Curriculum

Oak Grove School prides itself on an intimate, relationship-based learning environment that is present throughout all our grades. Our academic classes, electives, sports program, and advisory curriculum all prepare our students for even the most rigorous universities. Oak Grove awakens in each student a love of learning that accompanies them in all their years beyond high school.”

Russ Bowen, Director of Secondary School

College-Preparatory Program

Oak Grove High School offers a challenging college-preparatory program that is approved by the University of California and is designed to exceed admission requirements for the most rigorous and selective universities across the country.

An Oak Grove School education will include opportunities for hands-on and project-based learning, as well as traditional academic coursework. We believe in collaborating and investigating together, and encouraging students to explore, question, and engage the world around them. 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. At Oak Grove, we will empower you with responsibility and ownership of your own learning so you are fully prepared to meet the demands of college and beyond.

MATH

High School — Math

The mathematics program at Oak Grove School is a four-year, college-preparatory curriculum that prepares students for further studies in college in mathematics, engineering, physics, computer science, and other similar courses of study. At the same time, it honors a variety of interests, abilities, and learning styles and strives to bring out the mathematical talents of all students. The program aims to build a deep understanding of concepts rather than focusing on memorizing formulas and algorithms. Students work with both inductive and deductive reasoning approaches to make sense of what they are learning and develop their understanding. Ultimately, we want all students to see themselves as mathematically capable at any level, no matter what their futures hold. Classes are presented in ways that blend the inquiry-based approaches of Oak Grove School with the occasional lecture-based format of more traditional math courses, preparing students for future math and science courses in both high school and college. Students will learn to take on responsibility for their own learning, both in and out of class, making sense of complex ideas. The instructor’s role in this is to guide the students, helping them clarify difficult concepts and giving them examples of how a mathematician might approach problems as they encounter challenging problems together. There is no way for a teacher to put the knowledge into them, nor should that ever be a teacher’s goal. Rather, the teacher’s job is to create opportunities for learning and to ask the right questions at the right time to help the students create and construct their own learning. While not all students will pursue a major in mathematics in college, the skills that they learn in their math classes at Oak Grove will serve them well in any area of study that requires them to be able to take in new information, classify it, process it, analyze it, and apply it.

Geometry

Geometry is the first math course in the high school program and covers topics in both plane and solid Geometry. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 1. Geometry at Oak Grove School combines an inductive approach (making observations, drawing conclusions, creating conjectures) with a more traditional deductive approach (writing proofs in two-column, paragraph, and flowchart forms).

Algebra II

Algebra 2 is the second math course in the high school program. It covers topics such as linear and quadratic functions, matrices, exponents and logarithms, conic sections, series, and sequences. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 1. Algebra 2 at Oak Grove School uses both lectures and investigations to help students explore questions, make observations and draw conclusions. The goal is to prepare students to enter the upper division math courses with their “toolkits” sufficiently full, giving students the skill set and confidence needed to tackle higher-level mathematics.

Pre-Calculus

Pre-Calculus is the third math course in the high school program. The course covers a variety of functions and graphs (linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational and exponential), logarithms, e, trigonometry, polar coordinates, complex numbers, sequences and series, matrices and an introduction to limits. Prerequisite is successful completion of Algebra 2 and Geometry. The course is divided between a study of trigonometry, using both unit circles and a right triangle approach, and various topics designed to prepare students for Calculus the following year.

Calculus

Calculus at Oak Grove School introduces students to the main topics of calculus and gives them a strong foundation for their college math experiences. Topics covered include limits and continuity, the derivative, integration, the indefinite and definite integral, and applications of differentiation and integration. Given this is a senior course it will be presented in ways that blend the inquiry-based approaches of Oak Grove School with the lecture-based format of most college math courses. The goal is to help prepare students for college-level math and science courses while in the safe setting of Oak Grove. Students will take on a tremendous amount of responsibility for their own learning, and it is expected that they will spend a fair amount of time outside of class making sense of complex ideas. They will learn to read a math text written at a college level and develop the self-sufficiency to master new concepts primarily on their own.

