Oak Grove’s residential program brings The Art of Living and Learning to your home away from home. Set in the peaceful and beautiful Ojai Valley, just 75 minutes from Los Angeles, Oak Grove offers 7-day boarding to domestic and international students in 9th through 12th grades. Our family-style boarding facility, Besant House, provides a warm and friendly home for 14-16 domestic and international students.
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 8:00 AM to 3:15 PM, with school ending at noon on Wednesdays so staff can engage in professional development. Students have a well-rounded and balanced schedule of academic courses, electives, athletics, and leisure time, allowing both 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 are supported by the dorm staff in accommodating their scheduling and driving needs.
7:15 AM – Breakfast
8:00 – Academic Classes
12:15 PM – Lunch
1:00 – Advisory
2:00 – Electives
3:30 – Fit For Life
4:30 – Free Time
6:00 – Family Dinner
7:00 – Study Hall
10:00 – Lights Out
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 lends support to the 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 and to have the opportunity to work at Besant House. Our students’ creativity, curiosity, and backgrounds make the dorm a vibrant place to live and learn. This, coupled with dorm parents who support and nurture their students, allows each year to reflect the students who live there – giving each student a place to pursue their own interests and to explore new opportunities.
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
Brooke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and ventured out to California to study psychology at UCSD. She became a yoga instructor in 2011 and completed her master’s in counseling psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2015. She is teaching yoga and continuing to gain experience toward her marriage and family therapist license while working at Besant House. Brooke writes,
I love working at Besant House because I get to be a part of kids’ formative, teenage years. I have worked with adolescents in treatment centers and, while that has been rewarding, it’s nice to work with teens who are responsible, motivated individuals in a learning environment like Oak Grove School.”
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 steps into his role as dorm parent this year as a familiar 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 6 years teaching riders, caring for horses, and supporting the resident community as a Resident Counselor/Weekend Counselor for a boarding school in Ojai. Her experience in an international boarding program, concentrating on teens, lends well to transition to Besant House this year.
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 through my husband, Eric Sullivan, teaching here, 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 looking forward to having fun and enriching experiences with the Besant House students!”
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 are welcome to enjoy the communal spaces such as the TV room, computer room, music room, and kitchen after school and throughout the weekend. BBQs, ping-pong, bike rides, and other outdoor activities are also available. Dinner is enjoyed together by all boarding students and dorm parents at 6:00pm in the dining room, or should weather permit, on the back patio. The dorm parents work hard to organize and coordinate extracurricular schedules and driving needs for our students too. Creating a space the students can call home is something we at Oak Grove deeply value.
A Vegetarian Community
Oak Grove School is fully vegetarian, and wherever possible we use vegetables from our own organic garden. Both day and residential students are offered delicious mid-day meals through Oak Grove School’s award-winning Vegetarian Hot Lunch Program. Breakfast, afternoon snack, and dinner are cooked and provided for our residential students at Besant House. Students often request favorite dishes, contribute to the grocery list, and even help cook in the kitchen when interested. True to our family-style program, all weeknight meals are enjoyed together in a technology-free environment with great company, delicious food, and conversations full of laughter.
The weekend lends itself to a world of opportunity. Located a sunny bike ride from downtown Ojai, boarding and day students alike are often seen shopping at the Sunday farmer’s market, grabbing a bite to eat, or playing music at Libbey Park. Students are also only a short drive away from Santa Barbara and Ventura, which offer additional beaches, shopping, culture, and entertainment. Most weekends, students also have the option to participate in organized trips and activities. Whether it be a visit to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, tickets to a Globetrotter’s basketball game at UCSB, singing along to top artists at a concert, or skiing down some snowy slopes, our students have a say in deciding how their weekends might be spent.
Giving Back to the Community
All students at Oak Grove are asked to 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!
Begin the application process. If you have any questions, we’re happy to assist you.