The mission of Oak Knoll speaks to the development of the whole child – intellectually, spiritually, physically and emotionally. In partnership with the faculty, Student Services in the Lower School meets this mission by working collaboratively to provide guidance to students, parents and teachers in a variety of ways, including:
- Anti-Bullying Curriculum
- Character Strong, an evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum
- Academic and social-emotional counseling services
- Individual and small group reading support
- Secondary school application support for Lower School boys
- Interdepartmental collaborative educational support
The Student Services team consists of the Assistant Division Head of the Lower School, a State Certified School Counselor, and a State Certified Reading Specialist who work to ensure a nurturing and supportive environment for all students pe-kindergarten through sixth grade. The school values open communication between home and school and works diligently to ensure that parents are informed and involved in all social, emotional and academic affairs regarding their child. Additionally, the student services team collaborates with teachers to ensure personal academic success for all students.
Character Strong/Formative Five
As they enter a fast-changing world, children today are faced with many challenges, or “opportunities.” The Student Services Department strives to encourage and empower students’ holistic success by proactively weaving social-emotional learning and character education into the daily fabric of all school activities and events.
To this end, the school counselor teaches the evidence-based social-emotional curriculum, Character Strong, to all Lower School students throughout the year. This curriculum focuses on developing resiliency and emotional intelligence through 10 character traits (Courage, Respect, Perseverance, Gratitude, Honesty, Kindness, Empathy, Responsibility, Cooperation, Creativity). Additionally, the Student Services Department is committed to raising awareness about diversity and inclusion, and, thus, selected the Character Strong curriculum for its focus on supportive conversations surrounding social justice.
Additional schoolwide social-emotional instruction is based on Thomas R. Hoerr’s book, “The Formative Five,” in which students develop and utilize skills surrounding empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity and grit.
All students in grades 5 and 6 participate in advisory groups. Each advisory group is led by a teacher, and groups meet for lunch regularly to enjoy conversation together and to discuss various topics on the minds of middle school students.