SCIENCE

High School — Science

Oak Grove offers four years of college-preparatory laboratory science. Beginning with Environmental Science and progressing through Biology, Chemistry, and ending with Physics, each course gradually builds in rigor and expectations, corresponding with the age, brain development, and needs of our students. Science naturally supports project-based, kinesthetic learning, and Oak Grove’s curriculum is no exception. Our students are often asked to discover answers to questions through experimentation using the techniques of Argument Driven Inquiry. Seminars and lectures supplement the labs to build note-taking and fact-finding skills and to prepare students for the teaching styles of many post-high school science courses. The instructor facilitates students learning with a teacher-as-coach model, encouraging questioning and depth over breadth. The Arts of Living and Learning are woven throughout the curriculum in each science course to create a safe environment for inquiry, discussion, and learning. Students are encouraged to ask questions, observe the world around them, explain in depth with justifications, and self reflect. By incorporating the Arts of Living and Learning, students graduate from this four-year course sequence with the tools to succeed in the most rigorous of universities.

Environmental Science

Oak Grove’s science course sequence begins with Environmental Science. Students work inside the laboratory and outside in the field to study topics related to humans and our environment including ecology, industry and agriculture, population growth, climate change, and resource management. Students are supported as they learn to navigate a textbook, follow the steps in a scientific investigation to draw conclusions, organize and take useful notes, and develop best practices in an inquiry-based science classroom. Students work individually as well as in groups, learning communication and time-management strategies. As with most Oak Grove courses, students are assessed using multiple methods including projects, laboratory experiments, homework assignments, quizzes, tests, and oral presentations. Students complete the course with a better understanding of the natural world around them in addition to their role and impact within it.

Biology

This course is a yearlong introduction to the field of Biology. It is UC-approved and meets the laboratory requirement for both Oak Grove graduation and college acceptance. Students work inside the laboratory and outside in the field to study topics related to the living parts of our world. Topics include cell structure and processes, DNA and protein synthesis, genetics, Earth’s history, and the human body. As with most courses at Oak Grove, the curriculum is shared and explored using a variety methods including discussion, lecture, inquiry-based labs and projects, small group work, presentations, and more. Students will leave the course having practiced and developed skills necessary to navigate dense vocabulary and challenging topics that are often difficult to conceptualize.

Chemistry

Chemistry at Oak Grove is designed to not only introduce students to the topic, but also to develop a new way of thinking and processing information. It is a UC-approved laboratory science that is heavily math-based. Within Chemistry, students know what they are given to start with and what they are looking to produce, but the challenge is determining the process needed to get between the two. We enter a world where there are not always equations and definitions that can just be memorized. Rather, students need to understand where they are trying to go and build a road map of their own. The Basic Chemistrytextbook uses specific real world applications as an umbrella under which different concepts can be studied. Students are assessed using multiple methods including projects, laboratory experiments, homework assignments, quizzes, tests and oral presentations. Honors options are also available to qualified and interested students.

Physics

The CPO Science program Foundations of Physics is a hands-on and inquiry based instructional approach to Physics. Each new concept is introduced through connections to real world applications, either in the lab or through the reading in the text. The program combines this conceptual understanding with mathematical instruction as students use equations to analyze data and solve quantitative problems. During the first semester of Physics students learn about measurement and units, motion and force (Newton’s laws), Hooke’s law, gravity and circular motion. In the second semester torque, rotational inertia, work, magnetism and electricity, electric circuits and power, semiconductors and digital electronics are studied. Students review homework, solve problems and are introduced to new topics (typically through lab work) in class.  Students’ progress is assessed using homework, quizzes, class participation and labs, notebooks and tests, as well as a final exam.

HISTORY

High School — History

The history program at Oak Grove follows a four year sequence in the High School. The ultimate purpose of the program is to prepare students to exercise their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society. Towards that end, the program has four objectives:

  1. Content: To develop students’ understanding of history and the interconnected nature of our world.
  2. Literacy: To improve students’ analysis skills in the social sciences as listed below
    • Interpretation of primary and secondary sources
    • Chronological and spatial thinking
    • Historical research, evidence, and point of view
    • Historical Perspective (Race, Class, Gender, Ethnicity)
    • Content specific academic vocabulary
  3. Inquiry: To utilize the tools of historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists to address questions of significance, draw conclusions based on evidence, and apply the acquired knowledge and skills to address issues and solve problems in today’s world.
  4. Citizenship: To encourage students to become active and engaged citizens from the local to global level.

Human Rights

The origins, characteristics, and development of different political and social systems from the ancient to modern eras, with emphasis on the development of human rights.

Global Studies

A survey of the major historical events of the 19th and 20th century from a global perspective.

American History

A survey of American History with a focus on civics and citizenship

Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics

In the fall, we take deep dive into the cultural and religious life of India to help the students prepare for their month-long visit to our Indian sister schools. In the spring, we study ethics and philosophy as well as prepare for the Senior Gateway exhibitions.

SPANISH

High School — Spanish

The overarching goal of the Spanish program at Oak Grove School is to produce students who are both ‘bilingual’ between English and Spanish and ‘transcultural’ among their own native culture and the cultures of the 20 Spanish-speaking countries. The four-year progression of Spanish I, II, III, and IV focuses on guiding students to be able to effectively and comfortably speak, listen, read, and write in Spanish. The curriculum emphasizes communication, authenticity, and culture. Through constant role-playing, acting, reading, listening, and collaboration students learn to comfortably communicate in Spanish in a wide variety of common and practical situations. Context for the language is gained through in-depth inquiry into the culture of the Spanish-speaking world, its peoples, and their historical and current achievements, issues, and concerns. Emphasis is placed on creating a safe, supportive learning environment where students can practice these new sounds, words, phrases, and thoughts freely. Many of our graduates go on to study Spanish in college and become fully fluent as adults.

Spanish I

Students begin their journey to becoming being fluent in Spanish. Students learn to communicate with confidence in all forms of the present tense. They also learn to communicate with numbers, the time, their likes and dislikes, and weather and seasons. In-depth study is given to the cultures and traditions of Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Spanish II

Students continue their journey to becoming fluent in Spanish. Students learn to communicate with confidence using the preterite and imperfect tenses and reflexive verbs. They also learn to communicate about different shopping situations, their daily routine, foods and ordering in restaurants, holidays and festivals, and medical-related situations. In-depth study is given to the cultures and traditions of Cuba, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, and Costa Rica.

Spanish III

Students continue their journey to becoming fluent in Spanish. Students learn to communicate with confidence using both the indicative and subjunctive moods in Spanish. They also learn three of the perfect tenses. Emphasis is placed on communicating about technology, housing and home life, nature, city life, and well-being. In-depth study is given to the cultures and traditions of Argentina, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia.

Spanish IV

Students conclude their journey to becoming fluent in Spanish. All remaining verb tenses are incorporated into their repertoire. More time is allocated to poetry, readings, media, and other authentic manifestations of the language. Students learn to communicate with confidence about current events, the working world, and the arts. In-depth study is given to the cultures and traditions of Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

ENGLISH

High School — English

English 9/10: Modern Literature

This course provides an overview of modern world literature, while grounding 9th and 10th graders in essential reading and writing skills for success in high school, college, and future careers in the real world. We will shine a spotlight on the mechanical skills of reading and writing, with special attention given to the art of using logic to craft effective arguments. Literary texts from around the world will provide subject matter for thought, writing and discussion. With few exceptions, these texts will be drawn from modern examples of the literature of each focus culture.

Exposure to these early works of literature will broaden students understanding of the world literary canon, while class discussion and writing prompts surrounding the readings will develop the ability to write a powerful academic essay. Diverse topics for reading and discussion will provide opportunities to think critically not only about academics, but about the experience of being a human in this world.

By the end of this course, you should be able to absorb a difficult reading, thoughtfully discuss the salient ideas, and express your own thoughts using clear logic and articulate language.

English 11: American Literature

This course provides an overview of American literature, while helping 11th graders develop and hone essential reading and writing skills for success in both high school and college. We will extensively practice the core skills of reading and writing, with special attention given to the art of using logic to craft effective arguments. Literary texts from diverse eras of US history will provide subject matter for thought, writing and discussion.

Exposure to these works of literature will broaden your understanding of the American literary canon, while class discussion and writing prompts surrounding the readings will develop your ability to write a powerful academic essay. Diverse topics for reading and discussion will provide opportunities to think critically not only about academics, but about the experience of being a human in this country.

By the end of this course, you should be able to absorb a difficult reading, thoughtfully discuss the salient ideas, and express your own thoughts using clear logic and articulate language.

