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Boarding School helping to establish a sense of belonging and being known

Belonging & Being Known

What does it mean to belong and how can we provide our children with a sense of belonging?

Even from a young age, children scan their environment looking for a place of safety and security—a place where they are valued and accepted.  Over time, expectations of others become increasingly important, and school can take on a life of its own.  By high school or even middle school, many students find themselves wondering how they fit in and if they even want to fit in with the peer group surrounding them.

Just this week, I had a conversation with a parent who summed it up by saying, “School is often a place to be known for sports or to be known for academics.”  I thought to myself . . . shouldn’t school first be a place simply to be known?  Before engaging in learning or teaching, shouldn’t teachers and school administrators get to know the individual needs and personality of each child?

As a former teacher, I know first-hand how challenging that can be when dealing with multiple large classes each day.  Trying to remember the names of 140+ students a day, let alone their unique learning styles and motivations, is a daunting task for anyone.  Even the most conscientious teachers often find themselves unable to engage meaningfully with their students and wonder, isn’t there another way?

Oak Hill Academy says yes, there is another way and ensures every student has an opportunity to be known in a structured, nurturing environment that encourages growth.  Instead of teaching 140 students per day, I now have the privilege of working at a small boarding school with a student body of that size.  Every student is known by name and, more importantly, they can each experience a sense of belonging in this place.

Mrs. Katherine Giszack
Director of Admission

 

 

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Oak Hill’s fall magazine is out: The Arrow

In this issue, read and see how our small boarding school started its 141st year! This issue also profiles our new faculty and staff, and honors those who have retired. There is a blurb about our upcoming Homecoming, and a report on last summer’s Alumni Weekend. The outlook for this season’s Gold Basketball Team is featured, along with the “State of the Academy” giving report. As always, there are scores of fun photos of OHA community scenes and activities. Enjoy!

Join OHA on Reddit and “Ask Me Anything!”

 

Oak Hill Academy is hosting an AMA, which stands for “Ask Me Anything” on the subreddit /r/IAmA. In our post we will be responding to your questions. We’d love to have you participate in our AMA. Our panelists for this AMA are Dr. Michael Groves, our President; Steve Smith, our Athletic Director; Todd Giszack, our Principal; Katherine Giszack, our Admissions Director; and Aaron Butt, our Director of Student Affairs.

 

Reddit is an American social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website. Essentially, any person is able to create what is called a SubReddit, which is sort of like a discussion board. Some of the most active subreddits include: /r/gaming, /r/movies, /r/music, /r/funny, and so on. In fact, there are over 1.2
million subreddits. Reddit has been self-titlted, “The front page of the Internet,” and probably has earned it.

We’d love to see any questions you may have, and we will work to answer them!

 

Please go to https://www.reddit.com/ where you can sign up for an account by clicking the “Sign Up” button in the top-right corner. After creating an account, visit our post at https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/df0kj4/we_are_oak_hill_academy_ask_us_anything/ and place a comment under our initial post. We’ll answer ASAP!

Admission Open House to be held October 14th

There’s no better time than fall to visit the mountains! We invite prospective students and their families to experience Oak Hill Academy for themselves as we showcase our community on Monday, October 14th (Columbus Day), from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kindly RSVP to admission@oak-hill.net to help us accommodate everyone for our seminars, campus tours, and complimentary lunch.

 

To our OHA community: If you know of a student/family who could benefit from enrollment in our small, structured boarding school, please send this information their way. Many thanks!

How does boarding school motivate, engage, and help students become successful?

A structured, personal environment where academic and character growth is nurtured helps develop students’ self-confidence to express themselves and move toward their goals.  Small, college-prep classes address learning styles and engage students at a level they may be missing in their current school’s environment. Oak Hill Academy’s supportive approach fosters competency and academic achievement. By giving students enough responsibility to achieve a sense of independence in a safe, supervised, and motivating setting, our boarding high school often becomes the place where fear, being hesitant or easily influenced by peers in a negative way are replaced with determination and mature decision-making processes.  We are proud of the pivotal, life-changing transformations experienced here at Oak Hill. These changes happen in part because students are encouraged to experiment and develop their own leadership styles.  There are numerous campus leadership positions available such as Honor Court member, ambassador, dorm assistant, and club/activity officers. Additionally, many of our students develop interpersonal skills and service leadership through peer interactions, being peer tutors, and acting as mentors for younger students.  A new environment can be a “turning point,” and is an opportunity to break old patterns. Oak Hill Academy allows students to redefine themselves in a fresh and supportive setting.

