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News Release
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Oak Hill School shifts focus to PK-8th grade program (Photo) - 05/09/22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      CONTACT: James Pearson

May 6, 2022                                                                                                      Phone: 541-744-0954 x 7105

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Email:jpearson@oakhillschool.net

 

 

Oak Hill School shifts focus to PK - 8th program

 

On April 27th, Oak Hill School's Board of Trustees voted to shift the school’s mission from that of a K-12 program to PK- 8th grade at the conclusion of this academic year. The unanimous vote will allow the small school to refocus its energies and resources in order to meet swelling demand for its elementary and middle school experience. 

 

“We pride ourselves on small class sizes, on being able to offer students the individual attention they need and deserve. Smaller classes and a limited number of classrooms mean waitlists. We’ve got great kids and great families that we simply haven’t been able to enroll due to limited space. We see a need in this community and we’re trying to fill it,” says James Pearson, Director of Advancement & Communication. “We need room to grow.”

 

“There are just so many wonderful experiences here at Oak Hill,” adds Lynn Dixon, Director of Faculty & Curriculum. “We are excited to be able to invite more families to participate in our Pk-8 program.”

 

The Oak Hill School PK-8 programs are dynamic– starting in kindergarten, three foreign languages are taught, French, Spanish, and Mandarin; students have P.E. class every day; throughout the week, they visit Public Speaking, Music, Art, and Technology classes. Middle Schoolers are challenged with an Outdoor Pursuits Program where they learn survival skills such as shelter building, map-reading, and orienteering on Oak Hill’s 72 acre campus. They then get to use these skills on snow and mountain-climbing trips deep into the Cascades. Middle Schoolers also find time to play in the OHS rock and jazz bands or tread the boards in the new theater building constructed during the shut-down. 

 

“This change will allow Oak Hill to expand on the school’s unique programming and high-quality education while boosting our support to faculty and staff,” says Caitlin Hippler, Director of Finance & Operations.” 

 

Still, despite the bright future, next month’s high school graduation will be incredibly bittersweet and filled with tears as the school sees off its class of 2022. The decision to end Oak Hill’s high school program after twenty-seven years is not without pain, sadness, and heartache. Memories will flow– the high school graduated more than two hundred terrific students who have gone on to be playwrights and doctors, scientists and lawyers, professors, actors, a world-renowned ornithologist, actors and architects, and myriad other fields. OHS alumni serve as teachers and principals and have left their mark on all seven continents. The OHS debate team won two state championships. The accolades and stories the alumni carry will be remembered.  

  

There were other contributing factors to the Board’s decision. COVID-19 radically changed the landscape of secondary education. It ushered in more distance and on-line options, brought a new focus on asynchronous learning and non-traditional educational designs. Oak Hill’s smaller classes may not be what many high school students are looking for in the post-pandemic world. They are searching for larger social circles, more choices, wider streams in which to swim. The current crop of OHS students will carry the seeds harvested on the hill with them wherever they go.     

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