English 12

This course prepares seniors for college with intensive practice in essay writing, close reading, and critical thinking. Students will examine a variety of topics, reading both fiction and non-fiction to stimulate ideas and prepare for the varieties of reading and writing required by life in the modern world. Special attention will be given to writing and honing college application essays, as well as to preparing seniors for their end-of-year graduation speeches.

This course examines a selection of literature of aesthetic, cultural or historic value, with a mild emphasis on British literature and Science Fiction/Fantasy or Dystopian works. Students will be given time in class to support writing their college application essays at the beginning of the year, as well as their graduation speeches at the end of the year. In addition to those critical projects, students will write nine well-developed compositions over the course of the year: two literary analysis papers, one CSU
essay, two short stories, one persuasive essay, one research paper, one short, original work with a comedic twist, and a memoir with surrealist or fantastical elements added to true events.

ESL

The Oak Grove ESL program is designed to address two main goals: to support international students as needed in mainstream academic courses, and to improve students’ level of English in all four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Our very small ESL classes allow for individual instruction that is personalized to meet each student’s needs and to challenge learners to expand their range of active vocabulary and advanced grammatical structures. Academic writing skills are a priority, with TOEFL and SAT exam practice provided as necessary.

ELECTIVES

High School — Electives

Film Studies

Through the study of film, we explore the dynamics of storytelling—character, setting, narrative—and the art of storytelling made visual, particularly the subtle crafts of editing and composition. Our Film Studies elective also includes a creative component, allowing students an opportunity to try their own hand at filmmaking.

Introduction to Philosophy

Through in-class readings, videos, and discussions, students will tackle five key ideas from both a Western and Eastern Perspective: 1) What is Knowledge, 2) What is Happiness, 3) Is There a God and What Might God’s Nature Be, 4) What is Good and Evil, 5) What is Beauty. Participants will gain an appreciation of these questions that have been asked for thousands of years and come to find an immediate relevance in the answers provided by these traditions.

History of Psychology

Through in-class readings, videos, discussions, and experiments, students will learn the history of psychology – the history of both “What is the Soul” and “What is the Mind” from both a Western and Eastern Perspective. Working psychologists will visit the class and offer their experience, and experiments in sense perception will also be explored. Students will leave the class with insight into both humanity and themselves, as well as aspects of psychology as a profession.

Digital Publications – Photoshop and Web Design

Students will gain intermediate Photoshop skills during this course, especially the tools for website content development. Participants will then go on to look at interface design and narrative structure. Final creations will be live blogs and websites using HTML, CSS, as well as employing platforms such as WordPress, Wix, and Blogger.

Digital Publications – Yearbook

Students will gain basic graphic design principles and learn Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Participants will then apply their photography and layout skills to create the school yearbook. There are writing components, planning elements, and overall concept fulfillment, providing many opportunities for students to develop specific skills. It’s a great project that has a product that lasts for the life of the school.

Music

Music is an ensemble based class that give students of all abilities and interest levels a chance to perform together as well as challenge themselves on an individual level.  Students learn to work together and perform a repertoire of their choice in at Showcase at the end of each semester.  Most of the classwork is geared towards preparing and rehearsing performance material, however, we also spend time discussing the mechanics of music theory and technique.  No prior experience is necessary and everyone is encouraged to join.

Honors Music

Honors Music is embedded in both classes for students who wish to challenge themselves further.  In addition to all the requirements of Music class, there will be off-campus performance opportunities, in-depth music theory and additional responsibilities for Showcase preparation.  There are no prerequisites for Honors Music, but some music background and experience is highly recommended.

Dance

Throughout the semester, students will learn a wide variety of dance styles chosen by both instructor and students, which will include history, technique, improvisation and sequencing steps in combinations. Through dance, students will learn how to feel their bodies in space, express themselves through movement, move in all planes of motion, and become stronger both as individuals and as a collective. Students will also be introduced to a wide range of music genres, music theory, and basic anatomy.

French 1

Students who choose to pursue French will embark on a study of the language as well as the rich cultures of the French-speaking world.  In this course, students learn the basic grammar, syntax and vocabulary while reading, writing, listening and speaking the language.  Only French is spoken in class from the very first day.  This way, students quickly develop their oral skills.  Students are provided with a wide variety of formats for expression, ranging from class discussions and small group work to the creation of an electronic portfolio, websites and video production.  Students learn to communicate in the present and future tenses, and get introduced to the past tenses.

