High School Boarding Program
Climate for Inquiry
At Oak Grove High School, preparing for college also means tapping into your interests, exploring your natural creativity, and developing life-long practices of intellectual discipline, good communication, self-reflection, understanding, and clear thinking.
The Arts of Living and Learning
At Oak Grove we approach teaching, learning, and living as an art form — The Art of Living and Learning. Our dedicated High School faculty will help you tap into your interests, explore your natural creativity, and develop life-long practices of intellectual discipline, good communication, self-reflection, understanding, and clear thinking.
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 15-20 American and international students. 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.
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.
Oak Grove High School offers a challenging college-preparatory program that is approved by the University of California and is designed to exceed admissions requirements for selective universities across the country.
Your OGS education will include opportunities for hands-on and project-based learning, as well as traditional academic coursework. We believe in collaborating and investigating together, encouraging you to explore, question, and engage the world around you. While memorization has a place, students are also asked to think deeply, approach learning from multiple perspectives, and make connections across disciplines. Beyond the classroom, we encourage self-expression through art, music, and drama and selflessness through community service opportunities. Your Oak Grove education will empower you with responsibility and ownership of your own learning so you are fully prepared to meet the demands of college and beyond.
Visual & Performing Arts
All Oak Grove High School students select from a number of fine and performing arts electives which encourage and support the development of an aesthetic sense toward all art forms, as well as integrate and honor individual student interest and passion. Students choose from year-long concentrations in studio art, ceramics, digital design & photography, music performance, communications/yearbook, and theater arts.
Students intending to pursue applications to art colleges are assisted in developing their portfolios. Music students perform both at school and in the community. Art students showcase their work twice a year at school and frequently in the community.
Oak Grove approaches all learning as an art form through The Art of Living & Learning. One of these arts – The Art of Aesthetics – particularly speaks to developing within each student sensitivity to and appreciation of beauty in all its manifestations. All students, regardless of their self-perception, are encouraged and supported to find the artist within through participating in a rich array of extracurricular opportunities available in fine arts, music, and drama.
Oak Grove’s Fit for Life and Team Sports Program contributes 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.
All High School students participate in Fit for Life and Team Sports. 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. 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.
The lessons young people learn and practice on the playing fields can serve them for a lifetime. They learn about friendship, both the friendship of their classmates, teammates, teachers, and mentors and those “others” who they may be competing against. And they learn about community – that each single component is a critical part of the whole. We depend on the participation and commitment of everyone!
Outdoor Education & Travel
Oak Grove’s Outdoor Education and Travel Program at the High School level 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. The senior India Trip is a culminating cross-cultural experience that is often life-changing. Students participate in two trips per year — one in the fall and one in the spring. Seniors participate in the fall camping trip, the India trip, and the spring internships.
Fall Camping Trip: The fall camping trip is designed to bring the whole High School together early in the year to orient and integrate new and returning students and teachers. The trip provides an opportunity for community building, developing friendships, building outdoor skills, and spending time in nature “unplugged.” Living simply for a week invites students to consider their relationship to the natural world. A community service project is usually part of the trip. Students spend the week camping either on the California coastal islands or on one of the many beautiful beach camps along the California coast.
Spring Trips: These are one week long and are usually tied to curriculum and include a community service component. Freshmen and sophomore students backpack locally in the Los Padres National Forest, learning and practicing the outdoor skills of self-reliance, team-work, and leadership. Juniors travel to the Southwest. Seniors self-design an internship week in preparation for graduation.
Senior India Trip: This transformational signature trip is offered each year in December/January. Students participate in the daily life of Oak Grove’s sister schools in Chennai, Rishi Valley, and Bangalore, and volunteer for projects such as environmental sustainability or reforestation efforts.
High School students have a community service requirement of 25 hours per year, which is a mix of on-campus (service for our own community at Oak Grove School) and off-campus (service to the community at large). While individual students are free to organize their own hours, the Student Council, with the help of a faculty advisor, is a forum for developing community service projects. Some of the projects have been: rehabilitation of local habitat, recycling projects, sandwich-making for the homeless, awareness and fundraising for various causes including the Rural Education Project in India. The Student Council also focuses on leadership and celebration through service.
Opportunities to serve are abundant both on campus and off campus. Oak Grove School has developed many partnerships with local service agencies such as Help of Ojai, the Ojai Youth Foundation, the Humane Society, the Ojai Foundation, and several other nonprofits, in order to develop in our students a sincere and long-lasting commitment to community service.
Relationship to others and our local community is a key element of The Art of Living and Learning. Students are encouraged to give back to the immediate community of the school and also the community in which we live – the beautiful Ojai Valley. As students explore the nature of our relationship to each other and the world, it is hoped that a sense of responsibility takes root and flowers.
Oak Grove Seniors Continue a Tradition of International Service
Inspired by the work of J. Krishnamurti, an Oak Grove School education seeks to cultivate in students sensitivity and awareness of their relationship to themselves, each other, and the world. Beginning in early childhood, OGS students understand they are part of something bigger than their classrooms, and that we all share responsibility for our global community. Nowhere is this better expressed than in the annual month-long senior trip to India. For the past 19 years, thanks to the continuing support of AGET (an independent charitable organization that underwrites a portion of the trip), Oak Grove seniors have spent the end of December and the majority of January visiting Oak Grove’s sister Krishnamurti schools in India as well as traveling to cities and rural communities.
Preparation and follow-up for the trip is incorporated into the student’s interdisciplinary English and World Cultures courses and is a culminating rite of passage for Oak Grove secondary students. A community service project is also a fundamental part of this trip’s purpose. During the year, seniors work diligently to earn $1,000 through sales and events in order to fund “School in a Box” – a comprehensive educational program that provides elementary school children in India an education for an entire year.
Past graduates of Oak Grove describe the lasting effects of their travel experience in India, especially focusing on the sense of gratitude they continue to carry with them, the awareness of taking nothing for granted, and the desire to live more simply. They write that “…helping others is the best way to put our own problems into perspective; we have a lot to learn from each other and in many ways, all people are the same.”
Our lives are in a constant state of growth and change, particularly throughout our school years. Times of change present tremendous opportunities for academic and social learning, for personal growth, and passage from one stage of life to another. As a school that serves students from Preschool through to High School graduation, we believe it is important to honor those times of change that are particularly transformational.
Honoring the Transition from High School to College
In their senior year, students are given many opportunities to reflect on their High School experience and how it is preparing them to meet the challenges of college and beyond. Senior exhibitions are part of their final exams, when friends and family members can celebrate the culmination of four years of learning. Students are honored each year at the High School Graduation ceremony, in which each senior presents a formal speech to friends, family, faculty, and the community regarding their readiness for college and the responsibilities of adulthood.