Many public schools across the United States are still under the Common Core national standards. New evidence is revealing the full extent of Common Core's historic failure. The Pinoneer Institute published a study assessing the damage of this federally driven centralization of curriculum decision-making, away from parents and toward state and national government officials.
Unlike traditional models of education, The Oaks embraces a unique, relevant and effective model of school that is designed to reach, engage, and grow students with a variety of strengths. The non-profit private school, which opened in Fall 2018, is pioneering a model of education for the modern student. Embracing the idea that continual learning should be a way of life, this year-around program wants students to become life-long, multi-dimensional learners.
The Oak’s believes “that there is no 'right way' to learn, rather that education should involve all of the senses engaged in an active and experiential environment.”
The school focuses on building confidence and persistence in their students. Their website explains that providing a differentiated classroom approach allows students to thrive in an environment that is geared toward enhancing individual strengths while overcoming challenges. The school employs an active learning model where at least 80% of classroom time is experiential, hands-on learning. They facilitate students’ transformations into complete learners working equally comfortable in an outdoor classroom, a science lab, or a lecture hall.
The school believes that children thrive with shorter school days, and an age-appropriate curriculum. Class sizes are small by design and do not exceed eight students. Under the year-around program, the school operates four weeks "on" and one week "off," with two longer breaks over Christmas and in July.
A tech-free learning environment.
The school decided to forego technology in the classroom, in favor of better student outcomes.
Dr. Dan Sturdevant, Head of School at The Oak’s has shared insight regarding this decision on the school’s blog.
“Our job as educators is to open the eyes of our students to the rest of the world around them and teach them to engage it with critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. We believe the best way to accomplish this is to eliminate the crutch of technology in the classroom.” click to tweet
“We understand that technology has an important place in the world; truly, we know the world would not function well without it! We simply want our students to learn how to learn without technology, so that when it is introduced, it will be used responsibly and as a supplement to the critical thinking process, not as a replacement for it.”
The school aspires for children to serve the Charlotte community. Every Friday, students and families are highly encouraged to participate in optional expeditionary learning or community service opportunities.
“We prepare students at The Oaks for lives of service so that after they leave our hallways, when they have opportunities to serve others in ways large or small, they will be equipped, confident, and eager to serve both God and their neighbor.”
Professional golfer and father of 5, Webb Simpson, is a strong proponent of The Oaks. His wife Dowd is a Co-Founder and serves on the Board of Trustees. The couple met while attending Wake Forest University where they were both student-athletes. In an interview last fall with Charlotte Five, the couple discussed the schools launch.
“Eight hours in a classroom for a 6-year-old just seems off,” Webb said. “We knew we needed a fix and she had this idea. When she told me she had this idea brewing and that it was important to her, I knew she would make it happen.”
At this time, The Oaks is not able to meet the needs of students with substantial learning differences and/or specific diagnoses requiring significant modifications.
“My vision is that in five to ten years, we start The Oaks Institute, where we develop our own curriculum and we have schools in different parts of Charlotte,” said Dowd.
The Oaks employs a rolling admissions model, considering applications year-round. Few spots remain in each grade (K-4th) for the 2019-2020 school year!
Learn more about this innovative program: