Wild Oak Lower & Middle Schools

The Lower and Middle Schools will serve children in 1st through 6th grades in the inaugural year. Wild Oak will expand through 8th grade as the class groups age.

Our goals are to intentionally build a community of trust and belonging, a culture of joy and curiosity, bridge connections to the wider world, and offer our students opportunities to develop character.

Wild Oak Daily Schedule

Monday – Thursday*

*Friday’s schedule will vary due to the “Fridays in the Field” format.

Culture

Learning should be joyful and lifelong! We support curiosity; building in space for students to discover topics and ideas that inspire them. We also expect teachers and families to actively participate in learning and growing alongside our students.

Wild Oak teachers and staff will strive to model appreciation for diversity and difference through their interpersonal practices and in guiding the students through. Our goal is to have systems in place to recognize students’ differences up front, so that we may support those through the student’s time at Wild Oak.

Multiple Intelligences & Learning Styles

We believe that all students can love learning. Given the right type of individualized attention, non-judgemental and supportive circumstances, and access to content that engages their curiosity, they will learn. Our culture at Wild Oak will be one of discovery: to find out what makes kids tick, discover what they need to learn, and to provide them with the resources to flourish as learners. 

We also believe that everyone is different and therefore has a different combination of “intelligences” and learning preferences. Our approach will be to make teaching as multimodal and multisensory as possible so that all children are able to be engaged.

Restorative Practices & Non-Violent Communication

Wild Oak will employ restorative circles within the community to foster positive learning environments and relationships not only between students, but between students and teachers, and amongst teachers. Restorative circles are processes that facilitate positive communication through dialogue and mechanisms to ensure that all voices are heard and “at the table.”

Students will also learn about positive, nonviolent communication practices; building a community of individuals who can differ in experience and opinion, but know how to listen.

Community

Wild Oak will remain intentionally small. The Lower and Middle Schools will only house up to 54 children between 1st and 8th grades when at full capacity. All grades will know each other intimately; classes will eat lunch together,  spend free time playing together, and take Afternoon Academy classes together. 

Morning meetings will be student-led, from the agenda to leading the moment for mindfulness. All will be expected to be leaders within their classroom community. Students will learn over time how to effectively be “in community” with one other, and all that that responsibility entails

Student-Teacher Relationships

Student to teacher ratios will be low. Class sizes will be limited to 12 in the 1st and 2nd grade class, and 14 in the 3rd through 6th grade classes.

Small class sizes have been shown to help foster deeper relationships between teachers and ensure that students receive individual attention. In addition, each Wild Oak student will have scheduled one-on-one time with their lead teacher every two weeks at a minimum; a time where they can talk openly, share concerns or questions, and receive feedback.

Multi-Age Classrooms

Classrooms will span two grades at full enrollment. The Lower School will consist of 2 classrooms: a 1st and 2nd grade class and a 3rd and 4th grade class. The Middle School will also consist of 2 classrooms: a 5th and 6th grade class and a 7th through 8th grade class. In our first year of opening it is possible that some classrooms may span up to three grades, although the class sizes will remain at the same small scale.

Connection

In the world outside of the K-12 classroom, learning and creativity takes place in interconnected ways, not in silos. Our curriculum will reflect that connectivity through an interdisciplinary approach, a substantial amount of cross-disciplinary project-based learning (PBL),  and a  focus on students’ development of “21-st century skills.” Our curriculum will weave the sciences, social studies, language, and literature through “big picture” stories and themes. 

In addition, Wild Oak will employ the pedagogical theory of the “spiral,”  where key and foundational concepts are revisited and reinforced year-after-year in new ways as the curriculum moves through cycles.

Ample space and time are given for students to discover topics that interest them, and going down “rabbit holes” are encouraged.

Character

Our students will have goals that represent their person across the whole spectrum: academics, physical pursuits, social development, and emotional cognizance. While ultimately their development of character is up to them, Wild Oak’s mission is to support students in growing into the fullest version of themselves, in finding their passions, and learning to bring those passions to life.

Personalized Goals & Assessments

In lieu of typical letter-based grading systems in separate subjects, Wild Oak will have a more robust and comprehensive assessment system that incorporates goals set in concert with the student rather than for him or her. Goals will represent not only mastery of academic topics and ideas, but will include social and emotional aptitudes, and levels of creativity and engagement, qualities shown to be better indicators of success later on than traditional grades and testing. Portfolios will be used extensively.

(Wild Oak can, if requested, translate the grading system into a traditional A-F scale should a family need it for transferring or other purposes.)

Social & Emotional Learning

Wild Oak’s close-knit community and intentional curriculum will function in tandem to challenge students to listen to, empathize with, and collaboratively work with others. We will expect them, with guidance, to be open to self-discovery and comfortable with feedback. Social and emotional learning will not just consist of one-off activities, but will be woven through the entire curriculum through lessons, journaling, and group projects. Time is built in daily for mindfulness exercises and self-reflection. 

In addition, each month students will gather at lunch with their designated “Table Circle,” a multi-age discussion group that they will keep through the semester, to discuss thought-provoking questions and current events. They will be able to practice working with others of different ages; ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, that order is maintained, and will work to resolve any conflicts.