Month: January 2014
Today, I would like to highlight one area of our curriculum about which I field a lot of questions. While our technology policy is conservative when it comes to cell phone usage and social media, we definitely support the responsible use of technology and its place as an academic tool. Our technology course offerings include digital photography, keyboarding and computer applications, desktop publishing and, perhaps the most practical class (and my personal favorite), “21st Century Communications.” This course includes an introduction to the many forms of communication our students will encounter in their college classes: PowerPoint, public speaking, webpage design, movie making, persuasive writing, etc.
We are also proud to be a Microsoft IT Academy. As part of our computer applications classes, students are able to work toward professional certification in the Microsoft programs used in the business world. In fact, I just received word that 12 of our students recently took the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) Word 2010 Certification testing and all 12 passed! These students not only are achieving in the classroom; they are building a professional résumé along the way.
I often encounter some hesitancy from prospective parents when I ask about their student’s current grades. This is where the unique mission of Oak Hill Academy comes to the forefront. Rather than making acceptance decisions based on performance on entrance exams or past performance shown on transcripts, acceptance really hinges on getting to know the student. Our student body is comprised of many bright, capable, college-bound students. However, the fact is that our philosophies and intentional structure pave the way for us to work well with many types of students, including those who have not had the kind of success of which they are capable. We work well with what is commonly referred to as the “unmotivated” student.
In assessing a potential fit, we look at the student’s needs, strengths and weaknesses, and whether what we do well meets that student’s needs. I ask questions to help uncover a student’s learning style, and help him or her highlight what is standing in the way of the kind of success desired. Our small class sizes enable us to be very personal in our instruction; and our classrooms embrace that there are learning differences. Additionally, I work to have a conversation that allows the student to express the ways Oak Hill Academy will represent an opportunity to grow, not only in the classroom, but in the areas of responsibility, perseverance and maturity. In these ways, the interview portion of the admission process is more than just an “audition” for the student. Instead, it is the important first step in getting to know our students–a vital ingredient in why our students find success at Oak Hill Academy.