Frequently Asked Questions
How would you characterize your faculty?
Our teachers are highly caring, trained, enthusiastic, and experienced. Approximately half of our faculty have advanced degrees, and our faculty combines both youth and the wisdom of many years of teaching. Our faculty and staff are more than teachers and support – they are friends and partners in education.
Where do your seniors typically attend college?
Our seniors matriculate to a variety of colleges and universities — including in recent years, Yale, USC, Middlebury, NYU, Otis College of Art and Design, Berklee College of Music, and University of California. For a full list of where our graduates have matriculated, please see our High School profile for a list of college acceptances.
Will my child be ready for college?
Oak Grove’s graduation requirements in the core subjects of English, social studies, mathematics, science, and Spanish exceed those of most schools, as well as the admission requirements for University of California campuses and other selective colleges across the country. We provide a well-rounded and challenging academic experience balanced with a rich extra-curricular program in fine, performing, and practical arts, physical fitness, environmental and outdoor education, community service, and travel.
What is the average class size?
The average class size is 12-18.
How would you describe your educational approach?
Oak Grove supports an approach to learning that emphasizes depth over coverage, project-based learning, a model of student-as-worker/teacher-as-coach, a genuine appreciation of each student’s unique capabilities, and the balance of traditional testing with authentic assessment practices such as portfolios, demonstrations of learning, and student exhibitions.
What kinds of musical ensembles are available to students?
For Preschool and Kindergarten children, music and song are embedded every day in their playful experiences, and families join a weekly sing-along with our Early Childhood Specialist and singing teacher. Students in Kindergarten through Middle School enjoy music class and stage two musical performances during the year — a winter and spring assembly. High School students with an interest in music can perform at two High School Showcases in addition to the all-school assemblies. Instrumental ensembles vary from year to year depending on student interest, but typical options include a Rock n’ Roll Band and Classical Ensemble, as well as ad hoc groups that perform at local venues, including coffee houses and restaurants.
What are the arts facilities?
Oak Grove students make good use of the beautiful art building which includes a ceramics, fine arts, darkroom facilities, and weaving studio.
Athletics and Outdoor Education
What kind of camping trips are offered?
Oak Grove’s Outdoor Education and Travel Program offers opportunities to learn from nature, build lasting friendships, feel comfortable and secure in the outdoors, and become active stewards of the environment. Students learn the skills of increasing independence, cooperation, and teamwork, and the ability to spend time in nature without the stimulus of electronics.
Beginning in elementary, students participate in two trips per year — one in the fall and one in the spring. The senior India Trip is a culminating cross-cultural experience that is often life-changing. For more detailed information, please see the Outdoor Education page for each of the programs.
How often do High School sports teams have games and who do they compete against?
Students meet after school for conditioning, exercise, and team sports practice three times per week. Games are played on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Oak Grove School is a member of the Condor League, a local league that includes Thacher, Cate, Midland, Laguna Blanca, Ojai Valley School, Dunn, and Besant Hill.
What if I’ve never played sports before?
We welcome those who have never participated in organized sports as well as the most experienced of athletes. There is a place for each person and level of ability. We encourage students to have fun and participate to the best of their ability.
What are the options for sports in High School?
Oak Grove fields teams each season in a variety of sports including girls’ and boys’ soccer, girls’ and boys’ volleyball, and other team sports such as tennis, basketball, and track-and-field, according to student interest.
How often is there P.E.?
Elementary students begin a formal physical education program in 1st grade, beginning with three days a week (1st-4th) and expanding to four days a week (5th-6th). Play, skill-building, cooperative games, movement, and body awareness are emphasized with a gradual introduction to team sports.
All Middle School students participate in physical education four times per week which includes exercise, general conditioning, and skill-building with particular emphasis on volleyball, basketball, soccer, track and field, and a range of non-competitive games. Middle School students who are interested may also participate in the High School team sports program.
All High School students participate in our Fitness for Life program and on athletic teams.
What is Oak Grove’s philosophy on students, fitness and sports?
Fitness programs contribute to helping students see the importance of physical vitality, caring for their body, making healthy life choices, developing understanding, respect, and compassion for others, and instilling a sense of responsibility to the whole. Personal excellence, sportsmanship, self-reflection, and joy in the game are emphasized over competition.
Do you issue I-20’s for international students?
After a student has been offered acceptance at Oak Grove, an enrollment contract will be issued to the family. Once the contract is signed and returned along with the indicated amount of tuition and fees, the Admissions Office will issue an I-20 along with supporting documents so the student may begin to apply for their F1 student visa.
Is financial aid renewed each year automatically?
Oak Grove asks families receiving financial aid to reapply each year. However, once financial aid has been awarded, it is reasonable to expect that it will be renewed each year, providing a family’s situation does not change substantially.
Will a request for financial aid influence the admission decision?
No. Oak Grove bases its acceptance of students on academic ability, personal qualities, etc.
Do you offer financial aid?
Each year Oak Grove School has a limited amount of need-based financial aid for families with children from Preschool through 12th grade. There are not sufficient funds to give aid to all who apply. Families are asked to adjust spending priorities in order to pay for school tuition.
Is there an application deadline?