We invite you to schedule a campus tour to experience, for yourself, the special community here in the beautiful mountains of Southwestern Virginia.  If you would like to discuss how Oak Hill Academy may become the Turning Point for your student, please contact the Admission Office today.

Admission Department Request for Information:

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High School Boarding School for Academic and Personal Growth

Are you looking for a high school boarding option for your struggling student?  Do these struggles stem from learning differences or self-esteem issues? These types of internal battles can wreak havoc on motivation and success for any high school student, and they have very little to do with ability.

Oak Hill Academy understands that, and specializes in assisting the under-performing student. We recognize that a student’s ability to believe success is possible is key, even when entering our school with a transcript that might suggest otherwise. We believe that competency and confidence are nurtured best with a truly relational approach, developed in a structured environment that is strong on accountability. We strive to be the boarding high school that is known for its commitment to individual academic support and personal growth.

Here at Oak Hill Academy, we pride ourselves on being the “turning point” for students in more than one area of their lives.  When admission criteria are discussed, several common points arise:

First, as a college prep boarding high school, we work with students in the classroom toward graduation and what comes next. Many of our students need academic support, and we recognize different learning styles and needs, including instruction in time management and organization.

Additionally, Oak Hill offers a tremendously supportive, structured, and relational environment in which to coach (non-therapeutically) personal, social and emotional growth in our students. Opportunities for engagement outside the classroom abound, giving students a chance to discover or rekindle special interests, passions or talents. That’s why we like to know about what your student has enjoyed beyond academics.

Finally, the most important factor in admission decisions is your student’s mindset when it comes to redefining themselves.  The admission process should involve some recognition of this opportunity on the part of the student. We seek to enroll those for whom we are a “good fit”, and by that we mean that our boarding school is growth-oriented, and is best suited for high school students who embrace their own need to mature, and are ready for a restart.

Admission Department Request for Information:

Start a conversation with our Admission Department today.
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Elements of OHA Structure: Highlighting “Quiet Time”

We talk to prospective students and parents a lot about the structured and supportive boarding school environment we offer at Oak Hill Academy. To facilitate academic and personal growth in our students, we create a framework made up of components like the one Mr. Butt highlights below.

“Quiet Time.” What is it? I believe Quiet Time at Oak Hill Academy is one of the most important aspects of our program. A common refrain I hear from the parents of incoming students is that their son/daughter struggles with executive functioning skills: things like paying attention, organizing, planning and prioritizing, starting tasks and staying focused on them to completion, self-monitoring (keeping track of what you’re doing). These, as adults know, are critical skills that need to be learned as our students mature and matriculate into the real world. Our Quiet Time is intended to provide the structure, the scaffolding, for students to grow in these areas.

Everyone is back in the dorms at 8:30 p.m. Game systems and cell phones are turned in to the Resident Manager, and students can receive only incoming calls from immediate family. For the first hour, students are in their rooms unless they need to shower, have dorm jobs (taking out the trash, sweeping the hall, etc.), scheduled laundry or cooking, or have signed up for the study room for Wi-Fi access. We try to be consistent with this schedule, and this message: Learn to organize your time, and prioritize.

At 9:30, all students are in their rooms, and the second hour of Quite Time is designated for studying. The Resident Managers have a GoogleDoc with every student’s homework assignment, and they are also made aware if a student has been struggling to complete their work. The Resident Manager is on the hall, checking in, and providing assistance as necessary. Students who need it are assigned a special study room with a bit more monitoring and support. At 10:30 lights are out, the dorm is quiet, and it’s time for bed.

And that’s the routine: every day, every week, every month, all year. It’s predictable; it’s structured; it takes some getting used to. But if used faithfully, this routine helps our students learn to self-monitor and build effective patterns into their lives that we believe will help them succeed at the next level.