The Art of Living and Learning is crucial in this class as we create a safe environment to explore and take risks together.  Oral participation is essential for learning a language, therefore it counts as 60% of the grade.

French 2/3

This second French course will prepare students to communicate with confidence in the Present, Future, Imperfect, Passé Composé, Conditional and Subjunctive tenses.  In this course, students learn grammar, syntax and vocabulary while reading, writing, listening and speaking the language.  Emphasis is placed on communicating with authenticity and native-like pronunciation.  Students read and retell stories, as well as create their own.  They read their first novella: Le Petit Prince, and create an electronic portfolio, which helps them self-assess their own learning.  Students continue to explore the rich cultures of the French-speaking world by reading articles on current events and watching cultural videos.  Only French is spoken in class at all time.

The Art of Living and Learning is crucial in this class as we create a safe environment to explore and take risks together.  Oral participation is essential for learning a language, therefore it counts as 60% of the grade.

Prerequisite: French 1/2

Economics

The purpose of this course is to give you an introduction to economics, including basic economic principles, and the fundamentals of microeconomics and macroeconomics.  The overall goal of the course is to understand the economic choices and decisions individuals have to make and how their particular socio-economic status affects those decisions.

Expected School-wide Learning Results:

The following skills will be addressed in this course:

  1. Critical Thinking – through examination of basic economic principles and applying them in real-world situations.
  2. Problem Solving – through “problem sets” applying the concepts taught in class
  3. Communication – through verbal and written exercises applying economic concepts and developing coherent stances on economic issues that impact society
  4. Understanding Economic Structures and Global Interdependence – examining how the basic principles of economics express themselves in individual consumer choices and societal choices.

Ceramics

The objectives of the Ceramics program are to develop introductory pottery and studio skills and to further student capacity to create and appreciate art through the medium of clay. Ceramics combines functional design and craft skills with the aesthetics and self-expression of visual art. Throughout the year, techniques such as throwing, coil, pinch, and slab work will be learned and used to create functional or sculptural work. In addition, methods of glazing, decorating, and the basics of bisque and glaze firing will be covered. Students will learn what can be expected from different clay bodies and glazes, and test combinations to discover the materials’ properties. The class will develop criteria to evaluate their pottery both from a functional and creative point of view. Students will formally assess several of their pieces and reflect on their learning process. Ceramic artists will be discussed with the intention of deepening the students understanding and work. Learning studio skills such as preparing clay, and maintaining equipment, tools, and the studio will also be emphasized.

The Arts of Living and Learning are alive in our practice of Ceramics. Students will be expected to live respectfully in our space that is shared with Elementary art. This respect involves attention to safety, cleanliness, cooperation, and proper care for the work created. The Art of Learning in a craft like pottery needs many practical skills, but the right state of mind is even more essential. Master potters think of themselves not as experts but as continuing learners. It helps to be curious and interested, to value the learning process over product, and to cultivate the ‘beginner mind’:

The other kind of learning … is to observe without the accompaniment of previous knowledge, to look at something as though for the first time, afresh.
(J.Krishnamurti)

Digital Design

This is a course that focuses on photography and graphic design. Students will review lighting, composition and the elements and principles of successful design while becoming proficient in the use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. We will learn how a camera works, how to take successful photos and how to manipulate the photographs using computers. We will learn how to work with existing lighting as well as to control studio lighting, and have a few off-site photo shoots as well. While becoming proficient at the art of photography we will also work in the world of graphic design with projects of increasing complexity as the year progresses. Students will be asked to record all the steps of their design process—from initial brainstorming to final layout— and present project to the class.

Throughout the semester we will work on and with Oak Grove’s Arts of Inquiry (students will observe, question, fact find, conduct original research, and engage in self-reflection), Communication (they will speak, write and listen), Academia (they will learn to present work according to the highest academic standards), Engagement (they will learn about what motivates them, develop a sense of self-direction, examine their own thinking, and learn about learning), Aesthetics (they will experience a sensitivity and appreciation to many forms of arts, they will continue to discover the artist within and nd many ways and mediums to express themselves artistically), and Caring and Relationship (they will develop self-understanding of how they are creative in their life and appreciation for how others express themselves creatively in diverse ways. They will see how creativity has been expressed in different cultures and learn to appreciate the diversity and what is being communicated)

Studio Art

In this studio art course will be working on projects that have many components to them. Students will be responsible for keeping visual and written records of their creative process and should be prepared to present these to fellow students, teachers, and parents. We will be working in a variety of mediums and learning how different mediums can change the meaning or concept of an artwork. For those seniors who wish to attend Art School, we will also focus on preparing an Art Portfolio for applications to Art Colleges.