When are the entry points?
We accept students at all grade levels as spaces are available. Typical entry points into the school include Preschool, Kindergarten, 4th, 7th, and 9th grades.
What is Oak Grove’s student body like?
- Students in Preschool through High School, ages 3 years through 19 years
- Over 200 day students and 15-20 boarding students, with nearly equal numbers of boys and girls
- Oak Grove boarding students come from throughout the United States and hail from countries including Australia, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan.
- Students transferring to Oak Grove come from a wide range of educational backgrounds including both public and private schools, homeschooling, and charter schools.
What type of student thrives at Oak Grove?
According to our graduating class of 2009, students who…
…are open-minded and interested in exploring differing views.
…are self-disciplined and self-motivated.
…are curious and have a genuine interest in learning for learning’s sake.
…enjoy the outdoors, camping, and the natural world.
…are independent, confident, and proud of their uniqueness.
…are warm, friendly, and kind.
…are looking for something different than the “typical” school experience.
…are comfortable in a small, close-knit community where everyone knows each other well.
…have a strong desire to be at Oak Grove.
What type of student is Oak Grove looking to enroll?
The goal of the admissions process is to ensure that the Preschool-12th grade student population of over 200 reflects the school philosophy as broadly as possible. There is no “typical” Oak Grove Student as the school seeks students (and families) with diverse backgrounds, talents, and interests. The school/family/student match is an essential part of the decision-making process. Above all, we want to enroll students who have the potential to be successful and happy at Oak Grove.
What can I expect when I come to visit Oak Grove?
Oak Grove welcomes admissions visitors throughout the school year. Please call our office to schedule a tour of our beautiful campus. During your visit we will answer your questions and peek into classrooms and activities in grades you are interested in. A full visit usually lasts around an hour.
We encourage you to attend our Open House in November and High School Showcases in December and May.
How often may parents visit?
We welcome Oak Grove parents to campus as often as they wish to come.
What about the food? Do I really have to be a vegetarian?
Healthful, hearty, and delicious vegetarian meals are prepared using food grown locally and in the school’s organic gardens. Often students who are not used to a vegetarian diet are surprised at how delicious and satisfying the meals can be. Oak Grove’s innovation in food service garnered the school national recognition. Students’ personal food preferences are included in menu planning and everyone is encouraged to share. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enroll at Oak Grove, however, we are a vegetarian school and all meals served at school, on school trips, and at Besant House, our boarding facility, are vegetarian.
What happens on the weekends?
Weekends combine lively outings with time to relax and pursue individual interests. There are abundant opportunities to explore Southern California, as well as the local town of Ojai, home to many famous writers, actors, and artists.
The village of Meiners Oaks is within walking distance, and downtown Ojai is a short bike or trolley ride away. Frequent weekend trips are planned to nearby beaches and to the cities of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles for cultural experiences, shopping, and entertainment.
What is a typical school day like for a boarding student?
Students living at Besant House are awake by 7:30am, eat breakfast, and start classes at 8:00am. Classes go until 3:20pm, and then students proceed to their afternoon sports and Fitness for Life activities. At 4:30pm students have free time to shower, study, or just hang around. Dinner is served in the house at 6:00pm, followed by study hours. Lights-out follows at different times depending on each individual student and their needs. Our days are full, making a good night’s sleep essential.
What are the boarding facilities?
Besant House includes a living room, dining room, laundry facilities, recreational patio, and computer room. The nearby basketball and tennis courts, soccer field, school library, and oak grove offer students’ opportunity for fun and reflection. The computers at Besant House are connected to the internet and students are encouraged to use email as a way to stay in touch with family and friends. A phone is also available for student use.
Describe dorm life
Our co-educational, family-style boarding facility, Besant House, provides a warm, nurturing, and friendly home for 15-20 American and international students. A dedicated residential staff lives on the premises offering support, guidance, great food, and good conversation. Single rooms offer privacy and a quiet study place for each student. House parents work with students to achieve a safe, friendly environment through house meetings and personal attention. Study time is held each evening with faculty and house parents available to give assistance. Computers and other resources are also available for student use.
Do you provide transportation?
A shuttle service for a fee between Ojai and Ventura is currently under consideration. Many families attend from Ventura and Oxnard and opt to form carpools, and the school can assist families in this process.
Are families asked to contribute beyond tuition?
As with most other independent schools, tuition covers approximately 80 percent of the cost of educating a child at Oak Grove. All families are asked to contribute appropriately to their resources to the Annual Fund each year and to capital initiatives and fundraisers as they occur. Every gift is important and makes a difference.
What opportunities are there for parental involvement?
A student’s education is best served when the school and family work in partnership. Oak Grove encourages parents to become integral, active members of the community.
Is there a commitment to community service?
Oak Grove believes that a raised consciousness regarding service to others is beneficial to all students and families in our community.
Is After School care available?
Kindergarten through 6th grade students really enjoy the Oak Grove After School program! Join us for games, arts & crafts, wood crafts, special projects, beading, stories & reading, supervised free play, and homework help. The program is open to both Oak Grove students and students from the community. We support creativity and intelligence in an atmosphere of playful cooperation and relaxation.