Will they have a mandatory Quiet Time in college? Probably not, but we have graduates and former students who come back to “the Hill” and espouse the benefits of the habits they developed at Oak Hill–that they were able to take what they had learned here into their adult lives.

So these are the basics of Quiet Time – part of who we are, and what we value as a school.

Aaron Butt
OHA Director of Student Affairs

 

Boarding School for High School Success

Students at Oak Hill Academy are given the chance to redefine themselves in ways that are not always realized in their current school environment. 
Our structured, nurturing approach provides a healthy climate for students to branch out and explore themselves from a more holistic view.  Our small class sizes allow for individualized attention and instruction to help mold a more competent, confident and mature student.  Students learn to get things done efficiently and effectively through mentored interaction with their teachers and dorm staff.  Yes, they find themselves working harder–and more consistently–but they’re also more engaged and experience real, tangible, and obtainable goals that emerge when held to a higher level of accountability.   Oak Hill Academy’s personalized approach provides a sense of support that is the catalyst for students to realize their potential for success.

If you have determined that the school year has not gotten off to the positive start you and your student hoped for, it is a good time to consider Oak Hill Academy for a new, and proven, approach.  You may even have inquired in the past and want to revisit the possibilities.  

We welcome a call or email in the Admission Department at this time of the year.  Some of our greatest success stories began this way.

Admission Department Request for Information:

Start a conversation with our Admission Department today.
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Boarding School for Unmotivated Students

Oak Hill Academy students are bright. Once they are here, they realize quickly that there is more to gain from their high school experience than they might have believed from their previous experience.  Here on the beautiful and serene campus of Oak Hill Academy, students find themselves excelling and developing a sense of pride for the first time in an academic setting.  They are surrounded with peers who feel the same, and who encourage and support one another.  Together with the guidance of teachers, Oak Hill Academy students find they “want more,” and develop a true confidence as they realize their goals are achievable.d Our curriculum engages and challenges, but there is also a sense of support and acceptance that allows students to take chances; to push themselves where they may otherwise have faltered.  There are rigorous course loads including dual/college credit and AP options as many of our students come to discover that they are ready, and want the challenge.  It is this academic flexibility, staff leadership, and peer support that allow immense personal growth and that provide an eye-opening experience that is at the heart of Oak Hill Academy’s mission.  We supply the building blocks to help students change their academic, social, and emotional scope and realize that the tools to a successful future are both tangible and accessible.

If you have determined that the school year has not gotten off to the positive start you and your student hoped for, it is a good time to consider Oak Hill Academy for a new, and proven, approach.  You may even have inquired in the past and want to revisit the possibilities.  

We welcome a call or email in the Admission Department at this time of the year.  Some of our greatest success stories began this way.

Admission Department Request for Information:

Start a conversation with our Admission Department today.
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Is Oak Hill Academy the right place for your student? 

Is Oak Hill Academy the right place for your student?  

From the perspective of admissions, families and their students who are in need of personal or academic growth can find a great fit here. Oak Hill’s most successful students understand that a fresh start in a new environment provides them an opportunity to redefine themselves. Smaller class sizes mean individual attention at a more personal level of both instruction and understanding, leading to a higher level of accountability. Our structured, supportive approach allows students to work harder and more consistently because results become tangible almost immediately. Students are guided to see themselves in a new light and develop a belief in future possibilities. The Oak Hill Academy faculty also understands that smaller class sizes provide the ideal environment not only for academic instruction and building competence, but to cultivate individual growth in a non-therapeutic but accepting environment. It is a very specific sense of pride our faculty feels as students begin to recognize that their goals are obtainable. Bringing about this realization is not an easy feat—it takes a lot of hard work—but this shared endeavor is what brings Oak Hill Academy students and faculty together as a family, and makes us unique in the world of boarding schools.

If you have determined that the school year has not gotten off to the positive start you and your student hoped for, it is a good time to consider Oak Hill Academy for a new, and proven, approach.  You may even have inquired in the past and want to revisit the possibilities.  

We welcome a call or email in the Admission Department at this time of the year.  Some of our greatest success stories began with mid-year enrollments. Call us at (276) 579-2619 or email admission@oak-hill.net.

Admission Department Request for Information:

Start a conversation with our Admission Department today.
  • Student Information