Students will be asked to work in depth on each project, to always improve their artistic techniques, to organize their time wisely, to take risks on new things, and consider often why they create art and what are they trying to communicate by doing so. Most projects will be theme based. Students will also be asked to research various artists and artistic movements.

Throughout the semester we will work on and with Oak Grove’s Arts of Inquiry (students will observe, question, fact find, conduct original research, and engage in self-reflection), Communication (they will speak, write and listen), Academia (they will learn to present work according to the highest academic standards), Engagement (they will learn about what motivates them, develop a sense of self-direction, examine their own thinking, and learn about learning), Aesthetics (they will experience a sensitivity and appreciation to many forms of arts, they will continue to discover the artist within and nd many ways and mediums to express themselves artistically), and Caring and Relationship (they will develop self-understanding of how they are creative in there life and appreciation for how others express themselves creatively in diverse ways. They will see how creativity has been expressed in different cultures and learn to appreciate the diversity and what is being communicated.

Introduction to Theater

In this course students will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of dramatic performance, culminating in one or more short performances at Showcase. Students will engage in improv and other theater games, will study scripts and learn some of the terminologies of the stage. Theater, as a form of artistic expression, is concerned with the fundamental questions of human existence. Students will understand how actors reflect life, and how theater holds a mirror up to society.

HONORS

Honors Program

Oak Grove has chosen to offer an honors program rather than offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses. While AP classes have their own merits and value, offering honors options fits much better with Oak Grove’s mission and intent: to assist students in developing those qualities of mind, heart, and body that will enable them to function with excellence, care, and responsibility in the modern world. At Oak Grove, teachers are able to tailor the honors work to their courses, including offering several tracks or options for some classes. Teachers have the space to go more deeply into topics in their curricula through projects, research papers, and mathematical proofs, as well as the freedom to cover additional topics not found in the standard course syllabi. Honors options tend to focus more on critical thinking and analytical skills and less on speedy memorization and assimilation of information. Teachers have the choice to offer collaborative, interdisciplinary projects as appropriate. Many of the honors courses at Oak Grove are UC-approved, which means they receive the same weighted grades and have the same effect on a student’s GPA as an AP course would. Honors courses are all designated with an “H” on students’ transcripts. When students apply to colleges and universities, Oak Grove submits its school profile which shows the courses offered and their rigor; students are not penalized for not taking AP classes.

COLLEGE COUNSELING

High School College Counseling

Overview of the Oak Grove College Counseling Program

The College Advisor coordinates the college counseling program, working closely with the all four of the high school Advisors, the High School Registrar and the Head of School. We hold parent meetings each fall and spring dedicated to college topics, and Advisors integrate college topics into Advisory throughout the four years. Students can drop in during office hours and parents are able to make appointments with the College Advisor as needed; emails and phone calls are also welcome. Our goal is to fully support students and families through the college selection and application process, but if you feel your student needs more SAT/ACT prep or college advice than we can offer, please feel free to seek help outside of the school. In addition, please bear in mind that no one here believes a student should judge their intelligence solely via test scores, whether they be high or low. We do not rank students at Oak Grove and we do not rank their post high school choices either, believing that all students and families should be considering the right fit for their individual student. These choices can include college, military service, a gap year, an apprenticeship, or joining the world of work. We have never had an “honor roll” but attempt to honor all students who bring the best of themselves to their educational experience.

Each year in Advisory students receive a copy of our four-year calendar for college planning. This gives tips about what to do each year, starting in ninth grade. Juniors and seniors also receive a copy of the college counseling handbook which covers topics such as the senior year timetable, evaluating colleges, standardized testing, visiting colleges, application procedures, the college essay, letters of recommendation, financial aid, and more. Various college admissions representatives visit Oak Grove each fall and spring during the school day, and all interested students are invited to attend those informational sessions.

College and post high school planning is a collaborative process – if you are a parent of a junior or senior be prepared for homework! It is also a wonderful opportunity for students to take ownership of their lives and their futures. We encourage students to take initiative and responsibility for this process. For an indication of the range of schools our seniors apply to, please see our list of college acceptances below.

