work.
3. Spiritual Growth Through Daily Chapel Services
Students start each day with a 30 minute chapel service that includes worship and time to connect with God. Students grow spiritually as they learn to bring concerns to God and find His help. If a student has a prayer need, students can ask a peer or teacher to pray for that need. Chapel also creates leadership opportunities for students to lead a prayer, help with worship, or share publicly about something God is doing in their lives. Our ultimate goal for chapel is for students to discover who God is, and how they can know Him more in everyday life. Chapel sets a positive tone for the rest of the school day and helps create a culture where students honor and respect each other. We have a student worship band that allows students an opportunity to grow as musicians and lead their peers in worship. Teachers are encouraged during this time too, as we frequently make time for students to gather in groups to pray for their teachers. It's definitely the best way to start our school day!
4. Encouraging and Supportive Teachers
Teachers at The Oaks School are hired with much prayer and consideration. As we conduct interviews, we are looking for teachers who bring excellence in teaching and mastery of their subject matter. However, even more importantly, we want teachers who love God and carry God’s heart into the classroom. Teachers call out the strengths in each student as well as being available to pray for students and encourage them throughout the day. The positive relationship with teachers helps motivate students to achieve higher goals.
5. Leadership Development
We want to see students develop as leaders and know more of who they are created to be. Teachers incorporate personality tests and other exercises to help students discover their strengths and gifts. Teachers partner with parents to look for opportunities for students to develop these gifts and grow as leaders. Students are given leadership opportunities at chapel, within the classroom, or by serving at school functions.
6. Sports Opportunities
The growth of the excellent public school system in our area is impressive but can be a limiting factor for students who want to play school sports. The Oaks School offers another option for the many qualified athletes in our area who want to advance their athletic skills and play on a school team. In our first year, we've enjoyed wonderful seasons with football and basketball.
7. Healthy Relationship Skills
Students at The Oaks School learn valuable relationship skills such as processing conflict, learning to walk in forgiveness, honoring differences in their peers, and even how to have a good conversation. Building a culture of healthy relationships fosters a supportive community atmosphere and help students know they can be valued for who they are.