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.
OHA Director of Student Affairs