9th & 10th graders are encouraged to discuss their goals, concerns, and feelings about college and post-high school choices during Advisory. The College Advisor has many publications that can be perused. Students can also get information online. Students are encouraged to focus on their academic progress, participate in extracurricular activities and summer programs, and talk to older students and adults about their experiences.

11th graders meet in Advisory during the second semester to discuss and develop college plans. They are encouraged to take the SAT and/or ACT once in the spring. Each January they spend a half-day with their Advisor researching colleges and preparing informal reports to share with one another. Juniors also spend some time in the spring working on drafts of college essays as part of the English 3 curriculum.

12th graders are assigned college planning homework over the summer which includes developing an initial list of colleges, writing draft essays, and visiting prospective colleges. All seniors meet in Advisory during the first semester to make final decisions for college plans and work on their applications. Students are assisted in refining their college essays as part of their English 4 curriculum. Each October they spend a half-day together, along with their Advisor and the College Advisor, in a college counseling retreat that is focused on essays and applications.

SAT and ACT Prep Program

9th & 10th graders receive some preparation as part of their regular English and math courses. In October, freshmen take the PSAT 8/9 and sophomores take the PSAT. These exams serve as practice at taking standardized tests and give students exposure to the content and format of the SAT.

11th graders devote some of their Advisory time in the first semester to independent practice for the PSAT (which all juniors sit in October) and a practice ACT, and shift their focus to SAT and/or ACT prep thereafter. They are encouraged to take the SAT and/or ACT once in the spring. They have SAT/ACT practice throughout the year in their math class in addition to the regular course content.

12th graders are encouraged to prep for the SAT, ACT and/or Subject Tests over the summer if they feel they can improve their test scores. Students devote some of their Advisory time to studying for the SAT, ACT or Subject Tests as needed.

All students are encouraged to do additional preparation outside of Oak Grove if they feel they need it, and options include working independently with a test-prep book, using the free resources on KhanAcademy.org, and hiring a tutor.

Helpful College Resources

Researching Colleges and Universities

Applying to College

Common App: www.commonapp.org

University of California (UCs – 9 undergraduate campuses): http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/apply-online/index.html

California State University (Cal State – 23 undergraduate campuses): http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/undergrad_apply.asp

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU): http://www.aiccu.edu/

Helpful Books

Fiske Guide to Colleges, by Edward Fiske

College That Change Lives: 40 Schools that Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, by Loren Pope

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You, by Steven Antonoff

List of College Acceptances

Academy of Art University, San Francisco

American University

Arizona State University

Babson College

Bard College

Barnard College

Bates College

Bennington College

Berklee College of Music

Boston University

Brown University

California Institute of the Arts

California State University – all campuses

Centre College

Chapman University

College of Notre Dame

College of the Atlantic

Colorado College

Columbia University

DePaul University

Drexel University

Earlhan College

Eugene Lang College

Evergreen College

Fordham College

Gonzaga University

Hampshire College

Harvard University

John & Wales College

La Sierra University

Lafayette College

Lewis and Clark College

Long Island University

Loyola Marymount University

Marlborough College

Marymount College

Mills College

Moorpark College

Mount Holyoke College

New York University

Northeastern University

Northern Arizona University

Northland College

Notre Dame University

Oberlin College

Occidental College

Oregon State University

Parsons College

Pennsylvania State University

Pepperdine University

Pitzer College

Pomona College

Prairie View A & M University

San Francisco State University

San Francisco University

Santa Barbara City College

Santa Clara College

Santa Monica College

Sarah Lawrence University

Scripps College

Simon Fraser University

Smith College

Stanford University

SUNY – Stonybrook

Swarthmore College

Syracuse University

Texas Tech University

Trinity College

Tufts University

Unity College

University of Arizona

University of California – all Campuses

University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Denver

University of Michigan

University of Oregon

University of Redlands

University of Rochester, NY

University of Southern California

University of the Pacific

University of Venezuela

University of Washington

Vassar College

Ventura Community College

Warren Wilson College

Washington University

Wellesley College

Wentworth Inst. of Technology

Wesleyan College

Western Washington University

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Begin the application process. If you have any questions, we’re happy to assist you.