Oak Grove’s residential program reimagines the High School boarding experience. Set in the peaceful and beautiful Ojai Valley, just 90 minutes from Los Angeles, Oak Grove offers flexible 7-day boarding to domestic and international students in 9th through 12th grades. Our family-style boarding facility provides a safe and friendly living and learning environment. Because some boarders live within an hour or two from Ojai, weekends can be spent with family, if desired.
Your children are making Besant House their home, and we are enjoying our time with them. The sounds of laughter and joy fill the dorm, making our role as dorm parents delightful.
– Sydney Robertson, Director of Residential Life
A Day in the Life of a Residential Student
Day and boarding students attend classes Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm, with school ending at noon on Wednesdays. Students have a holistic and balanced schedule of academic courses, electives, athletics, and leisure time, allowing day and boarding students to develop relationships and explore passions both in and out of the classroom. Boarding students interested in pursuing additional or alternative extracurriculars off campus are supported by the dorm staff with their scheduling and transportation needs.
7:15am – Breakfast, walk to campus
8:00 – Academic Classes
12:15pm – Lunch
1:00 – Advisory
2:00 – Electives
3:30 – Fit For Life
4:30 – Free Time
6:00 – Family Dinner
7:00 – Supported Study Hall
10:00 – Lights Out
Boarding schools allow students and faculty to develop close, meaningful relationships that transcend the classroom. With our small program, Besant House is an ideal place for students to work closely with one another and adults to create an exceptional place to live, learn, and grow. I love working with this vibrant community of students and staff, and seeing how each year reflects the students’ creativity and development.
– Sydney Robertson, Director of Residential Life
Our dormitory facility, Besant House, is just that — a house! In reality, though, it’s more than just a house, it is a place many call home. Our residential students enjoy the comforts, schedules, and experiences that a large family might. While most students have their own room, bathrooms and laundry facilities are shared. Day and boarding students enjoy the communal spaces such as the TV room, computer room, music room, and kitchen after school and throughout the weekend. Ping-pong, hiking, bike rides, tennis, and other outdoor activities are popular. Dinner is enjoyed together with dorm parents each evening at 6:00pm in the dining room, or weather permitting, on the back patio adjacent to the meadow.
A Vegetarian Community
Oak Grove School is fully vegetarian, and we prepare delicious organic meals sourced from our own organic garden as well as local farms. True to our family-style program, all week-night meals are enjoyed together in a technology-free dining room, where both delectable food and lively conversations are on the menu. Students enjoy lunch on campus thanks to Oak Grove School’s award-winning Vegetarian Hot Lunch Program. Breakfast, afternoon snack, and dinner are prepared at Besant House. Our cooks are often asked to prepare favorite dishes, and house members contribute to the grocery list — even helping cook in the kitchen when interested.
Weekend Excursions/Time at Home
The weekend lends itself to a world of opportunity. If staying in Ojai, downtown is just a short bike ride from Oak Grove, and High School students are often found shopping at the Sunday farmer’s market, grabbing a bite to eat, or playing music at Libbey Park. The charming coastal communities of Santa Barbara and Ventura are nearby, and dorm parents can provide transportation to breathtaking beaches, shopping, culture, and entertainment. Organized trips and activities are also available to both day and boarding students throughout the year. Visiting the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, watching a Globetrotter’s basketball game at UCSB, singing along to top artists at a concert, or skiing at local mountains have been requested this past year. Our flexible 7-day boarding also allows for family time between Friday and Sunday, if desired.
Giving Back to the Community
All students at Oak Grove participate in at least 25 hours of community service per year. Our boarding students often go above and beyond, immersing themselves in the local culture and community of Ojai. In the past, students have worked with homeless shelters to help prepare and serve food, cleaned up our local parks, volunteered with event set-up and break-down, assisted the elderly with technology tutoring, worked with the local animal shelters, and much more!
Meet the Residential Life Team
A dedicated residential staff lives on the premises, offering support, guidance, great food, good conversation, and abundant opportunities to explore Southern California, as well as the local town of Ojai, home to many famous writers, actors, and artists. A comprehensive Residential Life Team consisting of academic teachers, advisors, chefs, maintenance staff, and parent volunteers also contributes to the vitality of our program.
Director of Residential Life
Sydney has worked in independent schools — both boarding and day — for the last 27 years as a teacher, dorm parent, and administrator. She is delighted to be a part of the Oak Grove community as Director of Residential life at Besant House. “Our students’ individuality, curiosity, and backgrounds make the dorm an exciting place to call home. This, coupled with enthusiastic dorm parents who build relationships with our students, allows each year to become a reflection of a continually evolving community.”
Besant House Parent, Administrative Coordinator to the Head of School
I work at Oak Grove because I get to be in a beautiful environment, surrounded by like-minded people working to support children to become aware, open-hearted individuals. I can’t think of anything better.”
An illustrator and graphic designer by trade, Oliver most recently completed five years as the marketing and design coordinator for an international boarding high school in Ojai. Parent to two current OGS elementary students and husband to Preschool teacher and ECP Director, Laurie Cornell, Oliver enjoys his role as dorm parent, serving as a familiar, friendly face to Oak Grove faculty, staff, and students.
The Oak Grove School community has become such a wonderful part of our lives, and we are all excited to have this group of residential students as our extended family. What an honor and privilege to be able to work and learn alongside such a thoughtful group of students and staff!”
Jenifer grew up in Connecticut and moved to California to study Stage Management for Theatre at California Institute of the Arts. An equestrian at heart, she has spent the last six years teaching riders, caring for horses, and supporting the resident community as a Resident Counselor/Weekend Counselor for a boarding school in Ojai. Her years of experience in an international boarding program, concentrating on teens, enriches the joy and ease of Besant House life.
I love supporting and nurturing students as they create a home away from home. I’ve been able to witness the Oak Grove community the last few years, and I love how creative, caring, and dynamic the students are. I’m excited to be a part of the Oak Grove Resident team and to be having fun and enriching experiences with these Besant House students!”
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