At Oak Grove we approach teaching, learning, and living as an art form – The Art of Living and Learning. Middle School (Junior High) is an exciting transitional journey from childhood to young adulthood, and our dedicated faculty will help you navigate these important times and prepare you for the path ahead. Oak Grove Middle School offers a rich, balanced experience that taps into your interests and natural creativity. We pursue deep academic inquiry, social-emotional growth, and joy, giving strength to our students’ inner lives and to enrich our lives together in community.
Our Middle School faculty team consists of three core homeroom teachers in humanities and science/math, a dedicated Advisory teacher, and specialists in Spanish, art, music, horticulture, and physical education.
Our Middle School embodies our progressive approach to education by striving to create an environment of intrinsic motivation and learning. Without the rewards, punishments, and pressures of grades, we foster a love for learning and a drive for self-knowledge. Our core academic classes — math, science, English, and history — challenge and support students to develop intellectually, ethically, and socially. The small class sizes and personal relationships between students and teachers encourage invigorating discussion, deep inquiry, and hands-on learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. These classes are then balanced with Advisory, exploratory courses, Mindfulness, service projects, and outdoor education to emotionally, artistically, and physically stimulate our growing adolescents.
Outdoor Education & Travel
Oak Grove’s Outdoor Education and Travel Program at the Middle 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.
Students participate in two signature trips per year. One of these trips is a week of outdoor learning and exploration at the Jackson Campus of the Teton Science Schools. Led by instructors, the students ski, snowshoe, and hike through Grand Teton National Park while studying the ecology and natural history of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. This immersion provides hands-on scientific inquiry and connection to the natural world.
Advisory for 7th and 8th grades is a two-year program whose primary intent is to provide opportunities for students to delve into questions about their relationship to themselves, each other, their community, and the earth. Students develop supportive relationships with adults they trust, as well as with their peers. These strongly established connections and relationships are foundational to moving ahead with ease, in anticipation of increasing academic rigor and evolving social networks. The small Advisory group setting is a natural incubator where norms are established and kids can try out new ideas and explore their own identities. Driven by three essential questions — Who am I? How do I relate to others? What will I contribute to the world? — students cultivate a sense of self — academically, emotionally, and socially.
Music · Art · Athletics · Horticulture · Spanish
Oak Grove’s core academic program is balanced with a rich array of extracurricular opportunities. All Middle School students take courses in vocal and instrumental music, fine and practical arts (drawing, painting, ceramics, weaving, and more), drama, horticulture, and library science. Students also participate in a variety of athletics, helping introduce 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.
Middle School students develop community service projects in collaboration with their teachers. These are often tied to curriculum and tap into the many resources and partnerships Oak Grove School has established in Ojai. Some of the projects have been: rehabilitation of local habitat, recycling projects, meal preparation for the homeless, awareness and fundraising for various causes, including the Rural Education Project in India.
Honoring Transitions: Middle School to High School
Completion of Middle School is an important time to pause and reflect on the experiences that have culminated in this significant milestone. The 8th grade students are honored each year at the 8th Grade Gateway exhibition and ceremony, in which students present exhibitions of their learning over the previous two years and give a speech that demonstrates their readiness for High School. Parents, friends, faculty, and members of the community are invited to look at student exhibitions and enjoy a formal ceremony for issuing diplomas. In this way, those of us who are fortunate to be a part of their lives can celebrate their transition to High School.
The faculty of the Oak Grove Secondary School provides a well-rounded Parent Ed program, whereby parents can become informed on subjects related to teen and young adult development. Parent Ed events are led by teachers as well as outside professionals, covering topics like social media wellness, college readiness, teen sexuality, inquiry-based dialogue, and more. The program’s mission is to support parents in raising teenagers through workshops on adolescent development, communication strategies, college readiness, and harm prevention. In addition, the program emphasizes building relationships and support networks among parents, teachers, and community members.