Statement of Philosophy
Oakwood School was founded in 1951 by parents who wanted to provide their children with an educational experience that was rich in the arts, sciences, and humanities and challenging to their creative, intellectual, and physical capacities. They wanted a learning community which would foster independence of thought, intellectual integrity, and sensitivity to the needs of others, and prepare students for participation in a democratic society.
Oakwood remains committed to the founders’ goals. We believe that a school environment should foster individual growth and an active communal life, should hold intellectual attainment in high regard, and should encourage young people to exercise increasing autonomy and responsibility—for one another, for the environment, and for the larger world.
We believe that a school best prepares children for the future by focusing on the quality of their experiences in the present. We believe that teachers and learners should inspire one another, and that school must be rewarding in its own right. And we believe that young people’s feelings and thoughts should be accorded respect and dignity.
We intend an Oakwood education:
To guide students toward mastery in their academic, artistic, and athletic pursuits. We want students to grapple meaningfully with ideas, to discover relationships among disciplines, and to become independent and moral thinkers.
To spark passion. We want young people to become wholeheartedly immersed in their work. We believe that intelligence and imagination enrich each other, and that to involve a student passionately in learning is to involve the whole person.
To cultivate depth of character. We seek to nurture students’ empathy, imagination, and moral courage; to foster a sense of responsibility and humility, along with a habit of service; and to instill a lifelong commitment to social justice. We intend for the development of their intellect and character to be intertwined, so that their choices are guided by internal controls and sensitivity to the needs of others.
To help students gain self-knowledge. We want students to learn about their strengths and needs as learners. We seek to accommodate and appreciate the unique qualities of each young person and to provide multiple opportunities for students to succeed, to learn from mistakes, and to take risks for the sake of learning.
To foster a sense of community. We seek to create a vibrant public life in the school, where students learn to express themselves fluently and responsibly, and to consider differing perspectives respectfully. We believe that an environment most conducive to learning and growth is diverse and inclusive, and balances seriousness of purpose with a sense of play.
Finally, we recognize that the school can best achieve its aims when students’ experiences are predominantly positive and joyful, and where their relationships with teachers, and with one another, are caring and trusting.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, November, 2016